Elias Canetti : Ruschuk was the first window through which I observed all races, listened to all languages, studied all habits, and got to know all nations that anyway got along quite well in this microcosm.
A Balkan man… Summer of 1944 Fall of 1944 Winter of 1944/45 Spring of 1945 Summer of 1945
Economy – GDP per capita
Economic development Rapid, often unexpected changes Largely unplanned Often uncontrolled Acquired skills can become useless New skills need to be developed The habit of changing habits often useful
Political environment - Continuing fragmentation of small countries into even smaller ones - Different levels of state engagement in social matters - Increasing influence of European policies in the social field
A Bulgarian politician – Simeon Saxe-Koburg-Gotha – –
Traditional way of help search Inside – outwards approach: ◄ Family ► ◄◄ Relatives ►► ◄◄◄ Friends ►►► ◄◄◄ Neighbors ►►► ◄◄ ◄◄ Colleagues ►► ►► ◄ ◄◄ ◄◄ Strangers ►►► ►► And only when natural groups fail in finding solutions Professional helpers and institutions
Professional context - Overall poor development of therapy & counseling - Interest in fast working approaches - Uneven distribution of professional resources - Difficulties attending professional meetings - Domination of biological approaches to therapy - Presence of naturally developed SF activities
Language context Diversity of spoken languages Confusion over many categories Invalidation of definitions useful in the past High level of emotional expression Common use of Tarzanian (body) language Overall instability of meaning (paradox)
Implications for doing therapy In this region therapy needs to be: $ - Cheap ♥ - Perceived as natural and close to clients ♪♫ - Fitting the extreme diversity of cultures ⅞ ≤☺≥ ⅜ - Adaptive to personal needs ≈ ? ≠ - Able to make use of meaning instability
SFBT rumor in Bulgaria so far: Started 1993 – Dr. Anton Karshutski Steve de Shazer and FKC team Two training centers in Sofia & Ruse EBTA 1997 Conference in Sofia Trained professionals: 300 – 400 ? Practicing the SF way: 60 – 70 ?
After getting in touch with it: Not interested – 20 % ? Using some of the techniques – 60 % ? Mad about it – 20 % ?
Specific use of the SF approach - Referrals come mostly from friends and relatives - Personal relationship is valued over method - Scaling often gets answers between figures - Compliments tend to be used carefully - Asking questions for homework often better than behavioral tasks - End of therapy does not necessarily mean end of relationship
The dangers of going there
So: How many of you come from a Balkan country ? How many have already been there ? Well then…
When do you plan your next trip to the Balkans ?