Meet Our Team

Inner Fire Board of Directors

Beatrice Birch

Beatrice Birch

Founder and Board President

Full Profile

Beatrice Birch, Inner Fire founder and Board President, has worked as a Hauschka Artistic therapist for more than 30 years in integrative clinics and inspiring initiatives in England, Holland and the USA where the whole human being of body, soul and spirit was recognized and embraced in the healing process. She has lectured and taught as far afield as Taiwan. Her passionate belief in both the creative spirit within everyone and the importance of choice, along with her love and interest in the human being has taken her also into prisons where she has volunteered for many years offering soul support through Alternatives to Violence work and watercolor painting.

Liz Rogers

Liz Rogers

Board Chair

Full Profile

Liz Rogers comes to the Inner Fire board with a wealth of experience in multiple roles.  She has been a manager of residences for persons with developmental disabilities in Boston, a theater manager in Scotland, has spent several years as a massage and cranio-sacral therapist and is a professional musician, performer and composer. Liz is currently a doctoral candidate in Psychology at Antioch University in Keene, NH, and is especially passionate about systems and group work.  Having spent seven years living in an intentional eco-village in Scotland, Liz brings her experience in technologies of conscious community living to the Inner Fire board, and is particularly excited to support Inner Fire in this systemic aspect of mental health.

Tom Kavet

Tom Kavet

Board Treasurer

Full Profile

Tom Kavet, Inner Fire Board Treasurer, is President of Kavet, Rockler & Associates, LLC, an economic and public policy consulting firm (www.kavetrockler.com). For the past 19 years, Tom has been the State Economist and Principal Economic Advisor to the Vermont Legislature, where his firm provides economic forecasting and related analytic services. Prior to starting KRA in 1989, Tom was a Vice President at DRI/McGraw-Hill, the nation’s largest economic consulting firm, where he started and led the construction and real estate forecasting group. In addition to many non-profit and community boards, Tom is a member of the Policy Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Laurie Rabut

Laurie Rabut

Board Secretary

Full Profile

Laurie Rabut, Inner Fire Board Secretary, is an accomplished musician and teacher. After graduating from the Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts, she began a career teaching, composing and performing. Having taught music in the Amherst, MA public schools for 32 years, Laurie has also performed early music with numerous ensembles in the New York and New England region and currently coaches ensembles for the Five College Early Music Program in Amherst MA. Laurie is an active student and practitioner of mindfulness, holds a graduate certificate in Mindfulness in Education, and is a certified .b mindfulness teacher. Her studies with Anishinaabe elders from northern Canada have been a deep and rich part of Laurie’s personal journey, and these experiences and teachings have further deepened her connection with, and respect for, the earth and all beings that inhabit her. Laurie’s mindfulness practice and her work with indigenous elders have served to deepen her belief in the resilient nature of the human spirit in the most difficult of circumstances.

Michael Steinrueck

Michael Steinrueck

Board Member

Full Profile

Michael Steinrueck is currently working with speech arts and gardening at Inner Fire. in 1984 he completed the four-year training in Creative Speech in Stuttgart, Germany.  He has extensive experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities, and has a broad teaching and performing background in the speech arts. He completed the one-year course in biodynamic agriculture at the Pfeiffer Center in New York in 2014, and managed the farm at the Lukas Community for adults with special needs for 3 years. His greatest passion is the creation and cultivation of healing spaces through land management, social and cultural activities, and spiritual awareness.

Julie Birns

Julie Birns

Board Member

Full Profile

Julie Birns received her B.A. in Psychology from Boston University and her R.N. from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. She is a psychiatric survivor who is passionate about helping people whose intention is to recover from extreme states without the use of psychotropic drugs. Julie recently completed her training as a Nurse Practitioner and is currently working in Arizona in this capacity.  Read Julie’s article “The Best Medicine” here.

James Pewtherer

James Pewtherer

Board Vice-Chair

Full Profile

James Pewtherer has worked as an educator in Waldorf education for over 40 years, teaching children, young people and adults. He has been an active leader in this school movement, both nationally and internationally since the early 1980’s, working continually to develop curriculum, approaches to teaching, and organizational forms that will address the whole human being in a healthy way.
His interest in the work of Inner Fire grows out of this active involvement with and study of human development and education. The effectiveness of the approaches used at Inner Fire through the co-working of guides and seekers is extraordinarily promising. This work, which has already allowed some Inner Fire seekers to throw off their dependency on psychotropic drugs, is an indication of what would be possible for so many more people struggling to regain control of their lives. It is in light of this need that he wants to help Inner Fire to share its findings, approaches and methods with mental health professionals and government health officials so that this work can be shared and financially supported. The health-giving activities practiced at Inner Fire offer real hope at a time when pharmaceutical solutions have fallen so far short of what is needed to help individuals become their healthy selves once again.

