Welcome to a conversation about Inclusion, moderated by Chuck Knapp. Participants Sorin Thomas, Anne Marie DiGiacomo, and Polly Banerjee Gallagher consider the fears and faulty premises that lead us to value some identities and marginalize others. Binaries blind us to the range of human experience, causing needless suffering to those who don’t fit in the narrow band of acceptability. Windhorse’s contemplative roots remind us that what seems real or solid is illusory. In our work, we engage with people whose states of mind have been deemed pathological. A more expansive view allows us to acknowledge that mental health exists on a spectrum, and we are all capable of extremes.
Sorin reflected on this theme of the space between binaries:
I grew up in-between. Between cultures on a U.S. naval base in southern Spain, between working and middle class sides of family, between genders. When I co-founded Queer Asterisk in 2016, I knew that in my clinical and educational work, I wanted to speak to the complexities of identity. I wanted to be a bridge person—helping people navigate scary or unfamiliar territory with curiosity and compassion.
Today, I provide educational trainings on diversity, equity, and inclusion with a focus on supporting professionals to better understand and effectively serve everyone they encounter in their work. These issues are close to my heart. Those of us who live on the margins of society carry deep wells of wisdom, which—if cultivated—can benefit the lasting health of all of us.
We hope that this conversation brings a bit of that wisdom—and a move toward lasting health—to you.
Lori S. Heintzelman
Sorin L. Thomas, xe/xyr/xem MA, LPC, LAC, CGP, Founding and Executive Director of Queer Asterisk Therapeutic Services, is a queer and transgender Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Addictions Counselor, and Certified Group Psychotherapist with over a decade of professional experience in the field of psychology serving queer and transgender individuals and their families. Sorin has a Masters in Somatic Counseling Psychology from Naropa University and post-graduate experience in wilderness therapy, addiction recovery, adolescent and adult residential treatment, community based services, emergency psychiatric services, and hospital settings. In addition to offering queer-affirming counseling and clinical supervision, Sorin offers consultation and diversity, equity, and inclusivity trainings through a queer lens to mental health organizations, addiction recovery centers, social service agencies, hospitals, and schools.
Anne Marie DiGiacomo they/them is Director of Admissions for WCS. She received her MSW from the University of Denver. She spent the first 18 years of her career working in both community mental health and nonprofit settings. In 1996, she relocated to Northampton, MA and began her work with Windhorse Associates. Ms. DiGiacomo served as the Clinical Director from 2001-05 as well as the interim Co-Executive Director from 2002-03. She returned to WCS, Inc. in 2006 as a senior clinician, and became Director of Admissions in fall 2007. From 2011-2019, she was a Windhorse co-director/owner. Anne Marie was an adjunct faculty member from 2006-2013 for the MA contemplative Psychology Program at Naropa University and has co-authored a book chapter describing the Windhorse approach.