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AWARE Ink Newsletter

AWARE therapists help kids normalize their feelings and emotions using The Zones of Regulation™

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

The AWARE Center for Excellence is using a trauma informed therapy called The Zones of Regulation™. This therapy that’s been around since 2011 offers children a unique opportunity to learn how to identify and understand emotions and feelings in themselves as well as in the people who surround them.

By learning this skill, the kids better understand how to help themselves appropriately respond to their environment and find their way into the optimal zone. According to the, there are four zones color coded like traffic signs that represent certain emotions and feelings.

  • Green is the optimal zone that describes a person as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn.

  • Red is a zone of intense emotions such as anger, rage, devastation, or terror.

  • Yellow is a zone of elevated emotions that are under control such as stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, or nervousness.

  • Blue is a zone of low emotions such as feeling sad, tired, sick, or bored.

When the kids recognize they are out of the green zone, they have identified coping skills that help them find their way back. Every kid’s toolbox is different depending on their state of being.

This therapy taught throughout the United States has a number of lessons that help the children learn about each zone. For example, they learn The Zones of Regulation™ by playing behavior bingo or matching feelings to colors. Watching movie clips of different behaviors is also another way the kids incorporate this technique into their toolbox of life skills.

Therapists at the Center for Excellence established The Zones of Regulation™ in March. They use the language taught in the curriculum to help the children throughout the day. Eventually, AWARE group home staff will be trained in this technique to provide consistency.

AWARE therapists recognize The Zones of Regulation™ as a positive skill for children to bring to their home base once they leave the Center for Excellence. Several schools throughout Montana already use this therapy. So as youth return to their home school they will already have a strong foundation in effectively identifying and managing their feelings and behaviors.

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