I have just finished a long Skype conversation with a dear colleague of mine working far away during conditions which differ a lot from those I am used to here in Sweden. In her country people pay no taxes, there is no common welfare, poor children are living on the streets, education is not for free, people are living in shelters at the same time as others live in big private houses.
We met eight years ago through late Tom Andersen who worked as a family therapist and doctor in social medicine in the the very north of Norway. Tom had met my dear colleague during a trip to South America when he decided to try to create an exchange between therapists from the south with therapists from the north. I am very grateful he did, and I can hardly imagine how life and work would have been for me if I had not been involved in this exchange. Since even though poor children don´t live on the streets in Sweden and even though people pay taxes for a common welfare there are some big challenges also in our society about how to create space which includes people rather than exclude, and how to give voice to experiences beyond the therapeutic and psychiatric state.
When extending perspectives and contexts also personal knowledge and experience get extended. When opening the physical space also one´s mind get more opened. It is not done without efforts and it takes some courage. It might happen that doubt occur in such a way that one decide to withdraw. It might be that the conflict between the so far known and the not yet known creates a loneliness which is too scary.
Still for some of us there is no option. The conversation today reminded me about that- there are situations in life as in work where we have no options. At least if the aim is to make a change. Despite big differences between our countries my colleague and I have also a lot in common; visions about how to create space for people who need support for a time in their life, the need for solidarity, the importance of extending therapeutic knowledge to make it available for more than an exclusive group. And to never ever give up the idea about each person´s right to our own voice.