[SPS Conference June 2009 - Practical training in general health and mental health facilities] - Report 3 – Practical training in health facilities and at Mental Health Centers.

Simona Bernardini, Antonella Giornetti


In this paper we will discuss some issues we encountered in our practical training experience at the Reception Service at the Mental Health Center of the local health area in Rome, ‘ASL Roma D’. We will start with the way we dealt with some demands addressed to the service, and then reconsider some aspects of the organisational functioning of the service itself.
The Reception service at the Roma D Mental Health Center is unusual in that it is organised around a maximum of 8 clinical psychology interviews. Assistance organised in this way does not serve as a system for filtering towards other specialists, but establishes a clinical organisational service: through interventions limited to 8 interviews, the Mental Health Center wants to be considered with its own particular limit.
A parallel can be drawn between the trainee’s experience in a Mental Health Center and the patient’s experience at the Reception service: having time limits on their experience, they can both find that time, in its sense of limitation, becomes a resource from which to consider the problem, or the opportunity to expand the dual dimension implicit in the psychotherapy relationship, in the context.  
It is not only the trainee and the patient, therefore, but also the context of the Mental Health Center and the related social system that need to become central for the intervention to be successful, in the attempt to connect symptoms and social systems and to explore avenues of development.
The case we will present exemplifies how resources can be activated in a perspective of development, using the limit as the criterionorganising the way a demand is treated.
In particular, we will present a case that gives the opportunity to think about how it can be assumed and symbolised: about the risk that the limit may take on a sense of value or duty instead of the possibility that it is a resource serving to construct a separation, or, to use the patient’s words, “the capacity to think of one’s own solitude”.

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ISSN 1828-9363