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Interpreter Decisions: How to Interpret Profanity

As healthcare interpreters, we are guided by ethics and standards of practice, and we always stay on the tracks.  But within those guidelines, we must frequently make decisions about how to manage situations that occur. We can lean a little to the left, or to the right, or stand firmly in the middle of the tracks. 

How to Interpret Profanity

Your patient is in the orthopedic inpatient unit. The doctor walks in and asks the patient, “How are you feeling today, sir?” 

The patient explodes with, “*Bleep* it, and *bleep* you, doctor! What do you mean, how am I feeling? I have been asking for more pain meds since yesterday! You *bleeping* people don’t even bother to come see me or order stronger pain meds for me!”

You are surprised and shocked by the emotion of the patient, worried about how to interpret. You know you have to achieve accuracy and completeness of his meaning and tone.

You quickly go over some choices. 

The doctor certainly understands the fact that the patient is angry about something, even though the doctor does not understand a single word the patient has said. Maybe you can leave out the swearing words and just interpret the rest, like this: “What do you mean, how am I feeling? I have been asking for more pain meds since yesterday! You doctors don’t even bother to come see me or order stronger pain meds for me!”

However, that still feels very offensive to say to a doctor. Maybe you should tone it down even more, like this: “You ask how I am feeling. I have been asking for more pain meds since yesterday! None of you doctors have come to see me or order stronger pain meds for me!”

So, let’s think about this. 

Our job is to interpret the authentic tone and the actual meaning of the words of each party because the primary relationship in healthcare is that between the patient and the care provider. 

What they say to each other needs to be authentically transmitted by the interpreter.

The doctor must receive the message and the anger of the patient, and the patient has not just used tone, but actual words, to indicate how angry he is. He used several swear words to accuse the doctor in the room, and doctors in general, of not taking the time to do their job.

So, to effectively convey what the patient is saying, using the first person, you convey the full message of words, “*Bleep* it, and *bleep* you, doctor! What do you mean, how am I feeling? I have been asking for more pain meds since yesterday! You *bleeping* people don’t even bother to come see me or order stronger pain meds for me!”

Because the doctor can hear the patient’s loud voice and see how angry he is, you do not have to reproduce the emotional tone to the same extent of the patient. Speak in a clear tone that carries well, face the doctor, but do not express the words with the patient’s rage.

If the doctor looks at you, surprised, redirect him toward the patient by yourself turning towards the patient.

Well done, interpreter!

For more training and tips on how to be a better interpreter, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and check out the courses available on the Institute .

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Christmas: Faith and Joy for a Hopeful Nation

As the United States observes the twilight of each year, the arrival of Christmas and its traditions stand to unite those who celebrate it under the umbrella of peace and family. Usually encompassing the entire month of December, Christmas has grown from a strictly Christian holiday in its infancy to a diverse gathering of the nation’s populace regardless of religion and ethnicity.Truly, Christmas has evolved to be celebrated by those who may not identify with the Christian ideals but rather with the credence that bringing joy to those around you is the essence of the holiday’s spirit. From exchanging presents to singing Christmas carols, observers of Christmas bathe in its familiar festivities while also adding their own twist.

Origins of Christmas

With traditions beginning December 1st and earlier, Christmas has historically been observed on December 25th. In its beginnings and still prevalent today among religious groups, Christmas is a sacred religious holiday celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Son of God in the Christian faith. Progressing to the present day, some Christians retain traditions that highlight the religious connections. For some, the Christmas tree represents the holy trinity while others place a Nativity decoration, commemorating Christ’s birth. Several other traditions include exchanging gifts, belief in Santa Claus, Christmas trees and lights, kissing under the mistletoe etc.  Some or all of these traditions have strong ties to faith.

Christmas for Non-Christians

Though rooted in Christianity, the holiday has since grown to be celebrated by those who practice different religions and customs. While still retaining its history, Christmas, for some, has become a secular family holiday devoid of any Christian ties. The Christmas tree, for example, may have religious connotations but for many who observe the holiday, it solely represents the centerpiece of their decorations and the location of the presents. Likewise, Silent Night, a song that discusses the birth of Christ, is a popular Christmas song that may be enjoyed for its holiday cheer rather than its Catholic origin. Overall, individuals from all walks of life have incorporated Christmas into their lives and molded to retain some traditions while eliminating others for the sake of their own joy.  

What Christmas Means to Me - Hope through Christmas Cheer

For myself, Christmas represents the moral peak of humanity. It is the time to reflect on the greatness of my fellow men and women and appreciate the company of family and friends. It is also the time to treasure loved ones who are no longer with us and seek their guidance and love. Throughout my childhood, my mother insisted on writing letters to Santa and placing them in the tree, with this custom still being observed in the present day. The time for opening presents for and from my immediate family would be opened several days before Christmas Day. With the arrival of Christmas Eve, our entire family would gather under one roof to celebrate and eat delicious food. 1-2 hours prior to midnight, we would all gather around the Christmas tree and open presents.  At midnight, (Christmas Day), all of us would stop and hug each other, taking time to express our gratitude for one another and to thank our God for the strength and grace instilled in our family. Christmas Day usually consisted of wearing pajamas all day and watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate.  

As is with most people in the United States, however, my traditions have evolved. With my wife and her family bringing their customs, a hybrid tradition was born. Now, half of the Christmas presents are opened on Christmas Eve while the other half are opened on Christmas Day. December 25th now consists of visiting both families, going for wintry walks and wearing ugly Christmas sweaters. Another tradition is the consumption of countless Christmas cookies. What remains constant, however, is the belief in the goodness of people. Christmas is when I remind myself to truly cherish what I have and retain the faith that we, as a species, are virtuous and desire peace on Earth.  

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Diwali—A Cultural Phenomenon that Defines a Nation

In India, there is nothing more synonymous with the second half of the year than Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights.

Being a country where every event is given a grand celebration, especially the birth and conquests of the mighty Indian deities, Diwali holds a very special place. The importance of bringing in these 4-5 days of festivities with family and friends is so significant that Indians around the world plan their work leaves well in advance to make sure that they are home. Truly symbolizing a secular nation, this festival is recognized by people of different religions and celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists with equal pomp. It is the perfect mélange of traditions followed over the years with local customs native to certain regions that add to the flavor of the festivities. Homes are thoroughly cleaned (even carrying a special title to it—Diwali Cleaning), sweets are freshly prepared, and new clothes are purchased to ring in the celebrations.

