Speaker Series: Full Episode Page

How does wilderness therapy save ones’ sense of self


Trina Grater, MA, LCMHC, Assistant Clinical Director & Therapist of Evoke Therapy


Brenda Zane is a Sky’s the Limit Fund board member, Founder of Hopestream Community, and podcast host of Hopestream

About the episode:

Group milieu, nomadic model, expressive arts, rites of passage, relational approach all contribute to the efficacy of wilderness therapy saving a sense of Self for young people today.  These components will be explored, examples from over a decade of on-the-ground experience referenced, and literature cited.

                          Previously recorded as a virtual event      

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Brenda 0:01
Hi, welcome, you are tuned into the last Speaker Series for Sky’s the Limit Fund for 2021. We’ve had some amazing speakers. So welcome to this event. I am Brenda Zane, I am hosting you today. I’m very honored to be a board member for Sky’s the Limit Fund And I get to talk with these amazing guests who we have. So welcome. And I want to let you know just a quick thing. Before we get into our conversation today with Trina, if you have questions that you want to submit, you can scroll down from where you’re watching this and there will be a place to submit a question. We’d like to be able to gather those ahead of time, you can also submit them while we’re talking. And then we’ll address those at the end. So if you have questions, no questions off limit, just ask whatever you might want to ask somebody who has tons of experience in wilderness therapy. And the reason Sky’s the Limit Fund has the Speaker Series is because we truly, truly believe in the power of wilderness therapy. And we work to make it accessible for families who might not have access to it. So we run on donations. We help fund therapy for teens and young adults who are struggling and in crisis. And right now because it is the end of the year. If you’re looking for tax donation, Your donation will actually not only be doubled, we have a family foundation, who offered to match our donations up to $150,000. But then our wilderness programs like evoke who we’re going to hear from today. They also match in a reduction in tuition. So this is the time to give. If you want to give at the end of the year, go to the sky’s the limit fund website and you can give there so that’s the quick plug for that. We are going to be talking today about how wilderness therapy can save one sense of self. And we’re really really excited to have Trina greater with us today from evoke wilderness therapy. She is their assistant clinical director and primary therapist. She’s been working in wilderness therapy for over a decade. And if you know wilderness therapy, you know that she is in the trenches with kids all day in and out doing therapy out in the wilderness. It’s amazing, amazing work, she believes she is exactly where she’s supposed to be. So that is really fun to talk to somebody who knows. They’re where they’re supposed to be doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Trina is going to share a lot with us today about how different models and modes of wilderness therapy really impact that the kids that she works with. We’re going to talk about how she uses expressive arts, how she uses rites of passage, to really transform these kids and to help them find that sense of self. So I am very, very excited to introduce you today to Trina greater from evoke wilderness therapy. So welcome, Trina.

Trina 3:07
Thank you so much Brenda, it’s an honor to be here. And to be able to just share information and help paint a picture really to this whole concept of wilderness therapy. So again, I’m I am Trina greater, I’ve been working in a group of those who I tend to identify as female for 13 years or so now. And when I talk about wilderness therapy, I think it’s important for us to back up and set the stage some that I’m talking about licensed program with licensed therapists that take more of a relational than a behavioral approach. I will go more into that Relational Approach is one of the key concepts here. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that this type of this wilderness therapy isn’t about shame, or maybe notions that people can have of tough love or anything like that, I hope.

Brenda 4:12
Go ahead. Well, I was just gonna say I’m glad that you said that because I think they’re, first of all, if you’re new to this world of talking about wilderness therapy, or just about finding, you know, help for your child, it can be really confusing to understand what these different modalities are. So I’m glad that you mentioned that and that it is more of a relational type of treatment than behavioral. So you’re not talking bootcamp

