Cheryl Seagren
Post count: 3

As you think about using the concepts of Braindrops, Learning Tools, and somatosensory regulation, what challenges and benefits do you perceive?

I really like the visual/ kinesthetic/sensory practices that are a part of Braindrops. Teaching arousal states via the concept of rain and clouds is something that students of all ages can relate to, which makes this a teaching tool that can be used across developmental stages. Braindrops directly teaches interoception (top-down strategies). It also creates co-regulatory experiences and encourages students to find what works for them – all great benefits. I also like the idea of specifically teaching learning tools (NOT fidgets) and challenging students to find the ones that truly help them focus and regulate. This is a new idea for me. I too often see students with their collection of “fidgets” many of which distract them in the classroom. Working with students to find what sort of movements enable them to monitor and adjust their arousal states teaches them to listen and respect their bodies. This is important. One of the things that I found challenging was how to determine when a particular learning tool or somatosensory movement was distracting. Isn’t it difficult to find tools that work for students but don’t distract somebody in the room? It also takes time to explicitly teach the use of learning tools and time for counselors is in short supply. When I watched the videos, there was a lot of movement in the classroom and at times it felt chaotic. That was a hard for me because it felt out of control and scary. I understand that stepping into the energy and moving through it can increase regulation and grow the window of tolerance…But I need to step into that slowly because I find it can be overwhelming and dysregulating.

Understanding that regulation starts with us also presents challenges and benefits. What do you see as the biggest challenges and what are your thoughts about addressing them?

One of the challenges of regulation is learning to become aware of what is happening inside of me. This requires space and time to listen internally so I know when that I am becoming dysregulated and use my specific tools that work to access my ventral vagal system. As a school counselor, it is hard to find even a few minutes for lunch, so determining my arousal state can be a challenge. However, as I practice interoception and learn what works for me to regulate and stay grounded, I am less stressed, more present, and able to teach others how to listen to their bodies. As we discussed in our consulting group, letting go of the “should’s” is difficult. There is often a gap between the day that I had planned and the how it really played out. For example, perhaps I scheduled an SEL lesson and there is a crisis in another classroom at that same time. I feel out of control, which is the fastest way for me to become dysregulated. I must consciously grab ahold of my tools of breathing, talking to a colleague, or gently rocking my body. Jon Kabat-Zin said about meditation that you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. This applies to me in taking time during my day to pause and listen to my body. I do believe that as I do this more and learn ways to stay within my window of tolerance, my window gets bigger…which makes me more available to support students and staff.