putting it all together

Prioritizing Mental Wellness in Education: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Empower Teachers and Students

As we embrace Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s crucial to reflect on the invaluable role educators play in shaping the emotional and social well-being of our communities. Now more than ever, the importance of prioritizing mental wellness in schools cannot be overstated. At Starr Commonwealth, we believe in the power of a trauma-informed approach to education, one that champions the social and emotional well-being of every individual within the school community.

Educators are the unsung heroes who impart knowledge and provide a nurturing environment where students can thrive emotionally and academically. However, to effectively support our students, we must first support our educators. They are the heartbeat of our schools, and their well-being is paramount to creating safe and supportive learning environments.

Incorporating trauma-informed practices into schools is not just about understanding the impact trauma has on one’s ability to learn; it’s about fostering a culture of empathy, understanding, and resilience. It’s about recognizing that every individual brings their own unique experiences to the classroom and creating a safe space where they feel valued and heard; a space where every individual feels like they belong simply by showing up as their most authentic selves.

So, how can we empower educators to prioritize mental wellness for themselves and their students? It starts with embracing a strengths-based approach—one that celebrates the resilience and potential within each person. Here are five effective strategies educators can implement today to prioritize student mental wellness in their learning environments from a trauma-informed approach:

  1. Create a Safe and Supportive Environment: Foster a sense of safety and belonging in the classroom by establishing clear expectations for behavior and providing consistent routines that are co-created between the teacher and students in the room. Create physical spaces that feel welcoming and comfortable, and encourage open communication where students feel safe to express their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment.
  2. Practice Mindfulness and Self-Regulation: Incorporate mindfulness exercises and self-regulation techniques into daily routines to help students manage stress and regulate their emotions. Teach breathing exercises, guided meditation, or simple yoga poses to help students develop awareness of their thoughts and feelings, promoting emotional regulation and resilience.

Get an in-depth guide to more mind-body activities by ordering the workbook below!

  1. Promote Positive Relationships: Build positive relationships with students based on trust, respect, and empathy. Take the time to get to know each student individually, show genuine interest in their well-being, and provide opportunities for meaningful connection. Recognize and celebrate their individual strengths and accomplishments daily, fostering a sense of belonging and worthiness.
  2. Teach Coping Skills: Equip students with practical coping skills to manage adversity and navigate challenging situations. Teach problem-solving strategies, effective communication skills, and stress management techniques to empower students to respond adaptively to stressors and build resilience. Encourage self-reflection and goal-setting to promote personal growth and development.
  3. Provide Access to Support Services: Ensure students have access to appropriate support services and resources to address their mental health needs. Collaborate with school counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals to provide interventions and support tailored to individual student needs. Offer psychoeducation to students and families about mental health and available resources, reducing stigma and promoting help-seeking behavior.

As we navigate the complexities of education, let us remember the profound impact that a trauma-informed approach can have on the well-being of our students and educators alike. Let us celebrate the resilience and strength within each member of our school community, and let us continue to prioritize mental wellness as we shape the future together.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, let us recommit ourselves to creating schools where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued. Together, we can build a brighter, more resilient future for our students and educators alike.

Cultivating Resilience: A Blueprint for Educators

In the bustling corridors of our schools, amidst the laughter and the learning, there exists a silent yet powerful force: resilience. The inner strength that propels our students forward, even in the face of adversity. As educators, we have the privilege and the responsibility to nurture this resilience, to foster environments where every child can thrive. Today, let’s explore how we can put this into action within our learning environments.

Step 1: Embrace Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Skills

  • Integrate SEL into your curriculum: Infuse lessons with opportunities for students to explore and develop their emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and relationship-building skills.
  • Model SEL in action: Be intentional about demonstrating empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution in your interactions with students and colleagues.
  • Provide SEL resources: Equip students with tools and resources—such as mindfulness exercises, emotion regulation strategies, and problem-solving techniques—to navigate challenges and build resilience.

Step 2: Foster a Sense of Belonging and Inclusion

  • Create a welcoming environment: Set the tone for inclusivity by decorating your classroom with diverse representations and affirming messages that celebrate the uniqueness of each student. Remember to greet each student by name upon their arrival to set an immediate warm tone each day!
  • Promote student voice and agency: Empower students to contribute their ideas, opinions, and perspectives to classroom discussions and decision-making processes.
  • Establish supportive relationships: Cultivate trusting relationships with your students by showing genuine interest in their well-being, offering encouragement and praise, and providing opportunities for one-on-one check-ins.

