The mind is an emerging and fluid process, both embodied and relational, - Dr.  Daniel Siegel

Recent Projects

Self-reflecting on Emotional Intelligence – ar-YE

Acceptance of Emotions – en-US

Doors Closed Doors Open – sw-KE

Self-Awareness – ar-YE

Kenya (Day 1) – sw-KE

Doors Closed Doors Open – fr-FR

Emotional Awareness – ar-YE

Self-Regulation – fr-FR

Connection – es-ES

ARC Course Set (7 Interventions)  – ar-YE 

Welcome to your Design & Build Dashboard

There are three steps in building an intervention in this dashboard. The first two steps contain fixed exercises that cannot be changed. For the third step, pick one exercise from one of the six domains listed in the Cultivate library. 

Step One begins the ARC Process by helping a person to attune to their values through an audio exercise called “The Wheel of Awareness”.

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Step Two builds on Step One by helping a person develop the confidence and skills to express their values and resonant with the values of others.

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Step Three helps a person to build and broaden their skills to stay present and self-aware so their behavior aligns with their values.

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The exercises found in the ATTUNE library focus on gently and slowly re-building a person’s capacity to attune to the flow of one’s internal and external information and energy sources, leading to increased self-awareness.

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Attune Library:

Wheel of Awareness

The Wheel of Awareness is a practice which helps direct attention and improve the ability to focus on the individual aspects of our internal and external worlds.

There are few exercises found in the Resonant library. They are very simple and are intended to help transition from the ATTUNE step in an intervention to the RESONANT step.

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Resonant Library:

Three “I feel” Statements

Paired with Wheel of Awareness, individuals take turns participating in nonjudgmental sharing.

The Cultivate library is separated into six Cognitive Behavioral domains. Each domain can have a wide variety of exercises intended to cultivate skills that support the first two steps.

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Cultivate Domains:

The ability to use one’s top strengths to engage authentically,
overcome challenge, and create a life aligned with one’s values. 

Extracting Strengths from Problems

In this exercise, we will look closely at a current problem in your life, something you are struggling with at the moment, and rather than focus on this problem by determining what you are doing ‘wrong’, we will focus on what strength you are doing “too right” or “not right enough.”

You, At Your Best

The coaching process is often built on the premise that the coaching client has many resources to close the gap between where he/she is at in the present moment and where he/she wants to be in the future. Unfortunately, identifying and acknowledging one’s own unique strengths can be difficult, for many cultures view this behavior as being boastful.This tool was designed to increase the client’s awareness of personal strengths.

Strengths Spotting by Exception Finding 

A key technique in solution-focused therapy is first identifying and then analyzing times when a client’s presenting complaint or problem did not happen. The practitioner invites the client to consider what was different when the problem was absent. Rather than focusing on the who, what, when, and where of problems, exception finding is about focusing on the who, what, when, and where of exception times.Consequently, clients become aware of their strengths relative to their goals, rather than their deficiencies relative to their problems.

The ability to notice and expect the positive, 
to focus on what you can control, and take purposeful action. 

Strengths Spotting by Exception Finding 

The Best Possible Self (BPS) exercise can be used to change mindset and increase optimism. The BPS exercise requires people to envision themselves in an imaginary future in which everything has turned out in the most optimal way.

Tapping Into Your Inner Optimist

In this exercise, you will experience the difference between focussing on positive information versus focussing on negative information.

The ability to change one’s thoughts, emotions,
behaviors, and physiology in the service of a desired outcome.

Doors Closed Doors Open

This exercise is about holding a favorable view about the future, taking closing doors into consideration and turning them into something beneficial.

Red and Green Activities

In this exercise, awareness of personal weaknesses and strengths is being increased by analyzing daily activities in terms of the energy levels that the client experiences.

The ability to pay attention to your thoughts,
emotions, behaviors, and physiological reactions. 

Self-Reflecting on Emotional Intelligence

In this exercise, you will be asked to reflect on some questions about your emotions and the way you deal with these emotions. 

Acceptance Of Emotions

In this exercise, you will be asked to reflect on some questions about your emotions and the way you deal with these emotions. 

The ability to look at situations from multiple
perspectives and to think creatively and flexibly. 

Moving Towards a Growth Mindset

People with growth mindsets are more likely to succeed academically because they are more motivated to learn, have a desire for hard work, are less discouraged by difficulty, and use more effective strategies for learning. Mindsets can be changed, and shifting mindsets can have a profound impact on nearly every aspect of one’s life. The key to changing mindsets lies first and foremost in self-awareness.