Trina 4:40
talking those types of things. One at all. Not at all. I’m talking about a motivator for change that comes from love. Oh really, is just an initial assignment that we do at our program and and steps out of the box from Really, traditionally, of what happens in therapy is something called the hopes and intentions letter where we’re not confronting the defensive. But instead, we’re really focused on air about the person rather than just the behavior of what they’ve done. And I mean, research shows all of us know this in our lived experience, even that, when a shape change is the motivator for change, ultimate, we’re, we try to hide things better. We try to not have to feel that shame. And when love is the motivator for change. And that’s a really important foundation because that allows it to that’s where we can honor our defenses and where they came from and the experiences that encouraged us to put those those defenses up. I love that. Brenda, that’s fantastic. So what are this therapy is an intense, relatively brief treatment. I like to think of wilderness therapy as was triage. It’s essentially it’s like the emergency room of wellness, personal wellness, and where our focus here is its stability, what’s going on, metaphorically speaking, this means like, where is the gushing bleeding coming from let’s set the broken bones let’s let’s get it to baseline, let’s figure out what’s getting in the way of things. That’s the main objective for for wilderness therapy. I’m imagining and we can get to it, if it fits for people that are tuned in that there’s questions, of course, how this fits into the bigger picture. For now, I want to, I want to present the format really of my presentation to, to most to break down really how wilderness therapy can reconnect individuals with their sense of self. If you boil down all the work that I’m doing with the talking about feelings, and any any of the work we do up there in the tools therapeutically that we talk about, it’s this discovery of the internal emotional process or awareness that we can bring to our lives to even get our needs met. Um, so that’s this idea of wilderness saving the sense of self. My work I talked about is tends to be with young ladies. And I think for decades now there’s been a problem, so to say, in our culture, that has no name. And especially in the last decade, even it’s, it’s even a more complex world. These are the kids that have grown up on social media. really understandable for them to want to compensate for a completely unrealistic, realistic ideal. And that’s that right there is getting to some of the sense of what relational therapy is what getting behind the defenses and understanding the behavior is. So I have two books that I just kind of looked to as I thought about this presentation, I’m gonna read from one of them. It was it’s kind of dated, reviving Ophelia it’s written on the bottom of the banner. And it was written in the 90s about this beginning of the problem with no name for for, for young ladies. It’s fascinating. This book was written and soon after, a young lady in the country read it and thought, we need a call a call to arms, I almost get a motion. We need a call to arms about this. And so she had everybody in the country send in stories and so the second day on their book on the banner is Ophelia speaks and that’s the stories of young ladies. Back to reviving Ophelia. girls know they’re losing themselves. One girl said everything good in me died in junior high. wholeheartedness is shattered by the chaos of adolescence. Girls become fragmented. Their sense of self split into mysterious contradictions. They’re sensitive and tender hearted, mean and competitive, official and idealistic. They are confident in the morning and overwhelmed by anxiety in the nightfall. They rush through their days with wild energy and then collapse with lethargy. They try on new roles each week, the good student, the delinquent, the artist, and then of course all of us family members are supposed to keep up with this. I Highly recommend these books if you want to dive into this deeper. And and I think that gender is beside the point here, I’ll make a couple comments throughout this conversation. And so as I said, this is a bit dated, it still rings true because it’s just a more and more complex world. So as we move forward, I think that there are five pieces that contribute to young people discovering their sense of self in a wilderness setting. Again, this is licensed and very, very reputable places, I want to break down those factors that I think go into that transformative change. And, yeah, I’ll zoom back out again at the end. But all of these things work together for the students to be able to gain context, to be able to explore their past, to be able to realize the things that have impacted them, not just beat themselves up. All of these things that I’ll go into foster this self discovery, yes, there’s communication tools, and some concrete things we’re teaching. But the clinical work is very sophisticated. And we’re not missing the concepts behind the tools. This is actually practical to apply in life. Wilderness as as a medium is has is so conducive to these factors. So I’ll dive in and talk about them. I’ll do a run through that I’m going to talk about group therapy, the nomadic model, expressive arts, right of passages. And back to that relational approach that I started with. Again, these are the things that I think wilderness, lend themselves to, and that are, yeah, really integral to the young people finding their sense of self rediscovering it, reconnecting with it. These are the ways that I look at that. So group therapy, the research shows that the most effective therapy is for for adolescents is group therapy. I talk about this often with my families that I work with, because it’s a common question that I don’t live out there with the group, I am on call all of the time and accessible, and to be able to show up the best I can for my job that I think to have a very supportive system in place so that the communication happens that all of the data is passed. To me, the staff are my eyes and ears. I’m out there for two days a week. They’re long, full days, and have a strong group presence. But I talk with parents about how the group therapy is the most important part. US lousy adults, in a sense, don’t know anything. Sometimes the peer says something that we’ve been saying for months and months to a child. And it sticks because they have to hear it from appear. So research shows that group therapy is the most effective. The group’s Of course, group therapies is constant. In wilderness therapy, we’re living together. The peer feedback that happens is is powerful. It’s a small group. So there’s able to be a culture of, of kindness, really, of people bringing things to the surface trying to figure out conflict resolution, and how do I be assertive? What does that even mean? The peer feedback at times is turning points. For student I can think of many examples when they hit, they hear something from a peer and, and they can take it in better.

