Kipos (The Garden) as an idea was born some time during 2000, as we were gradually transfering activities relevant to mental health, socio-cultural animation or group empowerment out of the four walls and into nature: in gardens and parks, by river banks, on mountain paths. We were noticing then, that each time we allowed nature to coexist – not as the mere background of our actions, but as an interlocutor – something deeper changed within individuals and groups.
Kipos (The Garden) is established on a series of observations:
- It is impossible to work with individuals unless you work with their communities. Such communities do not only include humans, but also non humans. And by non humans we mean each living being. We live in polyphonic worlds that are creatively intertwined and actively, perpetually shape each other.
- Working with communities offers the best possible option for prevention. The more open a community is in accepting internal diversity, as well as the diversity of its surroundings (or else environment), the more creatively it can overcome difficulties and challenges, the more richer becomes the common life.
- No human, no living being can flourish individually. A good life, a life worth living presupposes an awareness of the interconnectedness between us. And while systemic therapies at least, approach the psychotherapeutic process as one that either directly or indirectly incorporates humans within their social systems, they often tend to forget an additional parametre: such social systems do not develop within a vacuum, but in particular places, geographies, weather systems and so on and so forth. Geographies, weathers, other beings living in forests, lakes, seas, rivers, the air enrich our customs and values, our everyday practices, the ways in which we see and understand the world and hence, by extension, ourselves. In a way, we do not just live in nature, but we are nature.
- Nature, just like art, often unfolds despite our best plans, exceeding our intentions (best or not), following its own rhythm, allowing for the unexpected to emerge and providing thus the needed space for multiple, open identifications, fluid in space and time. To be able to follow the unexpected is a great gift: the self, the community, the world expand.
- Each time we seek to understand ourselves (or the world or the world within our selves or our selves as the world) both nature and art provide the space for dialogue – verbal and non verbal. The notion of dialogue is central in each form of therapy: in dialogue with the soul, the body, other humans, every living being.
- No therapeutic approach can be considered whole if it does not entail the notion of prevention. Prevention does not necessarily have to be confined within personal life attitudes or social interventions, but may also be relevant to ways of living.
- Prevention is connected to the well-being of individuals and communities. This kind of well-being is not as much relevant to the state of finances, but to the notion that each person can fulfil his/her potential, that his/her basic needs are met, that s/he has access to a network of relationships characterised by mutuality, care and solidarity. Well-being, that is a good life, is possible when individuals and their communities prosper.
- Both therapy and prevention need to include mind, sould and body. We live in this world with our bodies, not just our emotions or thoughts. Each attempt to approach the body, the spirit or the soul as separate entities is doomed to fail, as the three of them are interrelated, interconnected and mutually define each other. At the same time, any approach to self-awareness needs to include both the body and the world in order for prevention to be possible and a sense of embodied, emotional and spiritual well-being for individuals and communities to be achieved.
The Garden focuses on both the small and the big, seeks self-awareness within nature and art, pursues a change in position and viewing, invites persons and communities into dialogue, paints with the fallen leaves of autumn, asks the running water for stories, traces the path of snowflakes in winter and gets inspired by the colors of flowers in spring or the rich scent of summer fruits.