WIDER LENS

Renewal Retreat


A restorative retreat for parents of gender-questioning kids and young adults

With Sasha Ayad, Stella O’Malley and Lisa Marchiano

Franciscan Renewal Center, Scottsdale, AZ

Foundations – For New Parents

Sunday, October 30 – Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Foundations + Advanced – For Parents Who Want to Do Both Retreats

Sunday, October 30 – Friday, November 4, 2022

Advanced – For Parents Who Attended Our March, 2022 Retreat

Wednesday, November 2 – Friday, November 4, 2022

A unique space, designed with you in mind.

This Renewal Retreat is a transformative opportunity for parents to take time for themselves and prioritize their own mental health. They allow you to build connections with other parents who ‘get it,’ take intimate workshops with Stella, Lisa, and Sasha, and to commune in a beautiful, tranquil environment. This time will help you deepen your understanding of your child’s distress and develop your parenting skills… and also have some fun!

Each retreat is uniquely tailored to its attendees, so the workshops are slightly different every time.

Come and…

  • Discover opportunities for growth amidst difficult parenting challenges
  • Balance your own needs with the needs of your child
  • Allow yourself to feel and express any and all emotions (including difficult ones like grief and rage)
  • Work through guilt: you are not a bad parent!
  • Find self-acceptance and self-forgiveness
  • Reconnect with your sense of agency and parental authority
  • Understand how to best support your ROGD son or daughter
  • Learn to set boundaries with your child
  • Discuss your situation in small groups based on the age and sex of your child
  • Feel supported by like-minded parents who “get it”
  • Join targeted groups designed for parents of younger teens, adolescents, and adult children.
  • Share some laughs!

See what previous attendees had to say….

“This was a must have experience and worth every penny. If you are going through this and feel hopeless, prepare to be transformed.”

“The Wider Lens Renewal Retreat was an amazing opportunity for me to meet with other parents experiencing similar situations with their gender questioning children. Sasha, Stella, and Lisa were a source of strength, knowledge, and wisdom that I believe will really help our family and our daughter in the years to come. The three days I have spent here have brought both perspective and calm for me. I would highly recommend the retreat to other parents. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

“The retreat was a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded parents and feel a sense of community. Most importantly, receiving in-person guidance and feedback from Sasha, Lisa, and Stella was truly invaluable. I am so thankful to have participated in this retreat. And leave with a renewed sense of hope.”

“The Wider Lens Retreat was an amazing experience. I am so thankful to have spent time with Stella, Sasha, and Lisa. I finally feel I have the support of parents and therapists and am no longer alone.”

“This experience was transformative for me as a mother, and as a human being. I feel so supported, guided, and grounded. What and incredible gift!”

Wider Lens Consulting was formed by Sasha Ayad, Stella O’Malley, and Lisa Marchiano. These three women are experienced therapists who became concerned early on about the rush to medically transition children and young people.

All three had the insight, integrity, courage, and conviction to speak out on the issue when it was considered risky to do so. Together, they have sixteen years of combined experience working with trans-identified young people and their families, as well as detransitioners.

Sasha, Stella and Lisa became friends, brought together across the miles, by their common commitment to addressing the harms they saw happening to families. They have now created Wider Lens Consulting to offer more comprehensive services to families, schools, and mental health providers.

Sasha, Stella, and Lisa have become highly sought-after because they have clearly and compassionately understood and been able to communicate the complex impact that gender dysphoria can have on the family. Their work has resonated with thousands of parents.

They are uniquely qualified to facilitate a healing and restorative encounter that helps parents return to their inner compass, honor their parental intuition, and find grounding amidst a disorienting cultural narrative about ‘trans kids.’

Programs Offered

Foundations Retreat

For those who have never been to a Wider Lens Retreat

This is the first stop where you will get the opportunity to share your story and receive support. Foundation sessions revolve around important basic concepts that all ROGD parents should understand. You’ll work through all the complex emotions associated with parenting a gender-questioning child and learn about parental authority, guiding with love and structure, and reinvesting in your own life. This is a transformative and powerful opportunity to meet and develop deep friendships with other parents who understand your struggle.

Advanced Retreat

For those who have already attended a Wider Lens Retreat

This is a chance to reconnect with old friends and go deeper. Building upon foundations, this retreat will help you expand your inner resources and focus on your personal development. Highly tailored, the participants will provide direct input in the design of the sessions through a needs form sent out 6 weeks before the retreat. With this feedback, focused sessions will address specific parenting scenarios through expert consultation, live demonstrations, role playing, and in-depth presentations. Come access the wisdom of the group to workshop your trickiest problems, and help you better understand and resolve specifics of your situation. We’ll equip you to manage your thorniest difficulties including interaction with your child, medical personal, schools, et cetera.

