Life of an Ukeru Trainer: Facts and Fiction

By Christopher Feltner, Training and Performance Architect

I often have conversations with folks at Grafton, friends and family who have common misperceptions about what it’s like bringing Ukeru to any/everywhere possible. They see photos from trips and hear about the different places we travel to and believe that’s all there is to it. Or, that is most of what it’s like with a little work sprinkled in. While there are many rewarding aspects of working with Ukeru, there are many challenges.

We are growing! More and more places are opening their minds to a less-restrictive approach to interaction, which is a win-win for all involved. This also means that we travel — a lot! At this point, I sleep in hotel beds more than my own. Using my home shower has become a luxury versus the norm.

When we train our own staff at Grafton, there are expectations for those who attend training including how they conduct themselves. There are many instances when we train staff at other organizations and schools where we run into heavy resistance. This typically revolves around the mindset of Comfort vs Control™ and using a kinder, less-restrictive approach to individuals, even when they become physically aggressive. We do welcome skepticism; don’t get me wrong! However, all of us have stories from the road about folks treating us less than kind.

Working with my Ukeru family and bringing the trauma-informed mindset and approach to others is a blessing! To be able to apply personal knowledge, skills, and personality to my work; I am very thankful. I am thankful that what I do as a profession also benefits the organization that I work for, and its staff and individuals served. I enjoy getting to meet (and help) others in our field living in places I would never see, otherwise. Getting to see what it is like in other facilities and compare the experience to Grafton is also fascinating.

Regardless of the challenges of what we do with Ukeru, I am determined to help as many as I can through the Ukeru approach. When you find something in life that you enjoy that helps others, it is a blessing! And, I am blessed.