Context

Although people most often associate abuse with physical violence, it can come in many different forms including verbal abuse, a type of emotional abuse in which a person uses words, body language, or behavior to cause emotional pain or distress to another person. Although it is not physical and does not leave visible bruises, it is just as damaging and leaves emotional scars in the person subject to it.

Persons suffering from mental illness (PSMI) are one of the collectives most exposed and, at the same time most vulnerable, to open demonstrations of social rejection expressed verbally such as disrespectful comments, insults and mockery. Offenses may come from passers-by, co-workers, neighbors, and sometimes even from family members and persons considered friends. The victims of abuse think of themselves as of a lesser person and, most of the time, they accept the role of the victim and adopt a passive attitude given that they don’t know how to stop the abuse. But the consequences of the offense are not only hurt feelings and miserable self-esteem; they go as far as to constitute the primary obstacles to social inclusion which, in turn, is essential to advance in the recovery process.

There is a latent need for professional tools to conduct effective interventions with the clients of mental health services to:

a) Empower the latter to act in situations of social and community violence.

b) Mitigate the effects that continuous rejection, disrespect, and mockery have over the persons with severe and prolonged mental illness.

ACTitude: the project

ACTitude project develops an innovative methodology based on improvisation techniques (Improv) to capacitate individual suffering from mental disorders to confront demonstrations of social rejection in form of verbal abuse and mockery to which they are being exposed so often in their day-to-day lives.

In contrast to traditional theatre, Improv is a method based on natural actions that surge during the performance. In Improv, there are no scripts- the latter are being created on the go through the interaction between the persons involved in the performance.

ACTitude Improv based training program provides professionals working with the target group with a tailor-made intervention process to empower the persons with mental illness to recognize when they are being subject to verbal abuse, to stand up for themselves, and respond to the offenders in real time in order to cut short the abuse.

The training program using elements of the 3rd generation psychological therapies and techniques applied in improvisational theatre is created jointly by the team of psychologists and researchers from the Dept. of Psychology of the University of Maribor (UM) and a transnational team of expert performers and trainers specialized in improvisation

Who we are

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Fundación INTRAS

Partner

Fundación INTRAS is a non-profit organisation dedicated to research and intervention in the mental health field in the region of Castilla y León, Spain. The organisation’s services and programs are based on the recovery approach, empowering people with mental health issues to live a self-determined and self-confident life. INTRAS offers a variety of services and activities such as psychosocial and labour rehabilitation programs, occupational and vocational training, pre-labour workshops as well as counselling and professional guidance. At INTRAS key value is given to respecting human rights in the framework of health and social services settings, especially in what concerns to people with mental health issues. The Foundation strives to achieve excellence on this as well as contributing to help other organisations from the sector in accessing quality training materials on the subject. Hence, INTRAS’s interest in working together with other European partners from the sector to jointly pursue these objectives.

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Christliches Jugendorfwerk Deutschllands Gemeinutziger EV -CJD

Partner

CJD is social NGO workingin the social services and education sector all over Germany with persons suffering from different disadvantages (mental illness, learning disability, physical disabilities, addictions, unemployment, etc.). 9,500 full-time employees and numerous volunteers at over 150 locations provide help, support and education/training for more than 150.000 people in need each year. This work is based on the Christian conception of what it means to be human, with the vision: “Let no one fall by the wayside!” The CJD was founded in 1947 by the pastor Arnold Dannenmann.

He wanted to give a fresh start to people who had been left homeless and directionless by the war by means of communal living and vocational training in a village for young people.

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Social Cooperative Activities for Vulnerable Groups - EDRA

Partner

The organization ‘Social Cooperative Activities for Vulnerable Groups - EDRA’ (Abbreviation: K.S.D.E.O. “EDRA”) is a Non-Profit Organization- Social Cooperative, operating in the fields of mental health and mental disability since 2001, aiming at the promotion of mental health, defending the rights of vulnerable groups and raising awareness in matters concerning mental health. The organization is a member of the Transparency Register of the European Union a member of the National Register of Organizations of Civil Society of the Private Sector which render services of social care, and also a member in the Special Register of Voluntary non- governmental organizations (and in the Register of Cultural Organizations of the Ministry of Culture.

