WHY this Conference?

Being a representative responsible for enrolling an audience for an event is a job, but when “something” begins to creep under my skin and edge its way into my heart, it then becomes so much more than just a job. It’s more challenging in a sense because I care about the outcome not just from “a job well done” place, but because I care…I care about the mission; building a community that is so connected, yet diverse, anchored to a common calling that will ultimately change lives through healing, save families, and promote a caring, educated society. I care deeply about the outcome of this conference— it has become personal.

I was having a conversation with my partner this morning about this blog. We want this blog to be a platform for all that are aligned on changing the stigma around mental illness, and who are wanting to be a part of  healing the generations, literally.  We want to know why it is important to you. Why is it personal?

There is something so much bigger than ourselves happening here. And when I say “ourselves” I’m not just eluding to the individual, but I am including families, organizations, schools, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and government. WE are ALL in this together. TOGETHER, in educating our society about trauma and the mental and physical integrative approaches available for healing children, adults and families. The “We” has far more power and influence vs. the “Me”. A mentor of mine said, “There is far more strength, power and heat in one ginormous raging inferno, than several little camp fires that barely keeps our toes warm.”  Every speaker and presenter attending the conference is aligned on this one belief, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE and YOU MATTER!”

Being a survivor of childhood trauma, I grew up longing to to fit in, to be noticed, and to belong.  Loneliness and isolation tear down the human spirit at it’s core, and many of us are not as lucky as I have been to turn my personal story into a “Divine Trauma” to quote my business partner Monica Rodgers.  This is why I am so invested in this conference being well attended.  It’s become personal…we need each other…to make a difference.

“WE” builds a bigger awareness and grows more compassion that will help heal OUR generations.

Please comment and share your thoughts and stories here…be a part of the conversation.  To register for this years Child and Family Trauma Conference please click here.


To more being revealed,


Andrea Willets, CPCC

Clifford Beers Clinic Representative


Fear of Transformation and the Parable of the Trapeze

The Parable of the Trapeze

 Turning the Fear of Transformation into the Transformation of Fear ~ by Danaan Parry

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life.

I know most of the right questions and even some of the answers.

But every once in a while as I’m merrily (or even not-so-merrily) swinging along, I look out ahead of me into the distance and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts I know that, for me to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar and move to the new one.

Each time it happens to me I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to let go of my old bar completely before I grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar and, for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar.

Each time, I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing I have always made it. I am each time afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between bars. I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. So, for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.”

It’s called “transition.” I have come to believe that this transition is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing,” a noplace between places. Sure, the old trapeze bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real, too. But the void in between? Is that just a scary, confusing, disorienting nowhere that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible?

NO! What a wasted opportunity that would be. I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void where the real change, the real growth, occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out of control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.- Anonymous

So, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang out” in the transition between trapezes. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.