Teaching  a Growth Mindset

First, participants are introduced to the concept of neuroplasticity. Rather than telling them how to think, scientific information on how intelligence works is provided and discussed with the group. Next, the instructor shares a personal example of neuroplasticity, demonstrating how he or she learned and overcame struggle. Finally, participants form subgroups and share a story about a time that they made their brains smarter in subgroups.

The ability to build and maintain strong and trusting relationships. 

Small Talk to Build Connection

In everyday life, many of us would opt to keep to ourselves rather than strike up a conversation with a stranger. Because of this, we miss out on opportunities to connect to other people, which, research tells us, is something that makes us happier and healthier. This exercise invites you to make a connection rather than remain secluded.

Fast Friends

This exercise facilitates the formation of connection and closeness between people. The procedure mirrors the gradual getting-to-know-you process that relationships typically undergo, only at a more accelerated pace. 

*** PLEASE NOTE: The ARC Platform’s eCourses developed in the Design & Build dashboard are designed for those participants who have been thoroughly screened. Those whose screening indicate they are suffering from more severe forms of personality disorders should not participate! ***

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Learn More: Attune

The exercises found in the ATTUNE library focus on gently and slowly re-building a person’s capacity to attune to the flow of one’s internal and external information and energy sources, leading to increased self-awareness. The human body is already hardwired to recover from its birth trauma through its attuning process. At birth, an infant suddenly enters a stimulating environment with no skills in differentiating or understanding what is happening. Overwhelmed, the infant typically responds by quickly falling asleep.

The infant experiences their internal feelings responding to the various external sources as an emergent and fluid flow of confusing and frightening information and energy. Science now understands that when neurons fire together, they wire together, forming neural pathways. Thus, as the days turn into weeks, then months, the infant’s brain is busy developing neural pathways as his or her mind attunes to various sources of input and begins to learn to differentiate between them. By learning to differentiate between these input sources, the infant learns to identify whether a particular input source makes it feel either safe or afraid. Doing this in a consistent emotional holding environment, the infant is laying down the neural pathways that allows the infant to trust. In an inconsistent environment, the infant’s neural pathways are backed by their implicit memories, often leaving them vulnerable and not sure of what or who to trust.

When the infant suddenly experiences an event that is threatening, it triggers a spike in adrenaline that overwhelms the infant’s ability to attune to and differentiate between various sources. This disruption begins to wire together neural pathways that when repeated too often, leaves the infant stuck in negative emotions, unable to reset its reactive behavior back to the more pleasant responsive behavior. In an infant, this situation can lead to an uncontrollable tantrum, during which the infant exhausts itself until it falls asleep.

When the infant awakes and feels safe, their mind can turn to entertaining experience of attuning to various external sources of information and emotional energy that it is drawn to, building neural pathways back to those positive experiences.

Any intervention needs to focus on building or restoring the mental skills to differentiate all the different sources of information that informs a person’s experience in the now. This is why an attuning exercise is the first part of an intervention. However, it is critical to begin with attuning exercises that are short in duration and gentle in their approach. 

Over time, repeating these attuning exercises can help reinforce a person’s embodied and relational empathetic hardwiring which makes it easier for the body’s autonomic system to shift from a “fight/flight” sympathetic state to a safe para-sympathetic state. The brain is firing and wiring new neural pathways that strengthen the mind’s skill to differentiate and process the embodied and relational flow of information and energy.

With repeated practice that builds this most basic mental skill, the brain is drawing on its neural plasticity to re-wire itself.  The outcome is that a person develops greater self-awareness.  This greater awareness and ability to stay present in the flow of information and energy helps a person to become more confident in regulating and responding to their mental flow. Various extenuating developmental factors, unique to each person’s life story, determine how quickly attuning exercises develops this regulatory skill.

Learn More: Resonant

There are only a small number of exercises found in the RESONANT library. They are very simple and help transition from the ATTUNE step to the RESONANT step.  
Let’s return to an infant’s experience to understand why resonating is important. The body’s attuning dynamic exists to serve the infant’s instinct to survive by finding a source of warmth and food, usually with the mother. At birth, both in the infant and the mother experience an enormous release of oxytocin that amplifies and drives this bonding instinct. 