Step 3: Provide Access to Mental Health Support Resources

  • Offer counseling services: Partner with school counselors or mental health professionals to provide confidential support and resources for students experiencing emotional distress or mental health challenges as needed.
  • Implement mindfulness practices: Integrate mindfulness activities, such as deep breathing exercises, guided movement, or calming music into your daily routine to help students manage stress and enhance their well-being.
  • Collaborate with community organizations: Forge partnerships with local mental health agencies, nonprofit organizations, or youth centers to expand access to mental health services and support networks for students and families while reducing the stigma of accessing these types of supports.

Step 4: Reflect, Adapt, and Grow

  • Regularly assess student needs: Use informal check-ins, surveys, or classroom circle discussions to gather student feedback about their social-emotional well-being and identify areas for growth.
  • Reflect on your practices: Take time to reflect on your teaching strategies, classroom management techniques, and interactions with students to identify opportunities for improvement and refine your approach.
  • Stay informed and connected: Stay up to date on the latest research, best practices, and professional development opportunities related to trauma-informed care, restorative practices, and student well-being. Remember to be curious and apply a strengths-based mindset throughout your daily routines to help put your learning into practice.

By following these steps, we can create learning environments that foster academic achievement and nurture every student’s resilience and well-being. Let’s embark on this journey of cultivating resilience, one lesson, one interaction, and one heart at a time.

Cultivating Belonging: Navigating Exclusion with Restorative and Resilience-Focused Approach to Discipline

Hello, fellow educators and guardians of compassionate learning! Today, we embark on a transformative journey towards redefining disciplinary practices through the lens of restorative justice and resilience-focused mindset. Prepare to be inspired as we delve into a realm where exclusion, as a last resort in response to behavior, is reframed as an opportunity for connection, growth, and healing.

At Starr Commonwealth, we recognize the profound impact of trauma on young minds and the urgency of cultivating safe, nurturing environments within our educational spaces. It’s time to bid farewell to punitive measures that fracture relationships and breed resentment and, instead, embrace a mindset centered on restoration and reconnection.

Imagine this scenario: a student grappling with challenges beyond their control acts out in a way that disrupts the classroom environment. This might trigger an immediate exclusion in traditional settings, perpetuating a cycle of disengagement and isolation. But what if we paused, took a collective breath, and approached the situation with empathy and understanding?

Enter restorative discipline—a proactive and holistic approach rooted in the principles of healing and accountability. It begins with nurturing a culture of belonging and empowerment, where every voice is valued, and every behavior is viewed as an opportunity for growth.

Before exclusion becomes the default response, let’s explore the power of staying connected. This means reaching out to the student and their family, not with judgment or blame, but with genuine curiosity and support. It means engaging in restorative conversations that foster empathy, reflection, and mutual understanding.

In addition to maintaining connection, consider implementing restorative circles within your classroom or school community. These circles provide a structured space for dialogue, allowing participants to share their perspectives, express their feelings, and work collaboratively toward resolution. By embracing restorative circles, you create a sense of collective responsibility and empower students to become active participants in their own growth and development. This, in turn, serves as a proactive and universal approach to prevent behaviors that are hurtful to the learning environment!

Furthermore, let’s not overlook the critical role of reintegration meetings. Within the system of education, we understand that sometimes exclusionary practices are deemed necessary, especially in ensuring the maintenance of a safe learning environment for both staff and students. As such, when removing a student from their learning environment is deemed necessary, the need for a reintegration meeting upon their return to school is critical! These gatherings bring together all parties involved in the incident that took place, creating a sacred space for healing and reconciliation. Here, relationships are reaffirmed, harm is acknowledged, and plans for moving forward are collaboratively devised. This is where the real work of accountability, learning from mistakes, and learning empathy takes place.

But the journey doesn’t end there. Restorative discipline isn’t just a reactive measure; it’s a way of life. By adopting the Circle of Courage philosophy, we equip ourselves with a framework that honors the innate resilience and potential of every student. Start with universal approaches that promote belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. And for those in need of additional support, offer targeted interventions that address underlying needs and teach essential skills while we simultaneously work to fulfill any unmet needs that exist.

