Welcome to the continuation of a conversation about Inclusion, moderated by Chuck Knapp. Participants Sorin Thomas, Anne Marie DiGiacomo, and Polly Banerjee Gallagher go deeper into the question of how and why some ways of being get marginalized. In a particularly poignant shift, they each address having internalized messages about aspects of their own identities as inferior, and how that can lead to unintentionally inflicting harm on oneself. Also, they consider how some identities get overemphasized for their difference while others are erased—both forms of disregard for the uniqueness of each person’s experience. Finally, Sorin, Anne Marie, and Polly ask how—at the organizational level—we can do better to welcome people and voices that have not been well represented where decisions are made.
We hope that this conversation prompts you to look within as well as beyond—to find compassion for yourself and a warm, broad embrace of others.
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.
Polly Banerjee-Gallagher she/her is currently the Director of Windhorse Community Services. She has been a part of the WCS community since 1998 as a Housemate and Basic Attender, Team Leader, and Psychotherapist. Besides her clinical roles, Polly was also the Assistant Director of Admissions until 2019. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a MA in Counseling from the University of Colorado. Polly comes from a multicultural background as she was born in Burma and has lived in India.
Chuck Knapp, M.A., L.P.C., he/him a student of Chogyam Trungpa and graduate of Naropa University, worked closely for many years with Dr. Ed Podvoll, originator of the Windhorse Approach. Chuck was a founding member and later director of Friendship House, which was a publically funded residential treatment home for people with extreme mental states. In 1990 he co-founded Windhorse Community Services in Boulder, Colorado, where he served as a Co-Director until 2019, and currently works as a senior clinician. Through his published writings, presentations at conferences, and as co-founder and coordinator of the Windhorse Journal in 2018, Chuck continues to share his interest in exploring mindfulness-based therapeutic environments for both individual and social wellbeing.