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Season 1, Episode 5:
Mental Health, Emotional Regulation and the Natural World  

Guest: Alison Roy


Marina Robb

Hosted by: Marina Robb

Alison Roy

Alison Roy, M. Psych Psych, MACP, MBACP

Alison Roy is an experienced Psychotherapist, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist, author, specialist consultant and trainer. Her experience has taught her to understand how important our communications are and how they can enhance or inhibit our relationships in every aspect of our lives.

She is invested in helping others to build more healthy relationships through meaningful conversations and enabling people to be more resilient, creative and resourceful.

In her work with individuals, couples, families and groups she focuses on the deep significance of early attachments and the impact of trauma and loss on the personality. As the co-founder and previously the Clinical Lead for the CAMHS and East Sussex specialist adoption service – AdCAMHS, she has learned much from those who have experienced significant losses, shocks and challenges in their lives and just how complicated life can be. She has also written a book about adoption, a chapter about education through the arts and contributes regularly to the press and mainstream media.

In this episode Marina and Alison talk about:

  • How nature as our first home is part of a healthy mental health.
  • How gratitude is not necessarily instinctive.
  • Metaphors that help us to understand ourselves.
  • That some children will only engage when they are physical, so the need to be outside and move is paramount.

Music by Geoff Robb: www.geoffrobb.com 


Twitter: @alisonroy20

LinkedIn: Alison-Roy

Website: www.psych-communications.com

Book on adoption: A For Adoption

Trauma stories training for professionals. Contact Alison through her website or email her on: [email protected]

Creativity in education and children in distress. Alison has written a chapter in a book called 'Education Through The Arts.'

Reflective practice groups – Alison facilitates reflective practice groups for public, community based and private sector organisations.
See: https://www.psych-communications.com/consultation-and-training

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(transcribed by AI so there maybe some small errors!)

Alison Roy: If they're so focused on the nests and they neglect the tree, if that tree falls, their nest will go, it won't just be the nurse on the other side of the tree, or the poor nests or the nests lower down. It will be the whole lot. And it's helping people to understand that we need to nurture the tree

Marina Robb: 
Hello, and welcome to the wild minds podcast for people interested in health, nature based therapy and learning. We explore cutting edge approaches that help us improve our relationship with ourselves, others and the natural world. My name is Marina Robb, I'm an author, entrepreneur, Forest School, outdoor learning and nature based trainer and consultant and pioneer in developing green programmes for the health service in the UK.

You're listening to Episode Five mental health, emotional regulation and the natural world. My guest today on the wild minds podcast is Alison Roy. Alison has worked in mental health as a psychotherapist and counsellor for over 25 years, both in the NHS, the National Health System, and in independent practice. She's particularly interested in the deep significance of early attachments, and the impact of trauma and loss on the personality and was co founder and previously the clinical lead for the cams that the child and adolescent mental health service and East Sussex specialist adoption service add cams. It was here that I met Alison and we developed a partnership that created nature based opportunities for young people. Alison has also written a book about adoption a for adoption, you can find the link on the show notes and contributes regularly to the press and mainstream media. In this episode, we discuss how nature as our first home is part of a healthy mental health. How gratitude is not necessarily instinctive metaphors that help us to understand ourselves. And that some children will only engage when they are physical. So the need to be outside and move is paramount.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. I'm so excited to be talking to you particularly around mental health, nature and what it means to be human and all the things that go on for us in life that are challenging, and also really beautiful. So welcome, Alison, really good to have you here. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for asking me. So I always like to start with this gratitude. And I know for some people, it's a bit strange. But for me, it's something about just remembering something we're grateful for. So if that's okay, I'd love to. Well, I'll start and then I'll ask you if that's okay. So for me, I'm just so grateful that spring is, is on its way with the change in weather and the beginning and merging of plants. And yeah, wonderful helps me, um, spring is amazing. And I think the beauty of the natural landscape is such a gift, and how can we not be grateful for all of that, in terms of what nature provides for us, I think to to be able to have food on the table, to have friends to have relationships, to have a home to live in. We are privileged, and I personally feel we shouldn't take any of that for granted. So there's a huge amount of gratitude. But I think gratitude can be complicated as well. Because you can't make people feel gratitude. It's it's an important part of somebody's journey. When you're feeling sad, or when you feel empty or you feel that things have been taken away from you. It's a journey towards learning to be thankful and learning to find the things that you have in life and other people can't decide that for you. So yeah, I just just to say it's it's complicated, that I feel gratitude, but I've done the journey with it.