So, dear educators, let us embark on this transformative journey together. Let us reclaim discipline as an act of love, healing, and empowerment. As we navigate the challenges ahead, let us remember the profound impact we have on shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation.

Together, we can create a world where every child feels seen, heard, and valued. Let’s make it happen, one restorative connection at a time.

Sparking Joy: Transformative Time-In Strategies for Resilience-Focused Learning Spaces

In the vibrant realm of shaping young minds, where every moment holds the potential for transformation, we often encounter challenges that disrupt the journey of growth and learning. However, amidst these moments lies an opportunity to transform behaviors and lives. At Starr Commonwealth, we believe in the power of joy, resilience, and trauma-informed care to create safe and supportive classrooms where every student can thrive. Join us on a journey to explore practical time-in strategies designed to nurture resilience, foster connection, and empower both you and your students.

Embracing Time-In Strategies

As trauma-responsive educators, we firmly believe in the stark contrast between time-in strategies, which nurture a student’s sense of belonging and resilience, and exclusionary practices that jeopardize their connection to the school community. By embracing time-in approaches, we prioritize building supportive relationships and fostering a culture where every student feels valued, respected, and empowered to thrive.

Time-in strategies offer a beacon of hope, guiding us toward meaningful connections and transformative moments in the classroom. Instead of resorting to punitive measures, time-in strategies invite students into a space of reflection, growth, and restoration.

Practical and Proactive Strategies

  1. Mindful Moments: Begin each day with a mindful moment, inviting students to center themselves through deep breathing or gentle stretches. These mindful moments can include no movement, small movements, or large movements depending on what the student’s body needs to achieve regulation. This sets a positive tone for the day and cultivates emotional regulation skills.
  2. Emotion Check-Ins: Create a safe space for students to express their emotions through check-in circles or journaling exercises. Encourage active listening and validation of each other’s experiences, fostering empathy and a sense of belonging.
  3. Calm Corners: Designate a cozy corner in the classroom equipped with calming activities such as coloring books, sensory bottles, or soft pillows. This provides students with a refuge to self-regulate and recharge during moments of distress.
  4. Strength-Based Affirmations: Integrate strength-based affirmations into daily routines, acknowledging each student’s unique talents and contributions. Celebrate their resilience and growth, fostering a culture of positivity and self-empowerment.
  5. Restorative Circles: Engage in restorative circles to address conflicts or challenges within the classroom community. Facilitate open dialogue, active listening, and collaborative problem-solving, promoting accountability and reconciliation.

Responding to ‘Disruptive’ Behavior

When faced with behaviors that are disruptive to the learning environment, it’s essential to approach them with empathy and a trauma-informed lens. First and foremost, we must always remember to maintain our curious mindset, being inquisitive about what the child is attempting to communicate to us. What need has not been met for that child that they are seeking to get met in the best way they know how? Instead of reacting impulsively, consider the underlying needs or triggers behind the behavior. Here are some strategies to respond effectively:

  • Stay Calm: Maintain a calm demeanor and avoid escalating the situation. Take a moment to breathe and collect your thoughts before responding.
  • Validate Feelings: Acknowledge the student’s emotions and validate their experiences. Let them know you’re here to support and help them navigate through challenges.
  • Offer Choices: Provide the student with options to regain control and autonomy. Offer alternative activities or ways to address their needs within the classroom environment.
  • Reconnect: Focus on rebuilding the connection with the student through positive interactions and reaffirmation of their strengths. Emphasize that mistakes are opportunities for growth and learning.

Embrace the Journey

As you embark on implementing these time-in strategies, remember that change takes time and patience. Embrace the process with an open heart, knowing that each small step you take has the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of your students.

Trust in the resilience of your students and yourself. Together, let’s create classrooms where joy, compassion, and learning flourish hand in hand. Let’s cultivate a culture of connection and empowerment, one time-in strategy at a time.

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Resilience I Spy

Finding the Circle of Courage in Action

Start the New Year with a focus on resilience by teaching your students about the Circle of Courage. Then, challenge them to eye-spy the resilience model’s components in action. 

Circle of Courage: A Model of Resilience

This resilience model is easy to teach students of all ages.