Where it all Began—The Legends and Traditions

Before we set into what Diwali is today, let’s understand where the celebrations first began. In its truest essence, Diwali marks the victory of good over evil. There are several legends that are believed to be the origin of this festival, each unique to a different region of the country. The most widely known story, and one celebrated in northern India, is of Lord Ram’s triumphant return to his kingdom in Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. With the help of Lord Hanuman and Lord Laxman, he heroically rescued his wife Sita after she was kidnapped by Lord Ravana. He was greeted by a row of diyas (clay oil lamps) and this is a tradition followed to this very day where every house lights diyas to commemorate this special occasion.

In Southern India, however, Diwali is the celebration of Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakasura. Another legendary belief is that the festival celebrates the marriage of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, and Lord Vishnu, the sustainer of the universe. However, Goddess Lakshmi is an important part of Diwali for more reasons than one. The festival coincided with the last harvest before winter, so farmers would pray to the Goddess of Wealth for good fortune. Today, the first day of the festival is called Dhanteras, which literally means celebrating your wealth. The third day is also known as Lakshmi Puja, where the Goddess is worshipped in homes.

Not just a Hindu Festival

Even the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhist, the minority religions in India, have their own Diwali stories. The Sikhs celebrate the release of their guru, Hargobind, after 12 years of imprisonment by the Mughal emperor Jahangir, while the Jains observe Diwali as the day Lord Mahavir achieved nirvana. Buddhists celebrate it as the day Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism from Hinduism. Though the Muslims and Christians do not celebrate within their community, they are more than happy to be a part of all the festivities around them. It is truly a secular festival like no other.

What Diwali Means to Me

Though I have grown up to be agnostic, even I find it difficult to escape the infectious spirit of Diwali. Throughout my childhood, the festival meant three primary things: holidays, new clothes and bursting firecrackers with friends in the neighborhood. The mothers ensured our pockets were stocked with sweet treats to share with friends and our fathers stayed alert at a comfortable distance to make sure we were careful with matchsticks.

Today, now that I have been promoted to the ranks of adulthood, things are a little different but not boring by any standard. The buildup to the festivities begins with doing our own version of “spring cleaning”. Once the house is spick and span, it is given a Diwali makeover, with the brightest string lights and lanterns adorning different rooms. New clothes are unfolded and sweets are made in bulk to be distributed to neighbors and friends. The rangoli, a traditional mandala made with colored rice, colored sand, quartz powder or flower petals, is laid out in front of the door for visitors and passersby’s to admire. Very soon, the first day of Diwali arrives and laughter fills the air. Families come together and special meals are set on the table. At night, diyas are lit and children are out of the streets making merry while happily sporting traditional attires that they otherwise are averse to wearing. Four days go by in a flash, but not without leaving us with fond memories and full bellies.

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Survey Results: How Healthcare Interpreters Are Managing During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Have you wondered how many fellow professional interpreters share your experiences and challenges? Interpreters who took the online class Interpreting Coronavirus through the MasterWord Store were invited to participate in a survey of their experience. We share the results here, and offer some summary comments.

140 people participated in the survey so far, from early April to mid-July. (Note: The survey was available to those who took the class on the Continuing Education Units/Credits track.

Demand

Have you experienced less demand for your services in the last month?

Yes
81%
No
19%

Analysis:
In future iterations of this survey we will ask more detailed questions about how interpreters are managing the change in demand for their services, as well as whether they have been called back during the upsurge in cases across the country starting in early June.

Cancellations

Have you had more than usual cancellations of assignments for the month to come?

Yes
74%
No
26%

Kids

Have you had to stay home specifically because kids were not in school?

Yes
12%
No
23%
Children not in school
65%

Income

Have you suffered significant loss of income this past month, or do you anticipate that in the month to come?

Yes
69%
No
31%

Analysis:
Now that the pandemic has continued and even increased in intensity as of end of July, we are interested in how interpreters have managed the loss of income. We may ask more structured questions about whether the respondent is a staff interpreter or an independent contractor.

Demand for Onsite Work

If you normally do some onsite work, have you had a decrease in the onsite work?

Yes
76%
No
6%
Children not in school
18%

Analysis:
In future surveys we will ask what percentage split of work the individual had before the pandemic (in-person versus remote), and what percentage split s/he has at the time of survey.

Demand for Remote Work

Have you experienced more demand to do telephonic or video work?

Yes
51%
No
39%
I work the same amount of remote hours
10%

Telemedicine​

In March and April of 2020, How many times have you interpreted remotely for a patient at home taking with a doctor doing telemedicine?

0 times
54%
1 – 10 times
27%
>10 times
19%

Analysis:
Now that we have seen the pandemic extend over time and over a greater geographic area, such that more healthcare facilities have put routine care on hold or transferred it to online mode, we would expect that more interpreters will do telemedicine encounters.

Facemask Worn by Provider

During the pandemic, what percentage of care team providers talking to the patient are wearing a mask covering their lower face?

Less than 50% time
18%
More than 50% time
82%

Analysis:
These results include respondents from back in April, so probably much higher % now. For the next round of surveys we may break down responses by time period, to see if there is a change over time for any of the questions.

Facemask Worn by Interpreter

At what percentage of onsite visits are you wearing a mask?

Less than 50% time
5%
More than 50% time
49%
I do remote only / N/A
46%

Analysis:
These results include respondents from back in April, so probably closer to 100% for in-person now…!

Patient Anxiety Noticed by Interpreter

Since the pandemic began, have you noticed:

Increased anxiety in patients about being infected
75%
Increased anxiety in patients about family being infected
54%
Financial worry by patients about how to pay for testing and care
40%
Complaints of difficulty taking care of self or sick relatives
29%
Complaints of cancellations of routine care
38%
Disruptions in handling of prescriptions and needed treatments
29%
Anxiety/grief/anger over limitations on family accompaniment
49%

Analysis:
We did not ask whether interpreters have noticed patient anxiety or difficulty in navigating the new healthcare environment, such as when directed to use different entrances or even different facilities for care. We will add that to the next round of surveys.

We would love for you to take the survey as well, regardless of whether you took the class.

What other questions would you like to see posed to your fellow interpreters?

Do you have any thoughts or comments that you would like us to add to our analysis in future rounds of survey?

