Alexandra Carina Matei

Affiliation: “Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania


Title: Faith, youth and meaning making: A qualitative study

implications for practice: Considering the nature of this research and its’ methodology, we were able to capture the nuances of a group of Romanian youth that belong to the country’s main denomination. The practical implications are especially for specialists in the mental and physical health domains (e.g. doctors, therapists, counselors), in order to further develop interventions that are sensitive to the particularities of this developmental period, alongside the socio-cultural aspects (faith included). Practitioners can expand their evaluation to faith related aspects, in order to develop an intervention that is both useful and relevant in the eyes of the client.

implications for research: Our results on this particular group of youth suggest the presence of a state of questioning and emotional struggle associated with the quest for meaning. By shedding light on these aspects, future research can further deepen our understanding regarding the motives behind these results. Moreover, taking into consideration that according to the literature, such states can be precursors of potential at-risk behaviours, extended future research is recommended.



Given the bio-psychosocial changes that occur during youth, self-definition and finding meaning to one’s life become prominent. Two important questions arise “Who am I?”, “Who am I here?” (Erikson, 1950), as youth search and explore potential life paths. Faith can serve as a way of expressing oneself through a perceived relation with the sacred, transcendental. In this qualitative research we sought to capture the way in which meaning is constructed in a group of Romanian youth that identified themselves as being religious.

Six Christian-Orthodox emerging adults (Meanage=23 years, SDage=0.83, 85% girls), were interviewed using a semi-structured, in-depth interview guide. The collected data was interpreted through the use of thematic analysis (Brown & Clarke, 2006), using an inductive approach.

Three main themes emerged: 1) God’s will (the plan that the divinity has for people and give their life meaning); 2) The role of divinity (the nature of their perceived relationship with the divinity and its impact on one’s life), and 3) Modeling faith (the manner in which youth acquire religious knowledge about the divine and its existence). This method allowed us to capture an in-depth perspective on the way in which these youngsters find and give meaning to their lives through faith, alongside their questioning state and emotional struggles that arise during this process. Considering the crucial role of finding meaning in becoming a healthy adult, we discuss practical implications of these results in the field of counseling and psychotherapy.


Bogdan Glăvan

Affiliation: “Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania


Title: Self-Regulation of Unattainable Goals and Meaning-Making in Identity Development


Identity processes and self-regulation of unattainable goals represent key factors in lifelong development, both being related to meaning in life. However, little is known about how these constructs may be related. The aim of this study was to gain new insight into identity development in emerging adulthood by analysing the relation between identity processes, meaning-making and self-regulation of unattainable goals.

To measure these constructs, we used a cross-sectional design in which 97 Romanian young adults (71% female) completed two self-reported instruments and narrated a turning point in their lives. The identity processes were measured using The Dimensions of Identity Development Scale (Luyckx et al., 2008), and the self-regulation tendencies were measured using The Goal Adjustment Scale (Wrosch et al., 2003). The narratives were coded for meaning-making using McLean and Pratt’s (2006) coding schema which defined meaning-making as “connecting the turning point to some aspect of or understanding of oneself” (p. 714).

Multiple regression analyses highlighted that only exploration in breadth and commitment making were significant negative predictors of goal disengagement. This suggests that the participants in the identity cycle of commitment formation do not tend to withdraw effort and commitment from their goals. Also, results suggested that only exploration in breadth was a significant positive predictor of goal reengagement. This indicates that both exploration in breadth and goal reengagement involve searching for alternatives regarding the participants’ goals. Furthermore, preliminary analysis showed a significant negative association between meaning-making and ruminative exploration.

Isaac N Garfunkel

Affiliation: meaningful



implications for practice: This work aims to give an understanding of how newly designed resources focused on meaning can help those seeking more meaning in life.

implications for research: This work has produced coaching/consulting methods and courses that may be considered for validation by scientific research.



meaningfull is a new enterprise with an aim to educate and inspire the experience of meaningful living and working through self-guided online courses and one-on-one consulting. The company currently offers products and services available to individuals seeking more meaning in life and businesses interested in improving employee well-being and company culture. All content is based on scientifically-validated psychological research and interventions, however, emphasis is placed on simplifying concepts and providing practical tools that enable customers to implement them in daily life. meaningfull courses are hosted on an online learning platform in which customers can access the course from anywhere via Internet connection and complete it at their own pace. One-on-one consulting takes the form of eight (8) 1.5 hour sessions covering an exploration of the client’s personal meaning and purpose. The future of the company is automation and digitization of all products and services. Accordingly, future offerings are planned to include a mobile app-based exploration of personal meaning and purpose featuring such elements as a self-guided exploration of personal meaning, an interactive chronological timeline of customers’ meaningful life events and purposeful goals, shareable profiles, and a blog with contributions by experts in the field. My presentation will include details about the courses and the consulting process, as well as how several select clients have experienced them. I will also explain a plan for the future and in what ways an affordable, widely accessible digital presence will benefit people with limited knowledge, consideration, and experience with the principles of meaning in life.


Viviana Perez

Affiliation: University of Roehampton


Title: Understanding the lives of people with fibromyalgia

implications for practice: The implications for this work in practice could mean that ACT interventions may be improved or meaning-centred therapies may be developed, thus bringing benefit to individuals with fibromyalgia.

implications for research: The potential answers derived from interviewing individuals with fibromyalgia can shed light for future research and development of therapeutic interventions.


Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome is characterised as widespread musculoskeletal chronic pain, associated with stiffness, pain and tenderness of the muscles and tendons and key tender points around the body (WHO ICD-10). Medical guidelines recommend multidisciplinary treatment for fibromyalgia. Psychological aspects of the treatment usually include CBT and third-wave therapies like ACT. However, meta- analysis demonstrates small to medium effects sizes of these psychological treatments on long term pain reduction. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to improve, develop and test new types of psychological care. Recent reviews suggest that the core question of many physically ill patients is ‘how to live a meaningful life despite illness’, and meta-analyses show that meaning-centered therapies have large effects in physically ill patients. Some studies suggest that fibromyalgia patients may also ask meaning-centered questions and benefit from meaning-centered therapy.

Aim: This study aims to examine the subjectively lived experience of fibromyalgia patients: 1) how do they cope with chronic pain despite their limitations 2) what do they identify as meaningful in their lives, and which impact has this meaning in the way that they manage their pain? 3) to which extent do they feel that finding meaning could change their attitude towards living with pain?

Method: Semi-structured interviews, analysed with Interpretative Phenomenological Analyses.

Results: In this presentation, the rational, background and study design will be described. The study will be conducted later 2017.

Discussion: The potential answers derived from interviewing individuals with fibromyalgia can shed light for future research. On this basis, ACT interventions may be improved, or meaning-centered therapies may be developed and tested.