We all have four universal needs. When these needs are met, we feel our best. But we will not feel our best if even one of the four universal needs is unmet. When even one is missing, we might feel sad, frustrated, worried, or angry. Let me tell you about the four universal needs. 

The first one is Belonging – we feel good when we feel like we belong. This can be at school with friends or at home with our families. We feel connected to other people when we feel a sense of belonging. 

The next universal need is Mastery. We feel good when we can accomplish and are good at something – this can be like solving a math problem, learning a new skill while playing a sport, or drawing a picture that makes us proud. 

Independence is the third universal need. This need is met when we control our emotions and behavior. This doesn’t mean we don’t get upset – it just means if we get upset, we know what to do to help ourselves feel better, so we don’t lose our temper or misbehave. 

The last universal need is generosity. We get this need met when we feel helpful and valuable to others. 

To review, we all need to feel like we belong or are connected to others, are good at something, can stay in control of our emotions and behavior even when we are upset, and feel like we are valuable to other people.

Offer your students an I Spy Challenge

As a fun way to start the new year, I am challenging you to a game of eye-spy. In this game, I want you to try to notice your classmates and me when we are getting any one or more of our universal needs met or helping another person obtain one of their needs.  

Whenever you notice the Circle of Courage in action, you can raise your hand and say, “Eye-Spy”. Then, you can tell us what you saw. For example, when a classmate greets another student when they enter the room by saying, hello, they are making that person feel like they belong. If a student helps another student learn how to solve a tricky math problem, they demonstrate mastery. When a student asks for a break instead of yelling or getting angry, they are showing us independence. And, lastly, if I ask a student to bring something down to the office for me, they are being generous. 

Ask students to give you more examples. You can add the examples to a whiteboard, so they are easy for students to reference. Then, start the challenge. You might want to have one or two students keep track of how many universal needs in action are spotted by using a tally for each.  You can play along too. Set a goal for the class for a total number of universal needs spotted during the day. Reinforce the importance of all students getting their universal needs met to feel their best. When all students are aware of others and strive to help meet their needs, the overall classroom culture and climate will improve. 

young black girl sitting in calming corner in classroom

Calming Corners: How to Implement in your Classroom

In the bustling world of education, where students and teachers are constantly navigating through a whirlwind of learning activities, introducing a calming corner can be an effective solution for many student needs. As reported in Starr’s Resilient Schools Project whitepaper, this is paramount to learning. While trying to individualize the instruction and social emotional supports for every student, the universal approach to creating a safe space for all students to learn is easily overlooked, but is truly the essential component of a resilience focused classroom.  

The Importance of Calming Corners

The modern classroom is a dynamic space filled with diverse personalities, learning styles, and energy levels. While excitement and engagement are integral to the learning process, moments of stress, anxiety, or overstimulation can also arise; having a dedicated space where students an retreat to find peace and regain their calmness is essential. This is where ‘Calming Corners’ come into play, not just as a physical space but as a transformative approach to classroom management and student well-being. ‘Calming Corners’ serve as dedicated spaces where students can take a moment away from the day’s demands, offering a retreat to regain composure and recenter their thoughts and emotions. 

The Benefits of Calming Corners

Children process a vast amount of sensory information daily. For some, this can be overwhelming, leading to sensory overload and emotional outbursts. Calming Corners provides a sensory-friendly area that helps students filter out the chaos and focus on regaining their emotional balance. The sensory benefits are countless but include: 

  • Visual Calm: Soft lighting and muted colors can reduce visual stimulation.  
  • Auditory Relief: Quiet spaces or the use of headphones can dampen the overwhelming noise of a busy classroom.  
  • Tactile Engagement: Access to stress balls or soft textures can offer comfort and grounding.  
  • Mindfulness Activities: ‘Time-in’ time is a great opportunity for students to do some breathing or movement to return to the center.  
  • Proprioceptive Input: Cozy furniture or weighted blankets can provide pressure that is calming to many children.  

