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


You may notice children having emotional release and that can occur in different ways. Uh, emotional release could be crying or it could be yelling something where there's a sudden outburst and emotional outburst.

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Now, when you're doing breathing practices and working with the children, sometimes when they calm down or they're doing coherent breathing or they're just resting quietly, you'll notice, they'll begin to cry and a little bit of tears will come and they may cry softly.

This is because they carry a great deal of sadness for what has happened and some of that has to come out from time to time. It may come in the form of crying because that's what anybody does naturally, especially children. So it's important to allow them to cry a little. Sometimes people mistakenly think that the best thing to do is distract them or tell them to stop crying, but that's not what they necessarily need. They need some emotional release and it's best if it comes out a little bit at a time. So if they're just crying, let them cry for a little while and let them know that you're there for them. You're nearby. And if there's anything that they need from you, you're there for them.

It's different, however, if the child goes into crying in a very intense, uncontrollable way, that's also an emotional release, but it may mean that too much is coming out all at once. So in that situation, it's sometimes helpful to do things that help the child come back from that place and regained control. Sometimes you'll see the child getting extremely upset, more than just what we would call normal crying. They may be thrashing about. They may be screaming, they may be reenacting some horrible experience that they've had because sometimes the experience comes back so vividly we call it a flash back. And it's as though they're back at the time in the midst of the trauma. And sometimes they get lost in the flashback and they lose their sense of where they really are and the fact that they actually physically are safe.

So there's some things we can do to help children in those situations. And one of the things is what we call grounding. It helps them to recenter themselves. And we're going to talk a little bit about some of those grounding techniques.


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