I had a situation where a youth was not engaging. Which his adaptation was identified in earlier presentation. I got frustrated at the time and ended the session early. I later brought this up with supervision and was offered some advice on what I may have been able to do. I used the TAP technique to visualise having known that information see myself respond in a different way. I differently can see the benefits this technique offers.
Practicing the TAP visualization while picturing a previous situation that left me feeling uncomfortable, enabled me to see how I may have been able to reflect on my feelings before engaging with my client to achieve a more positive outcome. I feel I will benefit from using the TAP during future situations to enable me to respond in a more therapeutic manner.
I found this module extremely helpful I only wish I had this information years ago when I facilitated a teen dating violence group. I found the group at times to be extremely stress when it was time for group discussions. I never though about the importance of my tone of voice when addressing the group. I also found the Analogy of the Tree very helpful . I have just recently become more aware of my feeling in the moment when it comes to interacting with my clients I will continue to acknowledge my feelings and emotions going forward. Thank You for the information.
I enjoyed this experience. I am a counselor and deal with people who have experienced trauma. I try to remember that their reaction usually has nothing to do with me. This method will give me another tool.
Doing this exercise, I thought of an experience I had with a teen when I was social work intern at a High School. She was very resistant and combative with authority and eventually had a moment with me where she lashed out. I think utilizing TAP would have definitely been beneficial with her. I was never aggressive but I did shut down and took space from her for awhile. Perhaps things may have been different if I provided more empathy and support and acknowledge her trauma/aces. I can definitely utilize TAP going forward with my current clients and find it very beneficial in preventing a situation from escalating.
I was picturing a situation with a student whose behavior had changed dramatically around the same time that she had become pregnant (which she told me was unplanned). Previously a strong student who always came prepared and did thoughtful work, she began missing class regularly and turning in work that fell short of the assignment requirements. On this particular occasion, she had come to my office hour to ask why she’d received a C on her last paper. Typically in this situation, I go over the assignment sheet and grading criteria with the student and then ask if they’d like to look at the paper together and talk about it. She and I had had a number of positive conferences already and I felt we had a good working relationship. However, in this instance the interaction did not go well. Although she had asked me to explain the grade, it felt like she was looking for a fight rather than a conversation. At the time, I think I tried reflecting back that I could see she was upset and that I knew she really cared about her education. From there, I really don’t remember what I said or what happened, but suddenly (it felt to me), she was saying how offended she was and walking out of my office.
I do think that TAP will help me to center myself in moments like these. During the visualization, I still wasn’t sure how to proceed (the P part) since pretty much everything I said was met with anger. However, taking a breath and acknowledging my own feeling of confusion/disorientation might help me to sit with the situation a bit longer before trying to address it. Equally important, acknowledging that the behavior is possibly a trauma adaptation will surely help me listen with my heart.
As a former teacher who has worked with many kids who have experienced trauma, I had many experiences to choose from to practice TAP. TAP is actually really similar to techniques written about in teacher training books about working with defiant kiddos or how to build a positive classroom culture. I never thought of this technique as an acronym, but the most beneficial part is that first breath and self-awareness bit. Just separating myself from any tense display or aggression, resistance, or defiance was one of the first steps that helped me be a better teacher in those moments. Depersonalizing took a solid two years of practicing to “master,” but I remember the first time I felt it happen and was amazed at how powerful the technique was at defusing situations. I always told myself in my head that the anger was not really about me and probably was about something else. It always was and now I understand better that it was trauma.
I am working in an assessment environment and at times the children and adolescents get severely triggered by re-experiencing their trauma as we do talk about these experiences or their relationships relating to these experiences. Definitely my view and their reactions to our engagement get activated and you do ask the questions where does this specific behavior stems from and we do have our own perceived bias reactions. For me I could benefit from the TAP as I do get stressed out dealing with these behaviors and needs to calm down and take care of myself in these moment as this leads to extra stress in my functioning.
During summer camp we often have situations that can go from 0-10 working with kiddos who have been affected by violent crime. This summer, I witnessed a staff giving demands to a child who was very riled up. She continued to raise her voice louder and louder thinking this would persuade the child to do as she asked. When I came in to help relieve her and asked in a quiet tone if the child would be ok with grabbing a juice and then taking a seat, the child was very easily redirected. TAP seems to be a very useful tool for me.