Please comment on this post.

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Becoming a Certified Medical Interpreter

If you have considered becoming a Certified Medical Interpreter you have probably heard of the two national certification organizations: the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) and the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI).

The prerequisites for both certifications are similar. Before applying you should be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, proof of proficiency in English and another language, and have completed at least 40 hours of medical interpreter training.  They also require that you complete a written and oral assessment.  The written assessment will test your knowledge of interpreter standards of practice, medical terminology, the role of a medical interpreter, and ethics, while the oral assessment will assess your interpretation skills.

As medical interpreters, we follow the National Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care. Although memorizing these standards and ethical requirements will help in preparation for the assessment, using solid techniques for good ethical decision making is the key to passing the written assessment and preparing for a professional career as a medical interpreter.

One of the standards of practice is the tenet of accuracy, imperative to facilitating communication between parties. Consecutive interpretation is the most accurate and preferred mode of interpretation for the medical setting and comprises the majority of the oral assessment for both certification organizations.  Aside from a strong linguistic foundation, good memory and note taking skills are crucial to avoiding omissions, additions, or substitutions during a consecutive interpretation.  Another mode of interpretation tested by both organizations is sight translation, which entails taking written text in one language and rendering it orally in another language.

40 Hour

Intensive Medical Interpreter Training

A course like MasterWord Services’ 40-hour Intensive Medical Interpreter Course will satisfy the prerequisite and prepare you for the assessments by providing knowledge of the most effective models for ethical decision making, cross-cultural interpreting, medical terminology, and how to navigate the US healthcare system.

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Facilitating Communication through Virtual Platforms

Facilitating communication over virtual platforms is a major adjustment from our normal experience. However, by leveraging technology correctly, we can still obtain valuable non-verbal communication. Additionally, Lisa details how when set up correctly, we can center and stay connected to ourselves, and fill the role of the external regulator, which will have a positive impact on those around us.

Biographies

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Ludmila Golovine

Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.

Transcript

Ludmila Golovine:
Thank you for connecting Lisa. The question that we have today is while many interpreters have been working remotely and are very experienced in working there over the phone and video remote platforms a lot of in-person interpreters today asked to provide services over remote platforms as well. This adds additional stress, additional anxiety, creates additional challenges, so what advice do you have for those of us who are new to the situation and those of us who are experienced with the situation?

Lisa Dion:
One of the big challenges that many people are having to adjust to with the coronavirus is moving from an in-person experience when they’re working with someone to having to facilitate communication through a virtual platform, such as right now through through a computer. And it can be a little bit of a jarring adjustment because we aren’t able to rely quite on as many of the nonverbal cues that we would normally just take for granted. And so I want to talk a little bit about how can we make this process a little bit more fluid and then also what do we need to do to regulate while we are on the other end of a computer. Or suppose it could also be a phone but likely the computer.

So the first thing I just want you to be aware of is as I’m over here talking that you’re still very much aware of many of my nonverbals, you can see my hands, you can see my face. What you don’t have access to, obviously is my lower half, but you actually have the most important part of my nonverbal experience. And so the first thing is, is that if you’re having to facilitate, make sure that you get some support where the camera is set up in such a way where you can really see people from the from, the waist up to the best of your ability. That will give you the most amount of access to the information that, that will allow you to know what’s happening for people: Do you need to adjust?, are people getting overwhelmed?, do you need to pause? Those things that again we may naturally take for granted when someone’s in front of us and we can just attune to them and get a sense of how to, how to respond and how to adjust. So just know that this is still very, very much available. My personal experience facilitating through a virtual platform such as this is that what it really does is it requires just a different level of attention and a different level of focus. So we have to be a little bit more present, a little bit more alert, a little bit more mindful, and it’s interesting because we might think yet but we have to do that anyway when someone’s in person, but you actually have to do it even a little bit more when you’re through a virtual platform, it’s like you have to almost try a little bit harder, which can actually lead to a whole other level of exhaustion in the nervous system because you’re having to hold and be be attentive in a hole in a whole new way. So that’s one thing that I’ll mention.

The other is is that even though you’re on the other side of the camera, you’re still feeling the activation of being a part of the conversation. So when the individuals that you are helping be a bridge for in communication, when when one escalates or someone, it starts to feel anxious or sadness comes in, you’re still going to feel it, even though you are on a virtual platform, which means that your nervous system is still going to be affected in the conversation, and with that, you’re still being asked to be able to translate, which requires you to be able to still access your prefrontal cortex. So just because we’re moving from an in-person experience to a virtual platform doesn’t mean that we can stop regulating. In fact, because of the first thing that I said about how we need to have maybe even be a little bit more attentive., we actually may need to regulate even more. So what that means is that while you’re facilitating, [it’s] really important that you become aware of your breathing patterns, pause when you need to, take deep breaths, pace yourself. And by the way, your ability to pace yourself will also help pace the people that are also looking at you, or watching you, or listening to you in the process, too. So you can really set the stage for helping regulate everybody in the discussion. Have something like a glass of cold water, so sipping cold water or drinking cold water actually helps regulate and helps the nervous system. One of my favorite ones is, you know, feel your feet on the ground. Maybe even if you need to every once in a while. So right now I know you can’t see what’s happening. Probably get a sense that my arms were moving. I’m just gently pushing on my legs and I’m grounding myself. So right now I’m actually taking my feet and I’m just moving my feet back and forth like this. So just noticed. There’s these subtle ways I can regulate my body where I don’t become a distraction to the conversation. But I’m very much taking care of myself right now. Maybe I shift positions in my chair. So maybe I’m, I’m here for a minute and then, you know, I start to feel some activation in my body and then, you know, maybe I shift positions this way, these, these subtle things, but really profound things that we can do to stay connected to ourselves in the midst of the activation or the fear or the challenge or the stress of having to work through a different platform are absolutely essential. The more that you’re able to manage and regulate and stay connected to yourself in all this activation will give you access to your prefrontal cortex. The more you become stressed out, overwhelmed, starting to really feel and merge with the energy in the activation of the people that you’re trying to, to facilitate, the more you actually go down into your reptilian brain and the more we go under a reptilian brain, we actually lose our ability for words. We lose our ability to think clearly. And what your, people that you’re trying to help need so much from you is for you to be the one in the conversation that is here because they’re all here. So your role as becoming, we’re gonna call it the external regulator, is so key in this situation, and you can absolutely still do it even through a virtual platform. But what it means is, you send to yourself, you stay connected to yourself, work on being present, work on being mindful and alert, you know, do things to maintain connection with your body. Ground yourself. Deep, deep, deep breaths. These are the things that are going to help you with this platform.

