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Reimagine Childhood


Mar 11, 2024

Today on Reimagine Childhood, I have the privilege of chatting with Dr. Pam Rinn.  Pam is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice with Acorn Counseling Education Services.  She has over 25 years of experience helping families with young children and adolescents navigate their life course.  Dr. Rinn spent almost two decades as the Program Director of Camp Fire First Texas, providing leadership and support to early education programs and other youth programs.  She has a BS in Child Development, an MS in Human Development and Family Studies, and a PhD in Family Therapy.  She is passionate about helping children and those who love them to reach their full potential.

In this podcast episode, Dr. Pam discusses brain states and the impact they have on emotions and actions. She explains Dr. Dan Siegel's research on brain states and introduces the hand model of the brain. The brain is divided into three parts: the thinking part (frontal lobe), the limbic system (emotional memories), and the brainstem (fight or flight response). Dr. Pam emphasizes the importance of regulating brain states and offers strategies for calming the brain, such as deep breathing, sensory activities, and self-soothing techniques. She also discusses the polyvagal system, which regulates organ systems and plays a role in the brain-gut connection. She highlights the significance of co-regulation and attachment in supporting a healthy polyvagal system. She goes on to encourage adults to be observers, noticers, acknowledgers, and empowerers to create a positive and supportive environment for children.

Some overall highlights: we’ve got to dig deep to look for the underlying reason for behavior – I loved her HALT acronym – is a child HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, or TIRED? Once those questions are answered and needs met, THEN we can dig into other behavior! That goes for me and you – the adults – as well! I know I don’t always act right when I’m HUNGRY OR TIRED for sure!! Another is how interconnected our bodies are with our brains. An elevated heart rate or shallow breathing in our bodies can signal to our brains that we need to fight or freeze, putting us in a red or blue zone where we cannot learn. Learning those signs in the children in our classrooms could be a game-changer!

 

You can find Dr. Pam in her private practice at Acorn Counseling Education Services.

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