I really enjoyed this exercise, because my daily duties always include between students and other students, or with teachers. These teen are at risk. so it helps to meditate daily. Thanks!
I appreciated this practice. It reminded me of the RAIN practice however I think the TAP method is more beneficial in the intensity of the moment where a more immediate response is needed in order to deescalate myself and the young people in my care. I also appreciate how this supports the skillful view piece and is a reminder to look at the situation from a trauma informed lens for both you and whoever the other person or group may be. Thank you Sam for adding this practice to my “toolbox.” It is something I can share with other teachers as well.
I really enjoy this module it all makes sense when dealing with aggressive youths to understand there is more deep trauma at the root of the problem like the tree roots. TAP I believe would be beneficial to carers to stop take that breath as its not personal although at times you might think it,it just their way of handling things. Therefore if we stop take that breath and acknowledge their pain then we would be more mindful how we approach situations with asking questions positively enabling a more positive response. This tool will be very beneficial for all the carers the youths we work with.
Thank you Sam
I loved this exercise to implement with students. It is so critically important to the therapeutic relationship to acknowledge the part we play as helpers. Using TAP to stay present and manage ourselves, we are better able to serve the teens we work with.
I have little experience working with “troubled” youth but a lot of experience working with youth in demanding settings. I focused on two experiences in which I felt my skills were lacking. first when a dancer decided last minute to not participate in our last performance for elementary school children. I found out when picking the dancers up. My feelings of the behavior being unacceptable, especially the lack of communication ahead, put me in a high state of anxiety. The other teens helped to problem solve how the “show could go on” and offered the anchor and maturity called for. In retrospect I see how quickly feeling disrespected causes me to take situations personally and slows the resilience necessary.
The second memory was of a youth in my touring dance group who was extremely shut down and not doing work on her solo as performance time drew near. I walk the line constantly of helping kids rise to the challenges. Thinking back on this occasion where I tried to direct her to accomplish” something,” I realize how the signs of her distress were beyond my scope and hope in the future I can use the TAP to more skillfully accept and meet students where they are even if I lack the clinical training to assess dangerous depression.
For this exercise, I had to use my imagination as I’ve not worked with youth in these situations before. If the person I’m working with is responding with anger, I know I will tense up. Using the TAP method will give me time to calm myself down and think about the best way to proceed. Combined with what we learned in the previous unit, this method is beneficial.
During this exercise a particular event that occurred with one of my female students came to mind. This female student was off task and beginning to be disruptive to others around her. TAP would be a strategy that would be beneficial in this situation. The student was asked calmly and quietly to get back on focus to finish up her work. Student immediately laughed and said “I don’t have to f$*king do that. She was given a second opportunity with another prompt to redirect her efforts to her completing. Her behavior continued to escalate and what zeke got back from her was f#*k you And she got up out of her seat. Unfortunately she escalated and needed to be escorted to another environment. This student, while may have experienced trauma, also suffers from an explosive reaction disorder. Having the awareness and using TAP would be beneficial in this situation. Checking self and how I’m feeling in the moment is critical in this as I did not want to add to her explosion .
I too greatly enjoyed this exercise and gave me 1 more tool to support my middle school students. In my reflection I found myself focusing on a recent interaction where a student was defiant when asked to complete a classroom activity. The student began to argue and become defiant. Upon reflecting, I now remember that he was looking around the room for peer acceptance as he could have been fearful of not being successful. Now, as I review and replay the interaction in my mind there are many ways that I could have interacted to defuse the student’s anxiety. I now realize that I need to review my TAP skills and and increase my awareness of my student’s, as I interact with this group and this specific student.
