Vito Flaker, PhD, Associate Professor

room no.: P/22
telephone: +386 (0)1 2809260
work sphere: Social Work, Community Mental Health, Drugs and Addiction, Long-term Care, Deinstitutionalisation, Social Work Methods (Getting to Know You Interview, Risk Analysis, Individual Planning and Personal Care Packages, Harm Reduction). Action Research, Social Innovations and Qualitative Methods. Involving Users and Empowerment.
contact hours:

I am available on mail and in person upon individual arrangements.


Education and training

1976 training in humanistic psychotherapy with Jay Stattman at Institute for Unitive Psychology, Netherlands;
1977 - 1979 training in neo-reichian methods with Gerda Boyesen in London;
1981 degree in Psychology at The Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana;
1995 doctoral thesis at Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Ljubljana.

Academic Work

1981 employed at the School for Social Work, University of Ljubljana - as a junior researcher, coordinating students' practical and fieldwork (1983 - 1990), since then lectured Social Pathology, Theories of Social Deviance, Voluntary Work, Community Mental Health, Harm Reduction, Introduction to Social Work, Methods of Social Work.

He is lecturing as guest at other faculties of University of Ljubljana; he was lecturing at London School of Economics, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, University of Birmingham, Sarajevo University, University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moghyla Academy in Kiev; he is honorary fellow at Birmingham University and was guest professor at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, introducing first social work course.

Academic posts:

1986 – 1996 Assistant lecturer
1996 – 2001 Senior lecturer
2001 – Associate professor

1991 - 1996 Coordinator of 'Community Mental Health Studies - Training for Psychosocial Services' (a TEMPUS project).
1999 – 2001 Coordinator of ‘Institute for Community Mental Health’ in Bosnia and Herzegovina (a Tempus project)
2000 – 2006 Head of the Community Mental Health Chair at School for Social Work
2001 – 2007 Dean of the Faculty for Social Work, University of Ljubljana
2004 – Course director Theories and Methodilogies of Social Work; Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik.
2007 - Course director Social Work and Deinstitutionalisation; Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik.
2007 – Director of the Institute for Social Work, Faculty for Social Work, University of Ljubljana.
2009 – Director of School of Social Work Theory and Practice, Inter-University Centre for Postgraduate Studies, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Practical Work

1976 - 1978 volunteer leader of 'Vsemirje', Club for Prevention of Drug Addiction.
1977 – 1985 introducing inclusion and democratisation to scouts organisation Črni Mrav
1977 – 1989 leading workshops in sensitivity training and humanistic therapies for professionals and students
1980 – 1982 street work in local community "Triglav", Ljubljana
1980 – 1985 community work in the community "Ruski car", Ljubljana
1984 – 1988 leadership of the Centre for Youth Self-Help "Informalnica"
1985 – 1990 reforming youth voluntary work and leading work camps in Josipdol and Hrastovec
1987 – 2000 leading the "Committee for Social Protection of Madness, later Altra
1988 – 1994 founding, co-leading cooperative nursery school "Aeternia"
1990 – 1995 co-founder and member of Stigma, drug use and harm reduction
1997 – 1999 consultant to outreach and day centre AIDS Foundation Robert
2001 – 2002 innovation and deinstitutionalisation in Social Care Home Hrastovec
2002 – 2009 director of staff, Social Care Home Hrastovec
2003 – 2009 director of pilot project in direct funding

In addition consultant, supervisor and trainer to the diverse groups of staff, projects and individuals.

collaboration on projects:


Participating as a team member with major contribution:

1977 - 1978 Štepanjsko naselje (School for Social Work), - community action research project, integration of the disturbed/ disturbing children into scouts and other organisations;
1980 The Influence of the Social Space on the Socialisation of Children, (School for Social Work), - community action research project in scouts organisation and local community;
1981 Voluntary Work, (School for Social Work), continuation of the same project;
1980 - 1982 Action research of the young offenders' gangs (Institute of Criminology, Ljubljana) - development of community-based forms of street work;
1981 Action research methodology in Social Work (School for Social Work), - theoretical research, V.F.'s contribution on methodology of Paolo Freire;
1984 Forms of child care in urban Local Communities (School for Social Work), - action research into communal childcare;
1984 - 1985 Methods and Forms of Mutual Help (School for Social Work), - action research, account of the development of the youth self-help action group;
1990 - 1993 Restructuring of the Institutional Care for Young Offenders (Institute of Criminology & School for Social Work), - qualitative description and analysis of the Slovene group homes.
1998-2000 Programmes of Housing Provision for Vulnerable Groups – assessment of needs and ways of providing housing for people with mental distress.
2000 – Global approaches to Drugs, Copernicus project.
2003 –Strategies of development of social service in the light of National Programme of Social Care till 2005
2003 - 2004 –Reorganisation of Centres for Social Work in Slovenia
2005 –Experienced-Involvement (EX-IN). Qualification of people with lived experience in mental distress for an employment as Trainer and Service Provider in mental health services. Leonardo project, WAP, Bremen;
2005 – 2008 Empowerment of Mental Illness service users: Life long learning, Integration and Action, 6th framework EU, University of Middlesex;
2005 – 2007 PEER-education-project for young drivers to prevent alcohol and drugs in connection with road use - Drive Clean!, EU, Public Health 2005, MISTEL, Magdeburg.