Alison Roy: 
And and I think it's something that we can model and we can show all of the things that there are to be grateful for but

Marina Robb: 
Yeah, something that everybody just instinctively feels. Well, that's why I wanted to talk to you because I, I knew immediately that here I am taking it for granted that people can just say that they're grateful. And I'm not surprised that you're reminding me that there's always something else to consider and to be aware of. So, yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you. So what is a consultant, child and adolescent psychotherapist? What, what do you do? What did you get up to? or what have you been doing? Yeah, a lot of people might not really understand that I certainly get confused between psychologists and psychiatrists and psychotherapists. What is that? It's so nice to have the chance to explain. So thank you.

Alison Roy: 
Well, it's a very long training. That's the first answer. And psychotherapy, which is a, it's a psychoanalytic training. So it's about working with the unconscious, and understanding how the mind works in ways that aren't visible, or completely obvious. So when you're working with a child, a lot of your training is about understanding those unconscious communications. And children communicate through their play. And they communicate about their lives and their stories, so often through their behaviour and through their play.

So it's a lengthy training, because we, as child, psychotherapists have to understand our own stories, and journeys, and make sense of all of that, alongside making sense of other people's stories. And the trouble is that there's a lot of disturbed and distressed children have very painful stories. And it takes a lot of courage, and awareness of your own pain and difficulties in order to be able to help children make sense of those stories. Children are truth tellers. They may tell stories, they may be creative, they may tell little fibs in order to get out of something difficult. But they really know the truth. And, and we need to help children with their truths about their lives, and help them understand the difficult things.

Most children are okay, if they're adults are okay. So part of being a child psychotherapist, is being okay with the things that are really painful and difficult and not okay, and having the training and the work on yourself, to be able to go through really dark and distressing places, and help a child with that. So in terms of my role in the NHS, I was helping children understand some very difficult complicated things that had happened to them, that they couldn't make sense of, a lot of the adults around them couldn't make sense of, but part of my role was also helping people who were helping children with their feelings and difficulties. So it's also working with parents, it's also working with the professional network and trying to help people think together and work together, which can be very difficult when you're working with trauma.

Because people go off in different directions, and have their own ideas and want to fix things in their own way or find it very difficult to think and feel. And, and they need help with that. So it's it's pretty complicated role. But that that's an overview Marina.

Marina Robb: 
Yeah. And it makes me think a lot as a facilitator myself of different groups and different ages. And not being a psychotherapist or a therapist. That is so important, isn't it to be aware of what is going on for you. And even if we're not working at the level that you're describing, we are working with the whole person, and things come up. And actually, no doubt, we all have to be able to either get support through supervisory or have somebody to help us or indeed, the other which we're going to talk about which might be the natural world and have to help us have an awareness of ourselves really into kind of notice what comes up for us and perhaps our stories.

So it seems very, very important that that reflective aspect to your work and to anyone's work I think working with young people or people would you say?

Alison Roy: 
Yeah, I mean, just having the capacity to be self aware. Right and having the capacity to think. It's interesting because we all think that we think.

But I think often we forget to think and we only have to look at world leaders when we think about the environment and the natural world. And and some of the, what we would perhaps say those of us who spend time in the natural world and value it would say is a no brainer in terms of treasuring those resources. And if you think about it, it feels uncomfortable. But it leads to change, those uncomfortable feelings are necessary in terms of our thoughts, and our understanding and our awareness of the world around us and others, and we become more responsible human beings, because we allow ourselves some of that discomfort.

And, and I think that's where we go wrong, as a society sometimes is we we forget to think, and because we don't want to come into contact with our uncomfortable feelings, so we do what we can to avoid them. And that takes us around or down a fairly dangerous path at times. in mental health. It does. And I think it does for the world.

Marina Robb: 
I wasn't going to go there straight away. But I did speak to a young.

