Inclusive Therapy: Indigenous Native American Culture

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In this webinar replay, examine the need for inclusive counseling in Indigenous Native American culture in this free webinar featuring Billie Topa Tate’, Mescalero Apache and founder of MSI Wellness Center.

Billie Topa Tate’ is the founder of MSI Healing INC an earth friendly educational institute located in Evanston, Illinois. Billie is Mescalero Apache and is dedicated to presenting the sacred principles, doctrines, and teachings of her Native Culture and many ancient wisdom systems from around the world, creating synthesis through harmony of many lineages. She is dedicated to be of service to anyone who is seeking wellness, spiritual growth, mindfulness and training to build on current healing practices. She has been offering services for over 25 years in the North Shore Evanston Community. Learn more at the MSI Wellness Center website.


Ani King 0:00
Doing introductions. And I’ll probably do a couple of introductions just nobody ever comes in totally at the same time.

Ani King 0:11
So I’ll keep an eye on that.

Ani King 0:30
Hi, everyone looks like we have a few folks starting to come in now. I’m Ani King, my pronouns are they/them, and I am the COO with I’m really excited to be here today with Billie Topa Tate’ today to talk about indigenous Native American culture underneath the banner of inclusive therapy. And in just a minute, I’ll have Billie tell you a little bit more about herself. These webinars are sponsored as well by integrative Life Center comm Feel free to check them out. They do a lot of great work with folks who are in the recovery space, in addition to inpatient and outpatient and residential programs. So we’ll take just a minute to let a few more folks come in.

Ani King 1:13
While we’re doing that, Billie Topa Tate’ is a mescalero Apache as well as a Reiki Master, and somebody who does a lot of different kinds of work in healing and therapy, and other processes. She’s also the founder of MSI, and Billie, I’ll let you if you don’t mind takeover, tell us a bit about yourself. Tell us a bit about your center.

Billie Topa Tate 1:35
Hello, everyone, many blessings to all of you. It’s a pleasure and honor to spend this time with you. My name is Billie Topa Tate’. That’s my native American name. And it means four winds. But my Apache personal name is wasa yat tha, wind that sings, and I I’m trained as a as an elder as a medicine woman to really kind of help the community but also to can continue to share oral tradition of the mescalero Apache tradition. And as Ani said, I have a wonderful center in Evanston, Illinois, called MSI Wellness Center. We’ve been here for 20 something years. And our goal is to create a sacred space one person at a time. And really, that’s the only way that we can engage and change by mentoring and also by sharing with one person at a time, and, and allowing that for to be a real healing medicine for people. And I’ve taught at many different kinds of venues.

Billie Topa Tate 2:51
And this is one that I’m looking forward to today. And I’ve also taught at Northwestern University to not the medical students with the pre meds for the past five years, and really about indigenous wellness, and how energy, mind body and energy works in the body. And which is really nice that they’ve incorporated that into the protocol. And I’ve also taught at the cancer treatment center of America for many, many years to their mind, body division, and also their pain division. I’ve also taught at Rush hospital, to some of the doctors there and nurses about indigenous wellness and also energy, how it works in the body as we perceive it to be. And, but I’m also an author, I have books on Amazon, but we also have them on our website, which is MSI dash healing, calm. And also the, you know, I’ve been published in a number of magazines, and you know, I just enjoy sharing information about our tradition, and how it can be of service to communities in the in the pub public sector sector. So our our goal, of course, as we said, is to create a sacred space one person at a time. And that takes time. But you know, that’s something that we love to do, because the more information that we share, the more our wonderful mother earth and all living systems on this wonderful mother earth will will engage in a way this wise and and very productive and also, you know, in a healing way. So that’s our goal, you know, whether it’s to introduce plant medicines or energy sessions, wellness understandings of the indigenous people are wonderful stories about our elders who have taught us so very much. All those things are part of

Billie Topa Tate 5:00
our, our center here at in Evanston. So that’s a little bit about me.

Ani King 5:06
Thanks so much, Billie, I really appreciate you telling us a bit more about yourself and your purpose. I think that that’s one of the things that we really want to talk about today.

