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Got Resiliency?


By Dr. Abby Ampuja


Resiliency…Grit….Trauma-informed Practice. You’ve probably heard these buzzwords floating around lately. But you might be wondering, what are some tangible things I can do to apply them on a day-to-day basis?  


Enter CRM-- “The Community Resiliency Model”, one of my absolute favorite tools. CRM (Pronounced “CREM”) offers a powerful set of evidence based wellness skills designed to restore balance to the nervous system when we’ve experienced a stressful or traumatic event. 


As a Resiliency Coach, I love to teach CRM to my clients during our work together. Typically, we’ll start by learning about the “Resilient Zone” and the ways we can get “bumped out.” Whether you tend to bump into your “High Zone” or “Low Zone”, or bounce back and forth, we all experience dysregulation from time to time.


Then we learn a bit about the why behind CRM: in essence, it teaches us to apply sensory tools that minimize the use of language when we are dysregulated. This is because when we are “bumped out of our zone” or have “flipped our lid”, the part of our brain that processes language (the prefrontal cortex) has gone off-line. We need to use a different doorway. CRM uses the language of sensation to calm our amygdala and help to bring the thinking brain back online. 


Next, we get to the core of the model--the six CRM skills. These can be applied quickly and easily throughout the day--whether you’re feeling a little “off”  and in need of a “rapid reset” or are proactively filling your “well of resilience” to prevent dysregulation in the first place. I am a huge proponent of building “Resiliency Pauses” into your day--doing so can keep us from “bumping out of our Resilient Zone”. 


The foundational skill of CRM is called “Tracking.” When we “track”, we sense-in to our body to notice what’s happening on the inside. We might notice our heart rate, temperature, muscle tension, or breathing. The key with tracking is to focus on those sensations that feel pleasant or neutral. If you notice a place that feels unpleasant (such as an area of pain), you gently redirect your attention to a place that feels a little bit better, and linger there instead. Over time, this builds neural pathways toward pleasure and peace--and away from distress or discomfort. Over time, the result is that we feel calmer and more resilient. 


One of the best ways to practice Tracking is by using the second CRM skill, “Resourcing”. With this skill, we call to mind anything that brings us a sense of peace, joy, or calm--a “Resource.” That might be a favorite place, a beloved pet, or a person you know you can count on. As you visualize a scene with your resource, allow yourself to feel all the details with your five senses, making it as realistic as possible in your mind’s eye. Once you have connected with the scene of your resource, you can begin to track what’s happening on the inside of your body. What sensations are you noticing? Has your breathing deepened? Maybe your heart rate has slowed a bit, or your muscles feel a little looser and more relaxed. You might even find a pleasant sensation that you want to use as ‘home-base’ or an anchor. For example, I often notice that I feel a light and expansive feeling in my heart area as I connect with a resource. So when I practice tracking, I will check in with my heart space as a reliable homebase of positive sensation. 


There are four other CRM skills--you can check them out on the free i-chill app, https://www.ichillapp.com/, or set up a session with me (Abby) to learn them all!


The efficacy of CRM has been supported by a number of research studies with a wide range of populations. I’ve seen it bring healing and balance to my own life and the lives of my clients and loved ones. As CRM’s founder (Elaine Miller-Karas)  likes to say, CRM helps us to “Chase the Resilience!


For more information on CRM, contact Dr. Abby Ampuja at 919-749-5072 or ampujaabby@gmail.com or visit Trauma Resource Institute's website: https://www.traumaresourceinstitute.com/crm.

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