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About the Institute

The Interactie-Academie is an institute for systemic theory and practice. We offer a diversified package of courses which specifically address questions regarding work, organization, mediation and health care. These courses are designed for those employed in the non-profit and public sector. Along the various courses, the Interactie-Academie also offers a group practice for therapy, coaching, mediation and supervision. On top of that, the institute regularly publishes the acclaimed professional journal Systeemtheoretisch Bulletin.

History

The Interactie-Academie was founded in May 1971. In its early days, the Interactie-Academie was being confronted with an enormous demand for training, mainly from the mental healthcare sector, community work, youth care and education.

In the 1970s, the dominant analytical frameworks in the humanities were psychoanalysis, Learning Theory, and the client centered perspective of Rogers. However, already in the 1960s various teams around the world had launched a quest to find alternatives to this dominant trend. Within this alternative theoretical movement, not the individual but rather the inter-human was seen as an essential aspect in human problems. Important alternative groups include the Palo Alto group of the Mental Research Institute in California and of Timothy Leary in the US and of Ronald Laing and David Cooper in England. The Interactie-Academie participated in this new international movement and tried to revolutionize current perceptions regarding thinking about people and their interconnectedness.

On the other hand, the thinking of the Interactie-Academie also drew much of its inspiration from socially inspired movements like Community Work, Child Guidance and Family Case Work.  

This web of countless theories, practices and approaches formed the basis of communication- and system-therapy, which is a way of thinking that emphasizes the importance of contexts in order to understand human problems. The idea of inseparable connections, or interdependence, of people with their intimate living environments, which are in their turn embedded in wider contexts, takes in a crucial starting point within system-thinking. The Interactie-Academie has represented and spread this vision up until today.

Late 1982 saw the first edition of the Systeemtheoretisch Bulletin. This journal slowly evolved from primarily a means of communication among graduated Interactie-Academie students to a widely circulated professional journal. On top of that, the Interactie-Academie widened its range of other publications. The fact that the Interactie Academie is able to balance publications, therapy and training is an expression of its multidimensional character, namely one in which theories, practices and methods are developed respective to greatly diverging human living environments: the family, community life, school, work, friends and acquaintances, culture.

What our programs focus on

The courses we offer focus on the way people live and cooperate together and the possible conflicts and problems this creates. During the course, we look for various possibilities to intervene in these problems.

Attention is spend on inter-human processes in relational and social networks, like partner relationships, families, class, school, work- and community relations . The problems and misunderstandings that these processes give rise to can have an enormous impact on mutual relations and on the wellbeing and functioning of all those involved. In our programs, we try to develop a strong theoretical and practical framework with which individuals and groups are better able to understand and deal with such problems. After the program, participants are able to recognize and interpret different communication possibilities and the wider contexts in which inter-human and personal problems are embedded.

Diversity in practices and expertise

Trainers from the Interactie-Academie are all also systemic psychotherapists, mediators or coaches. Their expertise is all but confounded to one domain and it is instead drawn from their experiences in healthcare, mediation and work questions. They are well-known in their particular fields in which they publish regularly. Currently, programs are offered in Belgium (Flanders), the Netherlands, Romania and Curacao. The courses are recognized and respected by various professional associations in both Belgium and the Netherlands.

Principles

We want to develop a vision and a practice in which mutual and social connections are seen as fundamental to the understanding of people and their relationships. This method, which is one both of practice as well as analysis, provides us with an alternative to the belief that individualization and medicalization are the keys to solving human difficulties. We are convinced of the crucial importance played by social fabrics and the complex interconnected web of influences that arises during the growth, the maintenance and the change of (inter-) human problems. Our emphasis on the importance of inter-human and social processes and their impact on individuals and relations opposes the idea of 'external knowledge': the tendency to define the various meanings of individual and relational problems from the perspective of the so-called 'professional outsider'. Consequently, we argue against simplifications and dogmas with respect to human being and the life people ought to live. Central in our methodology stands the motive of pronouncing, researching and amending these dominant assumptions.  Curiosity and respect for differences represent important values in achieving this motive. Together with tolerance, solidarity and the equality of human dignity, they make up the basis of our work.

What we offer

All programs are taught at the main building. This hospitable house in the centre of Antwerp has a very comfortable, warm and reflexive atmosphere.

The programs vary in intensity and form. Applications are open for specific theme days, short introduction courses, introduction courses to the system-theoretical tradition and specialized refresher's courses (2 to 6 days), summer courses (3 days) or proper training (1 to 4 years). Further information can be retrieved from this website or from our program brochure Samenspraak, which is published once every semester.

On top of this wide range of offers, it is possible to let us compile a completely different program adapted to the needs of you or your organization. If this option is chosen, the form (coaching, supervision or course), content, intensity and length of the training can all be changed to fit your preferences.

We sincerely hope to meet you soon at one of our programs.