Inner Fire Advisory Board

Francis Greenburger

Francis Greenburger

Founder and CEO of Time Equities Inc.

Full Profile

Francis Greenburger is the founder, chief executive officer and guiding force behind Time Equities Inc. Established in 1966, Time Equities Inc. (TEI) has been in the real estate investment, development and asset & property management business for more than 45 years.

Mr. Greenburger is also the Chairman of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc., a literary agency, and is the founder and principal benefactor of Omi International Arts Center, established in 1992. Omi is a not-for-profit arts organization with residency programs for international visual artists, writers, translators, musicians, and dancers, as well as year-round arts education program, an experimental architecture lab, and The Fields, a renowned sculpture park located on a 300-acre property in Ghent, New York.

Mr. Greenburger is also a very active board member of several not-for-profit organizations: Alliance for Downtown New York, Baruch Real Estate Advisory Board for the Department of Real Estate, Lavigny Writer’s Residency, Lincoln Center – Real Estate and Construction Council, Little Red Schoolhouse/Elizabeth Irwin High School Board of Trustees, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MASS MoCA, Michael Wolk Heart Foundation, NYU Real Estate Institute Advisory Board, and Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation.

In 2014, Mr. Greenburger started the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice, a non-profit organization committed to advocating for reforms to the criminal justice system. The Center believes that the criminal justice system should focus on rehabilitation and not only punishment, that laws should protect society, not penalize poverty, mental illness or underlying substance abuse, and that Judges must have the ability to fashion sentences that do justice while preserving human dignity and the potential for reentry, and include alternatives for incarceration. In founding the Center, Mr. Greenburger stated: “Mass incarceration, including of those with significant mental illness and addictions, is the most important social justice issue of our time and it is happening on our watch. I and every member of society have an obligation to respond and not allow it to go on.”

Dina Tyler

Dina Tyler

Psychiatrist

Full Profile

Dina Tyler is a psychiatric survivor, trainer, advocate and peer supporter. Dina is the Director of the Bay Area Mandala Project, a group bringing together alternative healing communities to support the transformational and spiritual aspects of extreme states of consciousness. She has seven years experience in community mental health working in early psychosis and bipolar intervention programs around California’s Bay Area, where she trained and supervised peers and family supporters, trained clinical staff on recovery-based language and approaches, and brought compassionate alternative approaches through direct peer support and mentorship. She is a co-founder, facilitator and Board Member of the Bay Area Hearing Voices Network. Dina received her B.A. in Sociology, with a focus on mental health and stigma from UC Berkeley. She was awarded the prestigious Peer Specialist of the Year by the National Council for Behavioral Health in 2015 for her work with young adults recently diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

Dina’s interest in Inner Fire comes out of her years seeing the need for alternatives to conventional mental health care, that people should have a choice in their treatment, and supports Inner Fire’s vision to create a place of healing for those who have said “no more” to psychiatric hospitalization and medications.

Olivia Stokes Dreier, M.P.A., M.S.W.

Olivia Stokes Dreier, M.P.A., M.S.W.

Executive Director of Karuna Center for Peacebuilding

Full Profile

Olivia Stokes Dreier, M.P.A., M.S.W. is the Executive Director of Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, a nonprofit in Amherst Massachusetts that works with international partners to promote social healing in countries recovering from war. From 2002-2012, she also directed the Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT) Graduate Certificate Program at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. Olivia has led programs in peacebuilding, inter-communal dialogue, and reconciliation in over 15 conflict-affected countries, ranging from Africa to South Asia, the Balkans, the Caucuses, and the Middle East. She recently directed a two-year inter-faith reconciliation program with 160 Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian religious leaders in a region of Sri Lanka heavily affected by the 27-year civil war. She is currently developing a program in Burundi, Rwanda, and eastern Congo, focused on building the capacity of local groups to break inter-connected cycles of communal and gender-based violence.