This was an interesting experience. I found myself reflecting back on a time when I went to pick up my 11 year old foster placement from a visitation that took place at his mother’s home. Upon arrival, I found them in a heated argument over whether or not she was going to permit him to bring his hand held gaming device back to my house. With me now present, her feelings quickly channeled towards me for “taking her son in the first place”. One of the things that I remember the most about that particular evening was how cold I was due to the time of year and me staying at her front door as I had not been invited in. During this exercise, as I sat in 30+degree weather (90+f), I found myself actually shiver as I felt that cold again and all that unfolded that night. (In case anyone was curious, it took over two hours of working with this family to navigate through the argument, which I recognized went much deeper than “a hand held game system”.)
This experience allowed me to reflect on an experience with a student. She entered the session already triggered (as I believe now-at the moment I hadn’t taken time to fully think about where these behaviors were really coming from) and was resistant to all of the techniques that I tried to re-engage her, with no success. In hindsight, maybe allowing silence and no expectations for the session would have been more beneficial-this module has made me dig deeper as to how I will approach her this year.
A few years ago I had a referral for a 15 year old girl who had experienced multiple trauma. Her behaviour in & out of school was unhealthy & she was taking risks with her personal safety and became known to the police.
I thought that I understood her trauma and remained with her in sessions unconditionally however, looking back I know that I felt frustrated with her ‘attitude’ & need for me to tell her what she wanted to hear.
She had been working with a support worker for quite a while & felt that she was looking for the same commitment from me and I remember re-visiting the boundaries of our working relationship. I feel that we ended our work rather unsatisfactorily and I remember feeling deskilled at the time and that I had let her down.
I have since worked manny times with young people who have experienced trauma and feel that my practice has become more informed through CPD (I have completed trauma training of he years), however I can still tap into the implicit feelings which I experienced with the 15 year old girl. This course has really helped me to reflect more fully on this and I am finding the training has helped me to remain vigilant not just to trauma but my own internal voice too. Whilst I believe I practice TAP already, I have been reminded to keep aware of blind spots in my practice as human nature necessitates.
I liked the practice. I imagined a complicated situation with a resistant student. I think TAP could be and extremely beneficial practice to learn to stop and observe before response in the imaginary space. It is a safety space and it could be useful to practice the exercise before practicing that in the classroom interactions. Also, I think that practicing TAP could lead to develop a more compassionate view of oneself and the others.
A very simple approach to pre group self care and awareness. Thank you.
During this exercise, I recalled two different situations. One occurred during an after school group I was facilitating for middle school girls. The group focus was on stress management and this particular session was teaching them a body scan mindfulness practice. I briefly described what we were going to do but before we even got started, the group as a whole became much more energized and “silly”. They had difficulty focusing and settling into the usual routine we had already established in previous sessions. I noticed I was becoming extremely agitated and anxious. I also felt a sense of embarrassment because I was not able to pull the group together to begin the group activity. I eventually acknowledged what I was witnessing and tried to throw in a sense of humor when I asked what was happening. The girls laughed and admitted it was uncomfortable for them to do a practice that focused on their bodies. Silly me – of course they were uncomfortable – this was middle school! I adjusted the practice dramatically and told them what would be different from the first way I described it. They were able to participate but clearly not in the way I had hoped or “expected”. What I now know is that the technique was what is termed TAP in this lesson plan. I like the structure of it and the suggestion of pre-planning to use it if/when necessary. Anticipating that I actually may use it during any session feels grounding to me and reduces my anxiety before heading into a youth activity.
The 2nd situation was one where I definitely reacted strongly and with a louder tone of voice than I had ever used before. A youth I know well and have worked with for years appeared one school day at my door and quietly asked if I had time to talk. Since I was just finishing up a call with a colleague, I motioned to her indicating “just one minute”. She waited patiently, I finished my call, and as she came into my office, she intentionally grabbed the office door and slammed it as hard as she could. I could hear students in the next room call out in startlement. I felt so angry and loudly and firmly said “Not acceptable!” The intensity of my own reaction startled even me. I have processed this several times with colleagues and now am more aware about how to take care of myself and “respond” rather than “react.” I think part of what was happening was that her actions may have reflected more of a conditioned traumatic adaptation rather than a triggering adaptation. This Module has given me a lot of information and many ways to frame various situations that I will be using in the future.
I often have teens who became defiant and combative during class. My practice when with them has been to pause and offer compassion. I like this acronym as it is easy to remember and I will definitely use it in the future. Taking the breath and acknowledging my feelings will create yet even more space before I proceed with action.
