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In Memory: Dr Eugene Hlywa

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This eulogy was delivered by Norman Rees during the memorial service of Dr Eugene Hlywa on Monday, 14th of August 2017. 

I first met Eugene around 1980 when he was a member of a group of clinical psychologists who formed to get medical rebates for psychology services.  This organisation was somewhat outside the mainstream organisations representing clinical psychologists and I suspect this attracted Eugene who, unbeknown to me at the time, was no stranger to political organisations.

We continued our involvement over the years and there were many discussions about psychotherapeutic strategies, hypnosis, case studies, philosophy and other issues.

He had a very strong academic background with two doctoral degrees including a Doctor of Psychology from the Institute for Research in Psychology in Kyiv.  He was also a member of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine.  He has published five books and many articles on psychological subjects.

He was strongly influenced by the philosopher, Hryhoriy Skovoroda, who lived in Ukraine in the 1700’s. Skovoroda was an important philosopher, teacher, poet and composer and like Eugene, an individualist.  

Eugene, like Skovoroda, spoke of the importance of knowing yourself.  Eugene was very invested in helping others and like Skovoroda, believed in the sanctity of life arising from doing good to others.  

Eugene spoke a lot about the importance of tolerance. He was a philosopher who strove to pursue truth but also recognised and respected the values of others. He was a person who thought deeply about social and political matters. He adopted a pluralism doctrine and this was expressed through tolerance and acceptance of other’s views.

This is not to say that he did not have strong beliefs about the kind of society which Ukraine should be and how it would function better if could be free of the influence of neighbouring countries.  He spent a good deal of his time with the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).  Those of you present who knew him before me will be more informed about his enduring interest in this organisation.

His belief in the capacity of people to make their own free choice was clearly expressed in his belief that the psychotherapist does not control their patient but merely provides a forum for the patient to experience and discover things for themselves.  

A good example of this was his strategy for hypnotherapy and hypnotic induction.  He viewed this as a non-directive exercise where the patient can choose to follow the words of the therapist’s and enable themselves to enter a hypnotic state.  

I saw him a week before he died and I believe he was at peace about his situation.

He is no longer with us but the meaning he created is with us and will live on.

Farewell Eugene. 

Editor’s note: Dr Eugene Hlywa a psychologist, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and public figure passed away on the 6th of August 2017 at his home in Sydney, Australia. 

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