Ani King 5:18
You know, for folks who are providing, you know, clinical services, therapy, mental health and wellness services to indigenous people in the US, helping them understand, you know, what are some things that they should be aware of? Are there some, you know, obviously, not everyone who is Native American has the same experience. And it’s not a monolith, like any other collection of cultures. But I’m wondering if you can talk about, you know, are there some common things that folks who are not native should be aware of when they are working with indigenous clients?

Billie Topa Tate 5:56
Well, that’s a wonderful question. One of the basic structures of the the total umbrella of the native indigenous people of the of America is the common understanding that, you know, we have this, this goal of reconnecting with our, our, our tradition, to reconnect with the Creator. So and, and so that is, that is the, and that is, we were, the way the stories were given to us as Apache people is the,

Billie Topa Tate 6:34
the great spirit, the creator, provided us training to be stewards of the land. And we were in the process of learning how to understand the land and the regions and the energy here. And so we have some wonderful stories about about that. But the basic understanding when we’re interacting with native people, is to have a, some understanding that there is this great stewardship that was provided in our, in our training, to understand the land and that the land has wisdom. And that, you know, we know even with, when we had the shelter in place, one of the most important things that people reacted to was they wanted to get get out in nature. And that was a very intuitive thing. Everyone knows that being around what we call the green nation, and the green nation is trees, the plants, you know, the botanicals, everything provides such a vitality for us. So, we, we know that all native people, we have this, this kinship, with, with not only, you know, the the earth, but also all the animals and plants, they’re a very important part of, of our stewardship. And sometimes what transpires is because of trauma or stress, you know, our, our star, our native a warriors that go out to do service and be in the army and everything, and they come back, and what we do is we give them a, an EP ceremonia an EP means is a sweat lodge to clear their energy field of all the trauma that they’ve experienced and seen, because we all know that, you know, we, we, when we view trauma, it kind of stays in our consciousness and our spirit and also in our energy field. So we do this ceremony to clear them so that they can acclimate to their families much more substantially, as opposed to seeing those traumas continuously in their energy field. So we know that energy is very real, you know, we were built upon energy, we are energy. And, and so that’s one of the things that’s really important for us is our tradition of ceremonies that we have been given by our elders to that have great wisdom and to maintain homeostasis of our energy field. So when our warriors come back, we try to, you know, to give them the, the ceremony to clean that energy field, so that they don’t have the reinitialize those traumas continuously in their in their mind, and they acclimate much more substantially to their families when they have those wonderful ceremonies. So ceremony and a kinship with the land is something that is very, very important to the native people and It really allows us to, to really create that connection and, and from that place we can move into our great purpose.

Ani King 10:11
Thank you. That’s, that that makes a lot of sense. And one of the things that really struck me as you were talking about stewardship of the land is that, you know, helping people heal helping people find themselves is a stewardship of sort as well. And I think that that parallel of, you know, helping people connect to, the thing is that, you know, kind of struggling with the word there, but you know, that connect to something that is deeper than themselves, and also a part of themselves is really important. I’m curious for folks who are not indigenous Native Americans who are working with clients, who are there some ways that you would tell them, that it’s, you know, a good way to encourage their folks to connect with the land to connect to ceremony and ritual without, you know, especially not having knowledge of them, you know, of the rituals of some of the ways to connect, that would be really meaningful.

