Blog Posts

Currents: November 2015



Currents is published monthly by Windhorse Integrative Mental Health of Northampton, 211 North St., Suite 1, Northampton, MA 01060. Executive Director is Victoria Yoshen. For questions, concerns and suggestions about Currents, contact us at

Upcoming Events

mark your calendarMark your calendars for community holiday gatherings this month!

Community Lunch
Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 12:30-1:30pm

Craft Fair
Tuesday-Thursday, Dec. 8th-10th, 10am-3pm each day

Holiday Party
Tuesday, Dec. 15th

The office will be closed for the Christmas Holiday.

For more information, contact

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Current News

Introducing a New Section of Currents: Community Creative Cornerguitars2

We are adding a new section to future issues of Currents!

The “Community Creative Corner” will offer members of the community an opportunity to showcase their creative talents. Please feel free to contribute visual art, poetry, and creative writing you would like to share with others. If you have a musical or other auditory talent, we are also able to include sound clips up to 1 minute long.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with Astrid or Andi.

Any and all creative contributions are warmly welcome!

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Strategic Plan

This year the Strategic Plan process evolved yet again. You probably met with Phoebe in the Anticipation Dialog format representing your “role” in the Windhorse community. Missing were family members and board members. Staff and clients were interviewed.

From the hour long meetings, Phoebe gained a sense of what each area was holding as important in the next year. She broke the 9 “realms” of Windhorse-Northampton into 5 and linked them to the Five Wisdom Energies. From her synthesis, the “numbers” team translated the directions into tasks and budget lines.

Highlights from the Northampton Strategic Plan are:

  • Increasing the scholar part of healer/scholar in the organization
  • Increasing the contemplative practice commitment
  • Everyone is a comfortable ambassador of Windhorse
  • Increased family support
  • Uplifted office environment (complete projects form 2014 renovation)
  • Full Census
  • Efficiency and coordination of clinical information from 1st call to discharge
  • Board working from a governance perspective and adding development capacity
  • Coalition building with the other sites


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Over-arching Goals for 2016 from the Three Sites3 sites

For the Board Meeting and discussion of the budget, the Directors of the three sites met to see what goals we share in common. We noticed that all of us are planning to achieve our census goals, prioritizing training and deepening the contemplative practice in the WIMH approach. We also all want to share in coalition building and figuring out leadership (and supporting more leadership paths).

The Directors invited the Board to share their goals. They said they would like to expand and diversify the board in 2016. They also want to look at what metrics are useful to the board. We have financial areas worked out and they want to have a sense of how else we know we are doing well or needing help. Last year James created the BA, or Balanced Scorecard. This year the Board is imagining something with less management and more alignment with how Windhorse describes itself to itself.

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Board Meeting: November 17, 2015

The Windhorse board represents three sites (Northampton, MA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Portland, OR). Larry Campbell is the VP and hails from CA. He and Dimitri Egan, the West Coast Clinical Director, joined in one Skype screen. Lisa, the West Coast Executive Director, was back in Portland with Steve Boyd, the Board member. In Northampton, Michael Stein, the Board President and Spirit Joseph, the Treasurer were joined by David Stark, Emeritus, Victoria the Northampton Executive Director and Andi, as scribe.

wooden path to ocean

One key agenda item was reviewing the budget, which most had walked through because they also attend the Finance Committee, which approved the budgets for submission to the Board. Spirit Joseph provided an overview of expenses and revenues for each site and the organization as a whole. The Board passed the budget with the underlying protocols we have practiced. Any raises built in to the budget need additional approval of the Finance Committee. The Board asked to wait for June 2016 to see how close to the revenue goals each site is before increasing expenses long term.

The Privacy Policy wording for the website was sent back for a lawyer’s feedback before being approved.   That vote will happen via e-mail.

The discussion about the Board’s goals was reported in the overarching goals article. The concern that objective or subjective criteria of “success” or “recovery” affecting the approach (any kind of categorization mutes the work we do) was sent back to the Directors to discuss. What kind of evaluation of “outcomes” could be useful for ourselves and for speaking about ourselves to the outside world?

The next Board meeting was set for Thursday, January 21st, moved from the third Tuesday every other month rotation because of the January holiday weekend.

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Education Fishbowl


The Education Committee met on the fifth Thursday of October to have a session dedicated to considering how contemplative practice manifests in Windhorse Northampton. Mary, Victoria, Phoebe, and Jeremy sit on the education committee and were seated in chairs in the center of the room. About 12 staff members engaged the outer circle.

The structure was: how it started, where it is now, and where it is going. The sharing from each person wove into a tapestry of how Education is holding this conversation going into the new year. Victoria mentioned specifics that have been included in the strategic plan. The reflections were thoughtful and engaged.

