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

Translated in Rohingya



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


We are going to show you some of the techniques we use to help children calm down and go to sleep and we do a combination of things. We teach them how to do coherent breathing or resonance breathing at a rate that's appropriate for their age and we use a breathing buddy.

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A breathing Buddy is usually a little soft stuffed animal of some kind that we place on the child's belly and their breathing buddy is with them. Children find these little stuffed animals to be very reassuring. They can relate to them. They're little, they're cuddly, they're nonthreatening, and they help with the physical and physiological regulation of their emotions. The regulation partner that they need may not be there, but if they have their little cuddly stuffed animal, there's another presence. They project into that little animal. A loving being that they can hold and be close to and who won't hurt them. So they're not alone when they have their little stuffed breathing buddy.

So the breathing buddy takes on a great emotional significance and it's also a tool to help teach them the breathing. And you'll see that in the videos, how we use the breathing buddies to teach them the breathing, and then after the breathing they hold the breathing buddies and we give them a guided visualization that takes them to a very calm place. And the children love these visualizations. They call them stories and what I sometimes do because they go on a little journey with their breathing buddy. Sometimes I'll say, where would you like to go with your breathing buddy today? And they'll say to the mountains or to the ocean or to the forest or whatever it is. And we make a visualization where they can go there.

So it's something that you can grow and adapt and they know if they have their breathing buddy, they can do it themselves at night and they're not alone. And it's very important and it helps them sleep.


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