Cross Pollination of the TC Tree...
Hank Nunn Institute organized its first Living Learning Experience workshop from 11th-13th Sept, 2015.
This is not only the first Living Learning Experience (LLE) in India, but also the first one for students who will soon enter the professional world as counselors and therapists. There were 13 participants and 3 staff members, who doubled as therapists and admin staff! A highlight was that one of our therapists was an ex-resident whose teaching session revolved around her experience of treatment, her journey to become a responsible adult, and a colleague and co-therapist in the TC world.
For the staff it was a chaotic and exhilarating experience: ground breaking in the effort to start an experiential educational program which resonates with decades of work done in the UK. Interestingly, the atmosphere described in the teaching session about TCs (which was primarily the history, principles and trends from the UK), was the same that was created here, showing the adaptability of the methodology.
On the whole the workshop was a complete success, getting an overall rating of 8.9 and some very positive feedback. The workshop received extra enthusiasm when the participants realized it was in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, Institute of Mental Health, International Network of Democratic Therapeutic Communities, and Growing Better Lives. Below are some of the comments received, and a description of the experience written by two residents of our transient TC:
“…an experience one of its kind! I could be myself and felt accepted. I feel more in touch with myself and my feelings…”
“…peace and insight…”
“…I learnt a lot about myself and I’m glad to have understood what a TC is, which broadens my perspective about therapy…”
“…insight about my own views and life situations, courage to face emotions that I find hard to express, a lot of friends…”
Nature Therapy: A Community Experience
The Living Learning Experience has been a long awaited experience for us post graduate counseling students at Christ University and the experience has been worth it. After a small talk in the class about the program and the certificate course by Anando Chatterji, CEO of Hank Nunn Institute, we were very enthusiastic to be a part of it.
A usually hurried three days passed by slowly and the learning we took away has been immense. Having never known what a therapeutic community is or what it entails, we arrived at Penukonda open to experience and also secretly hoping it would be a weekend getaway.
All of us had entirely unique experiences at the LLE and all of them, we feel, will help us in our future practice. The one common theme in what we took away from the LLE was the insight about what it feels like to be a client in a therapeutic community, to understand the experience of the support of a community and the benefits of it from the perspective of future psychologists. Besides this some of us gained an understanding into the recurrent themes in our lives through our small group therapy sessions. The experience and wisdom of the staff members and their openness to share is what made all the teaching modules and other interactions both interesting and engaging.
Some of us were new to each other so it also gave us an opportunity to interact and learn from each other. It was a wonderful experience which made us enriched souls. It was a fascinating experience to be away from the civilization, far from the hectic schedules, sans network and literally in the lap of nature. There is something therapeutic about the practice of taking turns at cooking, living and sharing a common space and having pets in the community. Besides the soothing routine of the program, the community time, bon-fire night and the special tractor ride back to the bus station were highlights of the living learning experience. Leaving the farm and the LLE was a sad event for all of us made cheerier only by the thought that soon we would follow up with the certificate course offered by HNI.