In March 2024, as part of the Mad Balkans project, we organized training sessions on the use of art therapy for employees of the Dobrota Special Hospital for Psychiatry in Montenegro, SBPB Kovin, Institute for Mental Health and the Clinic for Psychiatric Diseases „Dr. Laza Lazarević“, from of Belgrade.

The second part of the training will be organized in the spring of 2025, and an online workshop will be held in the meantime. The trainings are accredited by the Medical Chamber. A total of 35 occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers participated in the first training.

Our goal is to offer employees in the mental health system innovative workshops based on art and art therapy on inclusive, empowering and destigmatizing work with users of mental health services, in order to provide them with new opportunities for improving existing practice and further education for the purpose of professional orientation.

Also, through these trainings, we support the development of the understanding of art and personal narratives by employees in the mental health system, as a tool for inclusion and therapy for users of psychiatric services as means of support for accessing artistic creativity.

Lecturer Dr. Mimmu Rankanen is a professor of art therapy at Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. He has extensive experience in teaching art therapy, as well as in researching the effects of art therapy.

Some of the employees’ statements:

„I heard some very interesting things that can complement our practice in working with users of psychiatric services.“

„I’m already thinking about how we can change the way we approach users’ artwork, as well as the way we talk about it.“

„It was useful for me to feel on my own skin how our users feel when they are engaged in artistic creation“.