I really liked being able to rescript a previous experience. I focused on an interaction I had in the classroom with a student using his phone while we had a guest speaker. I think I handled it ok in the moment but appreciated this opportunity to take a breath first and acknowledge both how I was feeling and how the student came to this disruptive behavior. I would still choose to proceed with speaking individually with the student but the tap will allow me to be in a less defensive, more skillful frame of mind.
Throughout this module, I was thinking about a particular student who I taught that had a diagnosis of opposition Defiance Disorder. His behaviour was difficult to manage. Building a rapport with him was incredibly difficult. He did not trust anyone nor did he demonstrate any respect to his peers and staff. Reflecting back, I did not consider that his overt behaviour may have been a result of trauma. I assumed other variables. If I had viewed his resistance as a product of trauma adaptation, I would have concluded that his behaviour was perhaps a means of self-protection. I believe that the concept of TAP would have served me well in responding to the student with greater self-awareness.
Yes, I thought of a student who can be very demanding during class and ask a lot of questions, which prohibits me from proceeding with programming or addressing the questions the student may ask if she would not continuously interrupt me. There was once when I felt I became annoyed with her and she sensed it and became a little sensitive about it. After learning about the TAP technique I definitely would have handled it differently.
A client of mine has suicidal ideation daily, several times a day. Client is conditioned when at placement to self harm in the bathroom keeping the door shut, no locks are installed on doors for her own protection, though within minutes an intervention is the interaction in providing deregulation when behaviour is very heightened. The client reacts with frustration, anger and pleads to be left alone, wanting the door closed, the fear, pain and torment that is visible in her eyes can be have me feeling anxious, frightened for both of us and yet a calming presence can come over me as I feel I must help soothe her sense of self worth.
I believe TAP is defiantly a benefit when acknowledging the best outcomes are made under circumstances that are very confronting.
I had a client who would not talk in session. He has witnessed multiple domestic violence with parents and fights between his older brothers and father. He would sit in silence. This was very uncomfortable for me. I felt like I had to ask questions to engage client and to build rapport. Client was resistant and would give yes/no answers. Through TAP I was able to realize that client was protecting himself and possibly his family. I realized that I may have been too pushy in building rapport because it was not fast enough for me as a therapist. I was focused more on the paperwork that needed to be completed ie: assessment, treatment plan. If I have a client that is presenting just like my previous client I will be sure to use TAP to help me reduce my reactions.
For this exercise I thought of a situation with a youth in a group home setting. The youth was already upset about a situation at school when I cautiously entered his room to talk to him. He was willing to talk about the situation but he was very upset with himself and the situation and punched his bedroom window, breaking the window and getting cut in the process. While I did remain calm outwardly, I was feeling very anxious as I am a clinician for the home and I did not know where the staff were in case I needed additional support. I was concerned that the youth could further hurt himself with the broken glass or hurt me as he did not appear to be in control of his emotions. When I visualized this event and incorporated TAP I was able to see where I could have proceeded differently than I did. While I think at the time of the situation I did acknowledge how I was feeling and that this response was likely a result of this youth’s trauma, I did not incorporate this technique as consciously and purposefully as I could have. I think this tool will be very beneficial to myself and as well I plan to share it with our staff who work directly with the youth everyday.
I can actually think of quite a few situations:) when a youth was especially challenging and I was especially reactive. In thinking of one in particular of a youth clowning around in a disruptive way when I was leading a group activity. I began to react began to ‘correct’ him and ‘request with authority’ (aka demand) that he participate. However, I was pretty quickly able to I was able to practice something akin to TAP. So rather than further reacting myself, I was able to take a breath and realize his behavior wasn’t really nearly as disruptive to the group as it was to me. Then I was able to encourage him to participate, without demanding or threatening adverse consequences (aka punishments). It was constructive to consciously ignore much of his behavior and to let him come around to the energy and positive participation of others in the groups. A much better strategy for sure.