Mirror neurons are another hardwired mechanism in our brains that fires and wires new neural pathways to help the infant attune to its primary source of safety, warmth and food. Part of mirror neurons’ role is to shift the infant’s mental attention from attuning to resonating with its primary caregiver. Mirror neurons encourage a safe holding environment to form between the mother and infant. 

There are different mirror neurons that stimulate the development of different kinds of neural pathways. The set of mirror neurons important to trauma recovery are those that enable the infant to sense it is “feeling felt”. “Feeling felt” empathetic experiences trigger the release of more oxytocin, the neuro-transmitters serotonin and dopamine that encode these experiences as positive neural memories.  The brain instinctually draws on positive memories to help re-stabilize itself when under stress.  A traumatic event overwhelms a person’s ability to reset the mind’s capacity to regulate the flow of its thoughts. This means those neural pathways wired to positive memories encouraging the release oxytocin cannot be accessed at will.  The empathetic part of the brain is critical in helping a person to connect or reconnect with people.  

It is important to clarify the term “feeling felt”.  Aggressive empathetic interactions where one person seeks to resonate with another’s feelings often backfire, creating more distance between the two. Rather, “feeling felt” refers to the positive experience of “being held” without judgment by completely attending to the other person as the person shares their thoughts and feelings. Thus, resonating exercises invite a person to share their feelings, if they wish, by simply describing the feelings and what is causing them without interruption nor feedback. In the context of a group intervention, no one can respond to what another person expresses.  

The second step wants to foster a safe non-judgmental holding environment in which each person can begin to experience “feeling felt”. The goal of creating a holding environment is to fire the brain’s empathetic mirror neurons to stimulate the release of oxytocin. Over time, by repeating the “ATTUNE” & “RESONANT” steps again and again, 6 to 8 individuals grow their intimacy with each other, which leads to greater safety and trust. The group has formed itself into a healing community in which they can learn to cultivate mental health skills in regulating their mental flow towards positive goals.

Learn More: Cultivate

The ATTUNE and RESONANT steps describe the neurobiological dynamics that evolution has hardwired into us to help us to move past our birth trauma.  These two facets are critical in helping an infant to form an attachment with a person who can nurture the infant’s emotional skills in positive ways. Thus, these dynamics are foundational for how “deep” adaptative learning process occurs within an interpersonal neurobiological framework and their impact on what we know as the “mind’s” role in growing neural pathways, both positive and negative. Dr. Daniel Siegal, a recognized psychiatrist whose area of expertise is in childhood attachment theory, offers this definition of the mind.

The mind is a fluid and emerging process, both embodied and relational that regulates the flow of information and energy.  

Where the first two steps in the ARC Process focus on the mind’s embodied and relational process, the CULTIVATE step focuses on helping a person develop the mental skills to regulate the flow and focus of one’s ongoing mental experience in positive ways. Where the first two steps involve experiential and self-reflective exercises, the CULTIVATE step uses exercises intended to grow a person’s self-awareness of their mental flow.  In this sense, a person is developing the skill to get on the balcony in their mind where the person is able to see their behavior in the moment, thus, also can readjust their behavior to engage with the moment in a more positive manner.

During the CULTIVATE step, a wide variety of exercises, such as trauma informed Cognitive Behavior Techniques (CBT) or other evidence-based techniques, can be selected based on what is most culturally valid and contextually appropriate for the persons involved in the small group process.  The ARC Process offers to a person(s) a number of exercises in six CBT domains as a beginning point to help build a recovery program: strengths of character, optimism, self-regulation, self-awareness, mental agility, and connection.  Professional therapists can add other domains along with exercises that cultivate skills in that domain to the ARC Process’ library after a vetting exercise to ensure the exercises are trauma-informed ones that would not further traumatize a person working to recover.   

After selecting an exercise for each step of the process, the person(s) will need to think through how much time each exercise should receive within a predetermined time period. In the early stages of a recovery program, each step’s exercise should be gentle and somewhat open-ended, in that the participants feel no pressure for their involvement and moving from one step to the next is more a flow rather that hard break points between steps.  As a group grows familiar with the process’ flow as well as the intended purpose for each step, the process begins to cultivate a group experience that helps participants to feel safe.

Trust begins to grow, and in the flow of the group’s program, the therapeutic goal is for participants to share their own trauma stories.  There is no timeline or artificial expectation that group members must share their trauma story or when.  Different groups will feel a sense of safety at a pace unique to that group.  During the course of a program, the group has the right to repeat a particular lesson or change the amount of time dedicated to each step within a lesson.