The other thing I will say, is that because sometimes we’re getting used to a new platform, they mention it, it can take some more energy, make sure that in between, if you are doing things that are back to back, or you’ve got calls that are back to back, or however that works for you, making sure you’re standing up, you’re moving because sometimes well, part of the platform when a virtual experience is usually we’re sitting down. Sometimes when you’re in person, you’re standing up so you can move a little bit. You don’t have to always sit down. And we don’t have the luxury of doing that when we’re on the other side of a computer, as we’re usually just sitting. So attend to your body, attend to your own experience know that, that will have an effect on the people that you are trying to support. Still be mindful and tune into the nonverbal cues. Have someone help you set the, um, set the camera up in such a way where you can maximally see people. If something happens in that environment over there, maybe there’s a sound. Maybe someone says something, Uh, and, and you missed it because you’re not in the room. It’s okay to ask. Can someone please explain to me what just happened? Can someone please fill me in on what that was, or what was just said? Work together as a team. I promise you that the individuals that you are helping are so incredibly thankful that you’re there even if you can’t be there in person. The fact that you’re even showing up virtually means so much for them and your ability to breathe be a bridge for them as they are trying to communicate and feel heard and get their needs met and feel safe right now is a such an extraordinary service that you are offering. So we take a breath and we do the best we can. And we trust that what we are doing through a new platform really is good enough.

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Self Regulation = Family Regulation

While much of the attention is on the interpreter in the work environment, stress and anxiety also extends to the home and family. Lisa Dion tackles this space by discussing the regulation of families and how our own emotions may impact our families.

Biographies

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Ludmila Golovine

Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.

Transcript

Ludmila Golovine:
Thank you for connecting. The question that we want to ask today to Lisa Dion is, what happens at home? How do we manage stress at home? Many language professionals work on a regular basis from their home. As translators we work at a desk, as interpreters and remote interpreters sometimes we work from a home office. But today the situation is different. The schools are shut down, kids are at home. Kids may also experience stress and uncertainty. We, as professionals, may have family members that are staying at home and are not able to go to work. So how do we handle this? An added stress and anxiety at home.

Lisa Dion:

Let’s talk about regulating the family. There’s a lot happening right now in our homes. Sometimes things are a bit stressful. Other times, maybe things feel really connected and probably everything else in between. So let’s talk a little bit about what regulating a family means and how do you actually do it.

So, regulating a family does not mean trying to get every single person in the family to be calm, or to stop the stress in some way. Regulating the family means how do we all, as a family unit, work to stay connected first and foremost to ourselves, but then to each other during this challenging time. Recognizing that the ability for the family to be connected in a way that feels safe, and in a way that allows everyone’s nervous systems to just relax is actually one of the most important things that we can be providing right now amidst all of the change, and what feels like a lot of chaos, and unpredictability. So as you are listening and maybe starting to think about this with me, the first thing to recognize is that if I’m going to regulate my family, the first thing is I have to regulate myself. So here’s an interesting thing about nervous systems. The way I describe it is that they like to say hello to each other. So, when someone walks into a room, the activation and their nervous system, let’s say they’re feeling incredibly anxious. Everyone else in the room to some degree is going to pick up on that and is going to feel that, if someone is feeling really down and withdrawn, other people are going to feel it. Now, that doesn’t mean that all of the activation is wrong and that we should get rid of it. But what it does mean is for us to recognize that what happens within us does have impact on everyone else. And this actually puts us in a beautiful position to actually be able to help regulate everyone that is around us in our, in our families. So, I have to regulate myself first, we have all likely either been on airplane or heard about this that takes place on airplanes, where in a time of crisis, the oxygen mask falls and the announcement is, put the oxygen mask on your face first before you put it on the your children or someone else that may need your support. And the same principle applies here when you’re talking about regulating what’s going on in the home. So I have to be able to center myself first. Now, centering myself does not mean for me to arrive at a completely calm state. That right now is a message that can throw many of us off because it’s really hard to attain that right now. So what I’m going to propose is that right now, it’s more about you being able to be connected to yourself in the midst of all of the emotions and the intensity. So what this literally looks like is I check in with myself, I notice I’m feeling overwhelmed and I consciously take a breath. And in that moment of the breath, I’m connecting to myself. I’m telling myself, in a sense, I got you, and this is the beginning of regulating my nervous system. I may then discover that I need to move. Maybe I’m hungry. Maybe I just need to be honest about what’s going on for me. So let me talk about this for a second. As parents, sometimes we are afraid to be really honest about what’s going on inside of us. And yet the reality is is that our children need honesty. That’s not just our children, our partners need our honesty as well. So being able in a poised way, and this is the key piece, being able to be honest and congruent, but in a poised way where we’re not flying off the handle. And ah, because that can actually disregulate someone else even more. But for me to be able to say to my family, “Wow, today was a really hard day, I felt really anxious a lot today and I’m noticing that I’m even feeling a little scared right now. So I’m gonna take a deep breath,” or I’m gonna go take a walk” or “I’m just gonna shake my body out right now.” That has such a profound regulatory effect not only on your nervous system but also on those in your family, because you’re giving the family member’s permission to also be honest about what’s happening inside of them as well. 

So this is the first step. Regulate yourself, breathe, move. What do you need to do to stay connected to yourself? And again some of being calm right now, it’s about being poised and centered in the midst of whatever it is that you’re experiencing inside, allowing yourself to be honest, but in a way where it’s a grounded honesty, not a disregulated honesty. Because our nervous systems say hello, as I mentioned, the people in your family are going to begin to feel your regulation, and in a sense, you then become what I’m gonna call the external regulator, where the other family members actually can begin to borrow your nervous system, so they begin to feel your centeredness. They begin to feel your capacity to be ableto stay steady in the midst of all of this, and that actually begins to regulate them. So that’s the first thing that you can do. Regulate yourself. It will begin to regulate everyone else in the family.

