Many people in severe mentally disturbed states do not use language or other symbolic media well or coherently. Therefore, the non-verbal medium needs to be understood by workers with such people. The “Learning from Action” experiential workshop was developed in order to provide an opportunity to learn about hidden messages in the relationships and roles occurring in activities. In August 2017, a workshop was run for the first time in Japan. The purpose of this paper is to report the experience and dynamics observed by the three consultants, who are here the authors of this paper.
After the workshop all the staff and members, including interpreters, were invited to give feedback.
Analysis of the feedback data showed certain important dynamics, concerning especially dependence, cultural defences and the defensive role of activity in a multicultural context.
This is an initial experience to be followed up by later feedback and further workshops.
Workers awareness of non-verbal communication within the roles of work activities is a training possibility. It faces various resistances including the mental health assumptions of meaninglessness of any communication outside the verbal.
This is a method of training not widely used even in European countries, and is the first in a country in the far east.
The event was sponsored by Il Nodo Group and a network of different associations: the Network of TCs in Japan, the Kyoto Group Therapy Society, and the Japanese Association for Group Psychotherapy, to whom the author owe a debt of gratitude. And of course the author must thank all the members for deciding to come to such a “risky” event as well as the two Administrators, Yuko and Eriko, and the three interpreters.
Hinshelwood, R.D., Mingarelli, L. and Masnata, S. (2019), "A “Learning from Action” workshop in Japan", Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 77-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/TC-02-2018-0005Download as .RIS
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