Sunday, 7 June 2009

LLE Bologna

Hello colleagues, it’s always useful for me to make some notes on the LLEs I do by myself with the Italians, and there are several things we can learn from it. We should do short notes after each English workshop too, if we were really up to scratch, should we not? I can feel an Ex-link policy coming on! (to add to our collection, eh Steve?)

Same as usual
·         6 community meetings, 5 small groups, cooking in turns, community time, crisis meetings
·         Standard agenda and slightly condensed timetable (now have properly translated bilingual ones)
·         One conductor for each of 3 small groups, I did Dobby

Variation from usual format
·         M>F (13:6)
·         All staff were male (making total gender balance 17:6)
·         All but a few were very group-naive participants
·         Started with didactic seminar (powerpoints etc) from Aldo & I about TC principles and how clinical practice relates to what they will be experiencing in the workshop, based on tales of Winterbourne (and subsequent modifications).
o   This was necessary to get the Italian funding
o   It meant the ‘explanation of programme’ was much quicker in the opening community meeting
·         Chose the 3 groups in advance - because several from each of three workplaces (one drug addictions, one elderly MH, one assessment centre)
·         First community meeting scheduled 3pm (and started on time, unusual for Italy!)
o   Late supper and late finish on first day – but that felt OK over here. May not be appreciated at home – evening community meeting finishes at 2030 on day 1.
·         One word summaries from each therapist after each group
·         Evaluation forms part 1 & 2 fully translated into Italian
·         All community meetings 45 mins long – worked well.
·         Day 2: afternoon community time scheduled as
“1430 Community meeting and Community Time”
o   Was useful to be able to pick up what people wanted to do in the afternoon, with weather, changing mood, etc

Good bits
·         Name game with associated item (I chose spotty dog, Aldo chose guitar, etc). It helped names be remembered
·         Always lively, never a second’s silence (as usual in Italian workshops)
·         Afternoon activity = 6 of us cycling round Bologna, led by one of the participants who is a Bologna anthropology graduate
·         Variation of Zoo called ‘Macedonia fruit’ – with killer ending to leave one winner
·         Action check-in for Sunday morning community meeting: all standing, each person had to say one word and mime how they felt – everybody had to copy it (all at once) before moving on to next person
·         Italian food, all completely self-catered.
·         Saturday dinner – very lively – Roman folk songs belted out by about 3 good singers in the group
·         Included game to write a poem to somebody on the table cloth (related to the words they associated with their name in the name game)
·         No interest in having alcohol (well, maybe ‘mixed’ rather than just ‘good’!)
·         Bedroom doors barred with paper barriers (mixed?)

Bad bits
·         Catholic seminary venue – rather municipal and bleak inside
·         No comfy chairs at all
·         Most people slept 4 to a dorm
·         No tea to drink
·         No treats (including terminal daily G&T)

·         Choosing groups in advance felt too controlling
·         All but a few were very group-naive participants
·         Disclosure of abuse in Alessandro’s first small group
·         Two people initially felt ‘we don’t fit’ – one Croatian woman, and a black moslem man. But was very soon worked through – and they were expressing how wrong they were about that by the middle of the workshop. (At least they both spoke fluent Italian – unlike one of the staff!)
·         Two particularly notable participants – a priest in one group who was very distressed,  good resolution by final small group. Although already in his own therapy, has determined to use it more effectively.
·         Other was a man who got very angry when his questions were not directly answered in community meetings. Sensitively confronted about his ‘brittle false self’ over several groups. Apologised, generously and warmly,  in final community meeting.
·         Several crisis meetings – 1, to choose who cooks when (they went into 1st sg without deciding); 2- to arrange support for the member of Alessandro’s group who was in crisis; 3 – (got cancelled before properly called) Alessandro woke at 1am to go to bathroom and challenged group about the joke banner on his door. Those responsible felt very guilty and started to call a crisis meeting (but, thankfully, called it off before they got me out of bed); 4 – to prolong Sunday am cm while two members were shouting at each other (it made matters worse, so I suggested we stop before sgs were due to start).

Tricks to pick up
·         One word summaries worth doing and recording each time (see below)
·         Name game with association worked well
·         Live spreadsheet of names / age / sex / work / group / training level to help suss out the groups when discussing them
·         Also photos to identify who’s in each group (as above), useful to look at in staff discussions – and getting to know names
·         Some of the games
·         Maybe have pre-lunch seminar?

Minor plans with Aldo
·         One day LLE at big community psychiatry conference in Palermo in October
·         Bilingual workshop in Verona in December – one group in English (I will facilitate), possibly for Slough / Aylesbury / MK staff (who didn’t get the Sicilian experience!)
·         Others as they come up – usually 1-2pa – but unlikely to be funded with more than air fare unless we get an EU programme grant

Major plans with Aldo
·         Manual for integrative sociotherapy. Online? Book?
·         EU-funded training programme – UK + Italy + Greece or NL
o   3 self-catering weeks (probably one per term across a year)
§  Module 1 = history and values
§  Module 2 = psychotherapy & theory
§  Module 3 = putting it into practice
o   With mixture of experiential and theory – core staff team stay all week with visiting lecturers (who hopefully eat, maybe stay overnight and have some downtime with participants)
o   To interdigitate with KUF (modules may stand in for the L5 40 credit ‘Responding Effectively’ module which has 2 LLEs anyway, and poss substitute for one of the L7 20 credit MSc modules, perhaps ‘Developing and Extending Therapeutic Practive’ module)
·         To interdigitate with van Der Straten’s ‘Trempoline’ ECETT project (I have details) – it’s called ‘training by travel’ – and is brill for experience, but has no theory. He’s currently applying for his 2nd Leonardo grant

One word group summaries
[kitchen groups in brackets]
group 1
group 2
group 3
Cold feet
group 4
group 5
Open space