Interview with Daniela Cocian

foto_danielaDaniela Cocian (38), clinical psychologist at the Clinica de Psyhiatry in Timisoara, a few years ago took the initiative to undertake activities outside the clinic with a number of her patients.

Twelve people with heavy diagnoses, for most of them schizophrenia, were encouraged by her to form a group to stimulate and support each other. ‘They meet to talk, and to give or receive lessons’ Cocian tells. ‘Two of them are teachers, one teaches German, the other one English. They also go out together as a group, to concerts etcetera.’ Most participants are in their thirties.

She hit upon the idea to work like this by noticing what happened during psychodrama sessions. ‘Just after I finished my studies I started in a very scientific way, exactly as I had learnt at university. But that didn’t work out. Psychodrama has provided me with a lot of insight. It made me change my attitude towards the patients. What people in the group need is much more important for me now. I adapt my methods to them, I work in a very flexible way. I talk with them, write things down and discuss things with them.’

With all group members, one by one, she has short therapeutic talks. When she was away on holidays it appeared that the group had taken up that task. ‘They had played my role by turns. They wrote down what had been said. I was very surprised by those reports.’

Daniela Cocian does this social psychological work mostly in her free time, in addition to her job at the Clinica. Sometimes she involves her colleagues, for instance to take part in a festive meal she organized at Passover. She shows photographs with clients and therapists dancing together. Daniela’s five year old daughter plays with the little dog of one of the twelve group members during an outing into nature. A day in the countryside, taking the train together and then a walk and a picnic. ‘Isn’t that enjoyable?’ she asks and she glows with pride.

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