FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hancock, NH: In the spring of 2017, Hancock resident Emily Read Daniels resigned her position as a Student Assistance Counselor at ConVal High School to launch a business, HERE this NOW. Doing so, she joined countless others in the trauma-informed movement sweeping across the country. When she tells others what her business is about, she is often met with blank stares. The phrases “trauma-informed” or “ACEs” don’t register for many. This is exactly why Daniels launched HERE this NOW.
The trauma-informed movement in health care, human services, education, corrections, and the like, reflects a significant paradigm shift in understanding determinants of health and human behavior. A landmark study published in 1998, known as the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study revealed what many already knew – we are shaped by our early life experiences.
ACES or childhood trauma calibrate the body’s stress response – the body’s fight, flight, or freeze response. With the advent of neuroscience, the ACEs Study findings were corroborated and many now understand that preventing or mitigating adversity in childhood can create significant improvements in the health and mental well-being of our entire population.
When children experience an abundance of chronic, unpredictable stress it has a significant impact on their body and brain development. It makes them more likely to struggle in school with behaviors like poor impulse control, anxiety, hyperactivity, rage, non-compliance, and even learning difficulties.
Daniels recognized this truth during her twenty years of working “in the trenches” with challenging students and fellow educators. “I listened; I listened really closely to the kids, parents, teachers, support professionals, child protective workers, administrators. Everyone was more or less saying the same thing – ‘I am stressed and overwhelmed.” Daniels began her work as a school counselor in 2002 in inner city Wilmington, DE – in the early years of the implementation of the “No Child Left Behind” legislation.
“Early in my work, I frenetically tried to meet the vast needs of the whole school population. I provided individual counseling sessions to hundreds of students, bi-weekly classroom guidance lessons in Second Step (an ‘evidence-based’ social/emotional curriculum) to 26 classrooms, organized and facilitated counseling groups on overcoming anxiety, friendship skills, anger management, increased school-based resources like on-site mental health counseling and Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentoring, chaired and organized social outings and morale boosting events for staff. I was working like crazy to try and take care of everyone because no one else was. Most everyone else was focused on the content of education – instruction, curriculum, assessment, evaluation – the 21st century pillars of public education.”
Daniels believes there is no small coincidence between the kind of challenges we face as a culture and the way we go about trying to bring about change.
“We insist on ‘data-driven’ decision making, ‘evidence-based’ practice, and contend that these methods will get us the results we seek – higher test scores and improved academic achievement, lower health care costs, reduced addiction and crime. The irony is the more we try to mechanize and codify the human experience, the further we stray from what’s truly restorative, healing, helpful, and effective. People need people, not numbers or stringent protocols.”
That is what Daniels is seeking to accomplish with her business. “I want to teach people how to be embodied and present with themselves and others. It’s what I did well for the vast majority of my career – and it’s a skill set that can be learned and shared.”
Daniels offers a variety of workshops at The Hancock Inn in Hancock, NH. Her most recent workshop which sold out, entitled, “The Regulated Classroom: ‘Bottom-Up’ Trauma-Informed Teaching,” is an approach she developed to help classroom teachers increase self-awareness and capacity for self-regulation.
“Teaching is an extremely difficult job – you have to always be ‘on.’ Teachers benefit from training that considers their needs, their triggers, connects them with colleagues and body-based means of strengthening their resilience. When a teacher is well-regulated in his/her nervous system, he/she is far more capable of bringing a child into a state of regulation as well. It’s called, “co-regulation.”
Daniels has provided services and training for New Hampshire entities like Cheshire Medical Center, ConVal School District, Mason School District, SAU 24, Brantwood Camp, Hopkinton School District, and SDE (Staff Development for Educators). Increasingly workshop participants are hearing of her work through the ACES Connection, an online community of practice network. She is now getting calls from distant places like Idaho and registering workshop participants from the federal government and places like Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland, and New York.
The ACES Connection (acesconnection.com) has been a huge resource for Daniels – so much so that she has agreed to co-manager with Jocelyn Goldblatt a new local chapter of the ACES Connection – called, “Monadnock Thrives,” which will launch on February 15, 2018 with a screening of the documentary, Resilience, at Keene State Library from 6:30-8:30pm.
Daniels says, “people are hungry for this change and I have a specific style of how I accomplish the work; it’s not an expert-driven model. That’s counter to the spirit of being trauma-informed. It’s about connection and cultivating collective wisdom. It’s really just about being real, embodied in the present moment, and connecting with the humanity in each other.”
If you are interested in learning more, HERE this NOW has three workshops fast approaching, “Learn to Build a Trauma-Informed System (January 17-18),” “The Lonely Leader: Administrator Resilience (January 22)” and “The Resilient Caregiver (February 3-4).”
More information about workshops and Daniels can be found at www.herethisnow.org.