Billie Topa Tate 11:10
I really feel that we’re in our, when we sit and when we work with, with, you know, our indigenous people, we want to make sure that our surroundings are representing that rapport. And it could be as simple a simple thing is to have a plant, and maybe some aspects of other plants that are growing and can share their vitality and their medicine. One of the stories of our native tribe is about how we can when we connect, well, first of all, you know, long story, but $2 version of this story is that the plant kingdom, and all the other kingdoms on this planet, you know, Animal Kingdom, plant kingdom, water kingdom, all the king, all the kingdoms on this planet have already achieved their great purpose, we’re the only ones that have not reached still striving for that. And the way the stories go, is that all those kingdoms came to this wonderful mother earth to assist us in our journey. And, and they do, for example, you know, flowers, you know, we give them to people when they are either, you know, in the hospital needing a boost of wonderful energy, or when there’s some kind of an accomplishment, like they’re graduating or their birthdays. And we do that naturally. We don’t even know why we do that. But we do bring flowers or plants. And the reason why we do that is because they sustain a they’re great purpose, and they engage as they inspire us. You know, when we’re not feeling well, we see flowers, your plants, we smell them and we’ve we reestablish that yes, there is this vitality, there is this lifeforce there is this, this wonderful purpose, and I’m connecting with it by engaging with the plant. And the same thing with people who are, you know, going on like a graduation or a, they take those flowers, and they say, I worked really hard. And now I’m smelling these flowers, and I’m going, yes, and I’m connecting with that wonderful vitality once more. So having plants around, especially ones that are growing, and you know, and and, you know, at different stages are very, very good establishments of rapport, you know, and also, you know, people connect with that. It’s just remarkable. So, I would say, on a on that basic level to have those things around, and to have conversations of around those plants and say, you know, this is a plant that you know, because native people in their blood, love stories, we’re storytellers, and we really enjoy you know, the stories and the stories really are a way that our elders have taught us. You know, how to think about certain things in different perspectives and so it’s really a great thing. So you know, having planted different stages and really fragrant ones. I like rosemary because it has a lot of wonderful fragrance to it very easy to take care of. Talking about how we use that in our medicines in our in our in our healing process and all of those things and also writing down you know, different kinds of things about plants and then sharing that is, is really good too.

Ani King 14:51
Thank you. I I was thinking too about just kind of came to mind all of the different times that we do offer plants to people and how they are Often in those transitional stages, you know, when you have a hot housewarming, when you get your first big job, when you get married, when you do all of these things, you know, that representation of flowers or plants or something, and especially in some of them, you know, the potted plant or the you know, not just here are some flowers, and you have them temporarily because they’ve been cut, but here’s something that’s going to grow and grow with you, as you nurture and, you know, stay connected to it.

Billie Topa Tate 15:28
And that is so true. The second thing that I would recommend, is, it’s already in our, in our DNA in our blood, that we start the day with, you know, a formal or informal aspect of what is called a sunrise ceremony ceremony. As a native elder, we believe that when we rise that we express an intention, not only to establish gratitude for the day, to the Creator, but also to adjust our energy field to where we want to be by setting an intention in the morning. So before I start with my clients, I always ask for both of us to have a quiet moment to set an intention for this time that we’re spending together, you know, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expressed desire of you know, of how we want things to go, but also gives us an opportunity to really kind of share with ourselves what it is that we would like to have at that moment. So, you know, we can, we can, you know, say, well, we were going to have this, you know, time together, it would be if you’re comfortable doing it, just closing your eyes and just setting an intention. And the thing about that is if they have been lost for a long time, and when I say last, look disconnected from their great purpose, they will look at that and say, I have not done that for a while, I need to do that I need to set that intention for the day. I mean, I get everything I’ve asked for but I my batting average will be better. So you know, so, you know, that is another wonderful thing that they will find very refreshing when they’re dealing with needed people.

Ani King 17:24
So do you think up? Thank you, sorry, I interrupt. Do you think that there are some prevailing prevailing things that make it more difficult for folks in Native communities to get mental health support at times?

Billie Topa Tate 17:45
Well, I know that because of the relocation programs that transpired many, many years ago to from the reservation to the inner cities, you know, that was an acclamation of a lots of change. And also, you know, putting them on reservations. I mean, the the symbolic representation is isolation, you know, of the communities and also his separation, that did not supply the energy of support and community, and things of that nature. So I would say, just from my field work, I would say that, not only there was there at some sort of energy of, Okay, so I’m always in this form of isolation, or, I don’t know, that the government really cares about, about me, things like that course, we’re probably all but you know, here it is. And so, it’s a little difficult, because they, let’s have the native people will go inward, instead of reaching out and, and, and wanting to be helped. So there is that aspect of, you know, in the beginning, it probably is going to be a little bit of a task, to allow them to create that rapport and, and also feel comfortable, that they would believe that someone could assist them. So I think that that,

Ani King 19:17
that, uh, you know, that trust thing is so important. And also not, I don’t I imagine not surprising that it would be a lot of work to build some of that trust on the part of a clinician who doesn’t have some of the same cultural connections and understanding, you know, just thinking historically about which we don’t have time to get into all of those pieces, but even you know, current times where, if the government is saying, Hey, we’re offering these services, hey, we’re offering these services and being like, yes, but what, what happens after that and not wanting to, I very much understand not wanting to take advantage of the services that they’re coming from a place that you have already proven, it can’t be trusted.