But I did speak to a young woman yesterday, and she said, I think we're at war with nature. And she said, and she said to me, but I think that's because we're at war inside ourselves. And I thought, and I had to just sit with that, because I have my own understanding of what she meant by that. Yeah, but she was actually feeling something quite emotional and quite deep that she, she was she was, well, I thought she expressed it very well, actually, this kind of

Alison Roy: was going yeah, what was going on in her was, seems, seems to be reflected in the way we're treating the others, as well. And in that case, he was also talking about the situation in Ukraine, but also the natural world. And I think that's something of what you're describing how our inner worlds actually do really affect our behaviours and the way we relate to other people. And also, the wider world, in this case, the natural world, it's possible as well that because we've lived through a pandemic, you and I, and others listening to this podcast, that human beings have moved deeper into survival mode, which can be a very selfish way of being, and can feel like war, because it's every man, woman and child for themselves when you're properly in survival mode.

And yet, actually, what we need is to work together not be against each other at war, but to work alongside each other and build a community so that we can fix these problems together. So it's, it's really quite upsetting, not only for young people, but for those of us who try and integrate systems to see so much. I'm doing this with my hands, but you'll see it on the product is falling apart and crashing into each other, when we're all on the same side, or could be working together to understand ourselves and our world better. And I think for young people who are still in touch with truth,

That's very distressing to experience that the tug and pull of different competing agendas. And it's really hard for them. When, you know, it's it's even getting to the point and I didn't want to be really political, but it's getting to the point where speaking the truth, could become a legal. You know, it's not even just about protesting and marching. Even just having a voice it's different to our leaders might in no time at all, start to become threatening to this day. And I think that's where young people are struggling to know how on earth to get their voices heard. And to talk about their feelings. Well, I think them and us too.

Marina Robb: 
It's hard. It is hard, I think we can often rely can often struggle with how to express what I'm feeling and to find the way to speak that doesn't create conflict. So it's a big, definitely it's not an easy thing, and it's something that takes a lot of time. I want to ask you, because I know that at least some of your career I don't know how how many years, but you have been deeply involved in working with young people that have been adopted. And one of the things I'm really curious about is what you've mentioned to me in previous conversations that we've had about how nature can be the first home. And I wonder what it's like? What would you say about young people and their experience of being adopted and where you think this relationship to nature can com e in, and hopefully be a relationship that's supportive?

Alison Roy: 
I mean, it also links to gratitude and because on the face of it, why should an adopted person feel gratitude towards their adopters and society thinks they should, but they have been deprived. Even if they've been given a beautiful home with loving parents. They've been deprived of their first landscape. They're the person whose heartbeat, they would have known whose voice they would have known in the womb, who they would have felt prepared for meeting. And they've been taken away from that person. And it's, well, it's a primal wound, but it's, it's a primary loss, that they're never going to completely recover from on one level, because that has been taken away from them.

And, and that's where the word gratitude is complicated. Because society expects them to be grateful, because they've been given something and why should they be that that's why their natural world is so helpful, because it's such a leveller, when they can take a group of adopted young people who feel different, who feel excluded and have to cover up those feelings for all kinds of reasons, because they don't want to stand out as being different, but they feel different.

They've lost the people they should have been connected to. When you get into the natural world, and you say, We all come from here, we all have calcium, we all have Stardust, in our bones, we all came, we all originated from this place. This is our first beginnings. And we're all the same. When we're in the natural world, we all came from here, we all have.

This is our inheritance, all of us. We all have a connection with the natural world. And it's so moving, because it's mind blowing for some of these young people who have felt so different and so disconnected, to feel the earth beneath their feet.

To all one of the things we do, as you know, Marina, is we do a night walk in the dark. And I haven't done one of these for a while since I left the adoption project. But it's something I'd like to do, again, in terms of getting young people out into the outdoors. But us as leaders are in the dark as well. None of us have torches, and we all have to follow someone who knows the terrain. And it's terrifying because we're all in the dark. And we're all finding our way. And there are bumps and turns and bugs and various things and screechie hours and all kinds of things. But we're all on you know, we're all on this journey of life in the dark, in a way. And we're all on it together. And once you help young people who've had such a severance, such a loss, understand that, that we're all alone, however much we pretend on social media, that we're having the best life ever.