A couple other things environmentally. Take the time to really look at what is happening in the environment that could also contribute to disregulation. So, everything from is there a routine in this environment? Have we as a family taking the time to come up with a routine? Have we talked about needs? Have we found a way to honor everybody’s needs, or we just sort of going one moment to the next moment to the next moment to the next moment. Routines are important right now. Predictability is important right now. What about things like, is the news just playing in the background? So we just have all this messaging that is fear based and actually creates more of a sense of anxiety in the home? Is that influencing disregulation? Um, are there other things that are going on that are influencing disregulation? See if you can take the time to identify them and look at what can you do to help actually create a way for the home to actually, be a home where there’s an experience people can actually ground and center in the home. It can even be like, what does your environment look like? Is it just a complete mess? We know that an organized environment actually regulates our nervous system, too, and then the last thing is actually doing things that are regulatory in nature with our family members. So when I think about what do my family members need. It’s not just about food, it’s not just about, um, you know their overall health right now. It’s not just about the routine. It’s also what are their regulatory needs. One of the things that’s been taken away is our ability to really move. And so, everybody has different needs. It’s not just movement Some people regulate through art. Some people regulate through, you know, listening to music. So can you actually identify everybody’s regulatory needs in the family and then find a way to address those? And then also, can you actually provide regulation into your family itself? So, for example, my daughter, whose 14 years old, when she is having her screen time and she’s lying on the floor, sometimes I’ll go over to her and I’ll just say, Hey, Avery, can I help your body right now? If she says, no, that’s fine. And if she’s like yes, because she knows that her her body’s a little blah right now with not being able to move as much as it normally does, and I’ll actually lay on top of her, and I’m actually laying on top of her and then breathing, and then I’m literally grounding her. Sometimes I will ask her to help me. I’ll ask her to push on my arms. Sometimes we just say what our bodies need right now. And then we turn on music and we dance. We’ve made it a point to go on walks, as many as we can throughout the day again. With this in mind, part of regulating my family is making sure that everybody’s regulatory needs are also met within the family system. So, you want to take a deep breath. 

Hopefully, there’s some ideas in there that, that can help you. But part of what we can do right now is really play a pretty awesome role in our own family systems by regulating ourselves first and then finding ways where we can offer that, that regulation to our family members, sometimes just being who we are. And then also are there proactive things that we can do in the environment and to them and with them to help them also connect with their own bodies and to connect with, with what they need. Even things like just checking in every day. How are you feeling? What do your body, what’s your body need? Creating time for conversation and sharing about what this experience is like. And then the most important thing of everything is just to know that ultimately the most regulating thing is its connection. Connection with yourself and connection with other. So finding ways to connect. Right now it’s about quality, not quantity. And, um, show up, be real, connect, breath with each other and offer each other that felt sense experience that we’re gonna get through this together.

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What Does My Body Need? Regulating Before and After the Encounter

How am I right now? What do I need right now to be prepared for this assignment? Showing up to an assignment with all of our activation means that we are not regulated enough to handle another layer of stress. Lisa outlines the importance of checking in with ourselves and tips to help us avoid shutting down, going numb, and experiencing vicarious trauma.

Biographies

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Ludmila Golovine

Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.

Transcript

Ludmila Golovine:
Thank you for connecting. Lisa the question that we have today is, was it important to manage your emotions and knowing that we are possibly about to start helping with a challenging, interpreting encounter? What can we do before it to prepare ourselves and what can we do after, so that we’re ready to help the next person and be at our best?

Lisa Dion:
Learning how to manage the intensity and the activation that we’re experiencing right now in our bodies because of all the stress and the scary things and the threats that we’re perceiving around us regularly right now with the Coronavirus is truly one of the most important things that we need to be doing right now for, for self care. And this is also true before and after we have calls. If we are still going into the hospital and facilitating a process there, know what do we need to do to get ourselves ready before that? What do we then do with our nervous systems afterwards?

So the very first thing to do is, before you get on a call, it’s important that you check in with yourself that you pause and you ask yourself this, this question. How am I right now? What I notice is happening in my body. What do I need right now, so that I can stay connected to myself so that I can be prepared and regulate through the intensity? If we miss this step, we have a high probability of just showing up for the call, or showing up at the hospital, and we have all of our activation and it’s just walking in with us. And then we’re not regulated enough to then handle a whole other level of stress and nervous system activation that we’re gonna feel from everybody else. And so we’re already setting ourselves up for an experience of too much and likely what will end up happening is that you will find that you won’t be able to facilitate the process very well or you’ll get through it and then you’ll feel exhausted afterwards. Or you’ll find yourself at the end the day feeling really irritable, wanting to shut down, wanting to zone out, not wanting to engage with other people in your life because you’re nervous system it just couldn’t take. It was just too much throughout the day. So before you go in, to, to a call before you head into the hospital, I want you to stop. I want you to pause. I want you to ask yourself, how am I doing right now? And I want you to take the answer that comes up really seriously and give yourself permission to do something about it.

So the second question would be, what does my body need? That’s different than what do I need? It’s what does my body need? Does my body need to move right now? Does my body need to stretch? Do I need to get something to eat? Do I need to get, um, a cup of cold water? Do I need to lay on the floor for five minutes and just do some deep breathing? Do I need to just, just able to say out loud, wow, I’m having a really hard time. This is a really challenging day. Like what, what does your body need? And listen to it and give yourself permission for 30 seconds, maybe a minute, but at minimum 30 seconds And give your body what it’s asking for.

So start there as you then head into the call. Make sure that you are regulating during the call, that you are actively regulating your nervous system and keeping yourself centered and grounded, which I’ll remind does not mean calm. It just means that you’re connected with whatever you’re experiencing inside. And then when you finish that call or when you leave the hospital, I want you to ask yourself again. how am I doing? How is my body doing? Which is the more important question. And then what does my body need right now? And don’t blow past that answer. Really stop and listen. Your body is speaking to you. If you ignore it, you’re going to build up, build up, build up intensity and the stress response in your own physiology. And you will feel at over time, you will start to shut down, numb out. You actually set yourself up even more for getting sick for, you know, compassion, fatigue and vicarious trauma down the road. But so it’s really important that you stay attentive to what your, what your body needs.

So take care of yourself before, during and after, and keep that rhythm going throughout your day. Remember, the question is, in this moment, what does my body need? And then give it to yourself for at least 30 seconds. It’s self love, it’s self-care. It’s exactly what needs to happen right now to help you get from here to there.