Billie Topa Tate 20:05
Yeah, and I think that, you know, with some, there were, there are several things that that that, you know, is important to know. And the first thing is that, you know, as a practitioner, is very important for us to go inward ourselves. And also to ask for, you know, our, our wants and desires to be placed in a place where it’s very wise, that we engage in a way that’s very, you know, respectful and honest, and, but also to, you know, to take that sacred space for ourselves and say, you know, I want to be of service, you know, and, you know, if I can gain insight by going inward, to speak the words that will be of service to this person, I will, that’s my expressed desire. So as we expressed his desire to do that, then we are going to be able to get connected to a part of ourselves that, that has a lot of, of wonderful wisdom that can be shared at that moment. So and, of course, you know, doing our homework, because, you know, Native Americans, there’s their different tribes, different cultures, I mean, yes, there are some basic structures there. But you know, there’s different cultures, there’s, so I try to do my homework when you know, I’m a patchy so if I’m working with a Lakota, you know, we do different things, you know, but we also have that different perspective in mind, when we’re engaging,

Ani King 21:38
that makes a lot of sense, especially, you know, the the piece, I think about not only going inward, but doing your homework, knowing, like making the effort and having the intention of learning a little bit more so that, you know, here are the places where I believe we can connect, and here are the places where maybe I can’t make that connection, but I can be open to it.

Billie Topa Tate 22:01
And meditation for us is so very important. So that we can create that sacred space within ourselves to engage, you know, so

Ani King 22:11
one of the questions that I have, too, is, you know, understanding that there are extremely valid reasons that there isn’t necessarily just a thread of trust between communities, how can folks who are not a part of indigenous native communities start to build or establish a level of trust with their clients? You know, we’ve talked about doing homework and talked about going inward, but are there some other things that clinicians can do, that are very mindful and very intentional? And working towards trust?

Billie Topa Tate 22:48
Well, so that’s very good question, the additional things that they can consider is after they do their homework, and after they, you know, have established, you know, an intention with them. So they can have that quiet moment, because, you know, when people are in recovery, or people have had trauma, there are no quiet moments in their mind, they’re, it’s, they’re always, you know, so to speak, doing battle with something that’s going on. And so when we create a place where they can take a nice deep breath, and, and then also create a space, where we can just have a quiet moment of expressing a desire. And then what what is really important is to share something that when they walk out the door, they feel that we’ve added value, you know, and that, that that is, you know, I know, it’s very difficult sometimes because we all have stress and everything, but for us to be in a peaceful place. And also for us to be in and that means that we have to create a sacred space within ourselves constantly, which I think is a really motivating factor, you know, because, you know, everybody gets dusty from the trails, so to speak. So, for us, besides doing when we do our homework, that we kind of share, you know, to be more real, you know, and, and so, you know, I, I wanted to create this rapport and I wanted to, and, you know, read about this, and, you know, I don’t want to be, you know, offensive in any way of your culture. And when we say those things, the person is saying, well, this person is really caring about me, you know, when when you’re being, you know, honest and truthful about how you want to approach the session. You know, and, and those are the things that when people feel that the person is being, as you know, as realistic as possible, but kind and we’re creating a beautiful space for them to come into a safe space for them. They’re gonna want too, they’re gonna walk out the door and say, This person is someone I feel can add great value. And, and I felt felt very comfortable. The goal, you know, as my grandfather, grandfather Sharla would say, you know, you can go to school and get a credential to ride a horse, and go into a barn and, you know, show the horse, your diploma on the horse, and if you didn’t really accomplish the feeling, and qualities of those things, that horse would throw you right off in a minute. And then another person would walk in to the barn with no credentials and be riding the horse really well. Because it’s all about what we feel when we interact with someone, you know, it’s what is in their, their mind, body complex, their energy field, all of those things are what they pick up, you know, and so when they feel comfortable and safe, because safety is the first thing, if they don’t feel safe, they’re not going to open up or they’re not going to interact, or they’re not going to step into their stages of healing. So, so I feel that not only with native people, but with with all of us that we have to have that that sacred space within us to be able to so that they can feel that quality in us and they can continue to, to talk about, you know, what they’re feeling, you know, with us, folks, just