This was a great grounding exercise. I just had completed an emotional regulation group with 15 male youth and one female youth. It was my second week facilitating and they still were trying to get themselves settled. Some of the young men had known each other from prior treatment episodes and had a sense of comfortability and they were clowning around a little bit. I identified my feelings as calm and patient, but yet a little a little awkward. I wanted to raise my voice a little bit and say, “everyone let’s settle down a little bit.” Then I remember a prior lesson and you spoke about tone. I kept my voice low and use your words of “Hey guys….can we quiet down a bit?” Other grp members shushed each other and I stayed in a calm tone and it worked! It was interesting to see the order in which the patients self-regulated, and their behavior fit my assumptions. Thank you. It turned out to be GD grp and it held their attention illustrating the theme of awareness. It took me about 10 – 12 times, but I also had a package of markers. I know I we’ll be using this as part of my group prep from here on out. Again, many thanks.
I know I will be using this in my group prep. Looking forward to week four.
Looking forward to more engagement techniques in week four.
I also enjoyed this grounding technique. I have to really make a point to do any sort of meditation or mindfulness and it is a constant struggle. This year it has gotten better. I think this technique could be extremely helpful with a particular student I work with who has an extremely negative world view. His adaptation is his perspective of everything being horrible that way he cannot ruin it. He rarely enjoys anything and that can be very difficult to deal with over time. This TAP technique will be extremely effective in helping me visualize the more effective response.
Last year I facilitated a group for young men, ages 17-21, at an employment program in the community. After five months of work together, I prepared for our final session. While I was aware that goodbyes can be challenging for all, and especially triggering for those with extensive experience with abandonment and loss, I was unprepared for the hostility and aggression that surfaced. During the final minutes of our last session, the young men uncharacteristically began making overtly derogatory comments about women. At the time, I felt trapped, frustrated, confused, and a bit hurt, as the comments seemed pointed at me, the only woman in the room. I was unable to find a way to appropriately address the comments, and I was disappointed by the closure of the group.
During supervision later, my supervisor noted, “They certainly made sure that you wouldn’t miss them.” While this seems an obvious reflection, I had not been able to see this in the moment.
Using TAP was a great way for me to delve deeper into my experience, and to envision a better, more skillful, response. Taking a breath- even when simply remembering this moment- allowed me to ease my anxiety about not knowing how to respond. It allowed me the space to notice and understand my reaction (feeling trapped, as I have before in settings when feeling attacked by men, feeling frustrated, feeling hurt), to then take the time to consider their behavior from a different angle, and choose a response. It was helpful to think about their reaction to our ending from a place of compassion, with a focus on attachment, loss, and trauma. It still took me a bit to think of an alternative response, or a way to proceed. I remembered Sam’s suggestion of coming from a place of curiosity/inquisitiveness, and this helped. I would have asked them more questions, and remained energetically open, instead of shutting down.
I appreciate the simplicity of this technique, the ability to use it anywhere, at any time, and its obvious efficacy. Thank you!
I was working at a private school for youth living with ptsd, anxiety, and depression. On my first day, I was just supposed to be shadowing the other teachers and counselors, but suddenly found myself about 75 yards in back of the school in the woods with two boys who had one-on-one aides due to explosive outbursts and violent tendencies when escalated. The colleague I was with left to do something else with a girl in our group of three and I was alone.
The boys were both 4-6 inches taller than me and one was very husky and the other wiry and thin. The husky youth had a stick that he kept raising above his head at me if I came too close, the other youth was completely preoccupied with finding a snake. I didn’t realize at the time, but I did use the TAP technique. I assessed the situation, stayed calm,and kept my distance from the youth with the stick. I stared walking towards the school encouraging the youth looking for the snake to look where I was and pointed out possibilities where a snake could be hiding. I let him look and then walked towards the school again pointing out other places to find a snake. He followed me and thankfully, the other youth with the stick followed him. I got them back to the school safely, got them back to their aides, and then found a place of solitude to get myself back together and refocused to continue on with my day. I knew the boy with the stick was just feeling as unsafe and anxious as I was and probably even more so. He didn’t know me and had trouble with new people for quite a while after meeting them. If I had gotten visibly anxious and started telling them to “head back to the school” I probably would’ve lost them or gotten hurt, or both.
