S1 E6: How We Can Support Children Through Hard Times By Being Better Listeners

This past year of a deadly pandemic has been tough on everyone, but it’s been particularly hard for children. Most have had to cope with having their entire routines turned upside-down by the removal of in-person school. And now, over a year later, many are dealing with the uncertainty of going back to school before they can be vaccinated. To make sense of this time of instability, we called up Dr. Gina Pasquale, an expert in child mental health. In this episode, she shares insights into what this year has been like for children all over the country, and provides some invaluable strategies for supporting not only children but all of the people we care about, as we face the next big transition – and the rest of our lives.

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Episode Notes

More about Dr. Gina Pasquale

Dr. Pasquale is a teacher and psychotherapist who specializes in infant mental health and Autism Spectrum Disorders. A graduate of Antioch University New England’s Doctor of Psychology program, she now teaches as affiliate faculty in the program, leading multiple courses including the Professional Development Series.  In her private practice, Dr. Pasquale uses talk therapy to treat clients of all ages, and she provides psychological testing for a wide range of educational, emotional, and behavioral issues. When she is not seeing patients or teaching, Dr. Pasquale can be found avidly riding her mountain bike throughout the Keene area. 

Learn more about Antioch University New England’s Doctor of Psychology program.

Recorded April 28, 2021 via Riverside.fm. Released May 12, 2021. 

The Seed Field Podcast is produced by Antioch University.

This episode was hosted by Jasper Nighthawk and edited by Lauren Instenes. Special thanks for this episode goes to Melissa Batalin, Karen Hamilton, Melinda Garland, and Simon Javan Okelo for their contributions.

S1E6 Transcript

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[00:00:05] Jasper Nighthawk: Thank you for being here with us today. You are listening to The Seed Field Podcast presented to you by Antioch University.

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[00:00:23] Jasper Nighthawk: With every episode of The Seed Field Podcast we celebrate and share stories of those who embody the spirit of our founder, Horace Mann, as they win victories for humanity. I’m Jasper Nighthawk, and I’ll be your host today.

Right now, as I think about humanity, I feel like we’re going through a lot. We’ve been living through a deadly global pandemic for over a year, and the last year has been stressful for tons of other reasons besides. These stresses are part of why I was so excited to talk to the psychologist and teacher, Dr. Gina Pasquale this week.

I wanted to ask her specifically about the effects of the pandemic on kids, which is one of her specialties, and I wanted to ask her if there’s anything more that we can do to support the kids in our own lives, and in the end, talking with Gina really helped me understand my own experiences better too. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

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[00:01:28] Jasper Nighthawk: Today, we’re lucky to be joined by Dr. Gina Pasquale. Dr. Pasquale is a psychotherapist who teaches in Antioch’s Doctor of Psychology program at our New England Campus. She’s a specialist in infant mental health and psychological testing, and she teaches courses in both of those subjects, as well as leading the professional seminar sequence, where she helps students find their own specialties, and helps them chart their professional paths within the field of psychology.

Dr. Pasquale herself is in fact, a graduate of our Doctor of Psychology Program, where she’s now a faculty member. Welcome to The Seed Field Podcast, Gina, we’re so happy to have you here.

[00:02:06] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Thank you for having me.

[00:02:08] Jasper Nighthawk: I know that beyond your teaching work at Antioch, you work as a therapist in the Keene Area, and one of your specialties is working with younger children. I wanted to start off by asking about these kids. It’s been a hard year for everyone with, obviously, the pandemic and also other stressful things going on around the world, but I think it’s been especially hard for kids. I was wondering, how do you see your clients doing?

[00:02:32] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Well, I think it’s been – Like you said, it’s been exceptionally complicated this year for them. It’s added in this element that was so unexpected to the adults, that the safe haven that the adults can create that the children anchor to, it helps them to feel grounded and safe in the world because the adults, they’re going to take care of it. The pandemic really shifted that because all the parents were in a complete panic.

