Talk Radio Therapy: Buenos Aires Psychiatric Hospital Radio Program Brings Healing

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From VICE: “Every Saturday at 1:30 PM, two psychologists and two journalism students set up the chairs and prepare recording equipment, the console, and microphones. They await the arrival of the residents, about 40 hospital patients who’ll participate in the broadcast. Neighbors who listen to the program also attend, along with psychology and nursing students and their professors.

‘On-air, the patient is able to take the floor and therapists join in, creating an improvised clinic,’ Olivera told me. ‘We work in the field of the subjective but, at the same time, a space of socialization is created. This project creates a “loop” that invites listeners outside the hospital institution to reflect, provoking questions.’

Olivera, who is now working on developing a radio project with the residents of a psychiatric institution in France, says that he began to see the therapeutic effect of La Colifata when the interaction between listeners and patients not only generated a decrease of prejudice and stigma about mental health but—thanks to the public’s reaction—many of the patients began to improve their clinical state. […]

‘The most important thing is not to anchor the patient’s frenzy,’ Olivera explained. It’s a question of understanding that each person shines in the best way they can through their personal form of self-expression. The aim of La Colifata is to create conditions to contextualize this particular way of being, a space that allows residents to narrate their perception of the world. It makes true communication and connection possible. […]

‘We don’t correct or force whoever got lost in the universe of words to return to the fold,’ Olivera explains. ‘On the contrary, we provide the water to a dry riverbed so that it can return to being a river.'”

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