Hungarian Art- and Socio-therapy Community-building Association
To understand how the term socio-therapy is used in Hungary, a (professional) historical overview is necessary. During the socialist period, no psycho-therapy approaches were accepted. After WWII, the Budapest Psychoanalytical School, originally spearheaded by Sándor Ferenczi could only continue its work underground. The official version of psychiatry followed the biological approach, and had a political psychiatric connotation as well. When in the 1970’s psycho-therapeutic approaches were allowed to openly appear as a part of official psychiatric care, the then active professionals made a sharp division between psycho-therapeutic procedures and socio-therapy (which they considered to be a part of so called supplementary therapy). Till this day, this historical division determines the relationship between psychotherapy and socio-therapy. In Hungary ergo-therapy - occupational/work-therapy, art-therapy and community therapies are all considered a part of socio-therapy. Socio-therapy methods are mostly applied within in health care, in psychiatric departments and in social services, as well as institutions providing care for the elderly and disabled. Socio-therapy appears to a small extent in educational institutions, in the training and development work of civil society organizations.
In 1984, László Németh in consultation with Ferenc Mérei and György Hidas, and following the principles of the Budapest School, developed socio-therapist / art therapist training, along with systematic implementation of art therapy at the Tündérhegy Psychotherapy Department. A therapist trainer conducts group work – including personal experience; theoretical and technical studies and supervision, along the line of (psychoanalytical) therapist training as adopted in 1918. Socio- and art therapist training is based on analytically-oriented theory, it represents a multicultural value-system and employs empowerment methodology. Besides the sphere of the psyche, it is important that socio-therapists / art therapists be familiar with approaches coming from the social sciences and be able to use theories of majority-minority relations in the process of comprehension, as well as being able to handle a value-based approaches as a dimension of concrete self-awareness work.
Training to become a socio-therapy / art therapy group leader is conducted by MMSZKE through a three year training course. The structure of the training course is in line with therapeutic training - the first year is personal experience (120 hours) involving four art therapy techniques (fine arts, motion, music, biblio-therapy); second year is a technical and theoretical seminar (120 hours) + practicing leading an art therapy group within an internally protected circle; as well as a theoretical seminar on group leadership; third year is supervision (120 hours). This involves the group supervision of an art therapy group held outside by group members. This training is not a state-recognized; it is considered a part of adult-education, and one receives a certificate as a methodology-specific art therapy group leader. At its beginning (1984), the training was attended only by the male and female nurses from various psychotherapeutic departments. Then it was opened up for teachers and social workers (1990) and now it is open to all those who want to work with art therapy in a wide range of areas - health, education, social care and civil society. In Hungary, a model of art therapy training has been developed since 2010, which makes it possible to acquire an art therapist degree in a higher education institution (as a postgraduate degree).
MMSZKE conducts its activities in three areas based on an art therapy methodology. On the one hand, we teach people how to lead art therapy groups, on the other hand, we organize art therapy self-awareness groups for healthy people, and thirdly we operate an art therapy therapeutic group to help with various psychological problems.
Since 1984, a total of 297 people have been trained to lead socio-therapy / art therapy groups. Since 1984, close to 100 different art therapy self-awareness groups have been organized, with over 900 participants. Our groups were held within a variety of areas - in schools, workplaces, social institutions, cultural/ community centres, civic associations. Since 1984 the number of our art therapy therapeutic groups has been close to 180, involving more than 2100 participants, who were helped with resolving their psychological problems. Our groups ran in a wide range of health and social institutions - psychiatric departments, psychotherapeutic departments, paediatric and disabled homes, elderly care facilities, child protection institutions.
MMSZKE is involved with the implementation of grants dealing with art therapy self-awareness and healing groups. We are active participants of Hungarian art therapy scene. We have organized several exhibitions from art therapy works.
English language contacts:
Marietta Gargya gargyamarietta [at] gmail [dot] com (gargyamarietta[at]gmail[dot]com) +36304276584
Maja Bumberák majazofi [at] gmail [dot] com (majazofi[at]gmail[dot]com) +36306247488
Mission statement of socio-therapy
Socio-therapy contributes to the development of an open and accepting society. Socio-therapy and community-building groups serve to prepare people for a life void of labelling, where they can attain personal fullness, and where individual and communal cultural diversity is respected within society. Further aim of socio-therapy is for people to develop from the state of labelling and “learned inability”, to one of self-identity and personal “competence”.
The tools of socio-therapy and community-building are the groups created in the institutions providing our social environment (schools, workplaces, cultural and community centres), complemented by civil society, as well as the various clinical institutions, all of which can contribute to the workings of an open and tolerant society. Further tools of socio-therapy are the complex art-therapy methods, empowerment-techniques, as well as community-building and democracy enhancing communal action.
The art-therapy group methods used within socio-therapy provide an opportunity for gaining self-knowledge, for a life lived according to a consciously chosen system of values (both on an individual, as well as a community level), as well as that within our own experiences everyone’s personal psychological functioning, their values, and lifestyles – independent of mainstream social norms - be liveable, understandable and recognised as legitimate. Thus the effects of groups organised in the prevention phase can preclude that people be labelled or considered ill because their life-styles deviate from that of the majority. The group enables people to autonomously represent their own system of values and style of life, while at the same time tolerating and understanding other views of life - and being able to experience the basic operation of a multi-cultural society. Through the functioning of the group one can experience the emancipating affect and the joy of being within a unlabbeling and tolerant environment.
The empowerment-techniques used in our socio-therapy groups aid familiarisation with the diversity of life-styles, and the various social techniques used for transmitting these, they also help the understanding of the psychological and social modes of action involved with the representation of personal value systems. Understanding of the process of „socialisation into learned inability” is special psychological focal-point, as is the capacity of the individual to transform themselves from a state of inability to becoming active in shaping their environment and society. Through empowerment we can strive towards becoming self-conscious active individuals, who in partnership and though the recognition of personal dignity are capable of joint action and co-operation within the community.
Through group-guidance and community-building education, socio-therapy aims to train group-leaders through whom this approach and outlook can become accessible and liveable for more and more people.