Since the early 1990s, Enrico Pedriali with R. D. Hinshelwood organised workshops in Italy known as the learning from action workshops. This new approach evolved from applying the principles of therapeutic communities to a group relations form of experiential conference. The group relation tradition, however, does not focus particularly on mental health organisations and tends to focus on senior management issues of leadership and authority. In contrast, the learning from action workshops are tailored to the care workers engaged in the direct work, in particular for those working with clients and patients with significant problems with verbal and symbolic communication. The workshops also include an element of research into the unconscious messaging systems employed in making relations, which contribute to therapeutic and other mental health care services. There are also chapters on a related form of workshop – the living and learning experience – which was established primarily for learning about therapeutic communities, which bring further insight to working practices.
The book will be a must-read for those working in mental health care. The information within will be of use to those new to the profession, for whom there is often very little preparation or reading material, and also to more senior members to use not only for their own development but also in training and research activities in mental health.