Ani King 26:33
real quick, if you have any questions, please feel free to hit the q&a button or the chat button. And I’d be happy to filter those to Billie right here. While we’re talking. Billie, one of the things as you were talking about storytelling being so important that I was thinking about, as just I know, that folks are, you know, collision clinicians, excuse me are moving towards incorporating storytelling as a therapeutic method. For a lot of things. I’ve talked recently to a clinician who uses it as part of eating disorder recovery, and uses a lot of mythology in order to help people you know, kind of connect to these archetypes. And has found that that can be especially beneficial that they mostly work with women, but especially beneficial in helping people kind of be able to express what they’re experiencing in a way that isn’t all in I statements and so on. How do you when you know, when you’re, you’re working with folks and incorporating storytelling, what are some ways that you do that?

Billie Topa Tate 27:46
Well, there’s several ways, it really depends on on what you’re gauging from your, from your, from your client. And because, you know, everybody’s in different places, and they’re, they don’t have a sign, like, I don’t really like this, or I don’t feel comfortable with this, these are things that you that you discover as time goes on. But I may talk about a wonderful story that my grandfather shared with me or my elders shared with me, that really, you know, allowed me to have some insights about things and, and, and I always want to share that, you know, when I was going through this process, myself, I there was just no perfect this, we don’t come out of the gate that way. And, and then it’s so wonderful to share the imperfectness, you know, of, of the 12 year old that you were there when this happened. And, and because laughter or at least some sense of humor about ourselves as practitioners kind of allows for them to feel like, Oh, I can talk to this person, because it happened to me, you know, or, yeah, that, that I like that, you know, she’s, you know, she’s just standing on the pedestal, and I’m not over here, we’re, we’re human beings. You know, I mean, there is a certain level, you know, that you have to maintain your professionalism, there’s no doubt about that. But there can be these times when you’re really talking, as we say, in the native tradition, spirit to spirit, when we are talking at that level, and, and sharing at that level. So there’s, that’s one perspective, that’s one application. And then the other part of that landscape is just making reference to a story in a book, you know, and talking about that, and saying, you know, things like, Okay, well, symbolically, I think that would kind of remind me, of a person who really would like to share their ideas but doesn’t have an approach or an idea, because they never were taught so here’s what we’re gonna do. So you know, So you can use two different platforms have an outside source of a story, or personal story or a story that really touched your, your spirit to, you know, get more of a report going. So those two platforms have been very, very good work for my practice.

Ani King 30:22
Thank you for sharing that. I love that storytelling is such a powerful, I think connection for people across so many cultures, and you know, starting with oral tradition and written tradition, and I think that that’s one of those things that’s almost universally established. And as human beings, we like stories, we connect to stories, we use them in so many different ways. And most of that is about connection and communication. I’m curious to when you’re working with folks, and, you know, maybe they’re not necessarily connected in the same way, you know, to the idea of their own energy and their own connection to the earth and so on. And what are some ways that you help folks kind of start to make that journey towards, you know, just that first step, or, you know, the first few steps?

Billie Topa Tate 31:22
Well, so it within all of us where we are definitely, you know, that pure seed of, of consciousness that connects with the earth in a very powerful, wonderful way. And maybe that disc that got disconnected in some way. But if I see that a person doesn’t have the same understanding, or connection, then I can make reference to, I will do basic things, like, ask them to utilize a moment in time, when they can just run their hands through, you know, the sand, at the beach, you know, take, take some of that, you know, and, and take it home and, you know, make a mess in your room, or whatever it is, whatever it is, I want them to start to reconnect with the natural world, because the natural world is, is really where we, we begin our and oh, you know, we begin and also we, we go back to a very, very often, and when we lose that connection, that’s, that’s when we start to have some difficulties in staying in a state of balance. So I try my best to to give them small things that they can do, to allow for them to kind of clear their mind of things that you know, that might be repeating in their, in their consciousness, it isn’t going to be of good service to them by reestablishing themselves in some part of the natural world. And even if it is the contemplation of just water, I, I will tell them, you know, this water that we have, on this earth has been here since the inception of this earth, it’s the same water, and we drink it, we, we experience it and and it is various, according to our tradition is one of 12 sacred foods on this planet. And it is very healing for us. And we, so we can, you know, share that with them. And, and, you know, ask them to contemplate it, and they come back and talk to me about it. And then I would share another story and another experience with them.

