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Toinen blogikirjoituksemme on nimeltään The Northern exposure – Pohjoinen valaistuminen, ja sen ovat kirjoittaneet unkarilaiset Natalia Rakar-Szabo ja Gabor Szabo. He vierailivat säätiössämme syyskuussa tutustuen seikkailumenetelmien käyttöön perhekuntoutuksessa. Yhteistyömme on saanut alkunsa seikkailuterapiaverkoston kansainvälisissä tapaamisissa viime vuosina, ja sen saattamana Natalia ja Gabor saapuivat luoksemme Suomeen vierailulle.

Natalia on psykologi ja VIG-kouluttaja, joka työskentelee ja tekee tutkimusta sijoitettujen lasten parissa, ensisijaisesti Unkarin SOS-lapsikyläjärjestön kanssa. Hän on lisäksi Unkarin seikkailukasvatusorganisaation KéTTé – säätiön puheenjohtaja. Gabor on psykologi, perheterapeutti ja seikkailuohjaaja, joka tekee perheterapiaa ja organisaatiokoulutusta suurelta osin seikkailullisin menetelmin. Hän on myös aktiivinen KéTTé – säätiössä.

Vierailusta vastasivat säätiöstämme Pekka Lyytinen, PsL ja Satu Kananen, projektivastaava (Isät ja pojat puussa). Natalia ja Gabor tuovat tekstissään esiin omakohtaisia näkökulmia seikkailusta suomalaisessa luonnossa ja perhekuntoutuksen kontekstissa.

The Northern Exposure

This is a short notice from two Hungarian Adventure Therapists – Gabor Szabo and Natalia Rakar-Szabo – mainly about the reflection of experiences gained in the Paimio Sanatorium.

 How did all begin?

We met Pekka Lyytinen and Satu Kananen first at European Experiential Education Conference in Austria where they introduced the concept of the project “Fathers and Sons on Trees”. Just a little bit later we climbed a lovely Via Ferrata in the middle of the old town in Salzburg and also joined a workshop together on therapeutic climbing.

It was a surprise for us that colleagues with such a profound experience do not know about the international community of Adventure Therapy, so we started to build our network and invited them to the 1st GATE – “Gathering of Adventure Therapists Europe” to Valencia, Spain. At that event more than 12 countries were represented. Soon after this gathering we invited Pekka to Hungary, to the 3rd Hungarian Conference for Experiential Learning “Path”, where he shared the northern perspective on child psychiatry – a family centered one.

Hungarian conference until now has broader context of Experiential Learning – but year by year we have stronger focus on Adventure Therapy. Every year we invite p prominent and recognized representatives of the AT profession, from all over the World. This year we hosted Prof. Mike Gass (USA), Ping Liao (Taiwan), Katia Almeida (Portugal) and many other colleagues, with whom we spent a very useful and pleasant time together.

In September 2017 we had our very first visit to Finland (with private purposes) but such a visit would be a wasted time without a deep professional immersion, so we visited the Centre for Rehabilitation of Children and Young People in the Paimio Sanatorium. In addition to visit this amazing nominee for UNESCO world heritage site we also learned about this unique way of working with families and children in rehabilitation. There is no child really to cure without its´s family – this is an axiom. The Centre in Paimio shows an excellent model for treating families as very sensitive systems with the children in the center.

Adventures in the Barn and in forest

Pekka and Satu guided us through a shortened program of their work with families. We started our revealing self experience in the Barn, where a low ropes and adventure course provided full range of significant experiences of working together as a couple. We experienced the value of being blindfolded, which made the easiest looking challenge a real task of communication, cooperation and social support. We were amazed by the simplicity and cost effectiveness of this tool becoming an excellent therapeutic tool in the hands of skilled professionals!

In Hungary our work has many similarities – but we could also see some unique, innovative and creative solutions in some details as well.

Then we left for the forest, and when we could divert our attention from the vast amount of mushrooms and berries around, we visited the low ropes course, the climbing route on imposing tree, had an interesting conversation of practices and adaptations to local conditions and all of this just before eating an open fire backed pancake with house made raspberry jam! This was “seriously work” and no fun, even if it was delicious and sounds opposite… Because this is also the way how families experience Nature and Experiential Adventures around the clinic.

We feel that attitude of Finnish colleagues deserves professional recognition – specially for the way how they have built AT into the clinic’s everyday practice!

The formed gear-store, simple but very well-thought-out tools, and the whole setting was great for good quality work.

 In the whole building and it´s surroundings we could see signs of “children and families as core-value”. We have come to know that they are also working with the method of Video Interaction Guidence (and basic of Video Home Training) – it was extra pleasure and positive impression, as the method is not used broadly in Europe, actually just in few countries, but among them us, Hungary.

This common point of interest and experience of combination of VIG and AT become an excited possibility for futher sharing of experiences, building of cooperation and creating a common think-tank and even an exploration, research in the possible future.

 Natalia Rakar-Szabo and Gabor Szabo