Robby B. Echavez, MAEd, RPm, RPsy, MAGC (cand.)

A Webshare with Educators of the Surigao Del Sur Division of the Department of Education on Psychological First Aid last August 18, 2020

Magandang buhay, mga mabubuting tao!

DepEd Tayo, Division of Surigao del Sur

It is a wonder how the rudimentary act of breathing can bring us back to ourselves; the simple act of taking a breath, holding it, and releasing it does not just have its life-sustaining physical effects but also its mentally relieving and reviving, albeit subtle, impact on our psychoneuroendocrinimmunology (PNEI). These effect seem to me incontrevertible. Deep breaths calm us down. Paced breathing oxygenates the brain, optimizing the functioning of brain regions such as the cortex and the midbrain, as EEG findings from persons under monitoring for epilepsy showed (Bullock, 2019). Conscious breathing during relaxation and imagery exercises have been found to positively influence the production of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a critical role in the local immune system of the upper respiratory system (Kugler, 1999).

Bringing breathing back can happen in stress first aid (SFA), more popularly known as psychological first aid or PFA. Its action principles of looking, listening, and linking mirror the breathing in, holding, and breathing out processes of paced breathing. Take a look at looking. In the traditional models (e.g., International Federation of the Red Cross, 2020) of transferring PFA skills, this first action principle has been associated with looking at risks, assessing the current situation, quickly understanding the person seeking support, foreseeing expected emotional reactions, and weighing in on the needs of the affected persons. Looking in SFA is essentially gazing at a helpee’s internal and external location– where the person is in terms of his subjective space (e.g., feelings, desires, goals, motivations) as much as the physical environment that she occupies (e.g., bedroom, pantry at work). This to me is similar to the act of breathing in. Hasn’t it been said before, during exercises of conscious breathing, “Stay in the here and now”? Inhalation automatically grounds us and gives us a sense of inner and outer location. In slowing down our erratic motions, breathing in allows us better access and use of System II. The conscious act of breathing is not just an immediate basic first aid tool (e.g., remember all the times we were reminded, “Ginhawa usa!”) but a powerful intervention for remote PFA (rPFA). When assessing the helpee’s condition, it can be life-saving and mentally-grounding to tell the person on the other end of the line, “Can you take a moment to breathe?”

In rPFA, listening can be attuned to loss. Whether its listening to problems, concerns, the helpee’s distress, feelings, and interpersonal and intrapersonal state, chances are they will be about loss– loss of safety, control, supportive others, or connection. This mirrors the oft-missed part of the breath cycle, holding. In psychoanalytic listening, hearing somebody out creates a space for holding and containment, the same thing the momentary holding of our breath does. Helping a helpee realize that you are there to be present with and listen to him allows her to “pull herself together,” to hold himself and not break into a million pieces. “I’m right here to listen. Let me know if there’s something I can do to help,” is a relieving reminder for someone who has lost trust, hope, or all sense of joy.

The culminating action principle is linking, just like the ney plus ultra of breathing is exhaling. The out-breath is our response to life itself. Symbolically, it tells creation of which we are apart, that I am ready to give back life to the life that has been given to me. Our exhalation is our participation in creation. I dare say that such a response, such a linking, whether to the universe when we breath or in rPFA when we act on a clear need, is never possible without love. Linking with love, empathy, and compassion are essential. What this means for both our out-breath and for our rPFA response is that we are coming to the helpee from a place of trust and truth.

Assisting helpees to access information, connect with loved ones, tackle practical problems, and get to help and support services, can only happen when there is an operative level of trust. This can be made concrete when we believe in ourselves as PFAiders. Being self-confident in our competencies as volunteers or para-helpers is like trusting in our life-affirming response to creation. “I listened to you and I believe I can help you with this” exudes a responsible and committed response to the helpee. Trust may be preceded by a previous relatedness– the PFAider might be the helpees teacher, friend, family member, church mate, classmate, or gym buddy. In which case, trust is easier to strengthen, reinforce, and utilize as the starting point for linking. In cases where there is are no connections to fall back on, there is the truth. The truth about a particular situation– the truth about the loss, the helpee’s emotional response to it, and the PFAider’s commitment to helping the person seeking support via rPFA, is often enough to evoke a “sigh of relief” from that person. “Whew! At last, somebody is listening and helping me now!” This exclamation, this out-breath if you will, is a life-affirming response to help and support. It reminds everyone that there is hope; that we can breathe and relax now; that the truth is there is a helper we can trust and who trusts us back.

References

Bullock, B. G. (2019, October 31). What focusing on the breath does to your brain. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_focusing_on_the_breath_does_to_your_brain

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [IFRC]. (2020). Remote Psychological First Aid during COVID-19. Copenhagen: IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support.

Kugler, J. (1999). Biobehavioral Influences on Respiratory Immunity. In pp. M. Schedlowski & U. Tewes, Psychoneuroimmunology: An Interdisciplinary Introduction, pp. 359-371. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Categories: Uncategorized

admin

C8(rdfRIw4Clb8bERI6KAhGu

12 Comments

Survival tips · February 20, 2022 at 3:03 am

Your method of explaining the whole thing in this piece
of writing is really good, every one be able to without difficulty know it, Thanks a lot.

Also visit my webpage … Survival tips

https://answers.informer.com · February 25, 2022 at 11:08 pm

Hello i am kavin, itѕ my fiгst occasion to commenting anyplace,
ᴡhen i read this post i tһⲟught і could aⅼso сreate comment duue tо tһis good
paragraph.

Αlso visit mʏ site; ip tv (https://answers.informer.com)

italya'da üniversiteler · March 3, 2022 at 6:24 am

Thankѕ for sharing үoᥙr tһoughts. І really
apрreciate youг efforts аnd I wilⅼ be waiting foг yoᥙr neхt wrіte ups tһanks
once aɡаin.

Herre is myy homерage; italya’da üniversiteler

lina · May 2, 2022 at 1:40 am

Great selection of modern and classic books waiting to be discovered. All free and available in most ereader formats. download free books https://www.philadelphia.edu.jo/library/directors-message-library

rama · May 7, 2022 at 11:35 pm

Great selection of modern and classic books waiting to be discovered. All free and available in most ereader formats. download free books https://www.philadelphia.edu.jo/library/directors-message-library

lina · May 22, 2022 at 8:42 pm

Great selection of modern and classic books waiting to be discovered. All free and available in most ereader formats. download free books https://www.skylineuniversity.ac.ae/advisory-council

lina · May 23, 2022 at 12:16 pm

Great selection of modern and classic books waiting to be discovered. All free and available in most ereader formats. download free books https://www.sun.edu.ng/the-librarian

rama · May 30, 2022 at 8:13 am

Great selection of modern and classic books waiting to be discovered. All free and available in most ereader formats. download free books https://www.sun.edu.ng/the-librarian

rama · June 17, 2022 at 3:44 am

I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers however this post is really a good piece of writing, keep it up

lina · June 19, 2022 at 9:14 pm

I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers however this post is really a good piece of writing, keep it up

lina · June 20, 2022 at 6:51 pm

I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers howeverthis post is really a good piece of writing, keep it up.

lina · June 22, 2022 at 4:05 pm

whoah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your articles. Keep up the great paintings! You realize, a lot of people are hunting round for this info, you could help them greatly.

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.