Ani King 33:46
So it’s just sort of slowly building a little bit at a time, you know, helping them rediscover their connection. And when foot clinicians are working with folks who are clearly looking to reconnect. And there is a point where I’ve talked to a lot of different types of clinicians and every one of them is talked about sometimes there’s a point with a client where you have to acknowledge that you are no longer the best person to help them on the leg of their journey that they’re starting on or that they’re coming up with. And I’m curious if when clinicians can run into that with folks who are it’s maybe not, there aren’t a lot of options, right? So and you know, especially in some more rural areas, sometimes the number of therapists you can find in the area, and non COVID times when you know, insurance won’t cover your remote sessions or those kind of things. And they’re really they are the option like what are some things or things they can encourage or ways that they can help folks rediscover some of that community connection if they don’t have the option of working with Somebody who will have that same kind of cultural connection.

Billie Topa Tate 35:04
So I think what you’re trying to say is if you’re, if you’re wanting them to go to the next stage with someone with another practitioner, how would you gently do that? How would I always like to use analogies, you know, I like to use analogies of, of the journey, you know, and also how we climb mountains and how we, you know, how we go and approach, you know, a hiking trip or, or anything like that, I like to use analogies, it really depends on the person, and how they relate to the world. But I would use an analogy or a number of analogies, even in the natural world, how we would go to the next stage. Because it’s, it’s, it’s time to do that. So analogies are wonderful. And we really, really have to learn how to be able to do that, and also be the support structure. You know, I remember, when, you know, my kids were growing up, and we were out in a big, like a golf, the, the, you know, it’s a big, big part of the water in a resort, what was a resort, it was a, you know, place that they took care of animals and, and we were swimming with dolphins, and but they were holding on to me. So they could do that. And I just found it to be very interesting that they would be able to interact with these big beautiful animals in the water, only because they’re kind of holding on to Ma, you know, but they wouldn’t be able to do it unless they had that. And I saw that to be very interesting. And, but eventually what transpired is, they said, I can let go of, of mom, because now I have two hands, and I Everything is fine. And so the transition was there that sometimes we do have to supply the support, so that they can say, Yeah, I can, I can do that, I can do that. So I found it to be very interesting. And I did want to be that support structure to observe the, the wonderful thoughts, the maturity like, okay, I can, I can let go. And then I can have two hands and I can, I can interact, and it’s, it’s good. So um, so I use analogies like that, to help them to know that there is no form of abandonment, it is a form of support. So your journey can go into that next stage of blossoming and enjoy, and all of that. So it’s a really good, good, good thing, as far as analogies are concerned, to paint a picture for them in their mind.

Ani King 37:49
That’s terrific. That makes a lot of sense. And I think, one, yesterday, we had a webinar talking about working with children and adolescents. And it was very similar. And they, you know, making sure they understand it’s not because it’s abandonment, but it’s because they’ve grown because they’ve grown and now, here’s the next thing that’s going are, you know, they’re they’re stepping into this and it’s not that you’re there, you’re not there to help them are not there to help them, like make those first couple of steps, but that at some point, they’re going to want to take the rest of them with both of their hands free. Switching gears just a little bit with COVID-19. And with all of you know, staying in place in that, do you think that the option of doing remote sessions has allowed for more clients to connect to people to find more help? Do you? What do you think about it kind of in general as a the impact that’s had on Native indigenous communities? Well, we

