Mental health professionals have a responsibility to actively work to safeguard the health and well-being of children and young people through multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration –

Foto: / Prvi međunarodni kongres dječje i adolescentne psihoterapije –

The First International Congress of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy is held in Sarajevo from 18th to 21st October at the Hotel Hills on the topic: “Role of psychotherapy in achieving health and well-being for children and adolescents”.

The Congress aims to highlight the need to raise awareness among all health, social care, education and justice professionals of the importance of multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration in protecting the health and well-being of children and young people.

The congress organizer is BHIDAPA, in partnership with UNICEF.

“The child is not the past of the individuals, it is its present and future. It seems important to us that through this Congress we send a message that through a responsible relationship with respect and love we nurture a child, and through him, Humanity! We hope that Congress will create a place of genuine meeting that will foster a relationship of trust and love”, said PhD Mirela Badurina, gestalt psychotherapist and child and adolescent integrative psychotherapist, founder and director of BHIDAPA and chair of the Congressional Program Committee.

Congress is a meeting place for different disciplines, which through exchange of experiences, announcement of new trends, presentation of psychotherapy practices will enable participants to raise awareness and strengthen their own capacities, strengthen mutual networks and thus act on a better understanding of the mental health issues of children and young people within the system. This is the first time Congress has been organized in this way in the world.

„At a time when it is often said that children and young people are our future, as we increasingly recognize the importance of health and a healthy lifestyle, it is crucial to act actively on the mental health of children and young people, which is not at an enviable level by research and practice. and this is something that all members of society should take with seriousness and responsibility. This gathering of mental health professionals, who daily help children and young people through psychotherapy, is needed in order to connect, improve their knowledge and skills through extremely high quality lectures and workshops, and to support and inspire each other for further action. I am very much looking forward as an expert and as a person to meet in Sarajevo, and I thank the organizers for the much-needed and unfulfilled initiative so far in the region, and I believe that we will strengthen cooperation so that we will meet much more frequently in the future.“  said PhD Gordana Buljan Flander, Honorary Member of Congress, Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Director of the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb.

The idea for organizing this Congress was initiated by research findings in our area that say that almost every 4th child is at high risk for developing a mental disorder. There are a large number of suffering children, and not enough professionals to recognize the specific symptoms that manifest in children and adolescents.

“Child psychotherapy is very different from adult psychotherapy and therefore requires specific education. The use of adult psychotherapy in treating children is considered not only inadequate but also unethical. Laws on psychotherapy in the region require that psychotherapists who work with children and young people must therefore have special additional education, ”emphasized Sabina Zijadić Husić, a member of the Congressional Organizing Committee, a psychologist, a Gestalt psychotherapist and a child and adolescent integrative psychotherapist.

The common position of the experts gathered at the congress is that the experts have a responsibility to, through multidisciplinary and intersectoral cooperation, actively work to preserve the health and well-being of children and young people.

„Congress is one of the most significant events in the field of science promoting new scientifically acceptable methods and approaches to supporting children and adolescents. Congress is important not only for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also for the whole region of Southeast Europe.Congress comes at a time when psychiatry and medicine are at a crossroads and when new approaches to mental health care are called for, when strengthening collaborative practices, continuity of care, and strengthening social inclusion are needed.May this Congress be the first step towards cooperation between local communities, other sectors and policy makers in the involvement of psychotherapists in the planning of activities to improve the health of the child ”, said prim. PhD Goran Cerkez, MD, Vice President of the Congressional Program Committee and Assistant Federal Minister for Health.

„The future of humanity depends on each individual, his feelings, value systems and relationships to himself and his environment. The First Congress on Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy aims to show the needs of children, help identify problems and learn optimal approaches to enable children to develop positively, meet children’s needs in a quality way and create the conditions for proper mental development with optimal stimulation of children’s abilities. ” said President of the Congress, Distinguished Professor Dubravka Kocijan Hercigonja, Child Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, President of the European Interdisciplinary Therapy Service for Children and Youth.

Geeta Narayan, a UNICEF representative who is the main partner of the conference, said: “UNICEF would like to see a world in which no child dies from preventable diseases and in which every child reaches his or her full potential. To address this, UNICEF looks at the health needs of the child at all ages and recognizes the need for stronger efforts to respond to growing health inequalities.This includes focusing on specific needs and removing gender-based barriers that determine whether boys and girls will be able to reach their full potential in health and well-being.“

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