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Facility seeks to provide safe alternative to psychotropic medications

Nonprofit gets Act 250 approval to build residence for 12

Inner Fire is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. For further information, visit www.innerfire.us.

BROOKLINE—After nearly a year, Inner Fire, Inc. last month received an Act 250 development permit that authorizes the construction of a 12-bed therapeutic and community residence for up to 12 adults, an art barn, and associated infrastructure.

The project will be located on 26 Parker Rd. in Brookline.

“Since founding Inner Fire in 2013, it has been our dream to build a family sized, fully licensed residential facility that would be a healing, nurturing, comfortable, and safe environment with spaces for creative arts, gardening, forestry and more,” Beatrice Birch, founder of Inner Fire, said in a news release.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. For too many people, antidepressants and other psychotropic, mind-altering medications are a way to avoid important issues by numbing and disconnecting the individuals from what makes them human: clear thinking, heartfelt feeling, or directed willing.

Feelings of despair and isolation typically increase suicidal thoughts and actions. The impact suicide has on the lives of family members, friends, co-workers and the community is devastating. The loss of human potential is enormous.

Inner Fire was founded with the sole purpose of saving lives by offering the choice to avoid or taper safely off addictive psychotropic medications by engaging in proactive artistic therapies and physical, practical work in a supportive community.

Now, in its third year, Inner Fire says it has supported “14 seekers from across the country.” The primary belief that human beings are creators rather than victims is at the heart of its program. Inner Fire believes in the therapeutic value of physical, outdoor, communal work, as well as individual and group therapies that encourage soul/spiritual growth and a reverence for life.

Toward the completion of an individual’s year, the option will be offered of living in a Creative Living Community where one can practice what one has learned: various life skills along with cooking, gardening, forestry, and housekeeping and receive help in finding meaningful employment opportunities along with apprenticing with local artists, crafters, or tradespersons.

Inner Fire says it retains experienced and dedicated professional staff and therapists and works with a homeopath and anthroposophical medical doctor as well as a psychiatrist, all of whom are committed to facilitating the healing process through respectful, holistic, high quality care for the participants.

“While we are moving earth, felling trees, drilling the well and digging the septic system on a beautiful piece of land, we recognize that Inner Fire itself is the beginning of a movement offering a choice to those who do not want to be medicated,” Birch said. “We’ve already heard from health professionals and struggling individuals from around the world interested in the Inner Fire model.”

Now that Inner Fire has acquired the Act 250 permit, Birch said they hope to complete construction by next May, depending on the rate of financial contributions.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #440 (Wednesday, January 3, 2018). This story appeared on page A5.

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