Billie Topa Tate 38:49
always went When, when, when the COVID situation occurred, we knew that Mother Earth was asking for an energetic timeout, to provide us with an energetic timeout, so that we could look at ourselves and ask some wonderful, important questions, you know, what is important to us, you know, all of those things, we started to realize that, you know, engaging with people, and engaging with our families, and just a simple hug, which was not possible for a while, really taught us the value of those things. And so I really feel that there was so much wonderful things that transpired. And, of course, there were a lot of sad things that transpired that people have passed over and all of that, but the remote sessions that occurred, I mean, I wrote it on my Facebook page, these these are the things that I’m going to keep as far as my practice is concerned. The Zoom sessions are wonderful. The sessions online are wonderful because we established a a connection with people that we would not normally, you know, have it in Tel Aviv, or in Japan or in Iceland, or any of those places, and it was really wonderful. So we’re definitely going to keep that in our platform. And I really feel that with the shelter in place, we’re really searched for ways to, to really help ourselves to understand, you know more about what we need to take care of what we need to understand about ourselves. So I really feel that it really helped us quite a bit. If we don’t, we’re not we’re human beings, we want to engage too. But this was an additional platform that I think a lot of the clinicians will be maintaining to, to, you know, allow for everybody to get the help that they need, which is I think, wonderful. Of course, you know, you know, other things that I’ll be keeping in my practice is the masks because I really think that it was a very wise thing to, for us to do that. Because it just really helped. I mean, we didn’t have a flu season because of the mask. And I really taught us about how we could actually communicate, you know, exchange, colds and flus and all that. So that was really wonderful. And, of course, I wear organic white gloves when I’m doing the energy work, which I really love. And I think it really helps make people feel much more comfortable. And so many other things. So, of course, curbside pickup, you know, when you’re calling and you’re just in your car, and you get this package of food that you can take home. I’m glad they’re keeping that as well. So, I mean, so there were some really good pluses that transpired in that and what happened?

Ani King 41:56
I yeah, I think that I like, especially that the option for remote sessions has made, I think, therapy accessible to more people. You know, I, my husband grew up and I spent time in a really small town where there were probably, you know, three therapists, two of them are with CMH. And if they were already seeing, like your partner or something, you know, and you could get into like conflict of interest or whatnot, and how, as a queer teenager, if I had been able to find some, well, I mean, the internet wasn’t a huge thing when I was a teenager, let’s be real. But being able to find somebody where I could connect, you know, and know, hey, our values, at least seem aligned. And I know that this is a person I can connect with, it seems you know, for folks who have, they have internet, because there are certainly people who don’t have all of the necessary things to be able to take advantage of this new scenario. But when they do have that, I think it expands choice. And it gives people more options, it means that they can look a little bit further into what do they really need, and who do they think is the right clinician to fulfill that for them?

Billie Topa Tate 43:01
Right. And I really feel that, you know, as I said, there, there are some really sad things that transpired. However, it really provoked us to really look inward quite a bit. And I think that that was really great. Because there there was this, a lot of self discovery that transpired during that process. And the the internet platform was really a wonderful plus, and I one that I hope most clinicians will, and practitioners will keep because it’s so beneficial. I know that people really feel very benefited by it, they see that it add value.

Ani King 43:44
And so I think that just to remind our folks, we’ve got about 10 to 15 minutes left. So if you have any questions, please feel free to raise your hand or hit the chat button. We’d love to hear what’s on your mind or what you’re interested in learning about. One question that came up in the registration is whether or not there are any common cultural beliefs that impact whether or not somebody is willing to seek mental health support? You know, because there are some communities where it’s, you know, I’ve heard folks say, you know, I, I’m Mexican, so my family can’t know that I’m going to therapy, and where there are these smaller family things, but they tend to extend out somewhat culturally Do you? Are you aware of or can you tell us about any occurrences of that that clinician should be aware of?

Billie Topa Tate 44:39
Well, how? I guess I’ll reframe the question to he does Yeah, feel free? How can we better reach these communities, we better reach the native communities. And I really feel the most important thing is engaging through some activities that help the community Uh, you know, like gardening getting a little, you know, or doing some free things that will allow for them to see, this does add value, I feel education is really the most powerful weapon that we have in the world, you know, if we educate more people about the value of things, they will take more advantage of, of, of those services, and how you do that as you engage in different kinds of community efforts, engage in different kinds of informal platforms of, of service, sometimes when it’s so formal, you know, like, okay, we’re, so this organization is coming in, and they’re going to have a table, and I’m going to talk, it’s almost on a unapproachable for some communities. But if we do things, like what we talk about one person at a time, you know, maybe a couple of efforts of helping the community build a community garden or sharing some talks that are free, that, you know, would be comfortable and approachable for the people, all of those things are so very important. And, and also, we need to get to know, the people in the community, you know, we, we know, the community, but if we get to know, one or two of the connectors in the community, or any, any part of the community and then start what we call the Apache tradition, though, Yosh by a boyish by a means extended family member, you know, and anyone can be an extended family member, you know, you know, a companion animal can be through your spray or, or, you know, someone who comes around and, and helps us to, you know, work with the gardens or work with helping, you know, crossing guards, all kinds of things that are more intricate, intricate, into the community, that’s when we’re going to really get the biggest value is, is by developing that type of rapport, and things like that, I remember my grandfather, when people would be moving in to the neighborhood, you know, he would, he would take one of our garbage cans, make sure it’s empty, and bring it over and, and just leave it there and say, you know, I know you’re moving, you’re probably have tons of boxes, I’m bringing one of these extra garbage cans over for you when you’re done with it, you know, let me know, I’ll bring it back. And he established your friendship. Right away.