In her early 20’s, Olivia worked for two years with the Gandhian movement in India on rural development and non-formal education. She spent two years leading artistic therapy programs at Gould Farm, a residential psychiatric community, and then worked for 20 years in community mental health. Together with her husband, she also helped start the Hartsbrook Waldorf School in Hadley, MA.

Olivia holds a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University, a Masters in Social Work from Smith College, and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Sandy Reider, M.D.

Sandy Reider, M.D.

Medical Advisor

Full Profile

Sandy Reider, M.D. graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1971, completed a medical internship at the Medcal Center Hospital of Vermont, and practiced family medicine and emergency medicine in Vermont from 1972-1985. For the past 30 years Dr. Reider has maintained a private medical practice in northern Vermont, with particular emphasis on nutrition, classical homeopathy and anthroposophical treatments. Dr. Reider has been one of Inner Fire’s medical advisors since its inception.

Nels Kloster, M.D.

Nels Kloster, M.D.

Psychiatrist

Full Profile

Nels Kloster, M.D. has been practicing psychiatry in VT for 10 years with a focus on community mental health. Over time he has seen the limitations of medications, as well as their detrimental physical and psychological impacts. With the sense that pharmaceuticals are used for too many people, and for too lengthy periods of time, he has joined Inner Fire in the hope of furthering more rational and person-centered approaches to wellness.

Gerhard Bedding

Gerhard Bedding

Activist

Full Profile

Gerhard Bedding emigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1955, having experienced 5 years of Nazi occupation during WW2. Gerhard is a renowned elementary school Waldorf teacher and tutor. From 1971-75 he edited a science journal for Xerox Education Publications. Gerhardt holds Master’s degrees from the University of Chicago and Wesleyan University. As an activist, he has questioned nuclear power, defended health freedom and alternative medicine, and supported truth and transparency in government. His interest in Inner Fire has its roots in seeing a sister caught in the trap of psychotropic medications, and wondering how her biography might have changed if she had been exposed to a different healing protocol.

Thabile Mnisi-Msibi, Ph.D.

Thabile Mnisi-Msibi, Ph.D.

Founder and Director of Mission Society Care

Full Profile

Thabile Mnisi-Msibi, Ph.D. is the Founder and Director of Mission Society Care (MS Care), a hospice and skill development multi-purpose organization based in Johannesburg South Africa that has sought to provide care, education and a source of hope for people at the margins of society in South Africa. MS Care’s mission is to: Educate underserved communities about the medical and socio-economic implications of HIV/AIDS and methods of prevention; Provide care and training for those suffering from the disease, providing dedicated, in-house care for those in the final weeks of life, and; Welcome AIDS orphans from the community with food, friendship, and afterschool programs. MS Care provides primary healthcare, pre- and post- traumatic stress counselling, HIV/AIDS education, care for abused children and women, palliative care through home and community visits, life skills training, training for caregivers, group support for caregivers, food parcels provision for the needy, projects development for poverty alleviation, and assistance with schoolwork (as well as school uniforms and school fees) for children without family or staying with family members who are illiterate. Dr. Mnisi-Msibi is also a multi–gifted International motivational speaker, best-selling author, radio and television personality, and business consultant. She sees global potential for improvement in mental health through the unique programs and treatment modalities offered by Inner Fire.

Piers Kaniuka

Piers Kaniuka

Chair of the Department of Integral Psychology at Burlington College

Full Profile

Piers Kaniuka is the Chair of the Department of Integral Psychology at Burlington College in Burlington, Vermont. He has worked for many years in the field of substance abuse treatment, and was a co-founder of Plymouth House, a 12 Step retreat located in Plymouth, New Hampshire. A student of Spiritual Psychology and the contemplative tradition, he is especially interested in how to best utilize wellness practices in the treatment of mental disorders. Piers is a certified yoga instructor and leads contemplative retreats at the Alcyon Center on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

Ken Libertoff, Ph.D.

Ken Libertoff, Ph.D.

