One of the challenges in an emerging field is coming to a shared definition of what we mean by terms such as "Forest Therapy." An array of efforts have been made, some of which are promising beginnings. However, so far there has not been a truly international dialogue and process for exploring and perhaps coming to consensus on key questions. We're not even sure if consensus is needed, or if it serves. But asking questions and thinking about them together, from many perspectives, culture, nations, and experiences, may be a very helpful process.
Thus we envision that part of our gathering will be dedicated to a congress of delegates from organizations that have earned status as contributors to this field. Delegates will engage in facilitated discussions around key questions (see below). Perhaps a few points of consensus will emerge. Toward the end of the conference, there will be a plenary session at which the results of the congress will be presented. These results may be part of a foundation for a future consensus document.
If it is successful, we envision this congress as being a first step on what will likely be a multi-year process, with new voices added as the dialogue continues. We expect spirited debate, perhaps at times contentious, but if we come with a spirit of humble inquiry--and if we remember that our work is essential to helping humanity negotiate the critical passage of our times--we may achieve a great work that supports and empowers us all.
A note from ANFT Founder M. Amos Clifford
It is my hope that the work of the congress will eventually culminate in the publication of a consensus document that speaks for a truly international group of experts, and that will serve as guidance for training and policy-making organizations. Creating such a document is not easy; it may take several years to get there.
To make this a truly inclusive and international effort, consider making space within your conference for a meeting of delegates who will take up the same questions, review the work done to date, and add to it incrementally. For this to succeed, it will be important to have continuity in the discussion methods and framework, and in the facilitators of these discussions.
If you are on a conference organizing committee and would like to discuss this further, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I believe strongly in the power of forest therapy, and as I watch it developing throughout the world I have high hopes that we can work together to co-create a beautiful, powerful practice that is widely embraced. Please be a part of this effort. --Amos Clifford