- education: explaining how the limbic system and prefrontal cortex impact learning, memories, etc. and how they impact PTSD and recovery. The Whole Brain Child even offers some cute ways to explain this using your hands to represent the brain (think: here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door...except for the brain and with less rhyming).
- breathing: for relaxation (honestly, I don't know yet if the book gets into this because, yeah. I'm not done. But Dr. Wendy Swanson has an AMAZING video on teaching kids to "blow colors." Watch it!)
- real world practice: by strategically not avoiding the triggers, patients learn that the triggers don't cause the trauma (just the memories of it) and eventually the triggers become less, well, triggering. So when your kid flips out at bath time, letting them not bathe reinforces the fear. Conversely, gradually, incrementally, and safely exposing them to the tub teaches them they won't go down the drain. Or whatever. I'm not in my toddlers' heads (thank god, it seems kinda scary).
- imaginal exposure/talking through it: this is where The Whole Brain Child is great. It gives some good examples of this. When you help kids talk through upsetting stuff (give them words, prompts (and then?) to come up with their own words, etc) it helps them "get over it" more completely and effectively. This descriptive language helps move the memory from the limbic brain to the prefrontal brain. When this happens (for toddlers or PTSD patients in talk therapy), the memory becomes less emotional, and more rational (think, you store it alphabetically instead of pictorially; so you only "retrieve" the memory when you want to instead of when you randomly see/hear/smell/whatever something that reminds you of the event. And when you do "retrieve" the memory, it is a narrative and not a visceral experience of terror.). Therefore, the memory is less likely to overwhelm you in the form of flashbacks, and you become less distractable and anxious.
Anyway, I find this incredibly fascinating and (despite my inability to devote much time to reading) am actually really excited to finish this book. Because, science. And stuff.