At their schools, in their daycare centers, in their communities, the adults weren’t grounded, and so I think the trickle-down of that to children, that was also very unmooring, so that’s been a piece of struggle is how to help families and children to get our footing again as communities, as individual families, and so on. I think that added a unique layer that I hadn’t seen before in my work with children, and then anxiety rates are through the roof. I have never in my career so far seen the intensity of the anxiety that I’ve seen in this past year, like truly, truly petrified children.

I had one little kiddo who during a play therapy session, and this is all happening over telehealth, and he was on a phone doing the telehealth piece, he made a fort and had us hide in there, all of a sudden, the screen is completely black because these blankets and pillows are falling on top of me, and he got in the fort, and then he said, “We’re safe now. Now we’re safe.”

That’s been my experience is that. I see kids all the way from the very, very beginnings of life all the way through becoming emerging adults, and so then the teenager end of the spectrum, there was this loss of faith in the adults completely. Sort of, “Why did our systems fail us? What is happening? Why aren’t people responding?” That added another layer of anxiety and missed opportunities for socializing and things like that, so it’s been a hard year for them, a really hard year.

[00:04:35] Jasper Nighthawk: Yes, that feels so true, the desire to make a pillow fort and be finally safe inside it. Just on an adult level, I have that desire probably every day too.

[00:04:46] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Oh my God, yes. [chuckles]

[00:04:49] Jasper Nighthawk: But what you’re talking about the loss of faith in adults and in the ability for the adults in the room to have things under control, to me that feels like a continuation of trends that we were already seeing. There’ve been the emergence of these child activists like I think of Greta Thunberg or Cameron Kasky for gun violence, who are saying, this has not, 30 years, 50 years, in some cases, of some adults saying these are problems and then it continuing not to be addressed. It feels like that on steroids. Do you see that?

[00:05:25] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Yes. I definitely see that. That idea that the adults have let us down, have let the children down in some way. Not all, of course, but as a collective, action hasn’t been taken in so many different things. There’s a part of the development of adolescents where that disenchantment also serves to light a fire underneath them and they can make tremendous change and become amazing activists in this world. I think that’s absolutely remarkable.

I think it also speaks to the reality that adults in the lives of children need to be a huge part of the solution to helping kids through this collective trauma of the pandemic, because their little brains are developing and human brain doesn’t finish developing till age 25, 26. There’s a lot of support that they really need.

I think when we can align with our children and deeply, deeply listen to their concerns and actually make some action steps so they don’t feel like they’re completely powerless in this world in the face of unexpected events that are out of everyone’s control, that shifts things, that shifts the way a child and a teenager can manage, can psychologically tolerate the reality of what’s happening around them.

[00:06:42] Jasper Nighthawk: Yes. It seems like we are at a place, at least in the United States, of moving back towards resuming in-person school and having some of these structures where adults, beyond just parents, are able to intervene more in children’s lives. Yet in my not very scientific sample of students who I have worked with who I’m friends with, I’ve sensed a great deal of reluctance now to shift from what students had adapted to of being home, to going back into these classrooms.

It seems like there’s a lot of disruption that’s going on there that almost mirrors the disruption of the cessation of schooling like that. I was curious, have you been seeing some of these challenges of students returning to school? I was wondering if you could offer some advice to people who are maybe coaching relatives, family members, or other students on that?

[00:07:36] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Absolutely. I think the disruption is complicated because there are a lot of students, particularly students who have specialized learning needs, who actually have been in-person in a lot of different school districts this entire time. While there might have been some periods of disruption, there was a recognition that some children just could not access their education remotely and so a lot of districts did figure out throughout how to do some in-person instruction for those kids.

Some of those kids that I work with are petrified of all the other kids returning because they have felt safe in the environments the adults had created, but the idea of being swarmed with all the children again is overwhelming.

I have other kids who are- their parents, perhaps don’t really feel that the pandemic is that big of a deal and have been very upset about the closings this entire time. Some of those children I work with are very excited to get back to the classroom and are more irritated that they’re going to be forced to wear masks.