And we're so deeply connected to so many people, we're all alone. And we all have to practice those lonely feelings. And phones and social media never take those away. In fact, they can accentuate them. So being out in the natural world, and being together and all admitting that truth to each other. That we all feel lonely sometimes, and that we're all in the dark, just trying to find our way is is incredibly uplifting and connecting people who've been adopted, but for all of us actually.

Marina Robb: 
Well, that makes me think of just isn't loneliness. Now in Western worlds, the greatest killer, which I find really hard to get my head around sometimes it's like, why is that killing us? You know, why is that killing us? What do you make of that Marina? Well, I guess it's because I have a sense that we need each other and we need we live with you know that relationships are so important that actually, yes, we need a relationship with ourselves but we can't, that's not enough, I guess I I'm taking from that that isn't enough. I mean, I make, that's what I make of it that. So somewhere if you're on your own and you, lose this feeling that you've got these, I love this phrase ropes of connection. The Bushman talk about that, you know, where they?

Well, the visual, the image I've got is this idea of almost these threads coming out from us, which they would say they are there, but I can't see them. But these ideas that we have these connections, these ropes of connections, as they describe it to, to everything, you know, to other humans, to the trees, to the sun, to the earth to all these things. And I guess, if you can't feel that, well, you've we've already mentioned it, perhaps it's loss, it's a sense of loss and emptiness and no meaning. So I can say that I can answer that in the way that I yeah, I have heard you question me about it. But But I still. Yeah, I guess I have answered it. Do you think

Alison Roy:
Yeah, well, I mean, maybe it'd be helpful to bring my book in a bit a, I've written a book all about adoption. And it's called a for adoption. But I write quite a lot in there about the need for community.

And the need for having like minded people, you won't find people who are the same, because we're all different. But you will, it the need for each of us to have other people we can share our experiences with. And for adoptive parents to come together and, and communicate with each other and share their experiences and find a community was transformative. And an almost better than any therapy that I could provide, but worked really well alongside therapeutic interventions.

And I think, I think that's what we've lost so much is a sense of community, where we value our old people where we value difference, where we don't see it as threatening, and we have a place for everyone. And we can learn from each other. I mean, I've been rebuked at times for organising things. I'm I'm a parent. And I don't share this openly because it's about me. But there are times when I take over a little bit, and I'll organise things for my teenager.

Because I know at some margin, it's a modern myth that teenagers aren't should be completely left to their own devices to organise everything, they are perfectly capable of making friends, and hanging out with the people they want to hang out with. But they need to be taught inclusivity that's not something they do naturally, if you want your child to include others that may feel left out.

And that they'll benefit from that not just the person who is left out, you have to model that, and you have to help them do it. And that's where I'm prepared to be a bit bossy. Because if I noticed that certain children often are included in the WhatsApp, or that there's one group that always hang out and, and immediately the message is, you're not one of us. That's not okay, for children. And that that's where children need to see that adults not modelling cliques and hanging out with the same people. But modelling a sense of community, and making sure that everyone feels connected. And and I don't think social media has helped with that.

Marina Robb: 
But that brings up I mean, it made me think of a recent situation. And because it's podcasts, I better be clear, it's not names, because it'll come back at me. This feeling this this, one of the because I also have a teenager, and you know, that what was shared was that I don't like this other person. I don't want this person in my group. And I guess there was part of me, well, I did think it's okay to express that. So, I'm hearing I want to just check that. So we want to as a sense of community, but there's also something about being honest, isn't there?

Because there's something as well about being nice. And the niceness not being real. And I know you know that because part of what we've already described as being aware of our own challenges and our shadows and the things that we do inside our heads too. So what would you say about that? How do we, how do we be truthful? And how do we encourage our children and ourselves to be honest, but whilst keeping this community?

Alison Roy: 
Yeah, well, there's a difference between community and inclusivity and accepting bad behaviour. Yeah, if somebody is a bully, for example, and they are mean, and they exclude, and they do hurtful things, that doesn't mean you have to go up and be nice to them and, and treat them as if they're someone special. But if you if everybody is working with the same rules, and, and being a community, the group will handle those people. And you don't handle them by excluding them. You have the group handles them together, if if it's left to one child, because their mother is a bit bossy, or happens to be a psychotherapist or not, you know, that's not fair.