There was a sense of lightness and rightness as we figure out continuing to strengthen the core practice that underlies the Windhorse Approach.

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Maitri Space

On November 4th, all-staff’s topic was how the people that participated in the Maitri Space Awareness training (led by Irini Rockwell) were integrating the concepts. Or how the workshop challenged, fed, or didn’t work for them.


It was thought that it might help to use the “language” more in group settings (such as BSME) so the relevance stays alive. Some were longing for more of the mystical, not so secularized. Descriptions of what each energy might look like were considered more helpful than generalizations.

Staff spoke up about the tendency to “label” using this new language and how that is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish with an awareness of the healthy and neurotic aspects of each wisdom energy. We are all all of the energies.

The group as a whole really like spending time together, the staff retreat aspect of the two days: abundant food, exploring ideas together, relaxing, seeing each other. There was also a wondering if Irini could design a workshop more specifically to our skill set, not needing to be as mainstream as other places she might each.

If you have more feedback, please be sure to tell Jeremy, as Education Manager.

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ARTA Report

Written by Eric – Nov, 2015

They say “It takes a village.” Well, here’s one more example of a group of otherwise separate entities coming together to support each other.

Eric (as head of Admissions) and Phoebe (as Clinical Director) participated in the Fall, 2015, ARTA Conference in late October.  ARTA (American Residential Treatment Association) is an organization “composed of more than 30 member facilities offering residential care to adults with serious mental challenges, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, personality disorders, and disorders combined with substance abuse,” as it says on the website (

Windhorse has been involved with ARTA since its outset around twenty years ago, which is why we remain in the group despite our technically not “residential” status. Practically speaking though, we do work in a kind of semi-residential way, since so much of our philosophy is home-based and environmental. So, I believe other agencies in ARTA know that we fit in well.

These conferences happen twice each year, typically at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.  Though some of the organizations involved come from distances as far as Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

Networking, is one of the main activities of the conference, getting to know one another and cultivating personal relationships with folks from other organizations. The goal of that is referring Clients to more appropriate agencies, working together, helping one another with challenges, and understanding what specializes each organization.

We are also learning with one another, sharing difficulties and coming up with strategies together that might help us develop our businesses or deal with challenges that come up in our work. For example, at this conference we had roundtable discussions amongst the 50 or so participants on the topics of cell phone use (for both employees and clients), insurance vs. private-pay for our services, and ways of retaining and inspiring staff/clinical workers.

We also, as always, had our various ongoing committee meetings. The committees that meet are categorized as Membership, Program, Marketing/Website, Leadership/Outreach, and Innovations.

ARTA is in the process of strengthening our website, which lists all of the ARTA connected agencies, like Windhorse IMH, and has links to all of our separate websites. For Windhorse, the ARTAusa website is a valuable resource where we get a lot of our referrals. If people google many of the words connected to mental health support, typically ARTA has been one of the links that comes up. Though since the past few years we have not had good oversight of the ARTAusa website, the popularity of that link has diminished considerably. Developing that is in our plans at ARTA.

Each ARTA conference has a speaker presentation, and this one we had a lawyer expert in mental health parity law. He discussed the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act. For example, he was encouraging organizations to “hold insurer’s feet to the fire” and appeal and demand services be covered when insurance companies deny services. One thing he argued is that insurance companies are looking, justifiably, for safe and effective modes of treatment, but what also would be appealing to them is a program ends up being less costly (to the insurance company) if it may take time but keeps a person less often in the hospital. He was suggesting that we make arguments regularly with insurance companies that our services are worthy of their support.

Past Speakers have included Robert Whitaker (Mad in America), a Menninger clinician who talked about working with suicide (including his own lived experience of suicidal ideation), Daniel Mackler, and many others dealing with clinical or business oriented topics.

The plan is for our next speaker at The ARTA conference in March, 2016, to be an expert on LGBTQIA.

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The secret ingredient for getting through holiday stress?

“Navigating through a jolly holiday season and wishes for a wonderful new year when living with a chronic, debilitating health condition or caring for someone might have you thinking, “this is no holiday!” But researchers are documenting how expressing thanks can lead to a healthier, happier and less-stressed life….” Check out this article on Medium for the secret to reduced-stress holidays!

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Community Creative Corner

by: Richard Delisle
by: Richard Delisle
Richard Delisle2
by: Richard Delisle








Richard Delisle4
by Richard Delisle
Richard Delisle3
by Richard Delisle








If you are interested in printing out a copy at no charge, please let Rich or Astrid know!

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No transitions this month!

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