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Windhorse Empathic listening and Basic Attendance training

“The Windhorse Approach is health-based, meaning that we understand all people to be fundamentally sane, and inclined to return to health and balance when the right conditions are present. In this view, confusion, or extreme mental states, or some use the term mental illness, are temporary obstacles, more like clouds that may obscure the brilliance of the sun. But just as the sun is never diminished by clouds, likewise our sanity is not diminished by confusion so it’s always there as our deepest ally.
At its most basic level, the Windhorse approach is characterized by creating individually tailored, whole-person recovery environments, which invite that person’s sanity, health, and balance. Whole person means that we consider and include all aspects of a person’s life in the therapeutic process—our environments are grounded in their physical and domestic world, we cultivate open and healthy relationships, and of course, we work to help our clients to clarify and understand their mind and emotions.”
(From Chuck Knapp’s introduction to the Basic Attendance podcast of the Windhorse Journal at the Windhorse Community Center in Boulder, Colorado)

Why the Basic Attendance?
It was said by Podvoll that what is needed to find balance is:
– expand the community
– increase the sense of responsibility
– create an environment in which to feel at ease
these define the essence of Basic Attendance, which alongside contemplative psychotherapy is the core of the Windhorse approach.

Empathetic listening is a necessary skill for Basic Attendance. Consistently, with this training course, we aim to cultivate the ability to be in a relationship that includes empathetic listening to one’s presence, as well as that of the other.

The character of the training is fundamentally experiential. You can’t tell, you can’t read or study, although this can help prepare your mind for something that has to “happen” to be understood.

To be part of a Windhorse team it is neither necessary nor sufficient to have a specific “psy” preparation. This is because Windhorse is above all an approach, a way of relating to oneself and others. We could define it as a healing environment.
As “environment” we mean both the internal one for single persons, and the external one, made by more individuals, and the physical one, for example, a house. An environment that heals should be cultivated and loved and can develop only with care, in the sense of loving attention, of those who live and frequent it.

Alongside paths of approach or practice of various forms of meditation, necessary to understand the spirit of Basic Attendance, we have currently developed a basic course of six experiential days. The work of constructing the path is still in progress and is being refined year after year.

At the moment, the themes of the day are:


These days last eight hours and take place on weekends. The program provides a brief theoretical contextualisation regarding the various components of this particular modality of “assistance” (Attendance), immediately followed by the experiential implementation. Individual moments of reflection on the lived experience are provided with the possibility of using graphic means for the “harvest of fruits”, followed by moments of sharing in which it is possible (but never obligatory) to share and compare the experiences and reflections that have generated, both with the other participants and with more theoretical aspects.

Reciprocal listening, trying to put oneself on the other’s point of view, which is both who assists, but also who receives it. Trying to experience the two roles can cause us to discover with surprise that it is more difficult to allow another to “attend” us, rather than the opposite. Perhaps because to give it is necessary to be able to take, to be able to ask it needs to be able to listen to our needs and communicate them to the other. Only then does the exchange, the true, equal one,  become possible.

Thus was born the Basic Attendance: by heeding to the “presents in the present”. Here and now.

From January to June 2024 the basic training is going to start again, one Saturday a month, from 10.00 to 18.00 in Loranzè, (TO) in Via Ceresa 29.

The relative discomfort of the place is amply compensated by the possibility of working in close contact with nature. To reach the place machines can be organized from Turin, or a convenient self-managed shuttle service will take the participants who arrive by train at the Ivrea station. Lunches will be shared.

Here are the dates: January 20th, February 3rd, March 2nd, April 6th, May 4th, June 8th, and June 9th, summary of the route, at the end of which the certificates will be delivered.

Useful to bring: comfortable clothes, boots (you can go for a walk in the woods), a blanket and possibly a pillow to sit comfortably on the floor, socks or slippers. Lunch will be shared.

During the meetings, none of the proposals is mandatory. In case of particular physical difficulties or other problems, it is our particular care to look for possible individualized adaptations taking into account both the individual participants and the group, so that there is for everyone the possibility of finding their own “comfort”, even in a possible “inconvenience”.

We particularly want to ensure that the training is as accessible as possible to those seriously interested in the proposal. For this reason, we invite you to contact us directly for any type of problem, logistical or economic, to find together possible solutions.

For those who have already participated partially in previous editions: payment will be requested only for the not attended days; already attended days may be re-attended for free.
Upon completion of the course, a certificate of participation will be issued

Alongside this “Basic Path”, the days of “PerShaTra” (Permanent Shared Training, in Italian “Formapercondi“) on specific topics. The character of these days is based on the exchange and cultivation of the Windhorse environment. Proposals for exchange and training on the part of the participants are very much appreciated. At the moment, the hypothesized dates of FormaPerCondi, alongside the basic training, are 4/2, 7/4 2024.

Further details on Windhorse can be found in the documentation section


Special prizes for early bird December, 15th 2023 or subscription for the whole course