But if if lots of parents are encouraging inclusivity rather than exclusivity, then children learn to manage those other children. And they learn to teach them things, which they need to be taught with parental support, and doesn't mean that your child has to make a best friend out of somebody who's excluded, because nobody else wants to be friends with them. But if the group do things, well, then they will manage those difficulties. And that child needs to learn a lesson or two, not just by being completely excluded and ignored.

Marina Robb: 
Ah, I feel like I need to take a deep breath, because going into the subject of inclusivity or exclusivity is, is a very necessary and powerful conversation. Because it's, it's everywhere, isn't it? It's what we have access to what we don't have access all the privileges that you just wait, you said I feel privileged when you entered this podcast, and that has afforded.

Yeah, I'm privileged. Yeah, you are privileged. And I am privileged. Yeah. Yeah. And that affords us power, doesn't it? Yeah. As well, and how we, how we work with that power is also very important, I think in the subjects, you're just touching on, you know, how do we use that power? To create community? Or do we use that power to, to break community? And I guess I'm wanting to turn the conversation a little bit to our natural world?

And to think about, well, in a way, how are we using our power at the moment to include the living world, the non human world, in our decisions in, in our policies, in our education, in our health system, in our psychotherapy in our everyday lives? And I know that you've spoken to me about how nature has taught you so many things about health and illness? And how has that happened for you? How has that shown up? Has nature shown up for you? And what are some of the teachings or lessons that it's bestowed with you? Or on your? Yeah, on your journey?

Alison Roy: 
Well, it? I mean, the short answer is, I have learned so much about a part of myself I didn't know was there through the natural world, and, and how important our instinct is, and, for example, walking through the woods, which which in this country is relatively safe.

But I recently spent some time in the states where you know that the I was walking in the woods on my own with a dog where there might have been wild animals, and your feelings and your instinct is so important for your survival. It's no good if you're walking through a jungle, and you sense that you've heard something, and you just completely ignore it. Because you don't want to feel uncomfortable and you don't want to engage with any sense of threat. It's that sense of threat that's going to keep you safe and get you to the other side.

But then if you get completely paralysed by this sense of threat, and risk, you're just going to freeze and become overwhelmed. So the natural world can really help us regulate and teach us things about our feelings. In that we learn to listen to signs and signals my hair when I'm spending time in the natural world. My hearing gets better. My eyesight gets better. My my sense of touch and taste and smell improves and and I feel more human. So what what we have done

The past overnight when we've worked with a group of young people who are completely soaked in toxins, as one way of describing it, is we remove as many of those contributing difficulties factors as we can, when we bring them into the natural world.

So we take away their phones, we take away headphones, we take away any weapons they might have brought along, any kind of paraphernalia, anything that they might use as some kind of a prop, but also an avoidance of feeling and knowing their self. And it doesn't mean that phones are all bad. But there are certain times it's very helpful, to be able to listen to other things. And I think the natural world has taught me to listen, as a psychotherapist, I thought I was a good listener.

But if you don't listen really hard, when you're out in the natural world, you miss things. And I think we've taught ourselves not to notice the signs, for example, when a storm is coming, or the trees are looking different, or the birds are making a strange noise, about even just to be able to question it teaches us something, and ensuring that we see a fox or something or a massive bird of prey, sweeping down over the horizon, the birds or at first.

So I noticed that saying, The Birds or at first, I think we you know, we need to listen to nature, because they see it first. And they'll tell us, and we can learn so much about humanity and the world around us. If we listen.

Marina Robb: I
t makes me remember sitting around a fire with the children and young people. And again, going back to that community sense and the darkness behind us. But the warmth around the fire and I guess that's in our DNA in our ancestors.

And it's hard to describe I often think these these things when we start talking about the natural world and what it what what the different living beings can teach us, or or help us to feel it's hard to describe it because it doesn't have to be intellectual or rational or scientific.

