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


Now, we're going to use our imagination to take a little trip with our breathing buddies. Imagine that a great white, soft, fluffy cloud has come down to rest right nearby. You and your breathing buddy get onto the cloud. Sit down and get comfortable.

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The cloud is going to take you slowly, gently up into the bright, blue sky--just you and your breathing buddy. The cloud begins to float you up, and up, and up to where the sky is clear and blue. It's a beautiful, sunny day, but it's not too hot and there's a sweet fresh breeze that keeps you cool. It's very quiet and peaceful. You might see a bird fly by. You might see a cloud pass by. It's so quiet, just you and your breathing buddy floating and drifting in the clear blue sky. Just float. Just drift along.

Now, it's time to come back home. Your cloud knows where to go. Your cloud begins to drift and bring you back. You and your breathing buddy can enjoy just lying on that soft cloud. Peaceful and quiet slowly drifting back towards home.

Now, the cloud brings you down, very slowly and gently, down to the ground. You and your breathing buddy come out of the cloud and back onto your mats. You can take a nice rest if you'd like.

You can lie on your back, or if you'd like, you can cuddle your breathing buddy right up to your neck and lie on your right side. If you want to roll on your right side, you can do that, too.

You can see by the movement of this little bear, this is a sleeping breath. Leon has actually fallen asleep here, which is a good thing. Just by looking at the breathing buddies, if you're a teacher, you can tell who's asleep and who's resting.

When you're ready to wake up, just stretch like a cat waking up from a nap. Stretch. Now, you can tell who's asleep because they don't know they're supposed to stretch. We might have to wake him up? Oh, here it comes! Just stretch.

When you're ready, sit up. You feeling refreshed?


Okay. So, so simple. Anytime and the children can learn to put themselves to sleep with your help.

We've had a nice little nap and refresher. I'd like to ask you kids to tell us what it was like to breathe with your breathing buddies and the whole thing. What was that like for you?

I feel like my breathing buddy, he made me feel more comfortable. I feel like I could fall asleep easier with calming down and doing breathing. When I fall asleep I just breathe however I want. It was really comfortable. When you were talking about the cloud and going on a trip, I imagined it in my mind like a dream and it just felt really nice. In my dream, I felt the breeze with keeping me cool and it was refreshing.

Wonderful. Wonderful. Would you like to take your breathing buddy home with you when you go? You want to take your breathing buddy home? Absolutely!


I think he'd missed you if you didn't. So Leon, how was that all for you?

I really felt that helped me a lot because I fell asleep like really, really quickly. When we were first doing the stretching, that was definitely like the first thing that sets you off.

Doing the four/four? You like that?

When I first did that, it's like, "Okay, now I'm going to go to bed." When I did this the sleeping buddy just pushed me over and I fell asleep.

Doing the four four got you ready to go to sleep. Then, you just needed a little bit with the breathing buddy and you were out like a light?

Yeah, we could tell because your tummy was doing sleeping breath.


That was good. What was your favorite part?

All of them?

Just what we did just now.

Probably the shake, because I didn't like this. I know this is like going to bed, trying to fall asleep. But, I feel you need to do this first. Do it the best that you can. Because if you like it, you might not need to fall asleep at all. The way that I did it, well, the way we all did it, I feel like I fell asleep a lot better than I usually would if I just went to my bed and I just tried to go to bed.

That's right. What did you notice about your thoughts that you normally have? What happened to all those thoughts that usually keep you up?

I didn't really have any thoughts. My mind just went blank and I was sleeping.

Your mind got very quiet. All that noise just went away. That's the way it's supposed to work. You guys did a wonderful job.


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