MORE ABOUT THE FACILITATORS

Lisa Marchiano is a Jungian analyst and award-winning author. Her book Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself has been a guide to mothers at all stages. Lisa was featured in Abigail Shrier’s groundbreaking book Irreversible Damage, and was interviewed by Helen Joyce for her book Trans. Lisa was also featured in the 2021 documentary Dysphoric.

She has been consulting with parents since 2016 and runs groups for parents through the Gender Dysphoria Support Network. Marchiano was the first clinician to draw attention to this trend in the clinical literature. Her 2017 paper Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics has been downloaded over 150,000 times. Her writings on gender have appeared in Quillette, and she had written chapters for several books, including Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body, and Inventing Transgender Children and Young People. Lisa has lectured widely on the topic of gender dysphoria both in the US and abroad. She has also worked with trans-identified young people and detransitioners. Her peer-reviewed paper on detransition Gender Detransition: A Case Study was published in 2021 in The Journal of Analytical Psychology.

Lisa is a clinical advisor to the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) and to Genspect. She is on the board of the Institute for Comprehensive Gender Dysphoria Research and is a founding member of Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics and the Gender Exploratory Therapy Association (GETA).

Stelly O’Malley is a psychotherapist, bestselling author, and public speaker. Much of Stella’s counselling and writing focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being and she is a regular contributor to the Irish and UK media. Stella’s first bestselling book, ‘Cotton Wool Kids’, was released in 2015, while ‘Bully-Proof Kids’ was released in 2017 and ‘Fragile: Why are we feeling more anxious and overwhelmed than ever before’ was released in 2019. Stella is also the resident psychotherapist for the popular RTÉ series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families.

In 2018, Stella was the presenter of the highly-acclaimed Channel 4 documentary ‘Trans Kids: It’s Time To Talk’, she contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, ‘Inventing Transgender Children and Young People’ and a co-host of the podcast ‘Gender: A Wider Lens’. Stella founded the Gender Dysphoria Support Network (GDSN) to help provide support for families who have been impacted by gender dysphoria. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Genspect, an international alliance of parent and professional groups that represents 18 different parent organisations over 15 different countries. Stella is also a founding member of the Gender Exploratory Therapy Association, and the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners; the Vice-President for The Institute for Comprehensive Gender Dysphoria Research and a Clinical Advisor in the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine.

Stella holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is currently studying for a PhD about gender-related distress.

Sasha Ayad is a world leading expert on Rapid-onset Gender Dysphoria who has worked with adolescents for over 13 years. She is a highly sought after therapist, speaker, and author because of her ground-breaking perspective on how to treat gender-questioning teens. In 2016 Sasha became the first clinician whose therapy practice was exclusively dedicated to treating adolescents and young adults with sudden-onset dysphoria using a developmentally-appropriate, compassionate least-invasive-first approach. A critic of the ‘affirmative model,’ Sasha’s approach sensitively accounts for ideological indoctrination and social influence. Sasha has publicly raised questions about the practice of medical transition for children and teenagers, being among the first therapists to speak out on this polarizing and sensitive issue. 

Sasha’s expertise was sought for the award winning books, Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier, and Trans by Helen Joyce. She’s appeared on high profile shows like The Unspeakable Podcast with Meghan Daum, Calmversations with Benjamin Boyce, and she was featured in the documentary, Dysphoric. Sasha is the co-host of Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast and a founding member of the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine, The Gender Exploratory Therapy Association, International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners, and advisor for Genspect, an international advocacy group for parents of gender-questioning children. 

Sasha holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.

About the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona

The 25-acre center features comfortable guest rooms, delicious meals, and beautiful grounds in the peaceful Arizona desert. This location, in the most desirable zip code of Paradise Valley, is accessible to Phoenix and Scottsdale. Incredible mountain views, desert air, and warm sunshine will offer a chance to escape into tranquility and rejuvenation. Amenities include a pool, spa, and outdoor barbecue. The stone labyrinth and meditative healing garden offer moments of reflection in the natural landscape. The beautiful stained-glass meditation room will be the setting of some of our small groups. Excellent hiking and golf are nearby and we’re only 20 min from Sky Harbor, our major international airport.

The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.

— Carl Jung