It's, it's something that arises and yeah, it being around a fire and just being it just made me remember really, those conversations that I know wouldn't have happened in a room or anywhere else. And it does facilitate Yeah, in such a profound way.

Alison Roy: 
It really does Marina, but what what else I have found remarkable in those sitting around the fire moments, or even walking through the woods in the dark, is how healthy these apparently unhealthy, mentally ill young people are. And I do wonder if they are a barometer for society, just like nature is the number of referrals I get from parents who are absolutely clear that their child is the one with the problem. And it's not to minimise the child's problem.

But I nearly always say, Well, can I meet with you first as parents and just get a sense of the story and where you're at and what's going on in your life, because it can often be the healthy child that exhibits the unhealthy symptomology. And it's not about blame. But the child is a very good communicator of distress, just as nature is.

And when we get children and young people around a campfire and they communicate. They give us such wisdom. You know, they teach us so much. And it's a real privilege to be in the company. And I'm often left feeling well, gosh, they they really know what's going on. They've really taught me a thing or two. And yet we place them in these environments that bring out these very unhealthy behaviours and distress. So whose problem is it? I suppose is what I'm asking to sometimes what what do we need to be learning from this? Yeah, and I don't have any answers Marina, but it's helped me ask more questions.

Marina Robb: 
Well, you don't have any answers and yet we know that. Both of us feel that at least some time, to give young people some time to have these experiences is important. I mean, for me, I would love to see it as a regular part of, let's say, education, you know, because as you've described, what when young people, and I always think, well, hang on, I'm also I'm also the same, just a fair bit older, when I'm given that different environment, that different contexts, whether that's a fire or more space, then I can express different aspects of myself, because I really liked hearing what you said that often when we have when we, when children come outdoors, they get to express a different aspect of themselves, it's often not revealed absolutely not revealed in a classroom setting in some cases.

And we're kind of missing the wholeness of what it is to be a human. Yeah. And the different aspects of ourselves. Because, yeah, because we to live a fulfilling life, it's certainly not just about the success, the outside success of getting the grades, and then the outside success of having a great job.

And, you know, we do need to have some of these things. But being obsessed by that having a whole culture that is driven on these outer, external idea of what is successful, that's pretty hard core , isn't it? Because, not many of us are going to get that. So where does it leave? Why does it leave us? And we already said, We're privileged, and we're already up and up the ladder, but I'm talking about the rest of all of humanity, you know? Yeah, gosh,

Alison Roy: 
I mean, that, that, that says it all, really, but it just reminds me of the young young people who described themselves as rejects with your which is just very painful and powerful, because they don't fit. And because they're not going to match someone else's version of success. What are we doing? Toy young people, if that's how they left feeling, everyone has strengths and resources. And I see adults too, in my private practice, it's not just children.

But it's, it isn't just children that feel this pressure to succeed or to fit or to look a certain way or be a certain way. And their absolute fear of being lost, and, and rejected. And that what changes people and what helps people thrive is the quality of relationships. So if our education is becoming more and more, focusing on ticking of boxes, and meeting targets, and not on building relationships, that would explain some of why we're seeing such an increase in anxiety, in non school attenders in high levels of distress, and depression.

Marina Robb: 
And school attendance is a thing is not just the people that are that are exhibiting, you know, more extreme distressed behaviour. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It's everywhere. So, in terms of relationships, in terms of the relationship to the natural world, do you think if it is our first landscape, that we do need to give young people and ourselves the opportunity to develop that more in our society? Is that something you think is we should be doing?

Alison Roy: 
Definitely? Yeah, most definitely. But Marina, we need to be careful how I say this. We need to get the men involved. We really need to get the men involved. We need to get fathers we need to get male leaders, regardless of sexuality, or role in society. We don't have enough men in powerful places who really get the value of the natural world.

And it's become, I think, so caricatured, and limited as the realm of motherhood. And it's what women do when they play in the woods with children. Rather than if we don't get to grips with our natural world. We're going to lose it and we're going to lose a lot of our business, our ability to connect with other countries. We're going to lose a great deal.

A lot of meat, what makes me who I am My potency as a map. And, and unless men engage with a different version of potency in the modern world, and begin to really value the natural landscape, there are men obviously that do. But I don't think we have enough of our powerful male leaders who really take it seriously. And so they don't model that, and we haven't got that coupling, then the idea of a parental couple, working together to provide a healthy space.

