ATHENS   7 - 12  Mai 2018












When the solution of complex situations seems impossible:   how to listen  for a deepest  understanding ?   
When the body speaks through his silence and his wounds:   
who will listen and hear before intervening?



Agnieszka, age: 42


1. History

Agnieszka was sent to our Center from psychiatric hospital after 6 months stay, with diagnosis of: alcohol & drug addiction ( F 10.8, F 19.1 ), alcoholic polyneuropathy, anemia.  Originally she was found lying on the ground in park.

She has lived for last 10 years in different towns, with different men and finally ended up on the street. Sometimes she supported herself with the money from drug dealing or prostitution. Before that she worked as an actress in TV & theatres. She has MA degree.

Agnieszka has 7 years old daughter, living with her ex-partner's parents. They don't have contact for few years and she misses her. Also she hasn't seen her parents for a long time.

At the time of admission she was a little disoriented, depressed and had difficulty with walking. Later she told me about hearing voices. She didn't think it was important.

She seemed to be quied, helpless and exhausted.


2. Health

Soon her behaviour started to change. After she clarified for herself that I'm her psychologist  she told me, she will ask me about everything concerning herself. So she did, everyday. Usually she needed my assurance, that we won't tell her to leave the Center regardless her behaviour or we won't cut her hair if she has lice or we won't punished her by changing her room for worse accomodation. She complained that other residents, especially women, talked lies about her, plot. And because of it she is going to drink again.

Her colleagues complained to us, that Agnieszka disturbs their sleep:  often uses the bathroom, talks on the phone, reads books and insults them vulgarly.

Agnieszka wasn't able to take part in food preparation, because e.g. peeling the potatoes was something totally new to her. The same was with house cleaning chores. Other women didn't like it and made fun of her. She complained about this to all our staff, looking for understanding and support, but it was never enough for her.

One day she asked me if it was important, that she was diagnosed as a young women with borderline personality dissorder.


3. Interventions

First appointment I've made for Agnieszka was with the neurologist in a Clinic for Homeless People. The doctor spent with us an hour and patiently explained to Agnieszka all her symptoms. She was concerned with her memory problems and pain in legs. She wanted to return to acting one day. Unfortunately the doctor couldn't promise her anything, as every other specialist, and that upset her. He said, the most important advice for Agnieszka was: Don't drink again and have hope. The damage was done.

I also asked the neurologist for the referral to physical therapy. He thought it could be better for her mind than the body, and agreed.

Second appointment was with the psychiatrist ( one of many ). I advised Agnieszka to choose and keep one doctor. She suffers from side effects from every prescribed drug and accuses doctors of not listening to her.

Another visits were with the family doctor and these Agnieszka makes often since she is also hypochondriac. Sometimes he wants to send her to a psychiatrist.

After half a year she agreed to see an addiction therapist who accepted her choice only to talk, not to write the stories. She had an addiction therapy few years ago, but doesn't remember much of it.

Also she goes to an AA meetings.

After 8 months of being in our Center I see a significant improvement in Agnieszka's health. She walks with less pain, goes outside and is not afraid of the outdoors, makes appointments by herself and keeps them. The most important is that she  feels again and has memories, which are painful and depressing but doesn't separate from them as before. Agnieszka doesn't like to be that much alive, but keeps going. She hasn't seen her daughter yet, but has contact with her aunt.


4. Network

When Agnieszka came to us from the hospital with the assistance of 2 social workers, I've asked them to supply her with drugs for one month. They didn't offer anything else, like contact with a doctor. But slowly we established our own network of helping Agnieszka. Very important was, that I accompanied her at the first appointments and was her voice, when she didn't have much to say. Also she had our Center not only as a place to live, but as a supporting her institution.

I've noticed that being a part of a network was a new experience for specialists. The easiest was to work with a family doctor, the most challenging with mental health workers.


5. Possible proposals

When Agnieszka came to us, we organized very broad network of people and institutions helping her. We are in the beginning of this road, having in mind that she is really sober for a short time, homeless, jobless, lonely and having additional mental problems. Nonetheless she has support of all our workers even if she is pretty difficult with her borderline personality.

I can also imagine perhaps easier script. She is coming to us from the hospital to have an accommodation and their outpatient center takes care of her mental health and supports us in her recovery and wellbeing.

Anna Boczkowska


ERASMUS +    ANNEX II - KA2     Ag. Nb.:  2016-1-PT01-KA202-022970

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