Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, and in the midst of the hype it can sometimes be challenging to understand just what it is and how it can be used to make a practical difference. When caring for children and youth who come from backgrounds of complex trauma and exhibit behaviors that are perplexing, troubling, shocking, and hurtful, carers can be pushed to their limits hundreds of times a day. Mindfulness is a skill that …

Data Collection and Connecting Meaningful Interventions to the IEP Miss Peters knew that Jimmy had made some progress in the classroom because his shut downs and aggressive behaviours weren’t as severe as before.  Within the first three months of the new school year, she learned that Jimmy had experienced complex trauma from the time he was born to about 4 years of age, she learned about how complex trauma can affect children in the classroom, and she implemented numerous PEACE-ful …

Interventions to Help Traumatized Children Succeed in Education by Angela Murphy, School Psychologist, BCASP #370, MEd., BEd. Miss Peters was overwhelmed; she had a student, “Jimmy”, who was making it very difficult for her to teach and for others to learn.  She described Jimmy as having extreme behaviours (i.e. verbally and physically aggressive, running away, shutting down sometimes for hours at a time) that seemed to appear out of the nowhere, “one moment he seems fine and within a split …

Emotional Regulation Skills for Traumatized Youth  (A DBT Approach) by Lisa Frede, M.A., R.C.C Strong, painful emotions are a part of being human, especially part of being a teen or pre-teen, and even more so part of being a young person with a background in complex trauma. We all can benefit from learning more about how emotions work in our minds and bodies. Understanding what they are, identifying the urges that accompany them, and putting words to the experience, helps …

by Elina Falk, MC., RCC What is he trying to do? Helping your child heal by supporting the intention behind the troubling behaviour. Suzie is always trying to get people’s attention.  Jonathan is an escape artist and can open any child-proof lock.  Peter is as quiet and unobtrusive as possible. On the face of it, it might not seem that these situations have much in common. But in fact, all these children are likely trying to complete their intention to …

Disconnect to Connect By Angela Murphy How many of us remember the story of Josh and his parents? Once when I was visiting a family, the 12-year old adopted son *Josh, took me to his room to show me his game.  Within a 5-minute time span I saw his very real looking character smoke marijuana, pick up a prostitute, run down a police officer, and the boy talked about killing his family next (in the game).  By the time I …

KIDS & TECHNOLOGY – DAMAGING OR DISCONNECTING? (Part 1) By Angela Murphy, School Psychologist Once when I was visiting a family, the 12-year old adopted son *Josh, took me to his room to show me his game.  Within a 5-minute time span I saw his very real looking character smoke marijuana, pick up a prostitute, run down a police officer, and the boy talked about killing his family next (in the game).  By the time I stood up to leave …

Signature Strengths By Dr. Kirk Austin Michael was in trouble again. The school had called Karen, the foster parent, to report his “bullying” behavior on the playground. In speaking to the principal, Karen learned that Michael had been playing aggressively with the other children. As others had reported, Michael would yell at other kids and push them if they refused to let him play in their games. The school personnel were clearly frustrated and hoped that Karen could offer some …

The Great Disconnect by David Brown As a professional clinician, I have been ruminating on the possibility that as therapists and other forms of helpers, we often deny our own embedded emotional pain, trauma, shame and vulnerability.  I think we often will use our professional role as a basis for deciding that our best course of action is to keep burying that pain because if we allowed others access to it, they might think less of us or view us …

The Value of PACE in Parenting by Lisa Frede Have you noticed that “parenting as usual” seems to be backfiring with your child? Do you have a child that retaliates with rage and aggression to traditional discipline? Rather than using conventional behavior modification strategies which may trigger rejection and shame (and the big behaviors that often accompany them), try using PACE.  In his book, Building the Bonds of Attachment, Daniel Hughes spells out an effective way of being with children …