Calo Provides a Safe Place to Discharge Trauma

At Calo we like to see our coaches more as caregivers.  Caregivers first and foremost need to Commit to those they are caring for then Accept them exactly as they are.  Commitment and Acceptance are foundational to the Calo Model.

There are three responses to trauma: fight, flight or freeze.  Our students do not get to "choose" the response.  The student's limbic brain chooses for them.  When our students engage in fight (yelling, property destruction, aggression) or flight (running out of the team home, elopement), they are discharging trauma
 
If the core of the trauma process is the freeze response, which holds back all the energy that would have been discharged during fight or flight and we are pushing our students toward intimacy and relationship and incrementally exposing them to what is traumatic, then we cannot in turn expect a freeze response.  When we expect "well behaved students", we are expecting them to again constrict their rage and helplessness and overwhelm.  This is often what happens when a student has a seemingly successful off-campus with parents and comes back to Calo and decompensates.  They keep it together and try to hold in all the emotion while parents are pushing for intimacy.  They come back and then are safe enough at Calo to discharge that energy.
 
All that being said, everyone needs to change their paradigm.  Students don't act out at Calo.  Students are not behavioral problems at Calo.  Students discharge trauma at Calo. Given our resources and training, Calo provides a safe place for students to discharge trauma.  There is inherent commitment and acceptance in that.  If the above statement is true, then holds and escorts become about safety, not control.  The student is no longer evaluated on the "just doesn't get it" or "isn't motivated" or "is manipulating" continuum.  Their behaviors are viewed as a measure of how much they are suffering.
 
If as a culture we truly believed the most difficult student behaviors are a measure of their pain and suffering, we then experience a leap in empathy for them.  When we truly believe that every single time they "acted out", they were healing and in providing a safe place for them to do this, we were part of that healing, we experience a leap in commitment to them.  It becomes less about "what to do" because we are doing exactly what we should be doing.
 
When Calo is experienced as a safe place for students to discharge trauma, parents are no longer surprised or anxious when they are getting emails or phone calls explaining what their child did that day.  Many of our parents dread the calls and emails from us.  We all need to know that it is okay to have students engage in behaviors that need our intervention.  Students "acting out" is frequently viewed as a supervision problem or lack of treatment progress.  The truth is these behaviors are not a sign that their son or daughter is failing.  Their son or daughter is feeling.  It means that we are getting close to some really painful issues and her suffering has to go somewhere and if we want him or her to truly heal versus learn to be compliant, then this is the journey we have to take.  We all have to lead with a passion that this is the truth.