Critical training to better protect, support, and heal vulnerable children


series: emotional wellbeing of children by Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD, Richard P. Brown, MD
& Somiari Demm, MA/M.Div, CYT, CTS


So if you know that it's a been a rough week, or whatever the case may be, go inside for yourself. Assess where you are, what you're feeling. Figure out what is that thing that could help bring down the stress level or the stress level.

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Whether it's meditation, Yoga (or relaxation exercises), journaling, listening to music, taking a long walk, talking to a supportive individual, whatever it is that is part of your self-care has to be regularly implemented. Not just on a weekly basis, I would say on a daily basis.

Sometimes if it's been a really hard day, you're going to have to have to take what I call mental health breaks. You take a moment to gather yourself, you do whatever that self-care practice is to regroup and come back.

It's very important to take space in the day to give to yourself and go inside to your original inner-self. That's kind of like I see it: It's like you're going through the desert and you come to an oasis of water and if you've traveled in the desert and you really know what it's like to almost be on the verge of collapsing from the heat and the dry air without adequate water, and you dip into the well and you take the core water out and you pour it down your throat. It's like you're being given life back.

Being in a trauma environment with so many suffering people who have, what feels like endless needs, you also need to take care of your inner needs too. And the breathing does that. It brings you back to yourself and recharges you, and in a very quick way. So, you need to take breaks throughout the day.

How often? I would say it's nice to do it for three or four times a day, even just for 10 minutes. 10 minutes may seem like a long time and I find that many people say, "Hh, I can't take that time to do it." If you don't do it, you will burn out. You will burn out and you will stop doing what you wanted to do and be unable to help people long term.

If you recharge yourself, you will have much better longevity and you do a better job because you are present for what you were doing, because to respond to someone who needs your help, you have to feel what they're feeling. You can't wall it off. You have to be [present], and see things from their eyes at the same time -- which may be very different from your eyes. And you have to be aware of what they've been through that's produced these distortions in their capacity to love.

The [coherent] breathing is the simplest, fastest thing to do that. Take care of yourself, have compassion for yourself and understand you may get angry at times with people you're trying to help. You may get angry at the authorities who may not give you the resources that you need, that you know these people deserve.

However, when you do breathing and go into your inner self, you're beginning to work on a higher level -- not just a physical level. My feeling is that energy comes that you need. What you need to help other people will coalesce together -- ultimately to help the ones you mean to help.


Dr. Patricia Gerbarg

Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry, New York Medical College. Dr. Gerbarg has lectured and taught about a wide range of topics in psychiatry, psychoanalysis, women’s issues, trauma, neurobiology, natural treatments (herbs, nutrients), and the integration...

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of mind-body practices in psychotherapy for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Meetings and many other conferences, academic centers, and community organizations.She serves on the APA Caucus on Complementary and Integrative Psychiatry and is a board member of the American Botanical Council.

Dr. Gerbarg practices Integrative Psychiatry, combining standard and complementary treatments. Her research focuses on mind-body practices for reducing the effects of stress and trauma, particularly in survivors of mass disasters, including the Southeast Asia Tsunami, 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, war in Sudan, Gulf Horizon Oil Spill, veterans, and stress-related medical illnesses.


Dr. Richard P. Brown

Dr. Richard P. Brown is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where he obtained his medical degree 1977. The recipient of numerous awards, he has authored over 100 scientific articles,...

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books, and book chapters on pharmacological treatments, clinical studies, and complementary and integrative treatments in psychiatry.

Dr. Brown developed a comprehensive neurophysiological theory of the effects of breathing exercises on the mind and body, particularly its benefits in anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Brown gives over 100 lectures and courses every year. Since 1998, he has taught full-day courses on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as well as Mind-Body trainings for the American Psychiatric Association, other national and international conferences, veterans, and community service programs.


Somiari Demm, MA/M.Div, CYT, CTS

Somiari is a certified trauma specialist, a certified yoga teacher, and a certified breath body and mind teacher. Her areas of concentration include children and adolescents, trauma, mindfulness, and spirituality. She is a passionate scholar-practitioner in the...

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field of clinical psychology who has divided her time betweenclinical practice, training, workshops, and consulting. As a mental health practitioner, she uses mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy (MCBT) and other evidence-based practices to help adolescent and adult clients with a wide range of emotional, and behavioral issues.

Somiari has received extensive training in the treatment of addiction, mental illnesses, affect regulation, and trauma. In her consulting work, she has provided bullying, violence, and trauma training for elementary and residential schools. In addition to clinical practice, for 3 years she worked as a consultant counseling Chibok girls that escaped Boko Haram.Somiari has been interviewed by 60-Minutes, CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, BBC, and Aljareeza.

As a trauma thriver, her life experiences have fostered her love of, and dedication to the mental health field. Following the words of Gandhi, she believes that “purity of life is the highest and truest art.” Somiari also believes she is here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. Through her work, she is enriching the world through love, healing, and peace


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