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Asociación Cultural Artístico Educativa Teatro de Improvisación - IMPROVA

Partner

IMPRO VALLADOLID is a cultural artistic association whose main activity is the management of the "ImproVA, el patio del permiso" training center that has more than 60 regular students at the moment. The school has for its base methodology IMPRO as theatre technique enriched with own methodology developed by Berta Monclús based on personal growth and self-empowerment, overcoming constraints and building an expanded vision of the reality, exploiting the power of creative imagination.

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Firma Hahn, Thiel&Thiel GbR - CLAMOTTA

Partner

Clamotta GbR is an Improvisation theatre (Improv) performing organization and Improvisation theatre school founded in 2003 by three experienced improvisation artists, Eva Thiel, Markus Hahn, and Stefan Thiel, for whom the Improv is much more than entertainment. It is a philosophy and a way of life. In addition to an improvisation theatre company, this also included the grounding of an Improv training school called ‘clamotta ImproSchule’, located in Cologne, Germany. Through various further training courses – among others by Keith Johnstone, who is the founding figure of modern improvisation theatre – they could further expand their professional skills and knowledge in order to develop the method of ‘applied improvisation’. All of this makes them to experts in transferring the methodology of improvisation into daily life (both professional and private).

Clamotta’s motto, which is at the same time their core objective, is to make participants strong’. Therefore, they offer different courses, seminars, and workshops in order to strengthen the improvisation skills of youngsters, adults, and other interested parties (like companies that also demand Clamotta's training courses). Finally, specialized courses for people with special needs (physical and/or psychological) complement the work of Clamotta and its professionals.

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Ethniko kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon -KNUA

Partner

The Theatre Studies Department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens belongs to the School of Philosophy. It offers a complete spectrum of studies in the discipline of theatre on a graduate and postgraduate level. It has an international orientation (primarily European), focusing on Greek phenomena. It addresses the following fields: history of the theatre, theory and practice of the theatre and performance analysis. It pays considerable attention to European theatre history from antiquity until today and, as expected, to Greek theatre – ancient, new and contemporary – as well as dramaturgical analysis of dramatic texts of European and Greek dramaturgy. The foundation and legislation of theatre studies education on an academic level has had an immediate impact on secondary education, on the graduate and postgraduate level of academic studies, as well as on non-academic environment. The impressive interest of university graduates to undertake academic research concerning the Greek theatre field, mirrors the general responsiveness and sensibility regarding this subject. The Department courses are on principle accessible to all university students, but, in the form of free study, also to everyone related to the theatre (actors, directors, drama school graduates, theatre-people, theatre-lovers etc.). The Theatre Studies Department offers courses to other Departments of the School of Philosophy, in the form of joint teaching.

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Univerza v Maribor

Partner

University of Maribor (UM) is a Slovenian public university with study programs in all classic scientific disciplines and is committed to the excellence in education and development of science with basic and applied research and creativity in arts. UM is also very active when it comes to the international cooperation and cooperation with companies, public institutions and NGOs to enrich the education, research and creativity; prepare engaged citizens; strengthen democratic and ethical values, and civic responsibility.

Faculty of Arts (Filozofska fakulteta - FF; http://www.ff.um.si) is one of the youngest faculties of UM, established in 2006, but with longer history of education and research at former Faculty of education. The main goals of FF are to become the center of the development of humanistic and social sciences in northeast Slovenia and thus the promotor of positive regionalism in the country, and to establish cooperation with best European faculites and universities. There are three main scientific fields at FF: humanities, social sciences and education of teachers on different levels of studyrza v Maribor

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