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What makes a good facilitator?

What makes a good facilitator?

A few years ago I met mr Richard Weingarten. An American who was in Brazil to select some people with schizophrenia to form a group of orators.

He didn´t like a text of mine that I sent him. But later he admitted me in the group.

I think his criteria was that a good talker would be someone with many interests. Perhaps especially artistic interests. In my text, I had only showed interest on some Greek philosophers, but later as we talked a little, he could see I had also some interest in some artists.

And I think this is a common view. For a therapist also. Someone able to appreciate many kinds of artistic expressions might be able to understand better the patients and may be a good example also. May guide the patients through some creative ways of finding meaning and pleasure in life.

However I disagree with this.

Perhaps the best way so far to talk to patients is the dialogical approach. Where the most important is respect for all the opinions.

And my thesis is the best facilitator will be a confident person, with few needs. A person not in the business of winning the race of life, but of helping other folks to cross life, not really minding if there are faster racers. We are here to help each other, not to be better than the next one.

A good facilitator should have in mind that competition is a naïve, immature way of viewing life. And that´s what I mean by a person of few needs. Someone who doesn´t need to impose his view.

The very lesson that we are here to cooperate might be helpful for the patient.

I think the focus is more how to make this life pleasant and not to find a dream life where everything is interesting.

For example, some people find God, and that fulfills their lives.

And that´s fine!

Strolling in a museum might be very inspiring, but the problem we have is of another sort.

We are talking to people who can no longer talk. And I believe a good deal of the problem is competitive stuff in their minds more than it should be. Not their guilt at all. The guilty is the frame of our society.

But if they see they are in a group where nobody cares to be better than the next, this will be an important step towards learning how to talk again.

Nothing against an interesting play, but the art here is to bring back someone lost in a lot of competitive feelings, most of which are actually unnecessary. And the best play for them will be a good dialogue where nobody is the owner of the truth and where they will have their role also.

Let me share an example.

I was working in a clinic some time ago. I met there a person addicted to alcohol. He was in a certain urge to have a job. I think both because he liked to be useful and because having a job is fundamental in our competitive society.

But he saw me talking about my life. And opening about some difficulties. For example how to get a bus, or drink a coffee may turn into complicated tasks. I tried my best to show no need for being better than anybody there.

And the fact is, he asked the owner of the clinic for an opportunity of telling his life to other patients.

I think he noticed we are all similar. The competition faded out.

And later, he even found a job.

When we saw each other again, he came and held me and kissed me; and that was very good, it was the encounter of two people who shared competition is foolishness.

So, appreciating art is very good, but here we need to state clear people with schizophrenia ( or other problems) are not inferior, and can integrate better just knowing life can be just a cooperation.

This is an important philosophical question.

The most ancient Indian philosophy is probably Jainism. And they have the famous story of the blind men.

They touch an elephant. But each one touches a different part of the elephant , and so describes it differently. The one who touches the leg described a tower, the one who touched trunk described a strange plant and so forth.

We all are touching different parts of an elephant!

And ask those Indians if this view is not helpful! It certainly is!

They live better out of this approach!

And therefore, I think it is more helpful to bear this in mind, than trying to find artistic means of expression for people with my diagnose.

One day I´ll be a famous writer, but the first step is that story of the elephant.

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