Open Excellence is the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. We are excited to announce the launch of our redesigned website and new look. Come check it out, and join us as we work to bring excellence to the practice of mental health care.



November 28, 2016 by Beatrice Birch

Inner Fire healing community graduates its first ‘seekers’



I could write volumes about our first, incredibly heartwarming and challenging year at Inner Fire.
It has been a very dynamic year where the resilience of the human spirit has shown forth. Battles for the soul have been fought while either tapering steadily off the mind-altering medications and working consciously with the debilitating withdrawal symptoms, or without the added burden of the medications, simply working to bring balance on a deeper soul level in order to engage more fully in life as a balanced and constructively engaging human being.

Read More

May 9, 2016 by Beatrice Birch

A Recipe for Life After Benzodiazepines

Inner Fire-Guides-Therapists-and-Seekers-4-10-16-074Vermont healing community successfully supports those tapering off of benzodiazepines and other drugs

Inner Fire, Inc. is a proactive healing community, offering striving individuals the choice to recover from debilitating and traumatic life experiences, (which often lead to addiction and mental health challenges), without the use of psychotropic medications. We opened our doors in Brookline, near Brattleboro in southern Vermont, on September 8th, 2015, welcoming six seekers to our yearlong intentional, therapeutic and farm based day program. Once the Inner Fire Home has been built, our intention is to become a therapeutic residential community.

Seven months later, all but one of the seekers who arrived on psychotropic medications have tapered safely off, having balanced the sometimes incredibly difficult withdrawal process with the empowering, proactive therapies and the practical work. A seeker, proven innocent after twenty-six years in prison, has withdrawn from a crack cocaine habit he developed while homeless during the first years after incarceration.

Another seeker will soon be off a very powerful benzodiazepine. “Hell warmed up” is the expression used describing the withdrawal process from this benzodiazepine; however, it has been everyone’s experience that by staying engaged in the program, surrounded by encouraging and loving people who believe in them as a creator and not a victim, that the withdrawal symptoms have not been as debilitating as expected.

Read More

January 29, 2015 by Beatrice Birch

The Inner Fire Story

Beatrice Birch

Inner Fire Co-Founder Beatrice Birch

The catalyst for Inner Fire was a thirty-eight year old man named Zach, who while struggling with mental health challenges, tragically took his own life.  Zach did not know he had a choice to recover free from the harmful and stultifying side effects of psychotropic medications. Instead of connecting with his inner fire using holistic therapies, Zach chose to end his suffering amidst a fog of pain. Zach is but one of a multitude who gave up hope because he experienced no progress toward healing and no other choice for recovery was evident.

While working together at a treatment center in Vermont serving adults with serious psychiatric and addictive challenges, Beatrice Birch, a Hauschka Artistic Therapist and Jim Taggart, then Executive Director of the center, were distressed by the limited and often counter-productive treatment options for people like Zach. From Beatrice’s thirty years combined experience working in anthroposophical (complimentary) medical and therapeutic clinics in both the UK and Holland and her private practice in the USA, she knew  there were options for those who wanted to be proactive in their recovery process without using psychotropic medication.

Read More

Related Blogs

  • Dr. David Healy

    Dr. David Healy

    Dr. Healy is a professor of psychiatry at Cardiff University in Wales and an author on the history of pharmaceuticals and government regulation.
  • Mad In America: Robert Whitaker

    Mad In America: Robert Whitaker

    Journalist and author Bob Whitaker distills the latest in pharmaceutical and mental health research.
  • Selling Sickness

    Selling Sickness

    Creating a new partnership movement to challenge the selling of sickness.
  • Kathy Brous

    Kathy Brous

    A serial of Kathy's recovery journey as an adult with attachment disorder.
  • Nev Jones

    Nev Jones

    Exploring the intersections of psychiatry, philosophy, neuroscience, cultural theory, critical community psychology and the mad/user/survivor movement.
  • 1boringoldman


    Retired psychiatrist and raconteur offers insightful analysis of the day's events from the woods of Georgia.