Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities in Asia and Alternative Therapy/Social Movement: Through Participation of Conferences of TransAsian Alliance on Transforming Communities for Inclusion of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities (TCI-A) and the International Network Toward Alternatives and Recovery (INTAR)

published: 2017-07-01 Japanese:日本語版へ

From November 21 through November 28, 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in the conference and workshop focusing on TCI-A, and conference of the academic society of INTAR which were held in Pune, India. TCI-A is a conference leaders of activists of movements by persons with psychosocial disabilities gather to hold, and INTAR is an international association with the size of 300 persons including persons involved in alternative therapy in the psychiatry, doctors, professionals, and family members.

The Early Morning Scene of the Town in Pune Seen from the Window of the Hotel TCI-A Was HeldI have strong interests in movements by persons with psychosocial disabilities, especially international movements by persons with psychosocial disabilities in Asia. The rapid globalization in recent years has made issues of mental health worse including increase of a suicide rate and the number of persons with depression in developing countries, particularly in the urban poor and rural areas. And the present condition is that the "budget" of the state and the local government that can be used for taking the measures against this is very limited as this is an extremely "realistic" issue. For example, although the psychiatric treatment system focusing on quarantine and accommodation is regarded as "economical" in Japan etc., it is a "money-guzzling" system in developing countries. The psychiatric treatment system, even in WHO and developing countries, should have aimed at establishing a "community mental health system" where persons with psychosocial disabilities live in communities, not in quarantine and accommodation.

With these interests I participated in the "workshop" focusing on TCI-A and it was held for persons with psychosocial disabilities to learn "practices." One of them is such practice as open dialogue (hereafter OD) which creates a venue for dialogue among persons with psychosocial disabilities. Actually, OD as well as the practice called "Intentional Peer Support (IPS)" has already been introduced widely in Japan by mental health professionals, and various training sessions and workshops become very popular. Then, what is the difference between OD and "acceptance" in Asian developing countries?

The Slide Used for Presentation at INTARWhat impressed me most was the practice of OD in Pune, India using a folk instrument and dance. What OD means in Japan is "open dialogue" and the dialogue using a language is its basic style. On the other hand, the OD I participated in was filled with joy and a feeling of freedom, using not only a "language" but also a song, dance, and a music. Some of the ODs in Asian developing countries are held involving more than 1,000 "local residents!"

INTAR is the academic society whose conference has a plenary session and various working sessions. In the conference various research presentations concerning Shamanism of anthropology and traditional drug therapy as well as psychiatric treatment and persons with psychosocial disabilities were conducted. We had a poster presentation concerning the history of the movements by persons with psychosocial disabilities in Japan and received enthusiastic questions from participants. Since the contents of our poster presentation is on the website of, those who are interested should look at its contents.

Especially, what interested me this time was whether IPS or OD existed not only as a "therapy" but also as a "social movement." I have learned a lot of things about it this time. For example, I have learned that persons with psychosocial disabilities in Asia cannot participate in a village meeting and discuss their own worries with other people, either. As I stated earlier, there are some ODs 1,000 persons are involved in. The OD in a broad sense includes a process that persons participate in a community gathering and the community share their worries. This is what I felt clearly different from acceptance of OD in Japan. Speaking from the relationship with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it might be said that Article 19 (inclusion to a community life) is regarded as important in Asia while Article 12 (legal equality) and 14 (physical freedom) are regarded as important in the West.

What will I be able to learn from these points? It is my future research challenges.


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This research achievement was financially supported by the research fund "international research activities," a support system for enhancing the research quality of young researchers of the Research Center for Ars Vivendi in the academic year 2016.

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