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Learning from Action

Decision-Making and Accountability

Friday 4th August 2017 - Sunday 6th August 2017

Okayama, Japan

The Network of Therapeutic Communities in Japan
Kyoto Group Therapy Society
Japanese Association for Group Psychotherapy
Il Nodo Group (Italy)

Info & Fees
Web Sites


Dear Colleagues

- You must have valuable experiences as a member of a Temporary Learning Community -

For people who work with clients suffering from severe psychological problems in residential or semi-residential settings, it is vital to think about their own conscious and unconscious communications with patients/clients, other staff and organisations they are belonging to.

In these settings there are complicated interactions between each members, so it brings us lots of beneficial materials for creating a psychotherapeutic climate. Unconscious and implicit communications in various relations formed during the work activities in a therapeutic environment are particularly important. We know ‘actions of clients speak louder than words’.

Learning from Action Working Conference (LfA) was designed for staff who have been working in Therapeutic Communities (TCs). Although it is not easy that Therapeutic Communities take root in Japanese society, we need to revisit a powerful impact which these group-oriented approaches will bring into a therapeutic environment and each individual in it.

Until now in Japan, we have never had an opportunity for training to explore these experiences in a Temporary Learning Community, besides training groups for group psychotherapies.

This is an essential training for us to understand non-
verbal communications of clients suffering from severe psychological problems.

And also we need to develop competences to move our organisations to be more therapeutic, with an awareness both sides- positive and negative- of groups.

Yuko Kawai and Eriko Koga participated in the LfA 2014 in Italy for the first time, and recognized the importance and usefulness of this working conference.

Now we have been organising the LfA Japan 2017 in OKAYAMA. We are so grateful that Luca Mingarelli and Simona Masnata who have rich experiences to organise LfA in Italy, and Robert Hinshelwood who have designed LfA and was the former chair of the Association of Therapeutic Communities in the UK will come to Japan in order to share experiences with us and enquiry them together.

You must get great benefits by joining to LfA Japan 2017. We are looking forward to your participation.

Best wishes,

Yuko Kawai & Eriko Koga (Administrators, LfA Japan 2017)

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The idea of these Working Conferences originates in the early 2000s from the joint thinking and cooperation between Robert D. Hinshelwood and Enrico Pedriali.

The “Learning from Action” Working Conference draws on the Group Relations model ( and is aimed at helping community staff and carers to explore and study the meaning of relations formed in their daily activities that become forms of communication.

The primary task of this working conference is to offer an opportunity to explore how unconscious and non-verbal communication shapes Decision-Making processes and influences accountability and various other aspects of ‘working together’ in this temporary learning community.

Participants learn directly by sharing their life and forming a Temporary Learning Community for the length of the event, developing fundamental competences for all those who work in residential or semi residential institutions, and more generally in mental health institutions within the public service.

Such competences are highly valuable for a wide range of professionals such as nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, social workers, educators, managers, consultants, etc.

The main learning objective of the conference is to enhance the participants’ understanding of conscious and unconscious dynamics affecting Decision-Making processes at an individual and at a group level, along with their organisational and institutional implications.

At the same time, the emphasis is what can be learned from actions. Individual members will have a chance to explore their own role and the way they operate within and on behalf of the whole system (the temporary learning organisation), reflecting on non-verbal and unconscious communication in the activities. Consequently they will be encouraged to take responsibility for their contribution whilst taking part in the daily life and relationships within the community.

Members of the conference and staff together will constitute a Temporary Learning Community. A further learning objective of this event is to explore the various dimensions and connections between action, thinking and learning, so that the understanding acquired can then be transferred and applied to different workplaces and practices.

The working conference will create an opportunity for a direct experience of the different elements that come into play in working activities with others, and will stimulate reflection on what might constitute a democratic practice and an environmentally sustainable use of available resources in a healthy institution.

All learning will be experiential and led by action with no formal teaching or lectures. All participants will be given the opportunity to share everyday life within the community, becoming involved with organising, sharing, cohabiting and reflecting individually and as a group.

This is a residential event and all participants are required to attend for the whole length of the conference.

It is highly recommended that participants attend the conference at least twice: those attending for the second time will form a Senior sub group within the event and will be offered a personalised programme with specific learning opportunities.

In order to facilitate the learning process, it is essential that participants read through this brochure carefully.

Accommodation for participants is in shared rooms (min 2 to 3 persons). Participants will be responsible for managing and tidying up their personal space.

Furthermore, groups will have to deal with the basic needs of communal life. During the conference groups will form, with the aim of performing real tasks within the temporary community, such as catering, cleaning and tidying of communal areas, organising leisure activities and other activities agreed during the course of the conference.

As in any other community or institution, participants will witness the emergence of interpersonal dynamics related to cohabiting and sharing, such as giving and delegating responsibility, making decisions, relating to authority and leadership, managing relationships between individuals and within groups, using or wasting resources and much more.

In order to achieve these learning objectives the conference will employ a “Learning from Action” methodology and is organised around a programme with a number of daily events, such as: Opening and Closing Plenary, Decision-
making Plenary and Decision-Making Groups, Activity Groups, Morning and Evening Community Meetings, Review and Application Groups and any Emergency Meetings.

Participants will be given a paper with a description of each event and task beforehand, as well as a community rules.

*The working languages for this conference will be Japanese and English.

