By Katie Ahrendt
CNS 750, the Vienna Theorists, was one of the things that attracted me to the counseling program at Wake Forest. Before I even applied to the program, I could envision myself walking around the streets of Vienna–seeing the sights and going where the forefathers of our profession worked, lived, and created the theories that we still study today. After entering the program, I heard stories from the second-year students about the amazing things they did in Vienna. I knew that no matter what, I had to go. Now that I have returned—rested and recovered from the jet-lag, I am able to reflect on my experiences in Vienna—to really think about what I learned, what I experienced, and the effect that this trip has had on me, both personally and professionally.
The coursework and field trips we did for the CNS 750 course in Vienna far exceeded my expectations. I believe that I learned more about Freud, Adler, Frankl, and Moreno than I ever could have by just reading about them, or by hearing about them during a standard class in A105 at Wake Forest. The presentations given by my group and by my classmates were all very well done, and shed a lot of light on the theories, as well as the men who created them. Not only were the presentations interesting and informative, the fact that we were able to take trips into Vienna to see where these men lived and worked made everything come alive! It was so great to be able to visit the Freud museum and see where he had his office, to learn more about his family and his life in Vienna, and to see the waiting room as it looked when he was practicing. We also were able to see the hotel where Moreno claims psychodrama was invented.
The most exciting day for me was the presentation from Alex Vesely, and our visit with Elly Frankl. I thought it was great to see the true respect and admiration that Alex has for his grandfather. It was really interesting seeing the personal pictures and videos of Frankl, and of Alex with his grandfather. When Alex told us he would call his grandmother Elly to see if she was up for visitors, I had in my mind the image of a frail, sickly, elderly woman. So when Mrs. Elly Frankl came bounding in the room demanding to speak to our leader, I was totally shocked. This was not the weak woman I had imagined—this was a firecracker! Meeting Elly was a complete joy, and I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity. Not only has she had an amazing life, but her perspective on all that she and her husband had accomplished was so refreshing. I left our meeting with Mrs. Frankl feeling happy, excited, and refreshed.
Not only did the presentations, visitors, and field trips exceed my expectations, so did the city of Vienna. I knew Vienna was a cultural center of Europe, overflowing with museums and operas and history. But I didn’t anticipate how interested I would be in all of this, or just how much there really is to do in Vienna! I feel that you could spend the next ten years in Vienna visiting museums, attending concerts, and seeing historic sights, and still you would not have seen it all. I have never been to another city where I was so excited to experience all that the city has to offer. Although I had to sleep for about a solid week after returning, I am happy that I got to do everything that I wanted to do.
In addition, it was wonderful to have this experience with my cohort. As soon as I got off the plane in Vienna and saw Joe and Ellen waiting for me at the McDonald’s in the airport (classy, I know) I was happy and relieved to have fellow travelers. I really enjoyed having people to do things with every day, and I enjoyed experiencing things with my amazing classmates! I feel that we have become much closer as a result of this trip, and I am looking forward to another year with all of them.
Vienna was an amazing experience. I feel so incredibly lucky that I was able to have this opportunity. And now, I can be one of those second-years telling the first-year students that Vienna was incredible, and they have to figure out a way to go–no matter what.
Faculty leader: Dr. Sam Gladding