Designing an Effective Calming Corner

Creating the perfect calming corner for your classroom doesn’t require a large budget or an expansive space. One of the best starting points to planning out a Calming Corner for your students is to include them in the process! Consider adding questions about what helps them feel peaceful, what type of objects help them focus, what colors make them feel calm, etc., during your next Circle Meeting. This involvement fosters a sense of ownership and ensures that the space resonates with the unique needs of the class. Here are some additional ideas and tools to help get you started:  

  • Selecting the Right Location: Choose a quiet, low-traffic area within the classroom. Ideally, the calming corner should be easily accessible but not in the midst of the main learning space. 
  • Creating a Cozy & Private Atmosphere: Use soft cushions, blankets of different weights and texture, and rugs to make the space inviting. Consider incorporating elements of nature, such as plants or nature-themed artwork, to evoke a sense of tranquility. Using bookshelves or room dividers is helpful to provide a sense of seclusion without complete isolation.  
  • Incorporating Sensory Tools – Provide a variety of sensory tools that support the students’ sensory systems.  
    • Visual: lava lamps, liquid timers, or calming jars  
    • Tactile: such as stress balls, fidget spinners, playdough or textured items.  
    • Auditory: headphones with calming music or nature sounds or noise canceling head phones 
    • Olfactory: a diffuser with calming scents such as lavender, peppermint candies to smell or eat, essential oil-infused rice bins or pillows 
    • These tools can engage different senses and help students channel excess energy or tension. 
  • Encourage Emotional Literacy – Introduce mindfulness activities, such as guided breathing exercises, calming music, or feelings charts. These visuals help children to identify and articulate their emotions while also providing them with step-by-step guides of how to practice these new skills. All of these resources can aid in relaxation and promote mindfulness. 
  • Personalization and Student Involvement – Incorporate art supplies to encourage expression through drawing or coloring, offering books about feelings can offer both comfort and learning. 
  • Maintain the Space – Keeping the area tidy and inviting on a regular basis will ensure it stays organized, warm, and inviting. Regularly rotating out the tools and resources will help to maintain the student’s interest. 

Calming Corners are more than just a space; they are a testament to the evolving understanding of children’s emotional needs in an educational setting. In the ever-evolving education landscape, incorporating calming corners represents a thoughtful and proactive approach to student well-being. By acknowledging the diverse emotional needs of students and providing them with a dedicated space to navigate their feelings, educators can create a more holistic and supportive learning environment. As the saying goes, stressed brains can’t learn, and in the calm corners of our classrooms, students can find the balance needed to thrive academically and emotionally. 

How to Create a Trauma-Informed Resilient School | Foster Connections

Foster Connections

Students who feel connected to their school are also more likely to have better academic achievement, better school attendance, and stay in school longer.
 

How can you connect to your students?

One of the best ways to connect with your students is having classroom meetings. These meetings not only allows you to connect with students, but also allows the students to connect with each other and build community within the classroom.
 
How can you implement a classroom meeting?
 
Step 1: Form a shape (circle, square). Teacher and students discuss, decide, and practice:

  • Floor or chairs
  • Where, how do you get there?
  • Who do you sit by?
  • What does it look like?
  • What does it sound like?
Step 2: Introduce a talking piece. This talking piece helps regulate communication between students. Whoever has this piece is allowed to talk. Talking pieces may be a toy, a stick, a stone, or another small object.

Step 3: Practice using various topics to create proactive classroom meetings:

  • Get to Know You and Greetings
  • Who Am I
  • Compliments and Appreciations
Below is a video of education professionals like yourself explaining the topics they talk about at their classroom meetings:
 

10 Steps Book Cover

For more implementation on how to foster connections in the classroom, check out Starr’s 
10 Steps to Create a Trauma-Informed Resilient School!

How can you Create a Trauma-Informed Resilient Classroom or School?

Step 1:  Focus on Student Resilience

What is student resilience?

Student Resilience is the ability to achieve positive outcomes—mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually despite adversity.

To focus on student resilience, start by creating a set core of values and beliefs about the children you serve.  The Circle of Courage is a model of positive youth development based on the universal principle to be emotionally healthy, all youth need a sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.

Circle of Courage


What does this look like in a school?

Belonging at school is when every student believes they are valued, seen, heard, and cared for.

Mastery at school is when every student believes they can achieve despite their challenges.

Independence at school is when every student believes they have the power to make decisions that will impact their own lives.

Generosity at school is when every student believes they have a purpose for their lives that can positively contribute to the world.

Click here for a resilience activity to help connect more with your students.

Looking to learn more about how to do this in your classroom or across your building for all students? Reach out to Starr Commonwealth today for a personalized consultation about our training and consulting services to help ensure every child learns in an environment where they can flourish!


