Being Seen In The "Belonging" Framework: Trevor Allen
The past two weeks we have been focused on the theme of Belonging and weaving in ways to celebrate the people who work at outBACK. The framework for what it means “to belong” and “seeing one’s greatness” was something I learned not just in my conversation with one of our Primary Therapists, Trevor Allen, but in the great care and nurture that is shown beyond practice that resonates throughout the company. Trevor’s experience working with his students is something that parents and colleagues recognize and is one of the gifts that make him so special. Do a deep dive with us in our first Q&A, bite-sized conversation below.
S: What is your Name and role at outBACK?
T: Trevor Allen; I am a Primary Therapist for students assigned male at birth.
S. Describe the kind of kids you work with at outBACK?
T: Anyone with concerns relating to anxiety, depression, attachment, adoption, disruption and grief. ADHD. Substance users -maybe a student that smokes weed for anxiety or trauma.
S: We talk a lot about the concept of “being seen” here at outBACK- especially being seen for one’s greatness. Can you share a bit about what “being seen” and “being seen for your greatness” means to you and why that might be important for the students with whom you work with?
T: It’s important for me when I start out to help parents and students feel like they understand all sides. I want parents to walk away with understanding their kids and vice versa. I take a lot of time to understand kids first off. I also learned how ineffective it is to approach kids in an authoritarian way. I view this as a gift and they do as well so in a sense that is being seen.
S: What is your approach when supporting students on this path of seeing their greatness and/or are there any particular clinical theories from which you draw upon?
T: The deepest one is Rogers’ non-judgmental approach. Sitting with someone and understanding where they come from. Students make decisions at home and once I can illuminate it, that invites them to make different decisions. They haven’t defined what that means for themselves or know what they want to care about. I help them identify what matters most to them. A lot of times it seems like they [kids] don’t care about their family but then when I speak to them about it, they can begin to see other perspectives. Another one I use is the Cognitive Behavioral Approach. I love seeing the humanity of others.
S: What do you think gets in the way of your student’s being seen?
T: Misunderstanding. Most students I work with have ADHD or executive functioning issues or other underlying academic issues. So then they struggle, parents often times walk away thinking they hate school. Until we can understand what is going on with them and what is going on in their lives, they won’t be seen. Helping parents understand what attachment disruption is also important. Parents may say [their] kids don’t care. They do care but they’re so overwhelmed with it all. Most students are tender-hearted humans. Kids might not have the resilience to pick things back up and they care so much they just unfold. What keeps them from seeing their own greatness is when they see themselves failing, are so overwhelmed, and then they feel shame.