So perhaps it's not just the men, but it's it, I see. men treat it as if or you know, a bit of forest bathing, or it's not something I really need to engage in. And the men who do really engage with this, and who, who really work alongside us, they have such an important role in communicating with other men, about the natural world.

And I'd really like to see more fathers engage with their children in the natural world, and maybe we need to do more to make that happen. But at the moment, I think it's so easy to just disregard it as, as something that is a bit fluffy, a bit of it as an optional extra, even in schools, in terms of borescope, rather than there are some children that will only really engage with learning when they're physical when they're out in the natural world. And if we don't do this for them, we're missing a real opportunity to help them thrive. That was a bit of a lecture there Marina

Marina Robb: 
It just leads to more questions, really? And, you know, I have a great wondering, and absolutely, I think it's important that all our leaders, you know, male or female, I want to see leaders being able to be more reflect more my everyday experience?

Of course I do. And I don't understand why this deeper understanding or, or relation relationship with the natural world isn't being valued beyond what we can get from it, or a kind of survival thing, actually, like you were saying, If it feels like we have to do it for our survival, then maybe we would do it. Rather than understanding for me, there's kind of the to and fro of this relationship that we have not just the interrelationships, you know, that, that we need a healthy environment to be healthy, but this, this, this in and out of this relational quality to the natural world that brings so much to us.

That isn't about what we have been don't have, you know, so yeah, I mean, obviously, I want to see it as an intrinsic part of our developmental rights, if you like. Absolutely. We'll have to come you have to have to come and have to come back to talking more about power. And perhaps this, to dive into what we mean by that. And I look forward to that.

Alison Roy: 
Maybe an analogy that works is thinking about the tree, that if you imagine there's a lot of different nests in the tree. If people are completely focused, for example, like our political leaders, perhaps on feathering their own nests, and making sure that their nests are as comfy and as well resourced as possible, and they feel quite pleased with themselves because their nests are good compared to some of the nests on the other side of the tree who may not be as well resourced, and as comfy.

If they're so focused on the nests, and they neglect to the tree. If that tree falls, their nest will go, it won't just be the nest on the other side of the tree, or the poor nests or the nests lower down. It will be the whole lot. And it's helping people to understand that we need to nurture the tree, you know that there's this environment.

It sounds a bit hippy, but it's real, where we all are part of the natural world whether we live in a tower block or whether we're camping out in a tent. We it's it's it connects us all and we need to find ways as as a wider bigger communities the bigger picture of nurturing the tree and checking the roots and providing for this tree that has provided for us for so long.

Marina Robb: 
Wonderful What a fantastic set of images to leave us with. And I do want to ask you one more question. Before we before we end, which is really about your younger self and wondering, wondering, you know, what advice you would give to the younger Alison's may it doesn't have to be a teenage Alison, it might be a just a 20 year old Alison. But if there's some nuggets out there, what would be some advice to your younger self growing up in the world that we're in? Now?

Alison Roy: 
The main thing I would say is, don't be afraid. Just don't, don't be afraid. You know that there are things that that maybe we, we can learn to be fearful of, for good reason, like the open sea, or climbing a mountain, you're making sure you prepare, well, prepare well. But don't be afraid of being here you are here. Use your voice. Use the life that you've been given. And really make the most of those resources. Don't hold back to please others. No one's going to do it for you. It doesn't mean that you have to be arrogant and headstrong, but don't be afraid.

Marina Robb: 
Thank you so much. And with that, I'm going to say goodbye. Thanks again for speaking to me, Alison. Join me next week as I take a closer look at some things that could help us and young people's mental health.

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Wild minds podcast. If you enjoyed it and want to help support this podcast. Please subscribe, share and leave a rating and review wherever you get your podcasts. Your review will help others find the show. To stay updated with The Wild Minds Podcast and get all the behind the scenes content. You can visit theoutdoorteacher.com or follow me on Facebook at The Outdoor Teacher UK and LinkedIn. Marina Robb, the music was written and performed by Geoff Robb. See you next week. Same time, same place.