Ani King 47:48
That’s amazing,

Billie Topa Tate 47:50
was just something small and informal. And just an act of kindness, that established a connection, that, you know, and, of course, everybody said, you know, gosh, this is a wonderful person, I really want to get to know this person. And, and, you know, when, and he was very wise, wise, elder, he just was sought after tremendously. But all these small things, were the things that really made a big difference, as opposed to knocking at the door, and saying, I’m your, I’m your new neighbor, and I’m, you know, I want to get to know you. And they’re like, Oh, well, okay. So it’s those kind of things that really help us to establish a rapport that’s very meaningful, that really allows for people to take advantage of, of the services that you might have to offer.

Ani King 48:44
That’s why I recently moved, so the extra boxes and garbage can for the felt sort of deep in my soul, as what a helpful thing to do. And that’s, I think, that element of thinking about the person, not just thinking about, okay, I would like to do this because it sounds good. But here is an identifiable thing that I know, they will need help with. And it’s, you know, very low stakes, right? It’s just saying, Hey, I would like to connect with you, I’m going to try and solve a problem for you through an act of service, and I am here if you want to talk or if you want to do anything. And I think for that sense of, you know, for clinicians of making an entrance into talking to people in the community is probably the just reframing is a way to take that kind of first step to in building a bit of a bridge of trust. It’s not just I’m going to be in my office and I’m here if you need me, it’s going out and say, I am here and I would like to connect with you. And I understand that community is really important. So I’m going to do that.

Billie Topa Tate 49:51
Definitely. And it’s the same way with all the kingdoms. You know, if you want to create a report with with a companion animal, I mean You can say hello. And they’re gonna say, you know, well, kinda nice to see you. But when we create a rapport with that person in a very informal intricate way, that that’s a very meaningful thing speaks volumes about the person. So,

Ani King 50:17
so we’re just about it time, and I believe we have answered the questions that have come in. So I just want to kind of close this with asking, Is there anything that you would like to share with me in the audience that we didn’t get a chance to talk about yet? Or that I asked the right questions for yet?

Billie Topa Tate 50:35
Well, one of the things that I do want to end this wonderful lecture with is that, as practitioners, we symbolically represent an expressed desire for healing, that that is our goal is to create space, in the you know, in a place where healing needs to happen. And so, we want to always remember, every day that, you know, with our sacred space that we have within us, we can speak, you know, and so, it’s really important for all practitioners, to have that sacred space and have that sacred balance, you know, that really is a very important thing. Because we cannot give what we do not have. And so it’s really important for us to, you know, know that we are always going to be learning from every experience. And, and also that, you know, what the the goal is, is to, to share our, our wonderful medicine, you know, in in the exchange of words, feelings, rapport, all of those things are very, very important for us. And, but the most important thing for us as practitioners is, is to come from that place of center. And that is where we’re going to do our best work. So, through that, you know, nature working with the natural world, meditation is a very important tool. And also, you know, just sell the other things that we we know are going to be very beneficial for our clients should really be part of our practice as well. And it with the indigenous people, we have never lost our connection with our great purpose of being stewards of the land. And that the land has great wisdom. And even when we walk on the land, it’s it’s going to give us this great sustenance of medicine. So with that, I thank you so very much for being with me. It’s a pleasure and an honor. And I hope to see you one day soon.

Ani King 52:53
Thank you so so much. I really appreciate you coming and sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us. Folks, if you would like to watch or share this with anybody else, we will have a replay of at the same URL that you signed up at. That’s slash events. Thank you again. This has been fantastic, and I really hope we get a chance to speak again in the future.

Billie Topa Tate 53:18
Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day. You as well.

Ani King 53:21
Thank you

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