Welcome to this podcast, the eighth in our series on Basic Attendance and the activity of a Windhorse team. In today’s conversation, instead of looking at a specific team role, we’ll be discussing Community Programs–one of the innovative ways we help our clients move, at their own pace, from their home-based therapeutic team to ordinary life. Joining us for this conversation are Mike Levy, Laurie Dameron, Silvan Erb-Summers, and Erik Castro.
As much as anything we do at Windhorse Community Services, I’m so inspired by my experiences of our Community Programs activities. For instance, I just spoke with one of my clients who’s a cornerstone of the community. Asking him what he’d say in this introduction, his response made me laugh at how flat-footed what I’d written sounded by comparison. In his words,
Community Programs is relaxed and informal in a good way, kind of like Windhorse as a whole. Our groups and activities feel uplifting, grounded, energetic, and they foster greater connections between us all—especially between clients and staff, where we feel like equal members of the community. The culture we’ve created attempts to draw on the strengths of each member, with the further intention of encouraging us all to contribute to the wellbeing of the community at large, and the world as a whole. There’s also a kind of smooth timing in the way our community relates to each individual, which may sound like a strange term, but we try to let people grow and change at their own pace. Inviting change, rather than forcing is the feeling. At the same time, speaking from my experience, our communication is kind, yet direct, and it really brings out good parts of me that therapy may not always see.
One of the great strengths of the Windhorse Approach is that we’re often able to form strong relationships with people who have previously not been attracted to therapy. The young man whose thoughts I just shared is a prime example of someone who, before Windhorse, wasn’t able to form a strong enough connection to therapy. As recovery is almost always a social process, its success is naturally dependent on creating strong and healthy relationships, both inside and outside of our teams. And this is where Community Programs really shines, offering a wide range of social opportunities outside the team—from helping very shy people to make new friends, to recreational outings, to educational and life skills groups, to supporting our clients in finding and sustaining employment. Community Programs helps people find connection with their passions, even in opportunities to give back to the world. And just like life, while the process of recovery will be challenging, there’s always an opportunity to grow and have some fun along the way with your friends. For many people, our community is the transitional therapeutic environment where so much of this happens.
I hope you have as much fun listening to this conversation as I had hosting it.
Thanks for joining us,
Laurie Dameron is a Peer Support Specialist working as a Team Counselor at Windhorse Community Services since February 2022. She is also a professional musician and environmental activist and has worked with a Windhorse client that loves to do research on environmental issues since January 2020.
Michael Levy, LPC Graduated from Antioch college 2004 with a mixed focus on psychology and society. Buddhist and meditation retreats intensively between 2002 through 2018. He was hired at Windhorse integrative health in 2004 and worked on four teams as a housemate over 6 years and many other teams as a counselor and clinical mentor until 2010. Mike was hired at Windhorse Community Services in 2011. He finished his MA in Professional Counseling in 2012 and was licensed in 2016. Since then, Michael has been trained and worked as a Team Counselor and an IP. He has supervised 10 to 15 housemates and was Housemate supervisor for some time. Mike continues to relate to his experience as a housemate as a core experience for all of his work at Windhorse and with others. Currently bringing that experience to his new role as Community Programs Administrator, trying to integrate households, community, and society.
Eric Castro MA: Beginning as a housemate with WCS in 2016, has since completed his Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees from Colorado State University and Colorado School of Public Health respectively. He currently holds the positions of Team Counselor, Assistant Team Leader, and Community Programs Activities Coordinator at WCS. Eric is working to licensure as a Clinical Social Worker Candidate.
Silvan Erb- Summers, LPC is a Prior Highschool Art teacher. He holds a Masters in Somatic Counceling Psychology and dance/movement therapy from Naropa University. He is a Team Counselor and Community Programs Facilitator at WCS. Silvan also works with individuals and couples in private practice