Then I have yet other kids who feel like, “How could they do this to us? Why are they sending us back? It’s too soon, we can’t be vaccinated yet,” and they’re very anxious. Very, very anxious. The piece I keep anchoring myself to is that because this is so much out of the control of the children, that one of the things that we can be doing, as we’re supporting them in whatever educational things are happening next to them, is to really deeply, deeply listen to their concerns and to not minimize it, to not try to make it all better, but to acknowledge it so that they don’t feel so isolated and alone in that experience.

[00:09:20] Jasper Nighthawk: That’s I’m sure wise advice in all circumstances but I think especially here. I wanted to shift gears just a little bit, and I know that one of your specialties is diagnosing autism spectrum disorders. This has been in the news a fair amount because while we are having these vaccines that are incredibly effective at preventing severe COVID and slowing the spread of COVID, we’re also seeing millions of people who are showing a great deal of hesitancy or resistance to getting vaccines.

I know plenty of people who are saying, “I’m never going to get vaccinated.” A lot of this seems to be an outgrowth of the anti-Vax movement, which has been around for a long time but really, in its modern form, comes from this fraudulent 1988 scientific paper that claimed that there was a link between the MMR vaccine, which is given to young children, and autism.

To be clear, that paper has been debunked 100 times, there is no proven link between autism and vaccinations. I bring it up because you work with a lot of children who have autism spectrum disorders. I know that in the autism community, it can be really insulting to treat autism as this horrible thing, this disaster that has to be averted at all costs, even if it means that children are going to die of measles. I was curious, what do you make of this fear of vaccines and the fear of autism more generally?

[00:10:53] Dr. Gina Pasquale: I definitely fall in the camp where I really am a huge proponent of the neurodiversity movement, and I don’t view autism as, in some ways, not even as a disorder, that it’s a brain difference, it’s a different way of thinking, it’s a different way of processing the world, it’s a different way of relating. For me, I agree, I don’t believe we should be searching for a cure, because I don’t believe anything is diseased or broken.

The vaccine piece always becomes complicated. The way I’ve always approached it is recognizing that if a parent is adamant that they are not going to give a vaccine, my experience has been when I share the research, they’re unmoved. They really are unmoved in their position. Instead really, again on that deeply listening thing, really hearing about the fear that underlies it, because that’s what it is all about.

It’s actually about, it’s about fear of something going wrong. What they’re actually afraid of, in some ways, is not necessarily even autism, they’re afraid of vaccine injury, they’re afraid of losing this child they hold so precious and dear, that tends to be what it really boils down to.

My experience has been that once somebody has that real strong stance that vaccines are dangerous, there’s not always a lot of research that can be provided that will shift that perspective, and so that’s challenging.

[00:12:22] Jasper Nighthawk: I find it frustrating that people are unmoved by scientific research, and are not interested in what science suggests is likely to happen. Are there other ways that you have found of talking to people that are sometimes effective at getting them to reconsider their opposition to vaccines or to science in general?

[00:12:44] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Yes. It’s really challenging because I recognize my bias is towards science, for sure. I’m a big believer in that but one of the strategies that I have found that while it doesn’t necessarily, the goal is not to persuade someone to my way of thinking, but the goal is for human beings to really, really tune in to their own experience, to their own sense of what makes sense for them and for their families.

I have found some movement in that regard, when I highlight very gently, that if they’re not going to buy the science side, hook, line, and sinker, how is it any different if they are buying the opposition side to that hook, line, and sinker and not thinking critically about that side? I talk to them about like it’s important for your child’s psychological development, that they can form their own thoughts and opinions and that means being able to really take a look at all the information that’s coming at them in a critical way.

Then I talk to them about how, as parents, one of the roles we play is to help our children learn how to navigate the world and learn how to think and think for ourselves so that we’re not swayed too much by any one particular thing.

