‘In­te­ro­cep­ti­ve Awa­re­ness Op­por­tu­ni­ties’ du­ring Out­door Edu­ca­ti­on for child­ren with a histo­ry of com­plex trau­ma


Authors: Kitty Forster, Lara Maister & Dawn Wimpory


Out­door ac­ti­vi­ties can be­ne­fit child­ren with emo­tio­nal or be­ha­viou­ral dif­fi­cul­ties. Loo­ked Af­ter Child­ren fre­quent­ly have a histo­ry of com­plex trau­ma and tend to avo­id tra­di­tio­nal the­ra­pies. Ear­ly ad­ver­si­ty ex­po­ses a de­ve­lo­ping child to to­xic stress, of­ten lea­ding to a dys­re­gu­la­ted ner­vous sys­tem. In­te­ro­cep­ti­on re­fers to in­ter­nal bo­di­ly pro­ces­ses that so­me­ti­mes en­ter con­scious awa­re­ness, in­clu­ding he­art-rate, breathing and emo­tio­nal sen­sa­ti­ons. Mal­adap­ti­ve in­te­ro­cep­ti­on can de­ve­lop fol­lo­wing trau­ma­tic life ex­pe­ri­en­ces, con­tri­bu­ting to men­tal he­alth sym­ptoms. In­te­ro­cep­ti­on is as­so­cia­ted with emo­tio­nal re­gu­la­ti­on, and mindful body-ba­sed ac­ti­vi­ties can im­pro­ve in­te­ro­cep­ti­ve awa­re­ness. The phy­si­cal­i­ty of out­door ac­ti­vi­ties makes them ide­al sen­so­ry ex­pe­ri­en­ces for enhan­cing the con­nec­tion bet­ween mind and body. This cur­rent pro­ject de­ve­lo­ped In­te­ro­cep­ti­ve Awa­re­ness Op­por­tu­ni­ties (IAOs) du­ring out­door ac­ti­vi­ties. In­s­truc­tors re­por­ted IAOs were fe­a­si­ble to in­cor­po­ra­te wi­thin 1:1 Out­door Edu­ca­ti­on ses­si­ons at a the­ra­peu­tic children’s home. In­s­truc­tors suc­cessful­ly en­ga­ged child­ren who were re­sistant to con­ven­tio­nal the­ra­py and re­por­ted an ap­pa­rent in­crease in bo­di­ly awa­re­ness.

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