Since I started the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint in 2019, I have looked for answers to the question I was so often asked, “what should we do instead of using restraint and seclusion?” I have done extensive research, talked to experts from around the globe, and participated in many hours of training. All of this has informed my firmly held belief that there are many things we can and should do to reduce and eliminate restraint, seclusion, and other punitive discipline practices.
Earlier this year, I enrolled in the Self-Reg Foundations Certificate Program. What is Self-Reg, you might ask? Self-Reg is an approach developed by Dr. Stuart Shanker. Self-Reg is a process for enhancing self-regulation by recognizing and reducing stress. The Self-Reg framework is designed to help children, youth, and adults. It is a powerful program for educators. The certificate training program is described as the flagship Self-Reg training program. The online program consists of four six-week courses taught by Dr. Stuart Shanker, Susan Hopkins M.Ed., and several special guests. Through the use of video lectures, Dr. Shanker and Susan explore the science of self-regulation by discussing topics including:
- how the brain/body stress system works
- how stress affects children’s behavior and moods
- the difference between misbehavior and stress behavior
- the importance of relationships in self-regulation and learning
Each week during the training, we took a deep dive into the science and practice of Self-Reg. Typically your weekly assignment might include watching several video lectures/discussions. These videos were primarily conversations between Dr. Stuart Shanker and Susan Hopkins, M.Ed. The dynamic between Susan and Dr. Shanker is incredible. Dr. Shanker often travels deep into brain science, and Susan always manages to steer the conversation back to her lived experiences and the application of the Self-Reg process. Most weeks include several discussion questions where students respond to various prompts and discuss with other cohort members. Additional materials include blog posts, articles, and graphics describing the process. A student in the program might expect to spend 4 to 6 hours a week during the courses.
Unlike many training programs you might attend that might be a half-day or full-day training, you may spend up to 150 hours to complete the entire certificate program. While a significant investment of your time, what you get from it is equally significant. You don’t complete the training only to have a few new tools and strategies; instead, you come out with a change in mindset and philosophy. Like many things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it, but the potential here is tremendous. It is without hesitation that I recommend the Self-Reg Foundations Certificate Program. The training is well-suited for teachers, administrators, therapists, counselors, parents, and advocates. Sign up you won’t regret it.
So much more to come. The final article of this series will discuss how Self-Reg can reduce the use of restraint, seclusion, suspension, expulsion, and corporal punishment.