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Talking to Children About the Pandemic

As the pandemic continues its presence in our lives, how do we discuss the coronavirus and relay the changes in our lives to our children? Lisa Dion converses about various scenarios that children may ask about, ways they may read our responses and how we can ensure that we, as parents, are keeping our children informed without causing panic.

Biographies

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Ludmila Golovine

Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.

Transcript

Ludmila Golovine:
Hello, everybody, and thank you for connecting. The question that we have today is about children. Many of us have kids. Many of us have little kids. So, how do we help our children deal with what’s going on with the situation? How do we help them understand? How do we talk to our kids?

Lisa Dion:
Hi parents. My name is Lisa Dion and I am a parent. I’m also a psychotherapist and a registered play therapy supervisor, and I wanted to offer a little bit of support being a mom, as I just shared. There’s so much happening right now with the coronavirus that, um, as we know, is producing a lot of fears and anxieties, and schools are closing. Um, we’re seeing it reflected in our children, and I know that our children are talking about it and they have a lot of different questions. And there’s a lot out there right now about just the practical ways that we can be supportive and the things that we need to be doing to keep ourselves and our children safe, like the hand washing and even isolating ourselves and that kind of thing. But I wanted to talk a little bit more about what we do in terms of helping them on an emotional level, because there is just so much fear and anxiety, which is totally normal right now. The brain right now is absolutely detecting a threat with all the information and all the dialogue that’s going on and and there’s the feeling in the air, and so were you know, people are responding accordingly based on how scary it’s registering for them or not.

So I wanted just to support you. I wanted to offer a little bit of help in all of this. And so I want to talk about two things that are really important. And the first one may seem, uh, intuitive, maybe even a little counterintuitive. But it just has to do with honesty. And what I mean by that is that sometimes when our children start to feel fearful, or they start to feel afraid of something our, our instinct as a parent is to try to make it better, try to make it okay. And so maybe we say things like, “Oh, you’re safe” or, you know, “you’ve got nothing to worry about.” Or, um, or maybe we’re trying really hard you know, not to show that we’re actually afraid. And parents, what I want you to know is that even though we’re coming from such a caring place when we do this, it actually lands for the child as actually a deeper source of discomfort. The brain actually looks for what, what I call in congruence in the environment. And when we’re giving our child messages, that sounds something like, you know, you’re, you’re safe. Um, well, we don’t actually know that for sure. We don’t actually know if our child is gonna get the coronavirus. We don’t know if we’re gonna get the coronavirus. And so sometimes our attempt to soothe the child actually results in false promises. And the child deep down actually knows this. So instead of saying things like, “Oh, you know, we’re safe.” “We’re okay.” “Everything’s fine.” “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Which inside the child’s going, “yes there is. Yes, there is. Yes, there is. Aren’t you aware?” Um, it’s really important that, that we stay honest.

Now, honest can look so many different ways. So let me really help you out here. Just acknowledging, “Yes. Yes. This is scary.” “Yes, there’s so much information out there,” and, um and “there’s a lot of unknowns.” “There’s a lot of uncertainty right now.” “It makes so much sense why you’re feeling nervous, and why you’re feeling afraid.” Um, ‘Mommies or daddy is feeling nervous, too.” Um, “I’m finding myself thinking about it.” “I’m finding myself wondering, you know, what to do, or how to respond.” And what you’re really doing here is you’re just normalizing. The child ultimately, here’s an interesting thing parents, ultimately, the child is borrowing our nervous system. They’re borrowing our capacity to regulate. And in order to do that, we need to be honest about our own internal experience and then also show the child, how do we work with that? You know, there’s a difference between panicking, “Oh, my gosh, this is, ah.” And then the child doesn’t know how to orient to us, and they don’t have a nervous system to grab hold of. And that can induce even more panic and fear in the child. But being able to respond honestly, sort of react, respond honestly, um, owning and naming your own fear and anxiety around this and then maybe saying, you know what? “And that’s why I’m taking some deeper breaths.” Or, “that’s why, um, you know, I am, uh, you know, spending time thinking about things that we can do together,” you know, being honest about just the impact of that, this is having, I just can’t stress enough how important that is. And to find a way to talk about it honestly in a way that your child can hear and that’s appropriate for their age. It’s just really, really key while honoring and validating their own experience rather than just trying to make it all better.

The next thing is that also the brain, whenever we encounter the unknown, the brain kind of goes, “ahh” and, and what it does is, it in the sense projects scenarios into the unknown. And then we make assumptions about what can happen, which is a lot of what’s going on right now, that’s creating some of their fear with the coronavirus, which is what our, our minds naturally do. We think out worst-case scenarios, and that’s such a protective part of our design. And one of the most helpful things you can do for your child right now is to make the unknown known to the best of your ability. Now, obviously, we don’t ultimately know many things about what’s happening with the current virus, but there are things that we do know and a lot of it can do with just creating a plan and talking to the child about the plan. So it’s like, “Okay, honey.” So when the child, your child is talking about “mommy,” and you know, “I’m afraid,” or “Daddy, I’m afraid,” or “I’m feeling really nervous,” or what about you know, “my friend, whose Grandpa might get sick,” or whatever it is, go ahead and proactively come up with a plan. So talk it through. Okay, so, um, “let’s talk this through, buddy.” “All right? So if you get sick, here is what we’re gonna do.” And list it out for the child. Is there anything that you think you’ll need, depending on the age of the child? You know, if, um, if Grandma gets sick, here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s how we’re gonna support Grandma. If your friends Grandpa gets sick, here’s what we’re gonna do. Um, we’ll send a card, you know, to your friend, we’ll send some food over to help the family out. When we can respond instead of react, it actually creates a bit of regulation in our system when we feel like we can be helpful in a helpless kind of situation. And one of the most important things we can do is just make plans, talk to your children about, “All right, so if we’re home for an extended period of time and school is cancelled, here’s what we’re going to do.” Make a list. Have conversation. Take advantage of the time together as a, as a family, if you’re, if you’re able to, um, I realize that for some families, this is gonna impact things financially. This is going to create a lot of chaos in terms of who can be home with the child and every step of the way, just talk to your child and talk to your child from a place of responding instead of reacting. Be honest about it. Be real about it, but recognize that when we panic about it, the child doesn’t have the ability to borrow our nervous system, doesn’t have the ability to feel a sense of safety because we’re spinning, which then their nervous system picks that up and then they go, “Gosh, look, Mom really doesn’t know how to feel safe in this.” So, “Gosh, this must be really big. I must not be, must not be safe.”

