Our program

Our-program

Program overview

Gould Farm is a healing community located on a 700-acre working farm in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts. We serve adults, ages 18 and older with diagnoses of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, and related mental health challenges.

Gould Farm’s continuum of services include:

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Life in a caring community of peers, staff and their families

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Clinical services and support (Licensed by the State of Massachusetts)

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A structured work program with varied activities on the farm

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Transitional services in Western Massachusetts and the Boston area

Community

Gould Farm guests are welcomed into a multigenerational community. Staff and their families live and work on the Farm alongside guests. Meals, holiday celebrations, and special events are shared as everyone is encouraged to participate in activities that strengthen interpersonal relationships and self-confidence.

Guests live in one of three houses. Each person has a private room and shares a bathroom and common living areas. Each house has a Resident Advisor to provide overnight support and to help a guest to achieve competency in their daily living skills. Recreational activities such as hiking, group sports, art, and music are supported.

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Clinical Support

Each guest works with a clinician who walks beside them through their stay at the Farm. Our team approach means that clinical support is not limited to a 50-minute hour, but rather woven through all aspects of the program. Guests work closely with their social worker, residential advisor, work team leaders, transition counselor, consulting psychiatrist and nursing office staff who round out the team, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Team members collaborate to make sure each guest benefits from a wide range of experiences and perspectives.

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Meaningful Work

Guests participate in all aspects of the farm’s daily work, from caring for animals, to tapping trees to make maple syrup, to baking bread and making cheese from fresh milk. Some learn new skills, and others re-discover their strengths, building confidence and self-esteem. Together we sustain a healthy community in which everyone can thrive.

Guests engage with teams and activities at their own pace of readiness.

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Transition support and extended community

Transition Residences

Guests move at their own pace through a continuum of services. Transition services for people wanting additional support while re-engaging with independence are available at O’Connell House in the Berkshires and at Fellside, the Boston residence. Each house is structured for semi-independent living to maintain 30 hours of structure each week, which may include work, academic pursuits, and volunteering. Both residences are integral to Gould Farm with staff who are familiar with guests, their individual goals and needs.

Non-Residential Services

Guests who are well established in their recovery and would like to maintain an on-going relationship to Gould Farm can do so with the non-residential extended community services. This program is available on a long-term basis and guests who have contracted for non-residential services are given priority re-admission to residential treatment if the need arises.

After spending time at Gould Farm, I moved to the extended community near Boston called Fellside...I didn’t become isolated because the community stood with me. There is a fellowship of community members at Fellside and that peer support has been one of the most powerful tools I’ve encountered in my recovery.

– Jose V.

A day at the farm

Daily schedule

We all have a purpose at Gould Farm. Whether it is growing food, preparing meals, baking bread, tending the animals or caring for the buildings and grounds; the work we do sustains us and feeds us. Through work, we discover each of us can contribute in a meaningful way. In doing work each day, we feel a sense of accomplishment as well as a sense of responsibility to and for one another. The skills we learn and the relationships we form through work and living in a community are integral to healing and recovery.

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7:30 am Breakfast

Staff and Guests sit down together to enjoy a healthy breakfast featuring yogurt, milk and bagels made in the Harvest Barn.

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8:00 am Morning Meeting

At Morning Meeting, we gather to learn about the day’s activities, meet new members of the community, and share the latest weather, sports and “critter sightings”. We end each meeting with an inspirational reading and a song. Then we set out to work on one of the work teams.

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9:00 am Work Program

The work program is the core of the Farm’s therapeutic model. We work alongside one another, tending to the grounds, taking care of farm animals, growing food, and cooking and baking for fellow Gould Farmers and the public. The types of work are numerous and varied, with many chances to learn about and develop strengths, form social and working relationships, and contribute in tangible ways to the life of the community.

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11:00 am Wellness and Group Activities

The community comes together to enjoy activities that promote fitness and exercise, nutrition and diet, mind body connections, and skills for recovery. Wellness strategies are integrated into our program design, including an on-site exercise room and the availability of yoga, meditation, tobacco education, and recovery groups.

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12:00 pm Lunch

Everyone gathers for a nutritious lunch and midday break.

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1:00 pm Work Program

We resume our various work team activities for the afternoon.

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4:00 pm Tea Time

Each day the community gathers for tea and snacks to talk about the day and enjoy one another’s company. There may be a recovery group, an individual session with a clinician, a trip to the community center to work out or swim, or other activity during this time of day.

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6:00 pm Dinner

Whether it’s family-style dinner in the dining room, a picnic at Benedict Pond, or wood fired oven Pizza Friday, the meals served are always prepared featuring the food we grow and raise on the farm, with an eye towards optimizing health and meeting the dietary needs for all in the community.

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7:00 pm Recreation and relaxation

There is always something going on in the evenings, whether it’s a trip to the library, creative writing group, sing-a-long, or relaxing in the living room with a book or game, Gould Farmers know how to work hard and have fun too! Town trips, religious services, movie trips and other cultural and recreational activities fill our weekends too!

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