The group tends to become a microcosm of exactly what the student needs to work on. It’s powerful how the group itself and its culture is such a fluid thing and a life of its own in its sense. I talked about the small, I mean it in in my work, my group is six to eight students and I have like a two to one student to staff ratio. So that helps even paint that picture more clearly that this is a small group. If somebody doesn’t do a chore, it doesn’t get overlooked. And I had a student in session this week saying, Well, I just can’t avoid here. Because if you know if they’re on the chore of watch washing the dish Is that the time, dinners wrapped up, everyone’s looking around and saying, Oh, who’s on this chore. It affects everybody else when we live in a small group. Sometimes I like to reference how NASA before they send the astronauts out in the space on a team. They have them though camp together. Because it really truly is powerful to live together as a small group, and have those natural consequences between social dynamics and working together towards a common goal. This is merging well into that next topic of a nomadic model. And there are a few different types of models in general for wilderness therapy, where I work, it’s a nomadic model, which means that there aren’t excursions or times that we get into the truck or a cabin that we go back to or anything like that. And sometimes that can be scary to think about, especially relative yes to adventure based options. I think that the nomadic model is crucial, because the students wake up the sit every single day to the same person, I was talking about the consequences of just living together. There’s no shortcuts, as the group becomes a microcosm of what individuals need to work on, there’s no shortcuts to them, keeping it all together just for a certain amount of time, or the students that I work with, they tend to be very compliant, that’s part of the resistance. There, they get great grades. Oftentimes, they’re not your typical wilderness student, is what I’ve heard people been saying for years for my kids that they have, they haven’t used a lot of substances any at times. And so for them to not be able to escape what they easily can in other therapy, therapy settings where they can walk out the door, they can, they can turn, turn off the therapy time, I had spoke about how it is an intensive therapeutic intervention. I think that that no matter static model, the fact that there isn’t a trip to look forward to, or just the next thing, all of us do this in life, we escaped the present by thinking about the next thing. This is the son working for the weekend right there. But nonetheless, that that nomadic model, and the fact that no better time is now no better places here. We’ve got all the time that’s needed. This isn’t about time. This is about effort. These things lead to that that reconnection with the self. I think I think my last piece just on that nomadic model is what I was getting to that idea of an agenda, an agenda can often Yeah, just bring us away from what we actually need to step into at times. And I think that, yeah, I think that, like I’m saying, having, if you don’t finish a hike one day, well, that’s home. That’s okay. We’ll stick together. And we can finish it tomorrow. And there might be more tomorrow, you know. And that’s what I mean by not being able to escape it. It almost feels like it. That scary part of it just being a nomadic model. And yes, we do take showers out there, at least at least a few times a week. It’s charted even for that. And I feel like it creates this almost concentrated therapeutic experience. So hard to get in other ways. So the Expressive Arts what I mean by the Expressive Arts is all kinds of creative modalities, whether that’s movement, psychodramas, poetry, artwork, all kinds of like painting, of course, finger painting, music instruments. I do a lot of these. This is all integrated into my clinical work. And I have a lot of really talented, bright young ladies out in the field. I think that this is important. And again, the wilderness lends its hand to this. Being able to create things with nature, being outside while you paint, playing the ukulele. We do have instruments in the group and sitting under a tree and just that reflection that comes from that. I think a lot of what we do in therapy doesn’t fit into words very easily. And the young people that I Work tend to feel deeply and not know where to start and have felt stuck and they have they have the best intentions in the end. They really do. They’re stuck is everybody else’s feeling? I think that the Expressive Arts allows this expression. It’s its relates to the boiling down everything we do relates to the figuring out what is our internal process, that self discovery, I think the Expressive Arts in the field, it’s not your classical academic setting, too. And so we’ve got space, we’ve got creativity in regards to recording something instead of writing it. There’s this universal fit for all different kinds of learning profiles. The noise is quieted just the noise of the world, we do one step at a time. And break things down into small tasks. These are skills probably that can help a lot of young people that are struggling, and feeling overwhelmed, understandably, but it’s a diverse fit or fit for a diverse learning profile. I think that story metaphor, a song lyrics are easily integrated into our setting, and help the students express themselves in ways that they probably got stuck, whether that’s in the office or inpatient, or, or wherever they are. The next the next topic and rite of passage, I want to just start with how our culture lacks rite of passage is for young people. The the ones that young people would probably name for themselves could be things like drinking for the first time getting to drive. I’ll even be bold and say, losing one’s virginity and these types of things. Those are the rites of passages in our cultures in stark need of, for young people, especially as they’re emerging into adulthood, to have kind of a threshold to be able to walk through to mark the turning of a page, to mark the development. And the wilderness lends itself to it’s so conducive to this these rites of passage, because I mean, ceremony is is at the heart of this and creating ceremonies in the wilderness and using pieces of nature, and us being able to just mark whatever events that are co created with the student, I have students making ceremonies for, like a length of sobriety, or for passing away of loved ones. Really powerful and beautiful memorials in such set up that that help them to be able to work through and process and get in touch with things that they’ve probably tried to bury and that have haunted them again and again. So the wilderness creates an avenue for really positive rites of passage and markings of time of growing up and taking on more responsibilities as there’s more privileges. And then the last piece is the Relational Approach. I started with this that when I talk about wilderness therapy, it’s important for it to be a Relational Approach and, and not to behavioral. I think that’s imperative to what makes lasting change. I think that this approach is trauma informed. I think it’s attachment and attachment informed. I think that most really good great therapy is is attachment based therapy. It’s it’s related to how you interact with others. Sometimes I think I read all kinds of things about people like what they regret most in life, like at the end of life, what do they wish they did more? We don’t know an easy answer to the meaning of life. But if you boil down a lot of wisdom, it’s something about relationships that bring us meaning. We know that much. And a Relational Approach it I do therapy in my way of being with the students in the way I interact with them and the way I really see them for who they are. I’m relational Roach teaches some of these skills for relationships even in in the process, as well as talking about it and examining patterns and all of that sort of thing.

