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Reisverslag a day of FGC training and empowerment
29 november 2013
a day of FGC training and empowerment
We were with about 20 people (including 16 (ex) users/survivors, 2 translators and a psychologist who has established the first community based centre in Moldova). We started at 9.30 at the conference hall at the second floor of the hotel.
In the morning I explained the concept of Family Group Conferencing (FGC) as a model for supported decision making in the context of mental health care, and especially elaborated on avoiding forced psychiatric treatments. I used the same presentation as I did at the Conference of State Parties at the UN headquarters in New York. (see the report from New York at http://punkertje.waarbenjij.nu/reisverslag/4567654/presentation-text-on-eindhoven-model-cosp
The presentation and discussion on Family Group Conferencing took all morning. And after that the concept was clear. I could see that the group was inspired and willing to practice FGC. There were several personal stories that were brought up: Many people are stuck in a nasty situation without any social support, and this of course needs to be changed. The need and desire for FGC is very clear. The group wants to start practicing FGC in their own circle of members right away, to get some experience with the model in practice, before expanding it to a public service. The group of (ex) users and survivors of psychiatry also wants to secure ownership of the model, to make sure the implementation will be accurate, and to prevent any changes to the model (which can be a risk when health care workers take over).
After lunch we did an exercise of FGC by role playing. The psychologist Cornelia provided us with a case description based on reality, and the group was divided into several actors (main person, several family members, hospital staff and fellow patients). It was a bit of a chaotic discussion, but it was still a valuable exercise. It became clear that the voice of a dominant family member could be tackled by a larger group, which is one of the strengths of FGC. It was also very clear that life for people with mental problems is hard in Moldova, and a lot of creativity is needed to find solutions in situations when there is no income, no place to go from the institution, no supportive family and so on. But still the group managed to come up with several ideas which might give an answer to the needs in this situation.
After that we did a second exercise with FGC, but this time it was no role playing, but a real question that all participants related to. In this exercise the main question was: What is needed for starting up the Moldovan (ex)user and survivor organization? The intention of this session was that the group would discuss by themselves what they need (as in private family time) and then come up with a plan. This ended up being a fruitful discussion, and many concrete needs for establishing an organization were brought up: such as having a place for meetings, a phone line for advise and support, official registration of the group (to be entitled to act), spreading messages in mass media (outreach), the need for volunteers and hardware, and active members. They also discussed possible names, objectives, vision and mission and so on. The discussion took place in their own language, and I tried to stay aside and only listen, but at several points I was consulted on my experiences with organizing (ex)users and survivors. So I just pitched some practical ideas and strategies that have been proven effective, such as publishing personal testimonies and how this could be done. I could see that the group was really inspired to come into action. The issue of funding was also discussed several times: without an official registration it is impossible to get funding, so that is a bottleneck. I have offered that my organization Stichting Mind Rights can provide a donation of about 100 euro (2000 Lei) to enable the formal start of the Moldovan (ex)user/survivor organization. The group was very happy to hear that of course, and I am happy to be able to contribute to this very good cause.
It had been a very long interactive day, and we closed the meeting around 17.45.
At 18.30 we all gathered in the dining for another delicious meal. The food is really nice here, and it keeps on coming: at every break a load of cookies and food is provided, and it’s all nice. We are really taken good care of.
After dinner we stayed in the dining hall and had tea/coffee and more sweets. Then at 8 PM the dining closed again, which for us basically meant that the day has ended: the only place left to go to is the hotel room. So after another cigarette I went up to my room and started working on my emails and this blog. By now it’s around 11 PM, and I think I will go to bed soon. It has been an intensive day and the twin bed is really nice.
I am feeling good. I am very happy to be part of this initiative, and this inspiring group of beautiful dedicated people, who are so motivated to get into action. It’s a meaningful pleasure to be here.
30 november 2013 10:16 | Door: je moeder
Mooi Jolijn, dat je ideeën aanslaan!!