Psychologist

Full Profile

Ken Libertoff, Ph.D. served for thirty years as director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health, a statewide citizens’ organization. During those years, Dr. Libertoff was a prominent lobbyist at the Vermont statehouse, representing those challenged by mental health and substance abuse issues. In 1997, under his leadership, Vermont passed the nation’s most expansive and progressive parity legislation, which mandated parity in health insurance plans in Vermont between mental health care and physical health care services. Dr. Libertoff also was vigilant on annual appropriations processes while playing a major role on many initiatives including the prohibition of shackling children in the state’s mental health and family services departments and a campaign to reduce the reliance of psychotropic medications in the treatment of children and adolescents. In 2009, Dr. Libertoff also led a successful campaign to regulate and reduce the influence of the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. As reported in the New York Times, Vermont became the first state to ban free gifts and food to members of the state’s medical community while making all fiscal transactions transparent and part of the public record. Dr. Libertoff has lectured and consulted in more than 35 states, spoken at the Sorbonne in Paris and served as a consultant in South Africa. He retired in 2010 after three decades of public advocacy work and was honored by a Vermont legislative resolution (H.C.R. 360) highlighting his many accomplishments and “exemplary work as a mental healthcare advocate.” Ken Libertoff was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard University in 1978. Ken’s support for Inner Fire is based on a belief that, “Vermont and the nation need new and alternative approaches in the treatment of those who struggle with mental health and addictive disorders. Building new models, especially ones that build treatment approaches without reliance on pharmaceutical medications, is a most worthy quest.”

Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.

Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.

Author, Educator, Advocate

Full Profile

Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D. is nationally and internationally recognized for her work in studying how people recover from mental health challenges. Her focus is on shifting the system of mental health care toward prevention and recovery through education, training, and research. Dr. Copeland is the author of many books, including: The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living with Depression and Manic DepressionHealing the Trauma of Abuse: A Women’s WorkbookRecovering from Depression: A Workbook for TeensLiving Without Depression and Manic Depression: A Workbook for Maintaining Mood StabilityFibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Survival ManualThe Loneliness Workbook: A Guide to Developing and Maintaining Lasting ConnectionsThe Worry Control WorkbookWinning Against Relapse: A Workbook of Action Plans for Recurring Health and Emotional Problems, and is the creator of the renowned Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). Dr. Copeland can be reached at maryellencopeland@mentalhealthrecovery.com. Her website is: mentalhealthrecovery.com.

Lynn Barrett

Lynn Barrett

Founder and president of Primetime Concepts, Inc. and publisher of SO Vermont Arts & Living magazine

Full Profile

Lynn Barrett is founder and president of Primetime Concepts, Inc. and publisher of SO Vermont Arts & Living magazine. She is an award-winning communicator with over 25 years experience in media, marketing and public relations. As president of Primetime Concepts, Inc., she has an enviable track record in creating and executing literally hundreds of consumer brand campaigns, sponsorships, special events and cause-related programs for corporate clients such as Chase, Hyatt Resorts, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Parker Brothers, The Home Service Store, the Manchester Designer Outlets, Historic Manchester, Southern Vermont; NEC, McDonald’s, Lincoln Life, Citicorp, Louis Vuitton, Golisano for Governor, among others.

PTC’s non-profit clients have included the Ronald McDonald House, Camp to Belong, The Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure, High 5 Adventure Learning Center, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Rescue Inc., Strolling of the Heifers, Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce, Southern Vermont Regional Marketing Program, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Brattleboro Retreat 175th Anniversary, Landmark Trust, The Nature Museum, New England Center for Circus Arts.
She is expert in translating ideas and issues into “media-worthy” and social media-worthy stories and events. Her interest in Inner Fire is to assist a young, deserving non-profit that offers an alternative choice, develop their story and get it out to the world.

David Dunn

David Dunn

Partner, Phillips, Dunn, Shriver & Carroll Law

Full Profile

David Dunn is a partner in Phillips, Dunn, Shriver & Carroll, P.C. in Brattleboro, Vermont, concentrating in corporate, banking, and business law. He represents several non-profits in Windham County and has been on the boards of many others, including the Brattleboro Retreat, Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development, Youth Services, New England Youth Theater, Brattleboro Habitat for Humanity, and Windham County United Way. He graduated from Cornell University then attended Vermont Law School, graduating in 1981 with a J.D. and a Masters in Environmental Law. He practiced for six years in Washington, D.C. followed by seven years in Boston before returning to Vermont in 1995. Since that time he has practiced with the same firm in Brattleboro while raising two children.
David’s interest in Inner Fire began when he was approached by Beatrice to provide legal services to the non-profit. He has always been a supporter of increased funding and awareness of mental issues and finding the best method for addressing the debilitating effects of addiction and related co-morbidity, and was (and continues to be) intrigued and supportive of Inner Fire’s unique way of addressing and resolving issues on an individualized basis that leads to a life-long cure.

