I was very grateful to be able to spend an entire day at a Symposium organized by Cleveland’s Positive Education Program featuring Dr. Bruce Perry. It was inspiring, validating, and stimulating to hear him speak again on so many topics I enjoy learning about and try to implement into my trauma informed work and work as an art therapist. Below are only some of the takeaways and reminders I received from the day that I wanted to briefly share here:
My Top Ten Takeaways:
6 R’s: Relational, Relevant, Rhythmic, Repetitive, Rewarding, Respectful
Side by Side (parallel) vs. Face to Face
Regulate –> Relate –> Reason
We are relationally contagious
Regulation = Safety
Power of Rhythm: Best way to regulate
Relational rewards vs. Value rewards
Stress: Unpredictable (vulnerability) vs. Predictable (resilience)
- 6 R’s: Relational, Relevant, Rhythmic, Repetitive, Rewarding, Respectful: These 6 R’s are what Bruce Perry identified at the beginning of the day as core considerations for trauma informed care when implementing therapeutic interventions and experiences. I try hard to be mindful of these R’s through providing art interventions and experiences that introduce and/or strengthen these areas. Art expression and the creative process is a great companion to so many of these!
- Side by Side (parallel) vs. Face to Face: In our interpersonal experiences with one another, being present in parallel or working, walking, (and I will add art-making!) together side by side better supports regulation and relational enrichment in comparison to being face to face from one another.
- Regulate –> Relate –> Reason: Therapeutic experiences should begin with a state of regulation (feeling safe) to then build on creating relational enrichment and understanding.
- We are relationally contagious: Our environments and the people who surround us influence our own behavior, values, and understanding of the world.
- Regulation = Safety: When we are regulated, we feel safe.
- Power of Rhythm: Fostering relational rhythm through movement, music, breathing, and other safe patterned sensory based, neural experiences is the best way to create, instill, and maintain regulation. I believe art-making is also an important sensory based experience where rhythm can be cultivated to soothe heightened states of arousal and trauma reactions.
- Relational rewards vs. Value rewards: The stimulation of reward to the brain is a strong motivating factor. Relational (relationships and attachments) rewards can struggle with or override value based rewards (individual beliefs, attitudes).
- Neuroplasticity: How do we support neuroplasticity to make changes in the brain? (i.e. the brain’s capacity to change and to process information in new ways) Understanding that in trauma intervention, working from the “bottom up” in regards to the brain’s anatomy is key. I am always in awe about Dr. Perry’s work and research related to this topic and his development of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). Lots more info on neuroplasticity can be found in this Child Trauma Academy publication on Brain Structure and Function here.
- On Stress and Vulnerabilty vs. Resilience: When stress is unpredictable, severe, and prolonged this fosters vulnerability. When stress is moderate and controlled, this fosters resilience.
- SPARK: Dr. Perry referenced and recommended checking this book out several times during the day. “SPARK is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain”.
It was an honor to hear Dr. Perry speak again and look forward to him visiting Cleveland again soon to keep learning and being inspired by all the work he does! You can learn more about his work, publications, research, courses, and upcoming events via The Child Trauma Academy.