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Łukasz Cichocki on the Pan Cogito Hotel

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Welcome, everybody. My name is Łukasz Cichocki, and I will tell you something about Pan Cogito Hotel, which was mentioned just right now. But before, I would like to tell [you] about the way to Pan Cogito Hotel. So, Pan Cogito is an element of an integrated community treatment program for people suffering from schizophrenia, in Cracow. And this integrated community program was supported by the spirit, by the [ideas] of Professor Antoni Kępiński. I hope that some of you, especially [people] from Cracow, know this name. This man was a Professor of Psychiatry. He lived in the 20th century, died in 1972. And he taught us, he taught Cracow's psychiatry many things. I would like to mention three of them that are, I would say, the most crucial, or most important things in the [relationship] between the psychiatrist and the patient. The first [one] is respect. Respect as, I would say, the basis, and the thing without which we can't help other people, especially people with mental disorders, with mental problems. I was [not sure] whether to [say] what I will [say] now, but German Nazis were present a couple of times during today's sessions, and I would like to mention them once again. Because disrespect for mentally ill people sometimes leads to very horrible things. In the German Nazi [era], more or less 200 thousand mentally ill people were exterminated, just because of the fact that they were mentally ill. I know that it is, say, the most -- The biggest example of disrespect. But this disrespect is quite common also today. And we as professionals, but I think also we as people, we should [point out] this disrespect to our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends, sometimes, or our family [members]. Because, as I [said], without this respect we can't be helpful, and we can't be effective in this relationship. The second thing that Prof. Kępiński taught us that is very important, is listening to these people. There was a time in psychiatry, quite a long time, that psychiatrists or professionals "knew better" what was good for people with mental disorders. And let's say that this inequality was also in this [aspect of] "We know better, and so we don't need to listen to them." And we learned from Prof. Kępiński, but we also learned it from our patients, how important it is to listen to them. To listen to what they say, to pay attention to what they feel. To listen to what they need from us. Because it's not so -- Everybody needs something else, something that is [unique to] this person. Respect, listening, and the third thing is supporting. Because it's not enough to respect and to listen. These people are very often in very big pain, very big suffering. They are very often isolated, socially isolated, they are withdrawn emotionally. And they need some kind of encouragement to go out of this isolation, to start to be with other people, live with other people, to cooperate with other people. And this support has different aspects. Because, of course, there is an aspect of verbal support, [where] we say some words that are supportive for these people. But it's sometimes not enough. Sometimes, we need to create some kind of social space for these people. Some social space that would be more safe, or more nice than usual social spaces, in order to help them to make this step from this isolation towards the outer world. In these three things, we use different tools, or methods, to help these people. One of them is, of course, pharmacotherapy. There are many situations in which we can't help these people effectively without the help of the [medication]. But it is, in many cases, not enough. Many of these people have such a difficult life history, such difficult events in their lives, that they [really] need different kinds of psychotherapy. It could be individual, group or family psychotherapy. In order to make their lives more understandable, in order to share their problems, in order to see that other people understand them, but also to see that they can change their lives, that they can cope better with [various] kinds of stress, or the [various] kinds of trauma they [encounter]. Another important aspect we try to use in helping these people is the social approach. In many cases, they need not only psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy, but they need a safe place to live in. For example, a sheltered flat. They sometimes need their free time [to be organized]. So, I've often gone with my patients to therapeutical camps or therapeutical excursions. They need other people they can trust, or cooperate with, to do different things in life together. Some of these people need rehabilitation. So, different methods that will help them to -- Or -- to recreate some abilities they had before, in order that they come back to work, or come back to [college] or to school. But in many cases what they need is help in finding [a job]. Or in coming back to work. These people are in many areas more vulnerable, or [sensitive] than it is usually [the case]. But without [a job] -- I think that many of you [have or will have jobs]. And work is one of the most important things in fighting, or in building a sense of life. Or the sense that "I am a useful person." That I can give other people something that is valuable. And therefore, we also try to make the step between -- Or help these people to make the step between their [current] situation and [working] in the open market. And this way, or [with] this program, we try to help them. This program [is] "Treatment, Living and Working in the Community." I would say that the most -- visual, or the best example of this program is the Pan Cogito Hotel project. Pan Cogito Hotel is a hotel, in Dębniki, in Cracow. Bałuckiego 6 -- street. And this hotel is run mostly by people that survived a mental crisis, or a mental disorder. 23 or 24 people with mental disorders are working there. And for many of them, it is the best workplace they've had in their lives. It's a place [where] they don't need to hide with their problems. They don't need to -- let's say, to be afraid that their problems -- will be mistreated, or will be the cause of some kind of mistreatment. They can talk with other people who are working there, because they have similar experiences, or similar problems. And they trust or understand these people better. They work with people, and they say that this work with people is very important to them, because they [get] a lot of positive or warm feedback from the guests of this hotel or the restaurant. And it is not only a workplace, but it is also an educational place. A place which many people from all over Poland are coming to, and observing that it is possible [for] people with severe mental illnesses, with severe mental disorders, [to] cooperate and build a project that is successful. And these visits [are] from all over Poland. But also, [the fact that] this idea is spreading not only in Poland, but also in Europe, is also a kind of example for people from other cities, other places, that they can create similar places. Places that will be safe, nice, and, I would say, good places to work in and to, let's say, be together with other people, with other members of society, Yeah, with other people, to be together. And this aspect that -- These people start to feel that they are not [different], but they are similar and they are together with other people. It is, I think, one of the most important effects of the therapy we would like to achieve. Thank you very much for your attention. (Applause)

Video Details

Duration: 12 minutes and 51 seconds
Country: Poland
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxKraków
Director: TEDxKraków
Views: 1,346
Posted by: tedxkrakow on Dec 15, 2010

Talk delivered at TEDxKraków, on October 15, 2010.

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