All too often when we just focus on the behavior again, it just invite somebody to hide it better to not get caught, essentially. And for transformative change, we have to see the self. And to see the self, we have to have these young people reconnect with it, to discover it. It is developmentally appropriate for them to be searching. During these teenage years, any of any of us were during those years, it’s we’re figuring out before before the teenage years, we identify a lot with like our parents, who are your parents? Which ones are they? What do they do? Okay, and then when we’re teenagers, it’s more about who am I? Where did I come from? Who am I relative to that? And who am I on my own? It’s developmentally appropriate for young people to switch friend groups often try on different friends try on different selves. I see young people, you know, like young young people at the mall all dressed the same, right? It’s all the same style and Ugg boots in the same hairdo, and that sort of thing. And that is developmentally appropriate, because they’re exploring, Well, who am I what is my sense of self, the world’s getting more complex, academically, socially, even dating wise, you know. So a relational approach requires sophisticated clinical work. It does, this isn’t going to happen with the tokens and points and, and these types of things. Something I love about our levels systems here, there’s such controversy of whether to have level systems or not in a program, because it gives kids checklists, they’ll do what they need to do to get what they want. Something I love about evoke is that you only have to earn half of the phases to graduate the program. And really, anybody that’s in our program for that week, will learn that second phase, and it kind of gets them started even without them really realizing it all together. And ultimately, it makes them connect with their own potential. Potential can be a scary word for young people. And so I often have students in regards to those phases. They want to make the latter phases on their own, because they know they have it in them. And that’s what a transformative change can look like. I think that that covers some of the pieces. I want to take a breath here. And I could kind of pull these together at some point.