So parents, be honest. Be honest to your children, you know, don’t give them false promises. Be honest about your own experience and then do what you can to make the unknown known, set plans. Have a conversation and, um, take a deep breath, take a deep breath and, uh, and, and, you know, come home within yourself a little bit, so that our children can, can feel us at a little bit of a deeper level and have something that they can also grab hold of. So, deep breaths to all of us parents as we’re navigating through this as all of the things are unfolding. And, uh, let’s hold our, our children in the in the process as we all get through this together, best wishes to all of you.

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Regulating Those Around Us

When surrounded by people experiencing activation and stress, it is important to look internally and ground ourselves first. Lisa discusses how we can impact others through our own self-regulation.

Biographies

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Ludmila Golovine

Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.

Transcript

Ludmila Golovine:
thank you for connecting. Lisa, the question that we want to ask today is about the role that the interpreters play, when they are in the encounter. What I understand in what I’ve heard many times is that interpreters are not only interpreting the information, they’re actually setting the tone for communication. We’re supposed to interpret in the first person being absolutely true to the information that’s being conveyed to the intent of the message at the same time conveying the emotional intensity of the message. Yet at the same time, often we have people around us who get very distressed and who get nervous, who express intense emotions today, more than ever, we’re faced with this particular type of challenge during our work. How do interpreters actually regulate others in the encounter? What happens? Can you please help us find out more about this question?

Lisa Dion:
So how do we actually regulate other people? Many of you are in a position where not only are you interpreting, but you’re also basically handed the task of regulating everyone that you’re trying to support as well. So maybe there is am intense discussion going on, or people’s anxieties are higher or yelling starts or, or something. And in the midst of you trying to be of help and interpreting, all of a sudden you have all this activation in front of you that you’re now having to manage in some way. So I want to offer you some support if you are in this position, and this happens so that you can maybe offer some regulation to the people that you are trying to be of service to.

So the first rule in regulating other people is that in order to regulate someone else, we have to regulate ourselves first. So likely we’ve been, all been on an airplane, and we have heard the announcement that sounds something like in case of an emergency, the oxygen mask is going to fall, and you need to put the mask on yourself first before you put the mask on child or someone else that maybe needs your support. And those words could not be truer when we are in a situation like I’m describing and we need to regulate someone else. You have to put your own oxygen on first, which means that you have to connect with yourself. Ground yourself, get present in the midst of activation. It doesn’t mean try to make all the activation in your own body go away. It doesn’t mean don’t be anxious. It doesn’t mean any of that. It simply means can you begin to connect with yourself so that you can actually regulate through the intensity that you’re going to be feeling as things start to escalate and build in front of you? And let me also just acknowledge that for some of you right now, you’re having to navigate this process not only just in person, but sometimes even through a computer, which is absolutely no easy task. So thank you for doing what you’re doing right now. And your own self care in the moment is really, really critical. So first step, regulate yourself. First connect with yourself. Ground yourself. Get present, begin to regulate your breathing. Um, maybe even squeeze your hands. Feel your feet on the on the floor. You can even imagine if you’re standing that your legs are like, you know, trunks of a tree and you’re getting rooted and grounded. So ground yourself. Now the thing else wants you to understand with this is that part of why this is so intense in your own nervous system is because, in a sense, we actually feel each other’s nervous systems. And we, in a sense, almost set each other up to feel the disregulation. So your nervous system is basically saying hello to all the other nervous systems that you are interacting with so there’s no way that you’re not going to feel the activation when someone starts to get panicky or maybe even just starts to shut down in front of you, you’re going to feel it. So again, step one, regulate yourself.

And then you might think that the next step is doing something to the person, and it’s actually totally the opposite. It’s exactly what I’m teaching you to do right now, when we are able to regulate our own nervous system. Remember I said that the nervous systems around us start to say hello. The people around you will actually begin to borrow your own regulation. They’ll borrow your nervous system. You might think of it as the most regulated nervous system in the group wins. So if you are beginning to breathe and you’re beginning to ground, everyone else is going to feel it. From there, as you are grounding and regulating, it’s actually gonna give you access up into your own prefrontal cortex, which is where you can then draw from the different skills and ideas that you may have to be able to actually facilitate the situation. But if you become overwhelmed and afraid, you’re not gonna be able to to call upon what you actually, I know how to do, and you won’t be able to trust your intuition very well in the moment because you’ll be in your own protective pattern. So it may sound really simple, but the answer really is how do you regulate someone else? It’s by regulating yourself, putting yourself in the position where the people around you can actually borrow the regulation in your own nervous system. So take deeper breaths. When the intensity arises, get more present, get more grounded. And then from there, if you need to ask everyone to pause, if you need everyone to…to do something. Um, if you need intervene in a particular way in what you’ve been trained to intervene, then you can do it. But do it while you’re regulating yourself. And that is the best way to regulate others right now who are in high levels of activation and stress.

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Am I Going to Get Sick? Fighting Fear of the Unknown

Am I going to get sick? Will I get sick while interpreting? The truth is, no one knows. By planning for the worst-case scenario, taking precautions, and managing the waves of anxiety, we can regulate the fear we are feeling.

Biographies

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Ludmila Golovine

Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.

Transcript

Ludmila Golovine:
Thank you for connecting. One of the questions that we face today and one of the issues that we face today is how contagious the coronavirus is. Many of us are worried about getting infected just by stepping outside, by going and picking up food at a restaurant, by having to sign a letter or package that arrived at our door. At the same time, many of us still have a need to continue going to work, to healthcare facilities and be there alongside with healthcare workers, doctors and nurses. So how do we deal with this anxiety that we’re all faced with today?

Lisa Dion:
Am I going to get sick? is a question that is on many of your minds, particularly if you are still heading into the hospital setting to facilitate conversation at the hospital. This can be a question that is very much in the forefront. May even be producing some panic or some fear or anxiety in you may make it harder for you to, to want to go, to be able to do your job. And so let’s talk a little bit about how to manage the fears around the thought Am I going to get sick? 

