Another therapist grasps the Trailtalk concept with outdoor therapy and is featured in Runner’s World.
Another therapist grasps the Trailtalk concept with outdoor therapy and is featured in Runner’s World.
Guest Host Kim Crittenden is joined by Owner and Therapist, Allison Page. Allison is owner of Trail Talk, a unique mental health service that takes the patient off the couch and into nature for their therapy sessions.
I am sad. I am sad I didn’t know my friend as well as I thought I did. I am sad I was too busy to notice the subtle isolation, the loss of weight, the lack of connection we normally shared. I am confused. I don’t get it. Could I have done something different? Why did he take his life? Why didn’t he reach out to me?
If only we could read each other’s minds to that degree. We can’t. We can’t know the inner workings of even our most precious loved ones. We can, however, take a close look at how we view mental health and our beliefs about access to mental health care services. Seeking help from a professionally trained therapist has historically been kept secret. The stigma and shame of asking for help still exists. Seeking help is considered by many as a sign of weakness, of not being strong enough to pull yourself up from your bootstraps and just deal with it alone.
Therapy sessions are traditionally held behind closed doors. Have you ever heard the saying, we are only as sick as our darkest secrets? When you shed light on shame and put your dark thoughts and feelings right out in front of you, they can’t grow. Not all of us feel shame, some of us just need guidance on how to navigate the difficult situations that life throws at us. Like the wicked witch of the west, throw water on that bitch and she melts into nothing. The same thing happens when we shed light on our most shameful thoughts and feelings. They can’t survive in the light. It feels so good to tell someone how we really feel. Unfortunately, we have grown apart. We have joined the world of the socially isolated with our constant connection with everyone else, but the people right in front of us. We are too busy. We are too heavily laden with our own complicated lives that we’ve lost the emotional connectedness with our closest friends.
So, you’re saying it’s my fault? No. We are not responsible for someone dying from suicide. When someone wants to take their own life, they will, despite how much you tell them you love them. As a parent, a spouse, sibling, understanding you cannot protect anyone from feeling pain and suffering is a hard lesson. Each one of us has to experience the good, the bad, the happy and the sad of our own lives. We need to learn how to weather those storms on our own. We can model how to think, feel and behave through our own life events. We can come alongside our loved ones with empathy and encouragement. We just can’t do it for them. Damn. If only they could learn from our mistakes. Most of us are experiential. We need to do it ourselves, our way.
Here are some Tips from the Trail you might want to consider as you grieve the loss of your loved one.
Contact us if you want to walk and talk about suicide, grief, and how to adapt back to your best self after a traumatic life event. Happy trails to you and yours, Allison
How many times have we heard those words? If you are a parent, that will be hard to do in an airplane emergency. Our inclination is to rescue our children, take care of others first and attend to ourselves after. When you spend your life as the “caretaker” there comes a time when you get weary. Where’s the nurse when the nurse needs to be cared for? If you grew up taking care of people, how you feel love is tightly twisted up in caring for others. We heard what a good girl or boy we were when we did the right thing and rescued or nurtured someone in need. Of course, it feels good to get outside ourselves and love others unconditionally. On the other hand, when it’s our only mode of operation it is a double edge sword. The “don’t rock the boat” kind of people and the “avoid confrontation, make sure everyone is happy” person has an impossible job. We can’t make people happy. We can’t save others from themselves. We can’t do someone’s journey for them in hopes of saving them from discomfort or failure. The more we enable, the more we suffocate the person we are trying to protect.
Turning Facetime toward ourselves is hard. Why are you telling me I am doing something wrong when I care so much about helping others? I give of myself all the time, to everyone and you have the nerve to tell me that’s not OK?
Yup, I am. Giving to others can be an addiction like all other addictions. We have to do it because we have to prove we are not selfish. We want to make sure people know we are “good guys.” Again, feeling love is often twisted up in ways of behaving, in long-held patterns we learned from our family of origin. Well, when is it ok and how do I know the difference?
Answer these questions:
1. Do you feel angry when you are not recognized for doing a good deed?
2. Are there conditions attached to your giving? You owe me. You owe me respect, or love or recognition that I am a good person.
3. Do your loved ones suffer from your giving? OMG, it’s Christmas Eve and I haven’t gotten any gifts for the family. But isn’t toys for tots, and the lions club giving, and the salvation army bell ringing enough for you?
4. Do you have a hard time asking for help when you need it? No, I had surgery, but I am ok. I can pull a dinner party together tonight. Yes, I am homesick. Don’t bother, I don’t need anything. Then inside you wish someone would take care of you without being asked. Mind reading and wishful thinking are common thought errors.
5. Are you angry and bitter because you never get heard? Are you a people pleaser who wants everyone to like you? It’s a tough cycle to break because when you learn new skills and do use your voice, you change the family dance, your partners get pissed and want you to go back to the original steps they find comfortable. Your loved ones might ask, why are you rocking the boat? You are the stable one in this dance. Get back to your old self and stay in step with how we’ve always done our relationships. If you do stay silent, just go with the flow, don’t make your yes your yes and your no your no, over time those issues we didn’t address stay harbored in our souls, sorta like the chicken pox. The varicella virus lays dormant in our spines until we are immunosuppressed and all hell breaks loose. We get Shingles. And, Shingles hurt worse than the original case of Chicken Pox! Get what I mean?
Tips from the Trail™
I hope this helps. Please comment or ask questions if this post resonates with your current journey. Thanks.
