World Psychiatric Association Thematic Conference on Intersectional Collaboration

World Psychiatric Association Thematic Conference on Intersectional Collaboration

Oct 30 – Nov 2, 2014
Athens, Greece


World Psychiatric Association Thematic Conference on Intersectional Collaboration

2nd Interdisciplinary Congress “Psychiatry and Related Sciences”


Cyprus BSDT Institute and CySoFT’s participated at the Conference with the Symposium:


Choosing stories, choosing futures: the empowerment of people through the construction of new life stories in therapy


Under the large spectrum of postmodern constructivist therapies, which form the so called “5th wave” of psychotherapeutic trends, new ideas have been developed using the narrative and solution oriented approaches in therapy.

This symposium discusses some imaginative ideas and ways to deal with human problems based on an innovative model, the Brief Systemic Dialogical Therapy – BSDT – model, which was greatly influenced by the above theoretical trends.

The BSDT- Model is an integrative approach used in therapy as well as in training and supervision. It was created in 2010 by Mrs Dina Mousteri, Former Head of the Individual and Family Therapy Centre in the context of a training program for professionals in the Cyprus Mental Health Services. The main theoretical concepts and principles of– BSDT – model will be presented.

Each of the speakers will present a piece of their work using elements of the BSDT approach demonstrating different ways on how to empower people coming to therapy – our clients or patients – by enabling them to choose preferred lives and construct desirable futures. Emphasis will be given on the idea and use of collaborative dialogue and creative conversations which open the way towards the transformation of “problem stories” and the opening of new possibilities and choices for the future.


Dina Mousteri, D.E.S.S., UKCP Registered, Clinical Psychologist, Supervisor, Systemic Psychotherapist and Trainer, Chair of the Symposium


Constructing preferred realities: Basic principles of the BSDT Model


The presentation described the theoretical and methodological tools used by the Brief systemic Dialogical Therapy (BSDT) approach to transform patients’ painful experiences into positive ones through the co-construction of life stories bearing strength and hope.

BSDT aims at dealing effectively and creatively with a variety of difficult situations. It is an evolving creative integration of ideas mainly drawn from 3 theoretical trends: systemic, narrative – dialogical and solution focused approaches in therapy within a constructive theoretical framework. The emphasis is on the use of a new language, characterized by:

Appreciation of each person’s skills and strengths
Contextualization of presenting problems
Normalization of pathological behaviors,
An emphasis on solution and change, rather on problems.
The way the approach is used in counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families and couples will be presented through the description of the key concepts and basic methodological tools of Collaborative Dialogue which forms the essence of the BSDT model. Mutual understanding and collaborative meaning making are the basic elements of Collaborative Therapeutic Dialogue. It is a relationally responsive practice, associated with the intention of providing a culturally and ethically informed care leading to effective therapeutic outcomes.

The main challenge for a Brief Systemic Dialogical Therapist is: what kind of transformation in dialogue, in each particular situation, allows for the emergence of an alternative story for the people seeking help, to offer them hope for the future and an effective way out of the suffering?

Examples from therapy work will be used to illustrate how collaborative conversations lead to the transformation of problematic stories and the co-construction of new realities whereby the persons experience new possibilities for the future. The successful outcomes are measured by the degree of achievement of the following elements of positive change


  • Positive meaning making of life experiences
  • Self empowerment
  • Liberation of possibilities for making choices
  • Better acceptance of self and others
  • Personal agency (sense of responsibility for one’s beliefs and actions)
  • Practical steps towards preferred realities


Since its initial application the BSDT model has been continuously developing to a model for training and as a therapeutic approach with individuals, couples and families, increasingly revealing its value and usefulness in addressing peoples’ concerns.

The BSDT model is currently applied in training, therapy and supervision in the context of the newly created Cyprus Brief Systemic Dialogical Therapy -or BSDT- institute.


Joanna Colocassides, MA, ACMFC Ackerman Institute MFT Psychologist, Systemic Family Therapist, President of the Cyprus Society of Family Therapy


Re-Authoring Stories of Love and Marriage: The Application of the Brief, Systemic, Dialogical Therapy Model with Couples


This presentation discussed the power of such salient elements of the BSDT model as Deconstruction in working with couples, whether conjointly or individually. The road from Deconstruction to Dissolution and ultimately to Re-Authoring was discussed and exemplified in the narration of clinical vignettes.


Maria Georgiou, BA, MA, PhD, Developmental Psychologist, Person-centered Psychotherapist


The BSDT Approach in Person-Centered Psychotherapy: new life stories in the process of “becoming”


Maria examined the use of new life stories with clients undergoing person-centered psychotherapy. A basic assumption of the person-centered approach is the belief in the potential to evolve and in the process of “becoming”. Visualizing the self in the future using new life stories appeared to be helpful in empowering clients. Using vignettes from her interaction with clients, she intended to give an idea of how clients who were open to create new life stories were enabled to construct a new future.


Noni Skotinou, Nordoff-Robbins, Dialogic Music Therapist:


Creating Hope through the process of Dialogue


Noni presented the therapeutic process through a creative dialogue between client and therapist, and using particular client situations to reach Hope and re-create a future. By choosing clients’ stories and in turn helping them choose their stories, a road towards the future is gradually paved. Using key principles from BSDT, it is suggested that Uncertainty is a necessary and positive part of the creative process, and can be used to instill compassion and hope in the dialogic process with the clients. Also, the skills that clients themselves possess are expanded and used in novel ways to assist them in reaching their goal, through a journey of empowerment and reconstructing the here and now.