Μετάνοια or How it is Being Done in KETHEA

 
 

In our column named “Their experience” there is a new topic – this time we talk about the Greek project “KETHEA ITHAKI“. Over 35 years they help drug users in Greece. Today this is a powerful organization which consists of 120 units (departments), has not only the annual budget of 18 mln Euro but also most important its services are absolutely free for users.

Some History and Philosophy

Kethea 1

“KETHEA ITHAKI” was founded in 1983. At that time it was the first therapeutic society for drug addicts in Greece. This made the way for treatment of drug addicted and their social reintegration. Today “KETHEA ITHAKI” offers a wide variety of services including both hospital and outpatient care. The idea itself came from the myth about Odyssey. His way home to Ithaki after the war was delayed for ten years because of Poseidon’s anger and various misadventures. The roots of “ITHAKI” projects can be found in “DAYTOP” program. They took all principles and basics from them: group therapy sessions, situation modeling, work therapy – all based on equality. As patients passed the program stages they receive more responsibilities as well as more privileges.

Some Peculiarities

Ithaki 2

“ITHAKI” is a return, return home. This difficult way usually lasts three years. The first stage (nine months) is a commune. The second stage (twelve months) is a resocialization phase when one can work or study and lives outside the center. Then third stage (twelve months) – the person usually visits only four therapeutic groups a year and he/she is totally adapted to life in the society. The community is divided into two parallel directions – these are therapy and work. The work consists of two tasks: cleaning of the house – “cleaning team”; work in the kitchen — “kitchen team”. The community is divided into two teams. The idea is to let the hands work and the head – rest. “KETHEA ITHAKI” is a school of life where one can learn basic skills. This is because the majority of addicted cannot do the simplest things: clean the house and cook the meals.

Something on Education

We consider education to be important as well. The education helps like a therapy to improve the quality of life, — says Olga Katsiokali (education department head).

Here program graduates are being certified, also they get prepared to exams there. The three year program is learnt during one year. Then they pass exams in ordinary school. Also there is a theater (theatrical circle to be correct), musical club, the judo section and football section. Each of the program members should participate in three modules for certain. In the resocialization phase there is enough participating in only one of them.

Ithaki 3

The commune can educate and then one can get a job in the printing house, in the shop for ceramics or at the farm. “KETHEA” program participants study here at the stage of their social reintegration. The study allows them to benefit from professional preparation in the favorable environment and in real work conditions. All these are production units. Permanent staff works in these units. They provide professional preparation of participants which are on the reintegration stage. This promotes organization and development of creativity within the study program for Therapeutic Community (TC) members. “KETHEA” completes programs of professional education of European Union which deal with ceramics, woodworking and organic farming. We will talk further about work.

Something on Handicraft and Work

“KETHEA SCHEMA + CHROMA” printing house is the largest production unit of “KETHEA”. His basic goals are:

• Receive the income which allows “KETHEA” to increase self-financing.

• Provide study and advanced training for former drug addicted which are at the stage of social reintegration.

Ithaki 4

The unit is working on the free market and offers services of graphical design and printout as well as binding for various types of publications. All works are conducted in conjunction with professional criteria and standards. 23 persons are working here, many of them are graduates from therapeutic programs. They receive orders not only because they are on the good path and help those who are not there. But because they do their work quickly and with a quality and this is a great responsibility.

Ithaki 5

“KETHEA KERAMIKH” ceramics and glass workshop has been working since 1986. Here the tableware is made with use of different techniques. The workshop not only covers all requirements of “KETHEA” in ceramics but also completes third-party orders, organizes and participates in various exhibitions. In the office in Saloniki one can buy goods and souvenirs from glass and ceramics in the shop.

Ithaki 6

The area of the farm is 1,3 hectares. The household basically covers the requirements of therapeutic society and the center of social reintegration. It is worth noting that starting 2008 its products were certified by “BIOHELLAS” as ecologically clean products.

Something about Money and Freedom.

The parents can send money to their children not more than 90 Euro during the first three months, 120 Euro till the sixth month and up to 150 Euro from sixth to ninth months. But this is not the most important thing. Attention! After the third month the personal money are at the disposal of the patients. There is a principle: there is trust to the program. Then the visa versa is right as well — the program trusts you! But this is not all. Attention again! Every day after 5 pm all administrative personnel leaves for home. Thus those who have treatment there are on the own plus they have money. Horror! But there are no problems, TC manages its participants. If therapists interfere into the society’s life, this means something went wrong. There tasks are to provide fulfillment of three rules: NoDrugs, NoSex, Noviolence, – this is if talking simply.

Our task is to provide a room (sphere), the rest is being done by themselves, — says Theodora Sizopolu (The head of TC).

Ithaki 7

This is a result of 35-years work and there is a reason of pride. It is worth noting that the directors manage the society with flexibility. This is because TC program is being changed to conform the needs of society, something like it was with breeding, is being refused, as well as something is being added.

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