The name Common Violet Therapy was created to refer to my desire to develop an organization based on the value of recognizing the contribution of each individual as unique and containing inherent value that can be shared with the collective. The common violet as a little jewel of a plant that is rare and yet can be found in many places if you look for it. Common Violet Therapy is a vision for a Cooperative Organization, whose mission is to make the lives of individuals holistically well and more sustainable for the future. My vision for the organization is to promote the principles of social permaculture for everyone involved, clients and staff alike. I believe that therapists provide a better service when they also live sustainably. In other words, we practice what we preach!

What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a set of design principles that are based on the cycles of nature. Permaculture design is based on three core values: Caring for the Earth, caring for people and caring for the future. For further reading, read this article about permaculture and this one about social permaculture. The design principles are described here.

Self regulation

People in the helping professions must value and prioritize self care. We must be introspective and we must recognize how we see ourselves and the ways others see us.

Finding and encouraging our edges

We must understand the ways in which our present actions affect the people around us, the environment and the future both in positive and negative ways. When we encounter our own edges, we find opportunities for growth.

Valuing diversity

Organizations thrive when differences between people are appreciated and acknowledged and different people are allowed the autonomy to give their own perspectives.

Capturing and storing energy

I recognize creative energy as the most important source of individual vitality and also that of an organization

Functional interconnection

I recognize that each relationship in an organization is important and each communicative interaction has positive and negative consequences for the future.

Slow growth

I value observation and introspection as being very important and this takes time.

Letting go of control

I understand my own limitations and value the autonomy of others.

Balance of Power

Absolute power-over violates other principles and can lead to corruption and illusions of control. Thus, shared power is vital to the needs of the organization and its mission. When there is hierarchy, there is acknowledgement of that responsibility.

What is social permaculture?

Social permaculture is the art of building mutually beneficial relationships that are sustainable over the long term. For further reading, check out this article.

Why start an organization based on social permaculture? Why now?

When things go awry, it is a big clue that our way of life is not working well for us. With all of the changes related to the pandemic that are happening, on some level we are realizing that so many of the changes we are being forced to make have been an improvement over the way we had been living before.

I don’t know about you, but I have spent more time alone and with family. I am finding creative ways to spend more quality time with the people who are most important in my life. I am nurturing myself and my creativity. I am living for the moment more. I buy less, eat out less, and spend more time in nature and with pets.

We have been forced to slow down in many ways. On a larger scale, we value healthcare workers, grocery store workers, truck drivers, and stockers and shippers more. What does all of this mean?

Our lives were too fast, we spent too much money, worked too much and kept ourselves distracted. On some level, we knew that something was wrong on many different levels, but we were too busy to do anything about it. Our jobs and our consumption ruled our lives. This has been going on for way too long and it is not sustainable.

I also know that for myself and others, this change has not been easy. I believe that this change in lifestyle requires us to really look hard at ourselves and that is not easy to do. When we slow down, it is harder to look past our own reflection, our feelings, our disappointments and desires.

According to permaculture principles, in life, big changes require internal changes in ourselves. Those internal changes then affect our behavior and in turn affect those around us. We hope that those changes are positive for relationships, our environment and our futures.

Many of us could work on being more comfortable in our own skin, less attached to our stuff and consumption and more present in the moment. Working outward, we could be more present with those we love, better able to withstand microaggressions (or less likely to inflict them) and able to deal with conflict with grace and self confidence. With these changes may come changes in our relationships, our way of life, how much we consume, how much carbon we use, and an improved sense of community.

I do not know what is going to happen in the future, but I do hope that some of the changes in our lives and in our society will remain even after this current threat is gone. Now is the time to make those changes, starting from the inside and radiating outward.

Sarah Tso, LCSW provides online therapy. Contact me to schedule an appointment today!