Life is daily. Enjoy your moments. Happy trails! Allison
Trailtalk® is painting a new picture of what therapy can look like.
Instead of the stereotypical image of a client lying on the couch and talking to the ceiling, therapy can happen on the move, on the trail, in a courtyard during a lunch break or elsewhere out of the office.
When Allison Page, a nurse practitioner, returned to graduate school to get a second degree in family psychiatry, the task proved more stressful than she anticipated. As she was snowshoeing in the woods with her dog one day, Page had a revelation, “This is my therapy.”
Page wanted to share the benefits of mobility-based therapy with others, so after graduating and getting some advice from another signature walk and talk therapist, Page founded Trailtalk® in Park City, Utah in 2010. Now seven years later, Page has seen how the trail can help in the healing and learning process.
“When you do that movement there really is an endorphin release that can calm your nervous system,” Page said. “When your nervous system calms down, you can think clearer.”
She even credits walk and talk therapy for bringing in clients who probably never would have gone to therapy if it weren’t for the program, clients who wouldn’t come because of the negative stigma around therapy — which Trailtalk® is working to eliminate.
“Whenever you shed light on something, it can’t grow and fester. It can’t survive,” Page says about being open about therapy instead of hiding behind doors. “We offer emotional tuneups. Try it out. Everybody deserves emotional care just like physical care. If we are doing preventive health care for our bodies, then we should be doing preventive health care for our minds.”
When Megan Perry, a therapist living in Baltimore, heard about Trailtalk®, she knew she needed to be part of the program. In 2015, Perry and her husband moved across the country she could work for Trailtalk® and opened its first affiliate office in Provo, Utah in 2016.
Perry bought into Trailtalk®’s mission: “Opening the door on the therapy office and shedding light on the shame and stigma of emotional care for everyone.” And Perry supported the active approach to therapy — known at Trailtalk® as Move your Body, Clear your Mind® — because of its benefits.
“When you walk, you bilaterally process, so you process things a little bit differently and more effectively than when you’re just sitting,” Perry said. “The whole idea together can make therapy more effective for the appropriate clients.”
As a business structure, Trailtalk® focuses on three things: accessible, approachable and affordable therapy. It’s accessible because the therapists can come to their clients. It’s approachable because it is therapy in the way the client feels most comfortable. And it’s affordable because it is comparable in cost to the average therapist office’s fee despite the fact that therapists travel to the clients.
“Affordable is we don’t make it more expensive because we meet on trails,” Perry said. “We try to keep our prices with people who are being seen in the office as well. We want people to get that added benefit and get that modality available to them without charging more.”
While Trailtalk® is known for its outdoor sessions, indoor sessions are available as well, depending on the client’s preference and what best fits their needs.
“I have some clients who have never seen the office and I have some clients who have never been on the trail,” Perry said.
Trailtalk® has 50-minute sessions. Perry has met clients at the Scera Park in Orem, on Provo River Trail and many other places in the Provo-Orem area. She has also set up meetings that work cohesively with clients’ schedules.
“There are certain businesses around here that have really pretty courtyards, so I’ve met people on their lunch breaks and we sit there in the courtyard,” Perry said. “Nobody knows we’re doing therapy because we are just sitting there talking. Or we’ve just walked around where their business area is. So I can meet you on your lunch break. You don’t have to leave work early. You don’t have to schedule outside of work when you’ve got kids and other things going on.”
Trailtalk® continues to grow. Recently, TrailtalkProvo® added new therapists Sharri Clonts, LMFT; Morgan Gonzales, LCSW; and Kyle Mammen, CMHC. With different religious and lifestyle backgrounds, Perry hopes people can find what they need in a therapist through Trailtalk®.
“Let’s not ignore the fact that everybody has stress in life and we don’t always have the tools, so go to a therapist,” Perry said. “That’s the point of being accessible and trying to decrease stigma.”
In the next year, Trailtalk® plans on expanding its services by opening new trailheads in different locations.
“We want to be the lead trailblazers in lending parity to emotional care,” Page said. “The Trailtalk® team is walking the walk and talking the talk!”
TrailtalkProvo® is located at 3585 N. University Ave., Ste. 250. Customers can set up at (435) 513-2715 ext. #8. The Park City office is located at 1760 Prospector Ave. Suite 220. Appointments for the Park City office can be made at (435) 513-2715 ext #1. Learn more about Trailtalk® at trailtalk.com.
Florence Night was the ‘Mother of all Nurses.’ Her environmental principles were frowned upon when she started opening the hospital ward windows, and shedding light on the abhorrent care of wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. She persevered, collected data to prove her theory, and created what is now known as modern-day nursing. Her nursing theory about the healing powers of fresh air, fresh water, and cleanliness changed the face of health care. Florence’s guiding theories are currently referred to as Mind/Body Integration. So what’s that got to with Trailtalk®?
Trailtalk combines nursing theory with wilderness therapy. We harnesses the healing power of nature, while addressing the unique genetic/biological needs of our clients. We call it Therapylite®. Trailtalk’s holistic approach to emotional care differentiates us from other mental health care counselors. Our Signature Walk and Talks, attend to our client’s physical health, and our tracking outcomes data ensures Trailtalk® is talkin’ the talk and walkin’ the walk.
If you have never sought out emotional care, consider calling us at 435-513-2715, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better emotional health starts with one step®.
Peace, love, health and hope to you and yours, Allison