Brenda 28:07
Yeah, such such such such great information. I was taking like a million notes when you were talking. A couple of things that I heard you say, and we do have some questions that we’re going to get to those. So don’t worry if you submitted a question we are going to get to those. Just a couple of things I wanted to highlight that you said that I think are really important is that this is sophisticated therapy. It’s just not happening in an office park, on a couch. In an office chair. It’s happening in real life out in the woods. And and obviously you you have lots of letters after your name, I see all the therapists that evoke and all of our programs are very, very sophisticated clinicians. And so I just think that that’s important to note, because I don’t know that people naturally think of that. And also that, that wilderness therapy isn’t for the bad kids. It’s, you know, you said you have you have kids who have never used substances. They’re just really struggling. And the word stuck came up quite a few times. And I think that, as a parent, you see that and it’s so painful to see that in your child because it’s just a hard place to be. So those are just some things that kind of popped out to me that you said that I thought were important to highlight. And that just it’s a place where that noise can be quieted so that you can do that really important work. I don’t know I’m ready to sign up and come hang out with you in the woods for what’s really amazing. I think I get a lot out of it. Let me go through a couple of the questions that we have because we’ve got some. This is a really practical one and I hear it all the time. Wilderness Therapy. Okay, let me put it up. Wilderness Therapy is a huge expense. Should I spend this amount of money for 10 to 12 weeks of treatment? You get a great question.

Trina 30:06
It’s so practical. I don’t I mean, all of this stuff, there’s, I mean, even sky’s the limit right here to try to make things more accessible and a lot of research being done so that this is insurance space more and more often. It is a huge expense. I think it’s important. I think it’s important to be committed to do it when you’re ready. And I think that you can spend a lot more money doing it wrong and still needing to do something else. Yeah.

Brenda 30:41
Yep, I agree. It, it does feel like a lot. And again, that’s why sky’s the limit fund is there to help help you afford that because it is, it is a big expense. I would also say on the other hand, four or five more years, or 10 years of struggle and programs is probably a lot more expensive. So my own personal experience,

Trina 31:08
you can work let’s name not artwork. Yeah, yes, I apply for scholarships, like everyone, you know, like, see what you can when it’s

Brenda 31:23
okay, here’s another great one, what practices are in place to help a young person feel safe in wilderness, especially if it’s not a familiar environments. So maybe you’ve got a city kid who’s never been out in the in the woods, camping or anything like that.

Trina 31:37
They’ll take good care, what’s a good care of you? The staff will I mean, we have really sophisticated and well trained staff, that are really attuned to the students. I mean, some of the young people I work with, like, they won’t advocate for themselves, you know, and that’s the feel for parents even. And so the stories I hear from kids being like, Yeah, remember, when I first got here, and I was so cold, and you just came around and wrapped every single code I had in my pack around me and I was like, you know, if I will take care of the person we will teach them will break things down into bite sized pieces. And and the skills translate into life. So well, whether it’s time management or brushing their teeth, or are like this, how do I pack my pack? None of the students carry more than 30% of their body weight. We’re helping with diagrams, like how to pack your pack. It’s powerful, even that learning curve. I’ve had students be like, Trina it took me 15 minutes to stuff my sleeping bag in my pack at first, I can do it in under a minute now. And to have that success, and for them to see progress in these ways, these concrete ways. Yeah. And it isn’t, it isn’t really, I mean, it’s camping. Don’t be mistaken. It’s camping out in the wilderness. And it’s not completely rugged, you know, even as they talked about not caring more than 30% of the bodyweight. Like, we have trucks that come by and be a touchstone every day and more than that, if needed. And they’re moving water for us and heavy stuff. And yeah, they’re getting us anything that anything that’s needed. Yeah.

