Home Assistance for Patients Suffering from Medium Psychiatric Disorders
Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: December 2008 - Project end date: December 2009
Project number: 2008-29
Beneficiary: Ambulatorio Psichiatrico-Psicologico Associato “Angelo Azzurro”
During this first year of treatment Angelo Azzurro worked on its 3 patients to improve their relational sphere obtaining good results and mitigating the symptoms of their illness. This was possible due to a daily work on their self-esteem and motivation and guiding them along the path of a better autonomy and social reinstatement. The rehabilitating process was centered on the patients' capability to recognize their personal needs and bents( cif. Liberman's approach on social competence and operational dimension) by working on their family context both from the psychoeducational and systemic-relational points of view. Thus helping them to achieve independence from their parents and to get rid of pathological and too much involving family relationships.
The patients had the chance to experiment a different life attending some goldsmith's art and photography courses, recognized by Latium regional government ,supported by Angelo Azzurro's rehabilitation operators. They started again to have confidence in the external world thanks to guided tours and built up a social tissue around them which had been destroyed by illness. The 3 patients in question made big efforts which made it possible to organize a jewelry and photo exhibition. This gave them back the identity they had lost during their illness and the recalling of their forgotten skills.
Not only have they reinforced their social competence but they have also developed some new one making Angelo Azzurro presume they'll be able to live in a different place like a family-house economically supported by Public Service funds for workers after their introduction into a working environment such as goldsmith's workshops or photographer's studios. The fact that they had brought a course to a conclusion as well as the organization of an exhibition gave patients the opportunity to express outside their inside objectives which are usually very difficult to be focused on. However these objectives became clear to them thanks to Angelo Azzurro's help as they were provided with a wide range of stimuli that brought to light their individual dimension.
And this dimension does represent not only the future core of their social identity formation process, but also its direction. The success of this one-year project lies on the fact that it was conceived taking into consideration patients and their families, respecting their points of view and requests, reaching a compromise when necessary.
Taking into consideration the ‘experienced space' Angelo Azzurro thought it was extremely important for these patients to work on the completion of their differentiation process, which had been interrupted if not even diverted by their illness, i.e. their capability to distinguish between their ego and the external world.
Only when this process is eventually completed, like for anybody else,these patients will be able to place themselves and objects into the surrounding space keeping the right distance between themselves and the others.
And it is exactly this distance which represents the essential condition for everybody's independent affirmation of the Self.
Angelo Azzurro also made preliminary, periodical and final evaluations on each patient's project trend making also a judgment on the personal and social functions of the patients and estimating the consequences that these aspects had on their general clinical picture.
According to Angelo Azzurro's preliminary cognitive evaluations all 3 patients showed a standard IQ level with better results in oral tests than in performances. However at the end of the rehabilitation treatments Angelo Azzurro noticed an improvement in their performance tests due to the mitigation of anxiety, depression and suspiciousness symptoms.
All this made Angelo Azzurro even more convinced that they were not merely tending their patients but that it was necessary to work with perseverance to improve the life quality of patients suffering from psychiatric disorders, attenuating their symptoms and also employing all rehabilitation techniques and treatments in our possession.
The starting point of this project was fixing simple feasible treatment targets easy to achieve in one year for each patient. Angelo Azzurro thought we would have better to intervene on the consequences of the psychiatric disorders solving everyday life problems. In this way Angelo Azzurro would improve its patients' life quality so that they could perceive this fact as a personal success increasing their self-esteem. And it was just like this.
Their positive experience made them interrupt the ‘failure circle'-the negative image of the self as a prediction of a new failure.
These patients experimented themselves as active subjects capable to achieve set targets, even if simple.
The affective atmosphere represented the background for all the rehabilitation activities and it was of basic importance for the patients not just to gain back their abilities but to be motivated to use them.
Furthermore, musicotherapy gave the patients the chance to work on their feelings through music evocative power. They could also work on their past emotional perceptions comparing and integrating them with their present ones. Beside its evocative and cathartic capabilities, music represented for these 3 patients an impulse for aggregation, creating a good atmosphere of cooperation.
All emotions were shared at any level and in different situations making comparing themselves to the others easier, therefore facilitating their integration and socialization even outside therapy i.e. in the external world.