Guides / Therapists

Rebecca Musgrove

Rebecca Musgrove

Biographical Counselor

Full Profile

Rebecca Musgrove works at Inner Fire as a Biographical Counselor and Biography group facilitator and guide. She initially trained in Art and Design and then as a Waldorf Teacher in the UK. While completing her three-year Biographical Counseling training, she worked as an English Literature, Language and Drama teacher for adolescents at a Waldorf School in the UK. Stemming in part from personal experiences of soul struggles, Rebecca has a deep interest in the emotional and social development of individuals and how this can lead to a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. Rebecca uses her creativity, openness and capacity for deep listening to help facilitate lasting transformation.

Zach Holmes

Zach Holmes

Forester

Full Profile

Zach Holmes joins Inner Fire as a forester and carpenter. He comes to us after 18 years as an outdoor educator, program coordinator and leader for a relationship-based holistic high school. He is experienced in guiding individuals to challenge themselves in a safe and compassionate way. He uses eco-psychology, team building and mindfulness while teaching foraging, bush crafting, land stewardship and carpentry. Zach has studied Focusing and Nonviolent Communication with Wendy Webber and Beatrice Blake. He was taught native skills by Brian Robertshaw.

John Hughes

John Hughes

Drumming Guide

Full Profile

John Hughes leads regular musical evenings at Inner Fire. He is an internationally acclaimed composer, kora player, percussionist and vocalist, whose style ranges from traditional west African rhythms and melodies to original work that crosses cultural boundaries and fuses disparate influences. John takes listeners on an intimate musical tour of universal expressions of joy and hope, at once soothing and uplifting. Also a sculptor, dancer, instrument builder and educator, John holds a B.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art and an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. John has studied the music, song and dance of West Africa for more than 20 years, training with numerous master drummers and dancers from Guinea and Mali, including Mamady Keita, Famoudou Konate and Youssouf Koumbassa. Please visit John’s website to learn more: www.johnhughesarts.com

Mary Stowe

Mary Stowe

Overnight Guide

Full Profile

Mary Stowe, overnight and weekend guide, grew up in the woods of Greenfield, MA and Wilmington, VT. After graduating from UMass-Amherst, she lived in the Middle East for fifteen years, raising her children and teaching German and English at Yarmouk University in Jordan. In the United Arab Emirates she taught in a British primary school and discovered her love of teaching young children. After returning to the US, Mary completed her Waldorf teacher training at Antioch New England, and proceeded to work in Waldorf education for over 20 years. She now resides in Brattleboro, VT, volunteers as a guardian at litem for the Windham County Family Court, and serves as the Vermont Coordinator for the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), which seeks to research, preserve and protect Native American ceremonial landscape sites. She also serves on the Leadership Council of The Manitou Project. Mary finds relaxation in hiking, canoeing, and camping and joie de vivre in singing, Argentine tango and contra dancing.

Audrie Brown

Audrie Brown

Chef, Nutritional Guide

Full Profile

Audrie Brown, chef extraordinaire at Inner Fire, comes to us from Michigan, where she raised her family and taught children from early childhood through high school. When she was still a teenager, Audrie read Food is Your Best Medicine, by Dr. Henry Bieler, and there began a life-long exploration into the connection between diet and health. Beginning with vegetarianism, raw foods and Natural Hygiene, Audrie has experienced a wide array of approaches to nutrition over the years. The continuous thread running through these has been avoiding processed foods and sourcing the highest quality organics available. For many years she grew and canned much of her own produce. In the past decade, Audrie has focused her attention primarily on the specific relationship between digestive disorders and physical and mental health issues. Utilizing the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) approach to nutritional healing of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has been instrumental in helping her to understand how to provide nourishing and healing nutritional protocols for those suffering with both emotional and physical challenges. Audrie has a bachelor’s degree in Health Education from Central Michigan University, and certificates in Waldorf Education and Massage Therapy. She also has a Servsafe kitchen manager certificate.