This technique is very valuable when working with youth who have experienced trauma.
Including the TAP technique allowed for a varied lens on the trauma based adaptive behavior and grounded my approach to the situation. It allowed for me to reflect on where my discomfort, anxiety and frustration was coming from before I proceeded with supporting the individual who was struggling with being present due to their adaptive behavior. I can think of many scenarios where this technique would be so valuable and look forward to adding to my tool kit of skillful engagement with the youth that I support.
I think that this will be very useful working with the youth I spend time with. I have read about other mindfulness techniques but I love how easy it is to remember . TAP. SOOOO easy. I have enjoyed the sessions so far.
I was able to think of a specific situation. About 10 years ago, when I was working as a support staff member in a local group home, a young man was being disrespectful to me and the other youth in the group home. It was a long time ago, but this really helped take me back to that moment, I became angry at him, I could feel my face getting flush and my emotions elevating, body temp rising. I think I really needed to revisit that, I think about my reactions at that time and wish I could do them over. I was young, not yet graduated from Social Work, and my skill set and life experience was not developed. I do think TAP is beneficial, very beneficial, I wish I would have known of it then. I like that you said, “give them compassion” that sentence almost brought me to tears. I really wish I had more patience, awareness and compassion for those youth at that time. I did my best, but with these tactics and many others that I have learned over the years, if the same situations happened again now, I would be much better prepared and more effective as a professional.
I visualized a time when I was triggered by a femaile adolescent. This girl triggered me very easily and I recognized that after a couple of interactions with her. I imagined using the TAP procedure and think that it would definitely help me , but I also recognize that I would need to practice a lot in order for it to come naturallly. I know that trying to see her behavior as an adaption would have helped a lot in the situation. I am learning everyday in my life and through this course that kids act out for a reason, and if we look at their behavior and ask “What happened to them” instead of “What is wrong with them” we can be more skillful in our interactions.
Oh yes, I easily remembered an incident from a camp a few weeks ago. The kid was being a bully towards two other kids who had been cooperatively playing together with my help on a Slackline. His actions were making the environment unsafe for the others and his refusal to comply to my “demands” (I didn’t address him with much skill- I was annoyed) frustrated me. I felt disrespected and I didn’t feel like I deserved it. As a Christian, my go-to version of TAP is to whisper a quick prayer for patience and guidance and understanding but I failed to do so in this instance. I verbally snapped at the kid about a half-second before I was going to physically remove him from the premises. When I took the stick he was poking at the other kids away and threw it over the fence and into the woods he finally departed the scene to go pout. Not one of my finer moments. I didn’t TAP or Pray in that moment but I immediately began reflecting on the incident. Yes, I should have considered the possibility of trauma and ACE’s and how they affect his behavior as well as how my tone further pushed him to defiance. He’s a twin. He lives with a stepfather and mother. I had only just met the kid that week but I know his older (very well adjusted) sister and I know from her that the parents are not emotionally present in their life. I feel like I missed an opportunity to meet him where he was and possibly address the felt and real need to be known and cared for.
I have not met with many children that were resistant thus far. However, I do recall one where the young lady was 11 years of age. She was developing very disrespectful habits towards her mother and teachers. She often did not want to answer questions when asked and would always say , ” I don’t know.” As a staple response.
I was often frustrated with her and would try to get her to see that she was not moving forward with such anger. We would often sit most of the session with her not speaking or resisting the work.
It was not until the third or fourth session that I understood my counseling had to be geared towards the mom. I understand that the resistance was her way of protecting herself from getting closer to another adult. She had lost her dad to incarceration.
Ideally, the sessions would include her more and more as she opened up. However, mom stopped attending at the 6th session.
I found this practice very useful. I was recently leading a Mindfulness meditation training for physical and mental health care workers and one person in the training was very reluctant to try the practices because she felt they contradicted her religious practices even though my approach was to first mention the practices are meant to deepen your personal spiritual and/or religious practices and not replace them. While re-entering this situation in this practice and using the TAP method, I was able to see my reactivity from a different perspective and cultivate a deeper level of compassion for the person.