The Helper’s Charge to Recharge: Doing and Becoming Our Best

Recently a teenage client asked me a question that threw me, unexpectedly. (Over the years, I’ve amassed a considerable anthology of examples on what makes them famous for this gift, so it’s not an easy thing to do these days!)

I attended an engaging group session on characteristics of community and racial trauma, after which the group’s therapist allotted time for a “Q and A” between her adolescent clients and me, their guest. One member asked me, “How do you deal with trauma?”

I started to summarize the vast nature of trauma, and the equally vast approaches to treating it – then asked him for an example of the type of trauma he was referring to. He repeated his question, “No – how do you deal with trauma?”

“How do I?” I asked, taken aback.

“Yes,” he replied. “You hear about other people’s trauma every day, so how do you deal with it?”

I was struck by the sophistication of his question, especially when I realized what he was really asking. He wasn’t asking me about my trauma, or how I’m impacted by other people’s trauma. He was asking me about my resilience! I paused to evaluate why I felt so caught off guard, and was reminded: As helpers, this is something we don’t discuss often enough.

I started listing some of my self-care practices: yoga, meditation, playing in an ensemble, spending time with loved ones and reflective consulting with supervisors. (Heads nodded as they recognized some of these as the very techniques they’re encouraged to adopt.) I summed up by echoing their therapist’s message on the universal requirement for dealing with trauma: “Just like you, I don’t do it alone.”

[Re]charging toward resilience.   

The helper bears significant weight in leading this complicated, and often painful, journey with clients. Sensory-based interventions assist us with helping clients access, activate, integrate and heal their body, mind and spirit – and the therapeutic relationship navigates this path, as we work to know our client’s trauma as they know it. The interventions offered through Starr Commonwealth (Zero to Three: Trauma Interventions, SITCAP®, Mind Body Skills, Expressive Arts Therapy, etc.) provide the tools to treat the psychophysiology of child trauma with activities that are:

  • relationship-based and experiential
  • adaptive to myriad stages of child development
  • inherently designed to foster empathic attunement within the therapeutic relationship

The attunement we establish with the client can put us closer in touch with our own vulnerability, as we become proximate to theirs – while also providing the opportunity to connect with our own resiliency, as we help them build theirs. In doing so, we charge toward the horizon of resiliency, as our clients reclaim their power from a place of wholeness.

What charges the charge?

We know that self-care is essential to maintaining health and wellness, and defending against the perils of secondary traumatic stress and vicarious trauma. Part of maintaining personal well-being includes solitary space to reflect. Whether on our yoga mat, steeped in a hot bath, sprawled on the masseuse’s table, napping, walking, running or cycling to achieve that meditative hum in perpetual motion, physical care is essential to a healthy mind, body and spirit. But how much of our self care are we doing alone?

A barrage of solitary self-care routines do not make a complete self-care practice.

Without relationship, connection and support in spaces where reflective processing occurs, our self-care practices leave us… alone. Staying healthy, staving off symptoms of secondary traumatic stress and avoiding compassion fatigue are all critical aims, of course. But, the act of being reflective within a relationship is critical, whether through individual or group supervision/consultation. Our dear friend, Dr. Jeree Pawl, PhD, offers us a wise navigational compass toward the parallel process, in The Platinum Rule:

Do unto others as you would have others do unto others.

We draw upon on the tenets of Polyvagal and Attachment Theories to provide sensory-based, integrated approaches to healing the individual and interpersonal wounds of trauma. We engage the fields of the brain and nervous systems to help our clients heal and achieve resiliency – and how we restore our own depleted systems informs our capacity to do so. As helpers, it’s our charge to sustain and advance this capacity. We require a space where we’re held with what we hold, seen with what we see, and can be shown what has not yet been revealed while reflecting on our own. Maintaining a reflective practice in a relationship helps elevate our ability to hold that crucial space for clients through the parallel process. Thinking about self-care as a means of advancing our efficacy as helpers prompts us to consider it as a key to simultaneously putting ourselves and our clients first. When we take better care of us, we take better care of them.

Pawl, J. H., & St John, M. (1998). How You Are Is as Important as What You Do… in Making a Positive Difference for Infants, Toddlers and Their Families. Zero to Three, 734 15th Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005-1013