*Persons who are going through a period of considerable emotional or psychological stress may not be suitable to attend the conference.

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OPENING PLENARY: has the task to explore the crossing of the boundary in the Working Conference. It represents the formal entry to the Conference.

DECISION MAKING PLENARY: has the task to explore the decision-making and accountability in setting up the groups which will perform the activities (cooking, cleaning, and leisure).

DECISION MAKING GROUPS: have the task to decide on:
1. Plan activities,
2. Enable participants learning on the groupal mode of decision,
3. Have the experience of taking the roles, responsibilities and authority to exercise them,
4. Explore the inter-connections between the different groups of activities.

ACTIVITY: the task is to facilitate the reflection and learning on the different modalities of working/doing together as a sub group and in relation to the other sub groups.

MORNING COMMUNITY MEETING: has the task for exploring in the here and now the sense of identity and belonging to the whole Temporary Learning Community through sharing of feelings, emotions, expectations and dreams.

EVENING COMMUNITY MEETING: the task is to explore the tensions and conflicts manifested in the course of the day activities, during the free time and within/between groups.

REVIEW GROUPS: The task of these small groups is to facilitate the reflection on the experiences, the learning and the roles that participants may have taken up during the Conference.

APPLICATION GROUPS: the task is to reflect on the learning that has taken place during the Working Conference and on the potential applications of such learning in their workplace.

CLOSING PLENARY: the task is to explore the process of reparation. It represents the formal exit from the Working Conference.

EMERGENCY MEETING: This meeting is called only if necessary in order to discuss and reflect on potential violations of rules or on incidents during the conference. The Director will decide to convene it if needed.


Luca Mingarelli   (Italy)
Psychologist, Social Entrepreneur, founder and director of therapeutic communities for adolescents, President of the charity “Rosa dei Venti Foundation”, President of Il Nodo Group and board member of “Mito & Realta”, OPUS member, staff member of GRC ALI since 2006. Founding member of the International Network Democratic Therapeutic Communities. Author of the book “Difficult Adolescents”, Ed. Ananke. 2009.

Associate Director & Scientific Consultant:
Robert Hinshelwood  (England)
Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Former clinical director of the Cassel Hospital (1993-1997), Fellow member of the British Psychoanalytic Council, Fellow member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, UK. Author of the book “A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought” “Clinical Klein” “Thinking about Institutions” “Countertransference and Alive Moments – Help or Hindrance-” and so on.

Simona Masnata   (Italy)
T.C. therapist, administrator of Il Biscione SCS Onlus, in charge of ECM Fenascop, organisational and management consultant, coach, member of GRC ALI staff from 2012 to 2015, treasurer for Il Nodo Group.

Yuko Kawai  (Japan)
Clinical Psychologist, Day treatment center of Osaka Psychiatric Medical Center.

Eriko Koga  (Japan)
Clinical Psychologist, Associate Professor at Faculty of Human Sciences, Osaka University of Economics, a board member of Japanese Association for Group Psychotherapy, Group Psychotherapist (Certified Supervisor)

Yuri Kitahara  (Japan)
Doctoral course student. Graduate School of Education / Faculty of Education, The University of Tokyo.

1 or 2 more people (Under negotiation…)

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Info and Fees

The Working Conference will start on Friday 4th August at 13.00 and will end on Sunday 6th August at 15.45. We recommend that participants arrive on time on Friday for registration. The allocation of rooms will be mentioned at that time.

Check-in time is between 14.00 and 14.30. Lunch on Friday is not included. A snack will be available. Please check out of your room before 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.

The fee for the conference is ¥65,000 (including stay and meals). We set the time limited for enrolment on the 1 July 2017.

Hotel Asianwind is very near Asahi River, and within the 2km from Okayama Castle and Koraku-en. The building is made up of 4 floors. The 2nd floor has a central hub for community activities including a conference hall, a large dining room, a kitchen and a leisure room.
2-10 Funabashi-cho, Kita-ku,Okayama, 700-0841

Okayama city is located in the southern part of Okayama Prefecture, which in turn is located in western part of the island of Honshu. The city is bounded on the south by the Inland Sea. Asahi River crosses Okayama. The city is the site of Koraku-en, known as one of the top three traditional gardens in Japan, and the black Okayama Castle. The city is famous as the setting of the Japanese fable "Momotaro". Okayama Momotaro Festival will be held near the venue, which is one of the biggest summer events (Fireworks Display / Uraja Dance) during Working Conference.

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Please ask us everything you need by email (

You should write subject ‘LfA japan 2017’ clearly.

Application Procedure
1. Please download an application form from the WEB site of The Network of Therapeutic Communities in Japan (, and fill out it.

2. Please send email with attachment file to the email address below.

3. We will send back email included the information about a budget account. Please pay the fee into this account.

4. Please check your email box, we will send some information for further updates as needed by email.

We set the time limited for enrolment on the 1 July 2017.

We handle enrolment on a first-come and first-served basis. We continue until the number of participants reaches maximum enrollment (25 participants).

We recommend that you complete enrolling as quickly as possible.

Administrator: Yuko Kawai

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Web Sites

Hotel Asianwind:
The Network of Therapeutic Communities in Japan:
Japanese Association for Group Psychotherapy:
Il Nodo Group:
Fondazione Rosa dei Venti Onlus:
Mito & Realta:
Mulberry Bush Organization:
Thalassa HAZ-Budapest:

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