Integrated community care and emotional exchange networks: The theory and practice of mental health interventions within complex adaptive systems
Health and society Gjoevik University College Gjoevik, Norway
Community-based mental health interventions are by their nature complex: they often involve a large number of actors involved in networks of multiple relationships; system behavior is usually non-equilibrium and non-linear; boundaries are often diffuse and dynamic; conflicts are normal; individual behaviors are generally adaptations to other actors? behavior leading to self-organization; local interaction is fundamental to understanding emergent collective behavior.
Based in part on this realization a project aimed at developing a robust system for integrated community mental health care has been initiated in Eastern Norway. The model is a further development of the open dialogues in network meetings approach originating in Finland (Seikkula & Arnkil 2006). In this form for collaborative home-based social network therapy special emphasis is given to the sharing of emotionally-laden experiences and collective reflections on these experiences.
As part of a larger evaluation project, the author is conducting research on the interactional processes in these meetings using a framework based on recent work on the social networks, exchange and emotions. Results indicate that one of the primary factors influencing successful community mental care is the relational competence of the professionals, including an intuitive understanding of their involvement in complex adaptive systems.