So the reality is, is that you don’t know if you’re going to get sick. None of us know if we’re going to get sick ultimately, all we can do is to take precautions. So, and I know that you know this part already that there are certain protocols for you to follow when you go to the hospital. As soon as you leave the hospital, there’s protocols for you to follow to maximize you not getting, not getting sick, but the fear is still there, and it’s important that we also talk about how to regulate or manage through the fear itself so when we have a fear or a thought, that sounds something like, I’m going to get sick. What we’re actually doing is we’re taking an unknown situation and we are projecting worst case scenario into the unknown. So we’re actually from the thought I’m going to get sick or I could get sick, actually, creating a sense of anxiety in our own nervous system. We are making an assumption in that moment in our mind around the possibility, and we’re actually in the moment playing out the worst case scenario of what we think that will happen. What we think that would actually mean. Maybe some of you are actually going so far as thinking and I may, I may die from this. So let’s all pause and just take a deep breath even as this discussion is, is happening right now, because this is even just talking about it can bring up some, some anxiety. So just notice if you’re having any and go ahead and take a deep breath and give your body what your body needs right now. 

So there, there are two ways to work with this. One is to actually create a plan. The mind actually settles a little bit and there can be a feeling of safety a little more safe anyway, when there is a plan involved. So I want you to go ahead and plan it out in your mind. Go ahead and play out worst-case scenario in your mind. So all right. You get sick, then what? And come up with actually a plan, strategize it so that you take the unknown out of it so that you’ve been forward thinking about it. So, all right, you get sick. So where are you going to quarantine? What is that going to look like with your family? Talk to your family about it. Come up with a plan in case anybody in the family gets sick. Um, you know, house food gonna happen? Um, whatever it may be, plan it out. When you have a plan, it will help you be able to recognize that in your worst-case scenario, there are still things that you can do, and that you can be prepared for it. So truly take the time and come up with a plan if this is a big fear for you. 

And then the other one is just really taking the time when you feel that thought come up, when you have that thought to really let yourself just regulate through it. Oftentimes it comes in the form of anxiety and anxiety in the bodies like this. So one of the most helpful things is move the body, move the anxiety through. Don’t stay like this. So take a walk If you can still walk. Turn the music on, dance, shake it out. Breathe, move, connect with your body, even ground your body. So pushing on your body, hugging yourself, taking those deep breaths, orienting and centering yourself when the wave of anxiety comes up really important. 

So those are really three things, follow the protocol the best of your ability just so that the things that you know you need to do when you’re in the hospital setting to make sure that you’re safe. Um, go ahead and make a plan in case, in case it happens, plan the whole thing out. Get really clear in your mind about what exactly you’re afraid of. And then plan it out, plan for worst-case scenario. It’s, by the way, some of the things that the great business leaders of the world, the world’s do. You know CEOs of companies we plan for worst-case scenario. I’m asking you to plan as if you’re the CEO of your own body. Your own company which you are plan for the worst-case scenario. Talk to the people in your life so that everyone is on board. And then the third one is really learn how to manage when you feel the waves of anxiety come up, find a way to move through your body. Don’t stay still with it. Don’t stay stuck in it! Move it! Move it! Move it! Move it! Move it!

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5 Tips to Proactively Regulate

In this video, Lisa shares 5 methods we can use daily to proactively regulate and center ourselves when we are feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Biographies

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Ludmila Golovine

Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.

Transcript

Ludmila Golovine:
Hello and thank you for joining us today. My name is Ludmila Golovin and I’m the president and CEO of Master Word Services. Lisa today the question is, can you give us some tips that we may be able to use to manage through the intensity and the anxiety that we may be experiencing today, that we may also be able to share with others and help them deal with the situation?

Lisa Dion:
Hi, everyone. My name is Lisa Dion and I am the president of the energetic play therapy Institute. And I want to give you five ways that you can regulate right now through all of this intensity that we are experiencing.

So, there’s a lot out there right now about what we can be proactively doing for self care and taking care of ourselves. But I want to give you five things that you can do in the moment when you’re feeling the intensity and the activation inside your physiology.

Okay, let’s start with number one. So, the first one has to do with your breath. Your breath right now is your greatest ally, so when we start to get disregulated and activated, our breathing changes and then often the pattern start to go like this. And so the very first thing that we can dio is to start to move towards more regulated breathing. So to start with, as we start to experience this, notice the disregulation and then begin to elongate your exhalation. So, maybe breath in for the count of two and then exhale for the count of four. So we are slowly starting to relax and slow down the breathing pattern. Once we’re able to do that, then move into regulated breathing, where your inhalation and your exhalation are equal count. So maybe at that point it’s your breathing in, maybe the count of two or three. And you’re exhaling also for the count of two or three. And make sure that when you’re doing these breasths that you’re doing full belly breathing. Okay, that’s number one.

All right, number two. Let’s go ahead and call number two push, and that’s a literal thing, push. So actually push on your body. So push on your arms, push on your legs. Maybe you are in the middle of a challenging conversation. Push, squeeze. When we start to feel really disregulated and activated, we can sometimes have a bit of an out-of-body experience where we’re not really connected to ourselves. The act of pushing on our body, even pushing on our head. This one’s my, my favorite. What we’re doing is we’re bringing in proprioceptive input into our body, which tells ourselves, I’m here, I’m in my body and it has a huge regulatory experience for us within. So push.

All right. Number three is also a bit of a version of push, but it’s not quite pushing. And this is where you take your ring finger and your thumb, and you put them right here on the sides of your nose, right there. And then you’re going to take this finger and put it right here, so you can see what I’m doing and, then breathe. This right here has a really centering experience. So if you’re feeling highly anxious. You’re feeling overwhelmed. Try this one to be able to connect with yourself in the moment. Okay.

Number four has soothe cold water. So, if again you’re feeling highly disregulated, splash cold water on your face. Maybe even put a cold towel on your face if you have the ability to do so, if you’re really disregulated, go and jump in the shower and take, take a shower. Splash water all over you. The experience of the cold water actually has a relaxing experience on our activation in our system.

Okay. And then the last one, number five is name it. Just name your experience out loud. One of the things that can intensify the disregulation in our system is holding it in and not naming it. So the simple act of being able to say I’m overwhelmed. I feel afraid. I’m scared. I feel lost. I’m sad. The simple act of just being able to name your inner experience out loud. Actually, we know this from research actually has a relaxing and a centering experience again within our own physiology. And of all of them, the most important one is the first one which is the breath. So always remember, your breath is your fastest way back home.