Our students at Timothy Murphy School often have been affected by failures of the attachment system (our earliest context for the lessons of regulation of the self) and by the impact of significant stress on regulatory systems. As a result, we work with students who have significantly dysregulated internal experience, and impaired ability to understand, identify, and express that experience. This has a direct impact on our students’ ability to control their behavior and to act appropriately in social situations.
Developmental competency is a dynamic process, and each developmental stage is associated with key tasks that build on previous stages. According to researchers, there is extensive evidence that trauma has the potential to derail developmental competencies across domains of functioning and across developmental stages.
Our social-emotional groups have been created to address these underlying concerns. Our clinicians facilitate small groups with every classroom, making sure every student is given the opportunity to attend one session per week. The groups utilize a range of techniques and interventions, including games, educational talks, videos, and engaging activities in order to address two broad domains of development: Self-Regulation and Competency.
The Self-Regulation building blocks (affect identification, modulation and expression) target children’s awareness and understanding of internal experience, the ability to modulate that experience, and the ability to safely share that experience with others.
The Competency building blocks (executive function, self-development and identity) focus on resources, both internal and external, that allow for ongoing healthy development and positive functioning across domains of competency, including social connections, community involvement and academic engagement.
- Affect Identification: Build an awareness of internal experience, the ability to discriminate and name emotional states, and an understanding of why these states originate.
- Modulation: Develop safe and effective strategies to manage and regulate physiological and emotional experience, in service of maintaining a comfortable state of arousal.
- Affect Expression: Build skills and tolerance for effectively sharing emotional experience with others.
- Strengthening Executive Functions: Build an ability to act, instead of react, by using higher-order cognitive processes to solve problems and make active choices in the service of reaching identified goals.
- Self-Development and Identity: Support students in exploring and building an understanding of self and personal identity, including identification of unique and positive qualities, development of a sense of coherence across time and experience, and support in the capacity to imagine and work toward a range of future possibilities.