Carina Hakansson on the Extended Therapy Room Foundation

This interview with Carina Håkansson is part of the “future of mental health” series of interviews established by Dr. Eric Maisel and hosted on the Psychology Today website.

It begins:

“EM: Can you tell us a little bit about the Family Care Foundation?

CH: It is a long story, but very briefly it started as a reaction towards a system which far too often seemed to have forgotten important principles about human beings and life conditions, I was angry, but also very determined to try together with others to create a place which should be good to stay at- not just for those called clients, but also for the professional ‘helpers’ and the family homes involved, and of course for the people around the one called client; family, friends and others.

We had an idea to try to combine essential knowledge from ordinary life with important knowledge from the professional field, mainly within therapy and social work. The organization has grown over the years, and has become part of a worldwide network, so much so that a new foundation started last autumn with the aim to extend our experience into a wider context, by research, training and of course therapeutic practice, which is still the most essential. Practice comes first is a statement we hold very high and something we try to hold on to, also regarding research and education. The name of the new organization is The Extended Therapy Room Foundation 

EM: You’ve written a book called Ordinary Life Therapy: Experiences from a Systematic Collaborative Practice. Can you share with us some of its headlines and main points?

CH: The book is about practice and theoretical ideas at Family Care Foundation, it describes the collaborative work involving those called clients, their families, family homes, and staff at the office, mainly therapists. It is written in a personal way and includes my own reactions, thoughts, feelings and visions. There are narratives from different perspectives, interviews with some family homes and clients, some stories from my own life and history, some poems, some philosophical ideas and wonderings …

EM: What do you see as some potential or prospective international efforts in mental health care and reform?

CH: We need to find ways to let people know other narratives, found by research and practice about diagnosis and pharmaceuticals since it is a huge problem, not just for individuals but also for the society as a whole, and the idea about human beings. So the effort is to create a worldwide proud and skilled network including researchers, practitioners, people with lived experience not just in the field of psychotherapy and psychiatry but far beyond that. Artists, farmers, economists, students, statistics, carpenters, dancers … you name it, people of all kind, since this is an issue which has to do with each and every one …”

You can read more from here.

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