“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
Dr. Maya Angelou
For the past twelve summers, the Department of Counseling has offered Reynolda Campus counseling students the opportunity to participate in CNS 750, an elective summer school class based in Vienna, Austria.
Description of CNS 750: This course focuses on four of the leading theorists behind modern counseling. The theories of each practitioner, i.e., Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Jacob Moreno, and Viktor Frankl, are examined in the context of the city in which they initially formulated their clinical ideas. Students will visit historical sites and institutes in Vienna as well as study original writings of each theorist. Traveling to Vienna, as part of the WFU Counseling Program, exponentially increases learning and the student’s commitment to our Pro-Humanitate mission. Education beyond the classroom creates an awareness of oneself, a sensitivity to culture and custom and an openness to the many facets of life as a person in the world. You may view CNS 750 Vienna Theorists Summer 2017 syllabus here.
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Many people ask, “why do graduate students in counseling visit Vienna?” It is a fair question from other programs who wistfully gaze at pictures from Melk Abbey, see photos of Vienna’s rich architecture and hear about the cultural feast of opera, cuisine and art that make up the city life of one of Europe’s grand cities.The answer to the question for students of counseling in particular is a simple one: Vienna is the cradle of counseling theory. Beyond any textbook or classroom learning, visiting Vienna gives incomparable insight into the culture that begat Freud, Adler, Frankl and Moreno. The city itself provides a multitude of learning opportunities from mental health practitioners who are experts in the theories we study.The experience becomes uniquely Wake Forest in the method in which the curriculum is delivered.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of people and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Students reside at the university’s own Flow House, a grand home nestled in the heart of Vienna’s 19th District, a neighborhood which is home to many of the city’s embassies and diplomatic headquarters. In fact, it is not unusual for WFU students to see cars with a variety of international flags and dark-tinted windows pull up to nearby homes.
Most importantly, the collegial learning atmosphere is enhanced by excursions to Sigmund Freud’s apartment and office; experiential learning workshops with psychodrama professionals; lectures at Adlerian psychotherapy institutions and perhaps most touching, a lesson in logotherapy from the grandson of Viktor Frankl.
Beyond Vienna, there is fertile ground for personal growth. WFU Counseling students reflect on the expansive potential of the human spirit within the walls of Melk Abbey; and contemplate the effects of suffering and the will to survive within the concentration camp at Mauthausen.
Why should counselors-in-training travel? Both Twain and St. Augustine address the reason: counselors work with people, all people, and honor them in all their varieties and differences. If a counselor in training has never been forced to experience the world outside of their own culture, they may be trapped to view lives through their own cultural lens. The trip to Vienna advances and underscores many of the lessons undertaken in the first year of counselor training: seeing the advantages of people in every situation; respecting the variety of human experience; and, maintaining an awareness of the forces that shape and impact people’s lives and well-being.