The role of the Team Counselor involves therapeutic companionship with a client and basic therapist qualities such as attunement, presence, congruence, and evolved listening and observation skills. And navigating decisions together—the give and take of ordinary friendship—is a powerful antidote for the loneliness and alienation experienced by many Windhorse clients struggling with psychosis and other extreme states of mind.
In this episode, current and former Team Counselors talk through experiences of such relational medicine and mutual recovery. Team Leader and former Team Counselor, Dave Dunlap, discusses the subtlety of forming a relationship with a client. Building rapport is different for each person, and Dave’s narrative illustrates the unique—but ordinary—actions Team Counselors take to create relationships and environments of safety and ease. Being present and attuned to clients and their environments are two essential pieces to establishing the ground for healing. Dave shares how he listened and facilitated a connection that goes both ways.
The work of a Team Counselor involves many aspects of ordinary relationality: intimacy, bonding, unconditional positive regard, setting boundaries, and recognizing how different inner and outer environments support or deter access to clarity and sanity in both clients and themselves. For me, these are some of the most inspiring characteristics of basic attendance within the Team Counselor role. This means that we are always in the process of creating genuine relationships with people in their natural environments where healing is possible.
I hope you enjoy the episode.
Rebecca Diaz MA LPCC (she/they) has worked at Windhorse Community services since the fall of 2019. Rebecca was hired as a team counselor soon after completing their counseling practicum with Windhorse Community Services. Rebecca currently works in Assistant Team Leader and Team Leader roles. Rebecca is also a psychotherapist and works with individuals and couples in group practice. Rebecca is a graduate of the Naropa Master’s program in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology.. Rebecca believes social identities are sacred — race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, difficult states of mind, and expression. They welcome, celebrate, and invite clients’ social identities into the healing process. In their spare time, Rebecca loves to explore bodies of water, study and write poetry, and collects thrift store tchotchkes
Skye Dowell (she/they) is a graduate student at Naropa University’s Transpersonal Art Therapy Program, and a Team Counselor at Windhorse Community Services. They are an artist and love art of all mediums: especially watercolor and ceramics. They are excited to be learning about how the creative process can facilitate healing and recovery. Skye believes that art therapy can be useful in helping to build a foundation on which to release and rewrite old unhelpful narratives. As a therapist, Skye has a passion for helping people find hope after trauma and believes deeply in the human capacity to heal, even after a lifetime of chronic traumatic events. “With sufficient support, we can each find our own unique path to wellness.”
Eirikur Baldursson, MA has been with WCS since 2014. He has an MA Buddhist Studies from Naropa University. Erikur taught cello for many years and studied Philosophy in Germany in the 80s. He is originally from Iceland. His Interest is in the full range of human mind and experience from “mental illness” to the sublime beauty of art and classical music. Erikur is a teacher of Buddhism and meditation and doesn’t define himself by his past or what he does.
Dave Dunlap, MA, LCP started his life in quiet obscurity, keeping mostly to himself and actively working to avoid being noticed. At the age of eighteen he decided to change up his persona and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He started Boot Camp at nineteen and has not been the same person since. In the Marine Corps he was introduced to the challenges and rewards of leadership and responsibility. After serving in active duty for four years, he transitioned back into civilian life to see what paths he might find himself on. He was inspired to pursue a career in outdoor education and relocated from the Philadelphia area to Leadville Colorado in 2003. Dave explored the wonderful world of outdoor education for almost 10 years before feeling the calling to something different. After some soul searching and gathering his courage, he enrolled in Graduate school at the age of thirty-two and began his studies in mental health counseling. Dave was lucky enough to connect with Windhorse Community Services and fill the role of a Housemate just before beginning his Graduate studies. This experience left an indelible mark on Dave and he found himself drawn back to WCS after completing his studies. Dave has filled the roles of Team Counselor, Assistant Team Leader, and he is now a Team Leader, and has recently begun IP training.