Under his directorship:

1984 - 1987 Youth and Voluntary Work (School for Social Work), - descriptive research on youth work actions followed by action experiment and introduction of the youth work camps in Slovenia.
1987 - 1990 Development of youth voluntary Work – An experiment in a psychiatric asylum (School for Social Work), - action research project into voluntary work, total institution and development of community services;
1988 - 1990 Community Group Dynamics (School for Social Work), - account of the different action research activities;
1988 - 1989 Problems of contemporary volunteer work (School for Social Work), - survey of attitudes of voluntary workers and brigadiers and analysis of perspectives.
1990 -1991 Evaluation of a Cooperative Nursery - evaluation of a grassroots project of children and parents cooperative;
1992 Stigma - self-help organisation on drugs and AIDS - (School for Social Work), evaluation report to WHO;
1991 - 1993 Drugs and Violence (Peace institute) - qualitative investigation combined with quantitative measures on drug use patterns and drug use career;
1992 - 1994 Planning of the psychosocial services on the basis of the continuous clients' needs in Slovenia (School for Social Work), - researching the directions of development of new services in Slovenia on the basis of quantitative, qualitative and action research.
1996 - 1998 Introducing individual planning and direct funding of the community care. (School for Social Work).
1998 – 1999 Harm reduction in Slovenia (School for Social Work), mapping the styles of drug use in Slovenia, an ethnographic research, a PHARE project.
1998 – 2000 Basic Concepts and Methods of Community Mental Health (School of Social Work), theoretical study and analysis
1999 Residential Care for the Adults Who Need Continuous and Organised Care (School for Social Work), – quantitative and qualitative assessment of needs, resources and an outline of possible strategies for community care.
2000 Models and Standards for Evaluation Outcome Measurement of Development Project (School for Social Work), – a study designing the evaluation tools for measurement of residential community care.
2000 – 2001 Community Approaches in Harm Reduction (School for Social Work), an action research in community approaches to drug related harm reduction.
2001 – 2004 Contextual Methods in Social Work (School for Social Work), study of social methods in social work based on the understanding and taking into the account people’s environments and situations.
2002 – 2009 Individualised social care services funding (Institute for Social Care/ Faculty for Social Work)
2004 - 2006 Working with people who suffer dementia: preparation of the model of treatment (Faculty for Social Work)
2004-2005 Establishing a system of indicators for registering the needs for services and development of new social care services in Ljubljana (Faculty for Social Work)
2004 – 2006 Needs for new programmes of Harm reduction and local initiative (Faculty for Social Work)
2006 – 2008 Evaluation of the deinstitutionalisation processes in Slovenia (Faculty for Social Work)

Membership in councils and committees

1993 - Socialno delo (Social Work)
2000 – 2004 International Journal of Drug Policy
2000 - Mentalno zdravlje u zajednici (Community Mental Health), Sarajevo
2000 – Odvisnosti (Dependencies)
2006 – Alkoholizm i Narkomania (Varšava)

Important conferences
1997 - Heroin Addiction in Europe, Ljubljana,
2000 – 1st Slovene conference on Addiction, Ljubljana
2001 - 12th World Conference on Harm Reduction, New Delhi
2002 – 13th World Conference on Harm Reduction, Ljubljana
2002 – 1st Congress of Social Work, Portorož
2004 – 2nd Slovene Conference on Addiction, Ljubljana
2005 – 2nd Congress of Social Work, Portorož
2007 - 3rd Congress of Social Work, Maribor

Organisations and government bodies
1992 – 1996 Council for Social Care, Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affaires
1998 – 2000 Centro studii per scienze umanne e salute mentale, Portogruaro, Italia
2000 - Centro studii per scienze umanne e salute mentale, Merano, Italia
1999 - 2002 Interdisciplinarni centar za mentalno zdravlje u zajednici, Univerzitet u Sarajevu
2000 – 2004 Council for Social Care, Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affaires
2000 – Council for Drugs, Government of Republic of Slovenia
2002 – Council for Mental Health, Government of Republic of Slovenia
2006 – 2008 Scientific Committe of European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Addiction, Lizbona

Scientific networks and associations
1977-1985 founder and secretary of Section for Group Dynamics and Personal Growth, Psychological Association of Slovenia
1981-1985 International Network of Alternatives to Psychiatry
1988 - Federation for Promotion of Mental Health Alpe Adria
2002 - 2008 - NERUDA - European Network for Research in Drugs and Addictions
2007 - EMDAS - European Masters in Drugs and Alcohol
2007 - ENTER - European Network for Training, Evaluation and Research in Mental Health
2007 - 2009 - ILAC - Interactive Learning and Caring in Community
2007 - European Association for Democratic Mental Health
2008 - ANED - European Academic Network for Disability


Books (in Slovene except last one)

Youth Work Actions between Crisis and Perspective (1985),
Disclosure of Madness: The Rise and Fall of Total Institution (1998),
Living with Heroin: Vol.1 Social Construction of an Addict in Slovenia; Vol. 2: Towards Harm Reduction (2002),
Outline of Social Work Methods (2004),
Establishing personal service packages (2007),
Long-term Care: An Outline of needs and responses (2008);
Annals of Hrastovec for year 1987(editor) (1988),
Von der Idee zur Forschungsarbeit : Forschen in Sozialarbeit un Sozialwissenschaft (edited with Tom Schmid, 2006)

More important recent articles:

(2003), Temeljne in nujne spretnosti socialnega dela. Socialno delo 42 (2003) 4-5: 237-257.
(2006) Social work as a science of doing : in the praise of a minor profession. V: Flaker, V. (ur.), Schmid, T. (ur.). Von der Idee zur Forschungsarbeit : Forschen in Sozialarbeit un Sozialwissenschaft. Wien: Böhlau Verlag, str. 55-78.
(2008) From institutional logic to common knowledge: power, action and reflection. IUC Journal of social work, no 15, 2007/2008.

Detailed bibligraphy at