That sometimes helps with breaking down some of that locked-in thinking. Yes, I think it’s a conversation that I think about a lot as a psychologist, in terms of like, I know what the science shows, my profession adheres to those principles. A lot of people right now, in this country, really distrust that. I honestly don’t know entirely how to navigate that. I think we’re all struggling with that.

[00:14:31] Jasper Nighthawk: Yes, but that’s beautiful. I’ve never quite heard it put the way that you say, of encouraging people to see that they’re resisting this dogma that they see of science, but that they may be, in fact, engaging in another dogma of an anti-science movement and to say, “Can you detach yourself from that dogma as well and try and navigate and model that behavior for your children?”

It seems to be tied – I understand that you approach your work as a therapist, largely, from a existential perspective, which is something I don’t know that much about. In my research, I found that existential therapy allows you to explore questions of death and freedom and responsibility, and the meaning of life. From a perspective that if you experience things like anxiety or alienation or depression, these aren’t necessarily so doom and gloom like they’re often pathologized as disorders, but it may actually be a natural response and something you pass through as you pass through life and its events and its ups and downs.

I think that’s super interesting, but it reminds me of late-night conversations when I was in college. I was wondering if I’m understanding it correctly and also why that is the therapeutic model that you’re most drawn to?

[00:15:53] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Yes, I think now you hit it spot on, for sure, that there are these major categories with an existentialism that can result in additional human suffering beyond the suffering to be expected. That’s certainly not to minimize the reality that there are some mental health difficulties that are more organically based. We’re not going to cause schizophrenia by the reality of the life circumstances we’re in.

It is more complex than that in the mental health world but so many of the things that result in anxiety and depression and other experiences have their core at these big questions of life and death, isolation versus connection, meaningfulness versus meaninglessness. Freedom, et cetera.

[00:16:41] Jasper Nighthawk: It’s funny, I was talking to a friend this weekend and thinking about that I was going to get to talk to you and was telling her that I thought that this was a cool model. She found it really useful to hear maybe this anxiety that you’re experiencing is a natural and important state for you to pass through. I think that there can be a narrative and I’ve definitely engaged in this of saying, “Well, what you’re experiencing is depression. It’s a chemical thing that happens in the brain, don’t feel bad about it. It’s not your fault. This is something that happens and we can treat it the same way that we would treat if you had sprained your arm.”

I think the existential thing is a different approach to that, that maybe doesn’t offer the same, like “this isn’t your fault” narratives, but can be useful in other ways of saying like, “This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This could be an important thing.”

[00:17:35] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Yes, this could be a growth-promoting thing. On the other side of this, you will be stronger. You will feel more agency in the world, that type of idea. It’s a very empowering model. Certainly, we don’t disregard the reality that there’s multiple approaches often used all at once that results in alleviating something like a severe depression for a person. What I love about existentialism is it gives us our agency back. It says, “You did not cause this. You did not cause this, but you absolutely have a beautiful role in supporting yourself through this.”

It’s a both-and. There’s both of those pressures at the same time. Helping individuals to really look at that inner conflict that might be there and feel more agentic in the world, that then builds on itself. We had a lot of evidence of this in the PTSD research. For years and years, everything was looked at as the trauma happens and then the person suffers, but then this body of research started coming out showing that in equal measure, there’s post-traumatic growth.

Growth beyond what the person would have had had they not gone through that trauma and that’s remarkable to me. That’s part of why existentialism is exciting to me. Some of this is my own life experience and so on that wrestling with those inner demons that many of us have that for me existentialism it just fits.

[00:19:07] Jasper Nighthawk: Yes, I love that. Seeing some of these things as an opportunity for growth and perhaps with the help of a therapist too, to be able to find your way to that.

[00:19:16] Dr. Gina Pasquale: I was actually I was on a walk the other day with my daughter– I don’t know why this is coming to my mind, but I have a 12-year-old and there’s no one more existential in the world than a tween. They’re quite remarkable. We were having this discussion, I don’t even remember how we got on it, but we were talking about the concept of living your best life. I was saying, I don’t think that’s even possible. We don’t live our best life. We just live our life.

