Levine, P. and M. Kline () Trauma-Proofing Your Kids:
Containment and Grounding with Somatic Experiencing:
Establishing continuity through the “felt sense” is the first step in becoming present in your body. Example: noticing the connection your feet and body are experiencing with whatever they are contacting. Noticing your hands contacting your body or whatever they are touching. Noticing the weight of your body against what it is contacting; such as a chair, floor, etc. The next step is orienting.
Orienting in addition to grounding is most effective to help you become present and bring focus away from vortexing into a dysregulated state of being. Orienting is simply looking around and focusing your sight on an object or objects; noticing color, shape, form, etc. This helps you to come out of a heighten level of stress arousal, and brings you back to the present. When looking around, you may even notice something pleasant that attracts you, which may evoke a pleasant feeling. This is when resourcing comes in.
Resourcing is simply connecting to a pleasant thought or image and experiencing this by becoming aware of your sensations. Accessing empowering experiences both internal and external, such as support, love, tranquility, inner strength, connection with nature, something that you would like to create, etc. helps to regulate the nervous system when experienced somatically.
Pendulating is a natural process of the nervous system. It is the movement between regulation and dysregulation. The autonomic nervous system has an inherent capacity to self-regulate.
Tracking is using the felt sense to track sensations in your body and noticing the pendulation of your systems. The teacher should track your organic behavior; movement, breathing, skin color, posture, tone of voice, facial expressions, eye movements, etc. and look for important indicators to help you in your process.
Titrating refers to working with small amounts of activation at a time. It is important to work with small pieces of activation and discharge, so the nervous system does not overwhelm. It is also important for the integration process of your nervous system, so you can become gently aware of the shifts taking place.
Renegotiation, Discharging and Completion:
Renegotiation takes place when there is completion of the self protective and orienting responses. The teacher should notice involuntary, organic movements that emerge from your body, which are associated to the highly aroused frozen neuromuscular activation at the time of overwhelm/trauma. Gradual, resourced discharge of these highly compressed survival energies occurs in several different ways: trembling, shaking, tingling and vibrating sensations, warmth, organic expanded breathing, crying, laughing, yawning, itching and digestion responses.
Integrating and Self Regulation:
The student needs to take all the time they need to integrate their systems. There will likely be many shifts taking place in the nervous system. You might ask them to track or notice what is happening in their body while the shifts take place. Students will learn how to recognize and create healthy boundaries and learn how to self regulate their own biological systems.