Marguerite Gadbois

Marguerite Gadbois

Spacial Dynamic and Massage Therapist

Full Profile

Marguerite Gadbois, Spacial Dynamics practitioner, brings several years experience in the realm of natural healing, early childhood education and love of movement to her work at Inner Fire. Before joining Inner Fire in August of 2015, Marguerite spent four years in various teaching capacities at the early childhood campus of the Monadnock Waldorf School in New Hampshire. During this time with young children, Marguerite began using the therapeutic techniques from Spacial Dynamics professionally with children experiencing development delay, “spectrum” qualities, and what is traditionally described as behavioral challenges. Through her work with children and her passion for the development of the “life body”, as well as a strong desire to be of service to humanity, Marguerite was eventually inspired to join Inner Fire. In addition to her love of all movement, Marguerite enjoys gardening, playing games, singing and playing the flute, and leaning into the places and spaces of acceptance, transformation, and joy.

Teresa Savel

Teresa Savel

Compress Provider

Full Profile

Teresa Savel provides liver compress therapy for Inner Fire’s Seekers. She is a licensed Vermont educator, an advocate for over 25 years for holistic educational approaches for the young child, and has worked in the field training teachers, parents, and caregivers in the US and abroad. Her educational approach supports and honors the individual development of each. Her practices incorporate rhythm, free movement, conscientious care, daily nature-based experiences, the arts (domestic and creative), and organic whole foods. She founded Green Valley School in Southern Vermont, an outdoor-based Nursery-Kindergarten and elementary school. Teresa, born in Los Angeles, CA loves the daily challenge of living with her family on their off-grid homestead in Vermont. She is committed to supporting the seekers at Inner Fire in their unique and emerging journeys, particularly through the incorporation of structure and rhythm.

Asra Zahn

Asra Zahn

Weekend Guide

Full Profile

Asra Zahn was born in a cabin with no running water and no electricity at the foot of Mount Monadnock, NH. She attended Waldorf School from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and then spent many years traveling and living in Europe, Central America, and India, painting, writing, and learning cheese making, among other things. Upon returning to the US in 2003, she worked for several years at Plowshare Farm, an Anthroposophical community for adults with special needs in New Hampshire. Following that she taught Spanish and Art at Hampshire Country School, a boarding school for boys with social and behavioral challenges. Working so closely with sensitive souls gave Asra a deep appreciation for the latent abilities of human nature and the importance of human relationship, following the heart, creativity, and solitary contemplation. After completing her Waldorf High School Art Teacher training, she taught Foreign Languages and Arts at High Mowing School for six years, supporting young people to think things through, pay attention to process and intention, and to explore the mysterious, paradoxical, imaginative inner life. Asra has a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and Education and a Masters degree from Lesley University in Professional Counseling. She is a practicing painter and author, and started volunteering at Inner Fire the first month it opened; she is very honored to be part of the courageous journey the seekers are involved in.

Shiva Shankaran

Shiva Shankaran

Weekend Guide

Full Profile

Shiva Shankaran works as a weekend guide at Inner Fire, sharing mindfulness activities, grounding techniques, and time in nature. He holds an MA in Pastoral Counseling from Fordham University. Shiva has dedicated his life to the exploration and expansion of Consciousness, to spiritual practice and development, and the betterment of all. After having worked as a Spiritual Mentor and meditation/yoga instructor, and also in the clinical mental health field with its tendency toward pharmacological solutions, he has found Inner Fire to be an amazing opportunity to pioneer healing and health in an area that has been so difficult to navigate successfully.

Elia Gilbert

Elia Gilbert

Singing & Overnight Guide

Full Profile

Elia Gilbert came to Inner Fire in October 2015, with a background in Waldorf early childhood education. She received her teacher training at the Alkion Program in Ghent, NY, and has taught in mixed-aged kindergartens for nine years. Currently she is the director and lead teacher for the Garland School in Brattleboro. She was drawn to Inner Fire to work with this community of people who are searching for healing and inner growth. One of the key aspects of Inner Fire for Elia is that while everyone must continue to engage in growth and inner challenge, there is also fundamental acceptance and respect, that makes the work here feel very human. Every week, Elia brings songs from various parts of the world to work on together. She also can be found at meal times, over the weekends, doing overnights, or doing practical outdoor work with the seekers.