She said to me that she disagreed and I was eager to hear what that might be and what she came up with, she said, “If you’re being true to who you are through every step, you’re always living your best life.” I was like, “Oh,” my mind was blown. I was like, “That’s it, that’s existentialism right there.” Like, “Am I authentically being who I’m supposed to be in this world, or am I succumbing to the pressures of what I’m supposed to do? Who I’m supposed to be, how I’m supposed to be? Am I doing a job I hate because it’s what I feel like is an approved job in the society and so on and so forth?” I’m rethinking that best life thing a little.

[00:20:20] Jasper Nighthawk: I love that. I wanted to ask you now that I understand existential therapy a little bit more like what insights that might have for our path through this last year, through the anxiety and stress and relentless boredom and burnout of a year under COVID and now of returning to a world that is, if anything, like more deeply enmeshed in capitalism and climate disaster. Sorry to lay out all the sorrows that I feel weighing down on my days, but what would the insights of existentialism existential therapy suggest is? Maybe your daughter’s insight is the key there.

[00:21:00] Dr. Gina Pasquale: I think one of the additional insights of existentialism as well is that in those moments of despair, and those moments where we’re wrestling, we’re not – in existentialism, you’re not denying the horror, you’re not denying the fear. You’re facing it, you’re looking at it, and you’re asking yourself, “What can I do? How can I feel more agency?”

It empowers, it moves us forward. We don’t stagnate. I think that’s the big thing that it has to offer is that with everything that’s going on, so the climate crisis. You see the realities of how much that impacts psychology, the reality of a planet that might not always sustain us because of the way it’s been treated. That’s terrifying. That’s absolutely terrifying. That’s pillow fort time. Let’s build that pillow fort, go in there, eat the Oreos and just wait. That makes us feel wretched.

We acknowledge, “I’m terrified. What can I do while I’m terrified?” We’re not trying to get rid of the terrified feeling, but we’re trying to find some power behind it, some movement, something to do so we can feel proactive. We can acknowledge both our helplessness and the ways in which we still do have power.

[00:22:20] Jasper Nighthawk: You’ve used this term like agency, or you said agentic, which I think I’d never heard that adjective before. What does that mean for people to feel more agency, and how was that taken away from us?

[00:22:34] Dr. Gina Pasquale: I think there’s a lot of ways that it’s taken away from us in different – depending on the luck of how we were born or the circumstances to which we were born. We have different levels of agency granted to us, just because being born as a White person, I have different agency that simply was handed to me. Different pathways were open to me, allowing me to take steps that others might not have been able to take.

That idea of agency is really about a belief that my actions have consequence in my own life, in the life of others, in my community, and I feel the motivation to take a step and that’s pretty powerful as humans.

[00:23:17] Jasper Nighthawk: I like the way that you fold in the ways that our agency can be expanded or limited by our circumstance because I think that there’s a broad view, statistical look at the world that can be very useful for understanding it to say there has been redlining in effect that has systemically disenfranchised millions of Black people over the years from homeownership and from accruing intergenerational wealth. The amount of agency that someone who is at the far end of that systemic oppression can exert, you have less agency there.

Yet, nonetheless, in our individual lives, like we have to believe in agency. Otherwise, we’re just like a victim of our circumstance. It seems like there’s a contradiction there, but that you’re working to untangle.

[00:24:09] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Yes, it feels like a contradiction and in some ways, I think you’re right, it absolutely is. It’s that both-and, it’s both things at the same time and we can hold those. I think that’s also, as we’re navigating through this bizarre pandemic reality that we’re living in, is so often we’re having to hold these concepts that are two different things but they’re both valid at the same time. They’re both part of the human experience, and the capacity to hold that uncertainty, hold that ambiguity is one of the keys to psychological okay-ness.

