The meaning of the NDI encounter
a cura di AINDI
The event which has been happening for nine years, every year in August or July, and which is named “La rencontre NDI” (“The NDI encounter”), has for aim to enable a meeting amongst people who have various aspirations and come from all over the world. This is not any odd meeting, like a fair or a congress. This is an encounter inspired by the NDI’s principles.
This means that the persons who come to it, can do with others, activities which suit them, which they have chosen and which are not imposed to them. They are not constrained to follow up a fixed program, not even to select any organized “ateliers” (workshop) on a pre-decided list. No! They participate themselves at the program making, by establishing the activities’ themes and their facilitators, to then follow up their own meaningful and suited program.
Such a venture and hard work is not always easy and needs preparation. This is made possible by a small group of people’s efforts and ideas, who believe in the NDI’s conception, and who are the “intervenants” (facilitator, or literally the person who intervene). I would like to reflect on the nature of their interventions.
In our conception, an intervention is an action, a service or an operation having for aim to help others, who wish to express themselves and create something, to realize their objectives. It is non- directive as it is centered towards the person’s desires. But it isn’t only non-directive. It is also helping. It offers support. It is an action in itself coming from the freedom of decisions and original projects.
The point on which I would like to insist upon is the fact that the nature of these interventions varies according to the operational level of activities which we wish to support. We can roughly distinguish three operational levels.
1- At a first level, the individual is faced with oneself, with someone else who is helping him or her to be as well as possible with that face to face. This is what happens in an individual therapy session or an individual meeting. In that case the intervention is minimal. It consists in offering a frame (session’s length, etc…), in reformulating and questioning. Non-directive principles are, like others, subjected to a few restrictions because, in an individual encounter, the participant is left to himself/herself and his/her own resources and cannot benefit from the actions and initiatives of others. This is a limit.
2- At a second level, the “intervenant” is faced by a variable sized group and has defined clear objectives regarding his/her “atelier”. For example, he or she will propose some music, theater, psychotherapy, writing, studying texts, music therapy, etc… In that case the intervention is more important than in an individual session, because it must answer the group’s desires which is made out of several persons, who have their own demands and the group’s demands to take into consideration.
3- Finally at a third level, what we put in place regarding the intervention is not only an individual support, nor a group support, but a true organization which, on one side, divides itself into a multiplicity of individual or group’s (“ateliers”) interventions and on the other side justifies itself by building a structure which will be precisely here to answer people’s vast aspirations. This is what we do in an NDI encounter.
This structure has two particularities. The first one is that it enables the role of the interventions to develop their maximum potential, because they not only propose a suitable help/support to such or such person or to such or such group, but they also, propose an increased amount of possible interventions, able to satisfy right away many different aspirations. The second one is that it is even more profoundly non-directive than the two preceding forms because, by the multiplicity of choices, it enables an even greater number of desires as well as personal desires to be realized.
However, this latter form has one inconvenient which we do not want to hide. From its organizational and institutional aspect, it creates a structure which is directly linked with external institutions (with our social lives), and it must take their demand into account. This means that one must sometimes step out of the non-directive way of being. These moments are difficult to cope with, demand a lot of tact and a true democratic spirit. “Intervenants” must not act under their names, without taking the group into account. Democratie relays the non-directive way of being.
*NDI = “Non-Directivité Intervenante” or “Non-Directivity with Intervention”.
Translator : Ann Simon