Nettie Lane

Nettie Lane

Circus Arts Guide

Full Profile

In 2006, Nettie Lane left her job as Education Director for LandPaths, an environmental non-profit, to devote herself to her true passion: Circus Arts. In 2008, she moved to Vermont to attend the Professional Track Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts where she focused on Trapeze and Duo Acrobatics. Nettie’s interest in theatrical clowning led her to study with Giovanni Fusetti, Paola Coletto and Aitor Basauri. Currently, the German wheel has captured her imagination and she has been training and collaborating with it ever since. Nettie has performed with Flynn Creek Circus, Zany Umbrella Circus, Art Farm-Circus for a Fragile Planet, New England Center for Circus Arts, Nimble Arts, Savvy Productions, Overhead Arts and the Payomet Performing Arts Center and Droplet Dance. Her festival appearances have included: Life is Good, Wanderlust, Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, Petaluma Rivertown Revival, and the New York Clown Festival. In 2015, she assisted Giovanni Fusetti in the International Clown Training in Boulder, Colorado. Nettie has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe; she currently resides in Brattleboro, Vermont where she is on staff at the New England Center for Circus Arts, and works for Circus Smirkus as an Artist-in-Residence in schools throughout New England. In 2013 Nettie began teaching theatrical clowning classes and since then has had the honor of midwifing over 80 clowns. She firmly believes in the power and humanity of the Sacred Fool as a way of excavating inner wisdom.

Helen Lubin

Helen Lubin

Art of Speech Therapist

Full Profile

Helen Lubin (Speech Arts) has been active in Waldorf teacher education and other adult education settings, in Waldorf classrooms, and as a therapeutic speech practitioner for 29 years. She completed her training at the Novalis School for Speech and Drama and at the School for the Art of Speech and Speech Therapy (both in Germany), with a post-graduate year at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. She was a therapist-in-residence at the Karl-Schubert-Schule in Stuttgart, and on the faculty of School for Pedagogical and Therapeutic Speech in Switzerland. Since 1992 she has been a member of the faculty of Rudolf Steiner College (CA). As the founder/coordinator of Speech Arts in Waldorf Schools in North America (now entering its 23rd year), Helen was instrumental in developing this integral component of Waldorf education through work with teachers, classes and individual students, as well as through lectures and workshops for parents and the wider community. Helen has a BS in Special Educational Studies, an MA in Human Development and a BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Additionally, she completed the Camphill Seminar in Curative Education and has ten years’ experience in this field.

Michael Steinrueck

Michael Steinrueck

Art of Speech and Drama Therapist & Gardener

Full Profile

Michael Steinrueck offers speech and drama therapy at Inner Fire, in addition to forestry skills. He completed the four-year training in Creative Speech in Stuttgart, Germany in 1984. For the following six years he worked as speech teacher and therapist at a school for children with developmental disabilities in Vienna. From 1990 to 2013 he was speaker-in-residence with Eurythmy Spring Valley in NY, teaching within the training and performing with the ensemble. In 1997 he founded Creative Speech Spring Valley, an organization offering seminars and conferences, performances, and private coaching. Alongside these activities he trained and worked as a farrier (shoeing horses) from 2005-2013. From 2013-2016 he worked with special needs adults at the Lukas Community in Temple, NH. “It is extremely inspiring to be part of the Inner Fire community and experience the deep healing that is possible in this unique setting.”

 

Beatrice Birch

Beatrice Birch

Hauschka Artistic Therapist / Program Director

Full Profile

Beatrice Birch, Inner Fire founder and Hauschka Artistic Therapist, began her professional career as a teacher in an inner-city Waldorf School in Bristol, England in 1975. Deeply inspired by the healing aspects of Waldorf Education, she later completed a three-year medically based training in Hauschka Artistic Therapy in Gloucestershire, England. She has since worked as a therapist, lectured and consulted in multiple capacities over the past 35 years in the United States, England, Holland, and Taiwan. Beatrice has worked in her private practice, larger medical practices, and both public and private therapeutic residential communities with both adults and children struggling with a variety of psychiatric and physical conditions including cancer, heart disorders, asthma, addictions and other mental and “soul” health challenges. Beatrice has also worked in maximum-security prisons as a facilitator of the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and guiding watercolor painting as part of an artistic therapy program she developed in a medium security prison. At Inner Fire, which she co-founded in 2012, Beatrice focuses on her work as a therapist and guide, in addition to overall program direction and development.

