CentersBulgarian Institute for Human Relations

Center "Bulgarian Institute for Human Relations" (BIOH) studies and participates in the development of human behaviour and relations between people in the context of modern social development in Bulgaria. The Center summarizes the experience of creating new practices in courses and programs. Man is seen in the relational scientific paradigm. It studies the processes of interaction between individuals, their experiences and emotions in the course of their social participation, the dynamics of the development and functioning of the human groups: families, organizations, and communities.

The development of the relational paradigm in Bulgaria is relevant to the rapid growing need for the development of social services, counselling and therapy as part of the emerging civil society. The Child Protection Act and the National Program for Reform of the Mental Health Service confirm the commitment of the state to the development of this kind of services and create a market for their realization.

The provision of professional services in the field of social activities, psychotherapy and psychosocial rehabilitation and individual and organizational counseling is based on the methods employed by the psychodynamic schools: the School of Object Relations, the School of Group Relations and others.

The BIOH Center focuses its research and training activities on mental health. This choice is linked to several factors: The National Reform Program in Psychiatry is largely based on the relational paradigm, which makes the role in reform of the BIOH Center as a research and training unit possible: the creation of new services in the community reveals specific areas of incompetence, for which the Center has the resources to develop training. Last but not least, BIOH has a wide network of contacts with the international community of psychiatrist reformers and international prestige as a training institution in this field.

The BIOH Center fulfills its mission by participating in the creation of mental health and consultancy services in the community in Bulgaria and other countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, studying its own and other institutions' experience and transforming it into context-relevant training. Such a task requires flexibility, openness to change, sensitivity to the services market and training. In order to accomplish its task, the BIOH Center chooses to build itself as an entrepreneurial organization.

In Bulgarian culture, entrepreneurship and academics are thought to be opposites. The Center is guided by the understandings that not only are they not incompatible, but rather, their proper reconciliation is a pledge for the success and prosperity of the educational institution operating in a market environment.

The aim is to link the training to the research and project-development activities of the institute. Ensuring high quality training is a crucial condition for the prosperity of BIOH Center, because it allows it to expand its work on projects and develop new market niches.

The Center has developed and provides the Master’s Program Social Work - the outcome of a long-term cooperation with universities in Europe and the USA in the field of social work with clinical cases and families.

In connection to the necessity of training in clinical practice through supervision, which is one of the basic methods of BIOH Center, there are agreed places for practicing students in several clinical bases
The Center is in the process of building an international educational institution - the Academy of Mental Health, which aims to bring together the efforts of Mental Health Lecturers in Central and Eastern Europe.

The BIOH Center projects are related to mental health professionals' training, counselling and community service development in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. They are funded by international sources. The main partner in these projects is the Geneva Initiative for Psychiatry Foundation, based in the Netherlands.

Among the major research projects of the Center are:
• Active research
• European study "Treatment of mental illness and personality disorders in the European prison system - needs, programs and results"
• Child and adolescent mental health in the expanding European Union. Developing Effective Policies and Practices: Analysis
• Community action programme on vocational training. Procedure B.
• Collaboration and vulnerability - doctoral dissertation
• Organizational culture and liberal training - doctoral dissertation
• University education and culture of social participation in Bulgaria - doctoral dissertation

Prof. Tomas Tomov Ph.D.
Building 2, Room 114
Tel: +359 /2/81 10 594
е-mail: tntomov@gmail.com