Brenda 33:37
Thank you. That’s, that’s important. I have that same concern when I sent my son who was a city boy. Here’s another really great question. How do you help parents with their child trying on different ways of being in the world that go against their families, protocol, for example, not going to college not participating in religious expectations. That’s a, that’s a tricky one.

Trina 34:01
Here, we really step into this foundation of when it relates to this whole topic of, we each have a self. We, you and your children have a self. Those two selves, they hopefully step into relationship with each other. But as you guys do that, your yourselves don’t have to always agree. So this is probably where some of the stuckness happens is when you step into that relationship. I want to go to college, I don’t want to go to college, and everybody’s convinced it. Everybody’s trying to convince each other to see it the same way as them. And around and around the rat, the hamster wheel, we go from there, probably. And so have communication skills to slow that down. And you say okay, here’s what I’m taking in. That is your truth. Okay, a lot comes up from did I get that right? What comes up for me with that? Can I share that now? Okay, what do you hear me say? Okay. We don’t agree right there. We still need to have relationship even though we don’t agree. And and from there getting a better understanding for this child, what gets in the way of going to college? Okay, you felt pressured for a long time? Say more. That’s where so? Yeah. Sounds like, Yeah, well, I

Brenda 35:33
think what I heard from that was that it’s okay to disagree. It’s very uncomfortable a lot of times as a parent to, to have that. But I like also you just use some words, to check. And can we talk about this now. So really being mindful of how you have the conversation is just as important as the conversation sounds like

Trina 35:59
I how we take this on in the field is figuring out how we can still communicate about it. Acknowledging that at the end of the day with what the child does, is out of our control, sometimes that illusion is one of the biggest things that gets in the way of communicating. Letter writing, writing either even helps us really slow this down, which is a powerful component to audience therapy. We talk other ways all together at times and D visits, that letter writing is really powerful to be able to break it down and understand where the child’s going. And a lot of times when they feel seen like that. We come around to them being able to let go of the grips and say, Okay, well, when I weigh in a real life, maybe I should take some classes, we may just do that at the community college, you know, and that might not be what you want. So yeah, thanks.

Brenda 37:09
Okay, one more here is a relational is a Relational Approach more effective for girls and boys? If so, why? And what type of approach is more, or I would say most effective ways.

Trina 37:22
I think our stereotypes weakened to this and so many ways. A Relational Approach is as effective for anybody, regardless of gender, I get where you’re, you’re picking up even on some of my warmth that I bring to my clinical work, and probably why work well with young young ladies. And I think that we already went through that in the therapy evolution that happens over the decades. And boys might need it even more than anybody could even realize, right. A lot of our aunts. Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s not tough love isn’t the answer. And that’s probably been stereotypically easier to do for boys. Right? Yes. So the things? Yeah. So it’s just as effective and what’s more effective for boys? We may think I could even just add in a caveat of wilderness. This isn’t gender specific, and wilderness, isn’t gender, gender specific. It’s really all opportunity out there for the people discover their sense of self that we all wear similar clothes, as each other as the other gender. It’s loose, you know, it’s not really tight or anything like that. It’s a powerful opportunity to see what’s inside. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. All right.

Brenda 38:52
And then two last ones that I’m going to combine. So what happens after wilderness wilderness therapy? And then the second part of that would be, what do you do to help your students have conversations with family and friends when they return? Wherever they’re going? I would imagine.

