by Hans TenDam
Our Honorary Member Roger Woolger passed away on November 18 in upstate New York. He suffered from melanoma. One of the big names in our field has gone.
About 1989 I saw a video about his work when I was in Brazil. I remember that I immediately saw he would be worthwile as a postgraduate teacher for my graduates in the Netherlands. They had heard of him meanwhile too and they invited him. What convinced me that he was a great therapist? The way his foot was making a circular movement while he was sitting next to the client. I cannot interpret this, but it gave me the feeling that he really was with his client.
I had a similar experience when Trisha Caetano gave her first workshop in the Netherlands. While explaining something, she made beautiful circular movements with her feet while standing in front of the blackbord. Again I had the feeling that she was completely into what she was saying. In general, I don’t mind feet, but these two times I did.
Roger was something that is pretty rare in our field (in most fields actually): he was an educated gentleman and a scholar. He was at home in books and in the arts as well. This broad scholarly interest he shared with people like Mário Resende in Portugal and our own Nassos Komianos from Greece. You could discuss scholarly books with Roger and he would mention titles, even send books he thought were very interesting. I have here a biography of William Blake and an rather unkown book by Yeats, A Vision. His interest in poetry is known to all who got his self-published collection The Story of the Heart.
Around 1990, our colleagues in Brazil came to be split between those that were interested in my work and those who stuck 100% to Morris Netherton. I suggested to defuse the tension by inviting a third one: Woolger. Well, he took to Brazil as the Brazilians took to him. He stormed the country.
In 2003 he was at the First World Congress for Regression Therapy in the Netherlands and offered a well-atttended post-conference institute. With Morris, he received a Lifetimes Award. What is more, he got to know Trisha Caetano, and together with Andy Tomlinson we discussed the need for European training and a European association. From all that came EARTh later. He was there in Frankfurt in 2006 when we founded it. One of the Founding Fathers.
Roger had an other side too. His jokes ranged from Jesus to flatulence. And his impersonation of a French sailor set us back at least three years of hard work trying to make our trade a bit more respectable.
We will miss him.