I thought about an incident where a youth was very agitated and yelling in my face, I felt threatened and anxious in that moment, however it was like someone took over my reactions telling me to keep calm. I was able to diffuse the situation by remaining calm and talking in soft tones. The day after the incident the youth apologised and I was able to be empathetic and say I know that this is not where you want to be and even though I am totally awesome, I am sure this is difficult for you. Thank you for apologising. This helped build a relationship with the youth. I think that maybe I used TAP without knowing what it was. I am really enjoying the course materials and using them in my day to day practice. Thank you Sam.
Thank you for the acronym T.A.P. which so succinctly describes a process that I move through in my work with youth in school and as a parent with my own children. This morning, I had the experience of meeting resistance from my son about going to school. He is transitioning into high school and a different community. He is also processing grief and stress from the recent move of his father to another state; a relationship in which the family had endured a lot of trauma in the past due to alcoholism and violence. He refused to get out of bed, day 3, and would only peer through a tiny opening with the sheets over his head. I reminded him it was time to get ready for school, and he suddenly glared at me, whipping the sheets off, sitting up and clenching his fists. He yelled, “GET OUT!” He was incredibly tense in his physicality and posturing. I took a deep breath, and noticed my inner anxiety and concern for his well being and fear about missing his missing school and getting behind or falling into apathy. I took another deep breath, and another. Then I told him that I could sense that he was not ready to return to school and asked how I could support him. He softened and said, “I am just so confused about what to do.” His father has been pressuring him to move with him. We discussed this for awhile, and I allowed him to stay home rather than force him into compliance. I recognize that he needs space and time to process his present experience. I have reached out to the school and other community resources to support him.
I will share the tool and the acronym with my students and my children that it may become an inner resource for them as they move through life. Thank you!
I was able to think about a couple of situations, but more than that, I was beyond excited to have learned these skills, especially T.A.P. The reminder about our own self-awareness. As the situations came to mind I was able to envision how TAP would have been beneficial. In all the situations I thought of the steps would have definitely made a huge difference in the outcome.
I thought about a student who was verbally abusive/aggressive during each of my sessions. If I would have considered how the student was protecting himself, I might have looked at his behavior differently. T.A.P. will significantly enhance my practice as I feel more empowered to deal with behavior since my own energy will remain calming and supportive.
I often see the opposition to self-help/ care tools that i offer many youth, now i fully see how that most youth are defending themselves. A particular situation was with a youth that I had a strong bond with, he told me that he didn’t care bout what i had to offer and that I was wasting my time on him. At the time i was so overwhelmed with sadness, I would never want to stop working with this youth and got emotional that they would say something like that. At the time I didn’t have this T.A.P practice and was triggered on my own. Now seeing this situation I know with a clear and more personally detached way, i feel the weight of it being “my fault” lifting and becoming bout the youth again. This lens is extremely helpful and healing for me.
I work in a learning center currently, and I was covering a lunch for the preschool teacher – it was nap time, and two particularly difficult kids were not napping. One was off his cot and trying to wake other children. Which is anxiety inducing for any teacher or parent.
I’ve done mindful courses before, and this kid had me triggered beyond me thinking clearly or mindfully. I felt awful for how poorly I treated that situation and think of it often. This exercise was not only helpful for thinking of ways to prevent this from happening again – but allowed me some closure to that moment as well.
I’m a compassionate teacher and friend, I am empathetic.. and this little boy I KNOW had experienced trauma along with his older sister who I taught. I knew this behavior could have just been the way the trauma was manifesting itself, and in that moment could have done better. I’m grateful for mindful education, and for this course in allowing me more in-depth perspective for combining the two together in order to be my best self (as a mother, AND a teacher as well)
What I especially appreciate about TAP is the second part of the acknowledgement – acknowledging that this may be a protective mechanism and “to have compassion for the person for taking care of themselves.” I’ve worked a lot with mindfulness and STOP and RAIN – other great acronyms – but they don’t acknowledge the external, the other, the relational field. I think this element will really help me in working with both youth and my colleagues and staff – who I actually find it harder to come into this compassionate space with when they act out of their triggers. Thank you Sam!!
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9 Principles for teaching trauma-informed mindfulness to teens
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