I’m not even going to say wellbeing these days. We’re all just doing okay, but I think that’s a lot of what children’s brains aren’t necessarily set up to do quite yet. The youngest children think in a more concrete, black and white manner. As the adults, we can help them to hold on to both things at the same time, you’re excited to go back to school and you’re really afraid to go back. The grownups are saying it’s safe, but you have to wear a mask because it’s a little dangerous, so it’s all of these contradictions.

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[00:25:20] Jasper Nighthawk: Hi, this is Jasper. I’m going to cut away from the interview for a second here, because I want to let you know that The Seed Field Podcast is produced by Antioch University. Let’s make the world better together. Complete your bachelor’s or your master’s or study for a doctorate degree with us here at Antioch University and join a community with a 160-year long commitment to social justice. Win one for humanity. Learn more at antioch.edu.

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[00:25:58] Jasper Nighthawk: Well, as we’re rounding the corner and starting to wrap up, I wanted to ask you about your own life under this pandemic that we’re seemingly starting to emerge from. I’m curious, how has your life changed and how did you keep your own mental okay-ness up during this really stressful time?

[00:26:16] Dr. Gina Pasquale: In my world, I was very, very fortunate that the two different jobs I have are both very doable remotely. All my clinical practice shifted over to telehealth and all my teaching shifted to remote teaching. I had the luxury and the privilege of safety in my own little basement office. That was a shift, but such a privilege at the same time.

My daughter’s school closed and so she was home all the time, but I have a kiddo who’s a very adaptive learner and could learn in any circumstance. You could give her a book, put her on the beach, and she could learn calculus kind of kid. She doesn’t have any unique learning needs. For us, again, that was a huge privilege in our world.

In a lot of ways, in those moments of my own fear and suffering through this experience, there was also that both-and at the same time, then also deep fear for my loved ones beyond my little immediate family, beyond my husband and my daughter and myself and recognizing what was happening in the world and just the dread, the existential dread of all of this was remarkable.

Something happened right before the pandemic became right in our face and everything started shutting down and it was this very strange thing that happened. My mother was going through a box of belongings of my grandmother’s. My grandmother died, 13, 14 years ago now and so strange that we still had this one box, and there wasn’t anything particularly of interest in there. It was like a couple of books some tchotchkes, things like that.

As she was going through the box, she found a letter that had never been mailed. The letter was from my great grandmother and she had died in the Spanish flu pandemic in the early 1900s. The letter was during the pandemic and her writing to her father back in Europe saying, “I’m really sick. I don’t know if I’m going to make it. Fortunately, little Isabella,” who’s my grandmother, “little Isabella has not caught it. She seems like she’s okay,” and that letter never got mailed and she died shortly after that.

My mother and I, and that was in January, we were looking at it and we’re like, “Wow, look at this amazing piece of family history. How did we not know this existed?” We had it preserved and then within the next month and a half, we were both like, “Are you kidding me?” As if it was some sort of like omen or something. I think I carried, because of that family lore, I carried with me a lot of anxiety into this pandemic experience and was primed for this is very real. This has happened before and scientists told us it was going to happen again and we’re not prepared and here we are.

I was flooded with anxiety throughout so much of this and so I kept my mental okay-ness by my– Well, my poor husband had to listen to me pretty much constantly. I rode my mountain bike all the time and I rode that thing like I’ve never ridden it before, and that was so helpful.

[00:29:28] Jasper Nighthawk: That’s so great. Your story about finding your great grandmother’s letter is just amazing. To me, it suggests the importance of preserving these narratives across time in families and also just in communities. The way that a living history can give us context for things that we’re going through.

[00:29:49] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Yeah, and hopefully we learn from it and that’s always my fear is that we won’t, and then it repeats.

[00:29:56] Jasper Nighthawk: Do you think you learned anything yourself from this pandemic that you will want to carry forward in the coming years, which hopefully will not just be further pandemics?

[00:30:05] Dr. Gina Pasquale: I think we’ve probably all been doing a great deal of reflection through all of this. I learned about myself that I was stronger than I thought I was. That one of the ways I can access that strength is to go – I call them bike and cries where I go bike and I cry and get it all out. I also really recognized the value of time with my family in a way that I hadn’t.

