From caterpillar to butterfly

‘From caterpillar to butterfly’ is a universal and extremely viable mirror for the idea of metamorphosis: letting go of an old identity in order to take on a new identity and a final authenticity. Our Butterfly Project is a group project that combines therapy and (nature) conservation. This project also connects diverse target groups to one another.


The large amount of care that the caterpillars and the future host and nectar plants require (= learning to care) has considerable therapeutic potential for diverse target groups. The attractive combination of an educational – care process that does not have to be pedantic nor boring but that – after proper care by the children – guarantees success in the form of releasing a large number of butterflies. Butterflies and caterpillars – as animals – are extremely interesting because they do not evoke fear, allergies, or resistance on the part of people.

Our clients pass the power of the metaphor on to other clients. After acquiring the knowledge and expertise needed to raise butterflies, the project is further expanded as a service of and for youth to other children and target groups. This service has the form of a butterfly show. Het Keerhof had the installations for the show created by visual artist Eric Bassier (known for his role in the play ‘Mireille en Mathieu’).

Letting go of a therapy-receiving role in order to engage in a therapy-giving role can have an extraordinary therapeutic effect on our clients. And we increase the number of butterflies in the area.

In the wake of the presentation that the clients will be giving in nursing homes, prisons, kindergartens etc., multiple butterfly gardens will be set up in and around Ghent. In this way we hope to release many butterflies over time.

Via the butterfly presentations, contacts will be made between various target groups that otherwise would not come into contact with each other. Clients of one institution coach clients from another institution in how to raise butterflies and set up a butterfly garden. Here we opt especially for encounters between clients of diverse target groups. We believe that these encounters – pollinations as it were – via the butterflies can be enriching for many parties.


At this time, our butterfly project is on hold until we find the time and possibilities to resume it. Working with butterfly breeding greenhouses appears to be the only way to obtain sufficient caterpillars to continue the project. This has do with the dramatic decline in the number of butterflies in our region. Want to help us with our Butterfly Project? Contact us!


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