Trina 39:09
Yeah, well, I think that’s, that’s the elephant in the room, if we aren’t talking about that, while the kids are here. I think that, that these young people are really skilled at doing what they need to if they get what they want. And if that’s back on business, as usual, they’ll do fantastic here. So that’s why you know, we have to talk about it earlier on. For all of my students, I recommend some sort of safety net. Absolutely. If we’re going to invest this type of finances, even into this type of intervals, you know, the risk is happening to start all over again. So relative to the individuals, the key thing here, I do recommend there’s some sort of safety net Educational Consultants can be a huge resource for knowing what exists out there in terms of such a broad spectrum of type of support that exists relative to age relative to where you are in the country or the world. It can be a really great resource. And of course, he’s, you know, programs and supports that are available, evolve, because people are continuously trying to create something to fill in the gap in a set, right. So, I think that did that reach to both parts of that?

Brenda 40:39
I think so. I think what you said about having a safety net is really, that that just really resonated with me, because you’re right, you have this massive investment, not only financially but emotionally and, you know, timewise, and the family does a lot of work that coming out of that. You really want to put as much scaffolding around around them as you can. So great. Okay, well, we got one more that I it’s such a good question. I’m going to do it and then and then we have to go, but you mentioned that you work with giant non binary students. Could you talk about some of your approaches with these students?

Trina 41:19
Yes, follow their lead. I’m, gosh, I mean, my work with these students, I follow their lead. Sometimes parents are really scared, there’s different directions this can go. Um, sometimes parents are scared. It’s a distraction, a shout out to chase, like here. Hi, this is my new name. And I work with a lot of chameleons is when we talk about it, you know, people chameleon into other people at times. Um, I think that I think that the students know best, I think in terms of Chasing Shadows, and we just say, and I don’t want to minimize non binary and in gender identity and any of that, but in some sense in the field, I’m just saying, Hi, okay, what’s your name? All right, let’s get to work. And I follow their lead, I use the pronouns, I use the name that they choose, a lot of times, I’m helping parents process that because there is a grieving there. And there is this next generation doesn’t even miss a beat with how we conceptualize and so I’m really well trained in terms of, like, there’s, there’s gender identity, there’s orientation, there’s expression, these things don’t need to lie. The student, the student knows best and they’re gonna figure it out better than any of us. And for us to say, would, you know, this is it? This is what it’s always gonna be. I mean, if somebody asked me that the first person I dated when I was a teenager, I would have just been like, I don’t know, and I’m never telling you anything about my dating life again. So it’s a lot of psychoeducation and I am some advocating and protecting even of the young person because all too often I work with transgender students at times. And all too often they’re responsible for teaching everyone. And so I’ve really taken a passion in becoming an ally as a cisgender woman that I can do some teaching. Saw a quote recently of the statistics, that like kids that are non binary or transgender if parents use their pronouns and etc, and name, depression, anxiety, suicidality, go down like 80%, immediately.

Brenda 43:56
Wow, by that.

Trina 43:59
And yeah, it brings up a lot for us as parents like we’ve raised this child with, but there’s a lot that I unpack with the families that I work with to really be able to reframe how much of this is socialized you know, you’re somebody’s pregnant and right away, it’s like a PowerPoint, which is understandable because of our culture. But wow, it doesn’t matter. Right. It’s the self, the self matters.

Brenda 44:30
Wow. So amazing. Such great information on train. I can’t thank you enough for joining us and we will make sure if you’re interested in connecting with Trina go to the evoke therapy evoke wilderness therapy website. You can connect with her there and also I will just make a little plug for the evoke wilderness therapy podcast because it’s incredible. So if you’re if you like this, definitely search for that in whatever wherever you Find a podcast because it has great answers, a million questions that we have as parents. So thank you for joining us. And we will be talking with you soon. And thank you for watching today. You can also if you want to share this it will be posted on the sky’s the limit fund website so you can share that with anybody who you think it would be appropriate and we will see you in 2022. Thanks for coming.

Trina 45:27
Thank you. Take care. Thank you



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