WIDER LENS

Renewal Retreat SOLD OUT!

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A chance to recuperate, regroup — and rebuild.

This parenting retreat for those who are raising gender- questioning children offers a special opportunity to prioritize your own mental health, build connections with other parents, take personalized and intimate workshops with world- renowned experts, and commune in a beautiful, tranquil environment.

Our Renewal Retreat is a uniquely intimate gathering, with a limited number of spaces available, allowing you to work closely with our team to address your needs.

About Wider Lens Consulting

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.’

Designed with you in mind

Parents of trans-identifying kids face unique challenges and are often quite isolated. But you are more than just a parent to your child. You have your own hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Parenting a gender-questioning child can be exhausting, disheartening, and draining. You might have lost contact with your own sense of joy and meaning. The Renewal Retreat will offer you the chance to focus on yourself, reconnect with your center, and find a sense of grounding and peace amidst the challenge.

Programs Offered

Over the course of the three days, there will be ample opportunity to spend intimate time with other parents who are going through similar experiences. Programs will be tailored to the unique needs of those who attend, and participants will be grouped with others who are in similar circumstances.

Each day, there will be several small group workshops from which to choose. You may choose to attend a session led by Sasha on acceptance, letting go, and managing changing relationships or participate in a workshop with Lisa that creates space to discuss emotions that are usually taboo – feelings of being out of control, of not liking our kids, or even wishing we had never had kids. Stella will lead a session on gender dysphoria and its impact on the family where we will discuss the strain on marriages and siblings.

Our retreat will provide a therapeutic space where you can give yourself permission to express and process complex emotions such as rage, regret, fear, guilt, and disappointment. We’ll also offer opportunities to relax, unwind, and reconnect with yourself. There will be time set aside for walks on the beautiful grounds of Bon Secours. We’ll offer wellness resources such as yoga or mindfulness. And there will be plentiful opportunities for connecting and sharing informally. You’ll leave with new friends, new tools, and renewed strength.


A chance to…

  • Build connections with other parents who ‘get it’
  • Take intimate workshops with Stella, Lisa, and Sasha
  • Commune in a beautiful, tranquil environment
  • Discover opportunities for growth amidst difficult parenting challenges
  • Balance your own needs with the needs of your child
  • Reconnect with your sense of agency
  • Allow yourself to feel and express any and all emotions, including difficult ones like grief and rage
  • Exhale!

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 Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center

We will gather at the Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center, situated on 300 picturesque acres outside Baltimore. This hidden gem in the Maryland countryside is the perfect place for rest and reflection.

Bon Secours is accessible from three major airports – Dulles International, Reagan National, and Baltimore-Washington International – making it easy to get to for domestic and international travelers.

While at Bon Secours, we will have full access to their serene grounds. Walking trails wind through the woods, past a pond with koi, ducks, and geese, and over a meditative footbridge. A one-acre labyrinth invites contemplation and reflection. The peaceful, natural setting provides an ideal place to detach from excess worry and return to center.

The Sisters of Bon Secours are known for their gracious hospitality, and this is readily evident at the Retreat Center. Accommodations are simple, inviting, and immaculate. Each room comes with a queen-sized bed, a private bath, linen and towel service, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served cafeteria-style, and the food at Bon Secours is known for being plentiful and delicious. Snacks and beverages are also provided. Additional amenities include a library, a chapel, and a fitness center.

A Renewal Retreat at Bon Secours provides parents with an opportunity for restoration and healing in an enchanting and tranquil setting.

This event is sold out!

We’re sorry if you missed your chance to register. However, we plan to offer further such events in the coming months, so do please be sure to keep checking this website for updates.

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

— Carl Jung