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Promoting health within the community: community therapy as strategy

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Author(s): Martha Fuentes R

Journal: Revista Facultad Nacional de Salud Pública
ISSN 0120-386X

Volume: 29;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 170;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: community | community therapy | support networks | promotion | prevention.

ABSTRACT
Objective: to identify, by assessing the records of community therapy meetings, the everyday problems that affect communities in order to understand and map the pain and suffering expressed by the participants. Methodology: the records created by the therapists after each meeting were used for data collection. The following two topics were chosen for analysis purposes: the problems that were presented and the ones that were chosen. Likewise, analysis categories were identified based on the frequency with which they were mentioned by the participants. The records of 774 meetings were analyzed. Such meetings took place from August, 2006 to December, 2008. An average of 9 to 20 people attended each meeting. Results: openness, freedom, warmth, and respect were characteristics of these meetings. The most common problems were: domestic violence, sexual abuse, divorce, discrimination, feelings of guilt, abandonment, rage, fear, negligence, problems with children, partners, co-workers or neighbors, losing one’s job, one’s loved ones or one’s material possessions, drug addiction, alcoholism, smoking, etc. Conclusions: community therapy has led not only to identify the people who really are in need of treatment, but also contributed to reduce the demand for the municipality’s health services. Having people meet without judging them by what they say, feel or think makes it easier for them to cope with their suffering and fears. It also creates social support networks, develops better attitudes of solidarity, responsibility and affectiveness, empowers the people and the community, and makes it easier to find better ways of overcoming problems. At the same time, it makes it possible to learn how people live and cope with their daily problems, thus allowing them to reframe these problems, and enabling the development of more effective care.

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