Harmony Institute » International School for Psychotherapy, Counseling, and Group Leadership
Harmony Institute, one of the first non-governmental mental health centers in Soviet Russia, was founded in 1988 in St. Petersburg (which was then Leningrad). Harmony has been an innovator and leader in providing mental health services to individuals, groups, and the community. For example, it founded the first 24-hour crisis hotline in the former Soviet Union, and continues to train others for setting up or working for similar hotlines throughout the country.
From its beginning, Harmony welcomed teaching visits from psychologists and other mental health professionals from outside of Russia. There was a hunger for information, methods, and practical skills for helping people with psychological and emotional difficulties, and for promoting healing, growth, and flourishing. To date there have been over 70 teachers from outside of Russia who have presented at Harmony – from Canada, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA.
Because of the ever-growing community of mental health professionals who were coming to Harmony for learning and professional development, in September 1995 it founded the International School for Psychotherapy, Counseling, and Group Leadership. The School was founded in collaboration with two organizations based in Massachusetts, USA: The Concord Institute and the Transcultural Network.
The International School offers a three-year post-graduate professional training program that includes a total of 1450 hours of seminars, practicums, supervision, and individual and group process sessions. The students are medical doctors, psychologists, health professionals, educators, and organizational leaders who have completed or are nearing completion of their formal academic training and wish to complement what they’ve learned with the School's unique and highly respected offerings.
The program trains in essential human relation skills, drawing from Humanistic and Existential models, and also provides training in practical psychological and group methods for working with others. The program also includes personal psychological work for the students, in individual and group formats, based on the perspective that the more psychologically aware and healthy that psychotherapists, counselors, or leaders are, the better (more skilled, effective, and ethical) they will be in their chosen work with others.
The current faculty of the School consists of psychologists, other mental health professionals, and educators, primarily from Russia, but also several from the USA, Lithuania, and Hungary. Harmony continues to host regular professional development seminars for the psychological community, taught by guest teachers from within and from outside of Russia.
Each year, two new groups of students begin – an internal group for trainees from the St. Petersburg area, and an external group for trainees from outside that area, including outside of Russia. Currently the external group consists of trainees from Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Turkey, and Spain. Both groups fill to capacity each year. Since the first graduation in 1998, 693 people have graduated from the International School.
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