It’s not that I didn’t value that before, but there were so many little things like, “Are we getting to bed on time? Did she have this particular nutrient in her diet today? Did–” So many of the little things that just ended up, through this context, just not mattering and how much my life was getting bogged down with little details that I’m going to look back and I’m not going to say I’m really glad I made her eat those organic Cheerios instead of the regular ones.

I think there’s been a loosening up. I’m a fairly tightly wound human and so it’s helped me to loosen up a little bit to really embrace how much is out of my control, what I can do, what I can’t do.

[00:31:13] Jasper Nighthawk: That’s so beautiful. I think I can see that in myself too, to some degree. Thank you for sharing that. We always like to close our show by giving our listeners some tangible action or concept they can bring into their own lives. As we’ve been talking about these different ways of maintaining mental wellness and not just for ourselves, maybe mental okay-ness, but not just for ourselves, but also for the children in our lives. I was curious, as we adjust to this new normal post-pandemic life, what are some small things that we can do to help ourselves and those around us?

[00:31:50] Dr. Gina Pasquale: I think really focusing on deep connection. There’s any number of things that I might do that work for me, but they’re not necessarily going to work for another person. Deeply connecting to those we care about. Listening, but truly listening, like listening to understand, not just listening to listen, not listening to respond, but really listening to understand the perspective.

We don’t have to rescue. We don’t have to make things better because we can’t in so many ways, but there’s something profoundly healing, and that acts as resiliency when we are really heard and understood. I think that if I would want parents to do any one particular thing or folks who are spending time with kids to do any one particular thing, it would be really to give them voice.

Not make promises you cannot keep, but to really just be there with them to help them with that isolation piece, because the isolation and the loneliness, that’s one of the things I think I knew before the pandemic, but it really hit home during this pandemic, both personally and in my work is that the profound effect of loneliness and isolation on our mental health is so much greater than what we thought.

Anything that we can be doing that helps to break through that, that like true connection, true meaningful connection to each other and to our kids. I really do think that will at least help us keep our heads above the water.

[00:33:20] Jasper Nighthawk: Thank you so much for joining us, Gina, this has been such a pleasure getting to pick your brain and talk with you.

[00:33:25] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate just having this conversation where we’re able to tease some of these things apart. I think it connects to our deep humanity and that I value so much.

[00:33:38] Jasper Nighthawk: Yes, it feels like a chance to really deeply connect. I feel called to redouble my own commitment to deeply connecting with the people I love. Thanks for being here.

[00:33:48] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Thank you again for having me.

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[00:33:56] Jasper Nighthawk: You can find out more about the Doctor of Psychology Program at the Antioch University, New England through the link in our show notes. We post these show notes on our website along with full episode transcripts, prior episodes, and more. Find these at theseedfield.org.

The Seed Field Podcast is produced by Antioch University. Our editor is Lauren Instenes. A special thanks to Melissa Batalin, Karen Hamilton, Melinda Garland, and Simon Javan Okelo.

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[00:34:29] Jasper Nighthawk: Thank you for spending your time with us today. That’s it for this episode, we hope to see you next time, and don’t forget to plant a seed, sow a cause, and win a victory for humanity. From Antioch University, this has been The Seed Field Podcast.

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[00:35:05] Dr. Gina Pasquale: I’m Italian. I’m a talker, like seriously, the irony there too is that– I love talking. I love love love talking, but so much of my day is spent not talking.

[00:35:17] Jasper Nighthawk: Just listening. [laughs]

[00:35:18] Dr. Gina Pasquale: Yes, because one of the hallmarks of a- I teach this to my students, one of the hallmarks of a good therapy session is that the client spoke way more, like the client spoke 90% and you spoke 10%. My poor family and now you guys, this happens whenever I’m in a space where it’s not a client. I’m like, blahblahblahblahblah because I do have a lot of energy.

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