An Interoceptive Occupational Therapy Session

In my occupational therapy sessions I use the sensory integration sense of interoception to increase my students self regulation. I ask the children how they are feeling to practice awareness of their body sense. We start with the positive emotions. I ask ” What makes you happy?” or ” What are you grateful for?” Where so you feel it in your body? Mindful sitting practicing with loving kindness opens the channels of emotion and processing the sensations. Just today on Valentine’s day I asked my student “What do you feel in your heart when you think about your mom?” He gave me the best answer he said “Love.” Another possibility is mindful creativity when drawing or painting it can help to express inner emotions in a more gently way. Then decompressing the art after is a great way to investigate. Mindful music listening can help to create and inner movement of emotions from within. Calming the system with the rhythmic sound. Mindful listening practice improves the ability to focus on others words improving communication and connectivity. When the weather allows we go on mindful walks investigating the five senses on the nature trail. The tranquility assist me in getting them out of their worried mind and into their body sense. The sights and sounds of the birds and the trees integrate the system to assist with learning self regulation. With difficult emotions such as anger and frustration, I ask them to complete a body scan tensing each part of their body from toes to head. I interview about where the tension lies? Usually in the lower arms, fists and clenched jaw. The tensing and releasing of the muscle especially in the shoulders helps to decrease some of the constriction. I also have them sit to breath and investigate whey they are so distressed? What or who is the trigger? Identifying these tough emotions help to decrease some of the unconscious stewing that’s going on. An attempt to prevent an explosive situation where the emotion gets to overwhelming and overflows into a physical outburst occurs. Practicing learning self regulation is important so that in a difficult moment they can learn to breath, refocus and calm independently. The hopeful goal is to teach self regulation strategies to have the children be better able to maintain a calm and alert state within their environment. Improving access to their world, creating success, positive self worth and their overall wellbeing.

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