Kimberley Olmstead

Kimberley Olmstead

Overnight Guide

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Kimberley Olmstead is a member of the overnight staff at Inner Fire. After doing undergraduate work in Art History and French language, she worked as a mental health worker for several years before and after graduate school. Though she loves her continued study and teaching of Art History when she isn’t at Inner Fire, she has never lost her ties to the mental health community, and she was particularly drawn to the alternative ways of healing at Inner Fire. After the sudden death of her young daughter two years ago, Kimberley noticed that many people around her were suggesting medication to dull her pain. Though it was a very difficult time in her life, she knew that medication was not the right path for her. She focused on healthy eating and friendships, and began a serious walking and running regimen, which helped her healing more than she ever thought possible. Soon after, she encountered Inner Fire and felt an immediate connection with the community, and a deep appreciation of what the program could do for others.

Nels Kloster

Nels Kloster

Psychiatrist

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Nels Kloster, M.D. has been practicing psychiatry in VT for 10 years with a focus on community mental health. Over time he has seen the limitations of medications, as well as their detrimental physical and psychological impacts. With the sense that pharmaceuticals are used for too many people, and for too lengthy periods of time, he has joined Inner Fire in the hope of furthering more rational and person-centered approaches to wellness.

Julian Jonas

Julian Jonas

Healthcare Practitioner

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Julian Jonas has over 35 years of experience as a healthcare practitioner.  He is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Asian languages and philosophy; graduate of the  Meiji College of Oriental Medicine in Osaka, Japan; and a graduate of the New England School of Homeopathy and the North American Homeopathic Master Clinician Course.

Julian maintains a private homeopathic practice, is active teaching and writing about natural healthcare, and volunteer activities. Over two centuries ago, the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, decried the harsh and suppressive treatment of the mentally ill that was the norm at the time not merely for its cruelty but also for its inefficacy.  He recognized in homeopathy a gentle but powerful form of healing that promotes a return to health through invigoration of self-corrective vital energies inherent in each person. Thus, Julian was drawn to the mission of Inner Fire because it seeks to facilitate for each participant a return to a state of well being and productivity through the engagement of his or her spiritual, mental and physical being.  Free of the suppressive and often harsh therapies that are the norm in our day, it is the perfect environment to support and maximize homeopathic treatment. Julian is excited and truly grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the teachers, healers and, above all, the seekers who make Inner Fire such a unique endeavor.

Geoffrey Wood

Geoffrey Wood

Healthcare Practitioner

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Geoffrey Wood completed his artistic eurythmy training at Eurythmy West Midlands in England. He holds a B.A. in artistic eurythmy and is working towards his M.A. in eurythmy therapy through Alanus University, Germany. Also a practicing massage therapist, Geoffrey brings to Inner Fire a range of skills and interests in the fields of health and the arts, including cooking and nutrition, anthroposophical biography work, storytelling, and handwork. He is currently hand sewing his first bed quilt.

Tamara Potselueva

Tamara Potselueva

Healthcare Practitioner

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Anthroposophical, Naturopathic Doctor, Scientist, Registered Nurse, Journalist/Writer, Teacher.  Tamara is using integrative multimodal human- centered therapeutic approach based on a holistic understanding of man and nature and of disease and treatment.

She applies an integrated image of the whole human being in illness and health, focusing on prevention, education and self care. Tamara believes in the “Inner Physician” and the self-healing potential of the body which, if properly supported, empowers an individual to achieve the highest level of health possible in given conditions. Illness is an opportunity for positive changes and with a new balance in life, one is drawn closer to its meaning and purpose. Anthroposophical remedies support the self-healing forces of the body and which work with the patient and not for the patient, they do not suppress symptoms but address the cause of the disease.

Symptoms of disease are the manifestation of self-healing forces working to overcome the underlying condition, which is the illness.

Tamara is drawn to working with seekers at Inner Fire because she believes in giving people the opportunity to be proactive. Being responsible for one’s own health, actions and healthy choices is the right of human beings. Tamara Potselueva has private practice in CT and serves as a school doctor in Housatonic Valley Waldorf School.

Alan Steinberg

Alan Steinberg

Healthcare Practitioner

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Alan Steinberg worked for a decade in early elementary education in N.Y.C. and Pittsfield, Ma; and as a potter for 49 years, 25 of them full time. Trained in Psychosynthesis, Psychoneuroimmunology, Ecopsychology and Expressive Arts, he maintains a practice in Brattleboro, VT, working with couples and individuals. He teaches clay classes integrating skill building with spiritual expression, and leads clay workshops that respond to poetry, mythology, ritual, and nature. He feels drawn to Inner Fire because it shares his view that, as the seed holds the promise of the tree, we all hold within ourselves a natural capacity to grow, beyond whatever our present limitations may be.