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The Windhorse Blog

A Journey through Loneliness

The timing of the most recent installment of the Windhorse Education Series, offered monthly and now open to clients as well as staff, was perfect. The topic was loneliness, and Valentine’s Day was right around the corner—a holiday meant to celebrate love and intimacy and connection, but is also the cause of intensified suffering for […]

Finding Wonder in Nature

What is it about nature that calms the mind? The relationship between nature and mental health seems intuitively obvious, especially to nature lovers. When feeling down or lost in an emotional fog, merely going for a walk in the woods can sooth the mind and body, softening the sharp edges and balancing mood. Watching two […]

A Journey through Loneliness towards Courageous Aloneness

Loneliness, like all human emotions, is an incredibly complex experience that is difficult to adequately define. Dr. Edward Podvoll, founder of the Windhorse approach and author of Recovering Sanity resisted the urge to define it and instead made the distinction between loneliness and “aloneness.” While loneliness often has a negative connotation, Podvoll believed “there is […]

Saved by the Book

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” —Jane Smiley Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel. Can you relate? Do you view the books that live on your shelves as dear friends or even as saviors? Coming into your life as though coming to your rescue. And yet […]

Inter-relational Healing

I love this quote by E. F. Shumacher, who wrote the amazing book, Small is Beautiful, Economics as if People Mattered: “We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful. Because if we don’t do the right […]

Nonviolent Communication

The power and significance of nonviolent communication is clearly in the air this January. On Monday, January 15, the nation celebrated the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by […]

Windhorse Talks: Deb Dana Presentation and Workshop on Polyvagal Theory

If you had walked into the Windhorse community room one Wednesday morning in early November, you would probably wonder if you were having a very strange dream. For in the community room you would discover the Windhorse staff wandering around wearing sunglasses, expressionless, and speaking to each other in monotone voices. Suddenly, the warm, caring […]

Being Polyvagal: The Polyvagal Theory Explained

The intention of this article is to explain the Polyvagal Theory, and to relate it to the Windhorse approach.  This theory was developed by Stephen Porges, and has great relevance to “basic attendance”  and Windhorse, which puts meaningful relationships as the basis of healing from extreme states of mind.  Polyvagal Theory is a tool for working with trauma […]

Windhorse Talk: Basic Attendance and Relational Mindfulness

Regardless of our role or setting, we intuitively know the importance of being present and open if we want to genuinely “be there” for another person. According to contemplative psychology, this capacity to be present and available is an expression of our basic human sanity and a strength we can cultivate. We share this capacity […]

Windhorse Talks: Dr. Gail Hornstein

Recently, Windhorse had the honor of welcoming Gail Hornstein to join us for a conversation about the life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, the pioneering psychiatrist who dedicated her life to doing intensive psychotherapy with the most disturbed patients, and was an important influence on Edward Podvoll, founder of Windhorse. Gail Hornstein is Professor of Psychology at […]

Saved by the Book: A Brief Introduction to Bibliotherapy

n her book “Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel”, Jane Smiley wrote that “Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” Perhaps you are one of those people. I know that I am. I view the books that live on my shelves as dear friends, some even as […]

Finding Wonder in Nature and the Mind

What is it about nature that calms the mind and provides a support for mental and emotional well being? As someone who has spent a lot of my adult life outside, farming and camping, I have some thoughts and observations to share with you. The relationship between nature, connection, and mental health seems intuitively obvious, especially to […]

LGBTQ Considerations in Mental Health Organizations

Davis Chadler, Northampton Windhorse clinician and Andi Porter, Operations at Northampton, offered a brief training during an all staff meeting on the topic of using affirming pronouns. Windhorse has been working towards becoming more inclusive and aware of issues facing individuals with gender diversity, particularly those who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming or non-binary; and anyone who […]

Recovering Sanity Session 3: Crowhurst Chapter – Megalomania Is Very Close to Us All

Over the course of the next few months, Windhorse Northampton will be having discussions about Podvoll’s Recovering Sanity which is a principle book towards the Windhorse approach to recovery. The discussion is lectured by staff members and open to the wider Windhorse community. This first post was lectured by Gary Blaser.  The following is an […]

Harm Reduction with Co-occurring Diagnosis

On a mild spring weekday in April, several Windhorse clinicians braved the unpredictable traffic of Boston to attend an all-day conference called “Attachment and Addiction: Harm Reduction and Relational Approaches,” that was co-sponsored by Ellenhorn and Psych Garden.  This is a timely and resonant topic for Windhorse IMH, as we work from a “harm reduction” perspective […]

Poetics of the Mind

Poetics of the Mind is a collection of poetry from both famous and new who have lived with mental health disruptions and share that experience in their work. We hope you’re able to immerse yourself in the words and worlds of these poets. The Colossus BY SYLVIA PLATH I shall never get you put together […]

Meditation Retreat Day 1 with Buddhist teacher Judith Lief

Last month, the Northampton Windhorse staff had a two-day training retreat with the Buddhist teacher Judy Lief at Windhorse Hill Retreat Center, home of the Engaged Mindfulness Institute. Over the course of these two days, we deepened our understanding and practice of mindfulness-awareness and Tonglen.  We explored the nuances of being present with ourselves and others and cultivating […]

Recovering Sanity Session 1: His Earlier Works

Over the course of the next few months, Windhorse Northampton will be having discussions about Podvoll’s Recovering Sanity which is a principle book towards the Windhorse approach to recovery. The discussion is lectured by staff members and open to the wider Windhorse community. This first post was lectured by Mary Tibbetts and Phoebe Walker. The following is an edited […]

Recovering Sanity Session 2: Beyond the Medical Model

Over the course of the next few months, Windhorse Northampton will be having discussions about Podvoll’s Recovering Sanity which is a principle book towards the Windhorse approach to recovery. The discussion is lectured by staff members and open to the wider Windhorse community. This first post was lectured by Mary Tibbetts and Phoebe Walker. The following is an edited […]

Lama Rod Owens Speaks at Windhorse

  Sitting with Lama Rod is to be guided into conversations and contemplations around things that affect us all but we’re scared to talk about like sex, race, identity, gender, class, power, depression, and all the other stuff we tend to turn away from. He sits with the Windhorse staff and guides us through unpacking […]

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