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


Dr. Patricia Gerbarg: The central breathing pattern that we like to teach is called coherent breathing, or it can be called resonant breathing. And it's a special kind of breathing in which we slow the breath down and the length of the in breath (inhale) is equal to the length of the out breath (exhale) that balances the two parts of the nervous system and brings about a state where we're alert and paying attention, but at the same time we're calm and relaxed.

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And that's what this type of breathing does for children. It's easy to teach, and it includes simple arm movements. Because we want an equal inhalation and exhalation, we have them do four counts for the in-breath and four counts for the out-breath accompanied by arm movements.

We can do the arm movements in different ways, but a simple way is to simply have the child breathe in (Counts: two, three, four, breathe out, two, three, four) and you'll see that on the video.

Samier: So our palms are going to face us and slowly and gently.

We're going to breathe in two, three, four

Like rainbow, two three, four

Breathing in, two, three, four

Breathing out

two, three, four

Breathing in slowly turning your hands, your palms go up to the sky and out...

Two, three, four

Breathing in two, three, four

And breathing out, two three, four

One more time,

Breathing in two, three. four,

And breathing out, two, three, four.

Now, this time we're going to do the same activity but we're going to use our imagination a slightly different way as we breathe in, we imagine that the sky is lifting our hands up forus , just imagine the sky lifting our hands all the way up.

The sky wants your hands to visit and as you breathe out, the earth is slowly and gently drawing your hands back down. Good, because the earth wants you too.

So we're going to breathe in, two, three,

The sky is pulling your hands up and breathing out the earth slowly draws your hands down. Good job.

Breathing in, the sky is pulling our hands slowly up; and breathing out the earth brings your hands down.

Now we're going to continue. If you want, you can close your eyes and imagine the sky drawing your hands up and make a rainbow as the earth draws your hands down.

Breathing in two, three, four.

And out two, three, four

Breathing in, two, three, four.

And out two, three, four

Now, Just let your hands rest by your side. Go inside and see how that feels.

Did it feel a little different having the earth and the sky help you to move your arms? It made it smoother and easier with less effort with the earth and the sky helping us, didn't it ?

Now, sometimes (you can open your eyes now). Now, sometimes you might be in a crowded room with so many other people and we might not have so much room open our arms without bumping into somebody. If that's the case, we can do the same exercise, but we can do it this way:

We're going to breathe in two, three, four and breathing out, (hands close together and in front of us),

Breathing in two, three, four,

Good job! And slowly, gently breathing out -- two, three, four

Now, sometimes we might be at a place where you don't want to move your arms at all. In fact, you don't want anybody to know that you're, even breathing. And so there is a way that we can do this very quietly:

Stand there with your hands to your side. Your eyes can be open, or they can be closed, -- whatever you like -- just do your breathing!

So we're going to breath in, two, three four,

And breathe out two, three, four,

Breathing in two, three, four,

And breathing out two, three, four


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