Helping Children Focus in School After Trauma…

When children experience trauma, it can be difficult to focus and stay engaged in the classroom. Fortunately, many social-emotional learning activities can help children develop the skills they need to stay focused and engaged in the classroom. Here are 10 ways children can use social-emotional learning activities to help them focus in the classroom after experiencing trauma.

1. Positive Self-Talk: Positive self-talk can be a powerful tool for helping children to stay focused and engaged in the classroom. Encourage your child to practice positive self-talk by repeating mantras and affirmations to themselves throughout the day. This will help them to stay positive and motivated, even when facing challenging tasks.

2. Mindfulness: Mindfulness activities can help children to stay in the present moment and pay attention to what is happening in the classroom. Encourage your child to practice mindfulness activities like deep breathing and body scans to help them stay focused and engaged.

3. Visualization: Visualization activities can help children to create positive images in their minds, which can help them stay focused and engaged in the classroom. Encourage your child to practice visualization activities, such as imagining a peaceful place or positive future, to help them stay on task.

4. Social Skills: Social skills can help children stay engaged in the classroom and positively interact with their peers. Encourage your child to practice social skills, such as active listening, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.

5. Emotional Regulation: Emotional regulation activities can help children to manage their emotions and stay focused in the classroom. Encourage your child to practice emotional regulation activities like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and positive self-talk.

6. Self-Awareness: Self-awareness activities can help children to understand their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Encourage your child to practice self-awareness activities such as journaling, reflecting on their experiences, and talking to a trusted adult.

7. Goal Setting: Goal-setting activities can help children to stay focused and motivated in the classroom. Encourage your child to set short-term goals that are achievable and to create a plan for how to reach those goals.

8. Problem-Solving: Problem-solving activities can help children to think flexibly and stay focused in the classroom. Encourage your child to practice problem-solving activities, such as brainstorming, making lists, and breaking down tasks into smaller steps.

9. Self-Care: Self-care activities can help children to stay focused and engaged in the classroom. Encourage your child to practice self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and engaging in physical activity.

10. Connecting With Others: Connecting with others can help children to stay focused and engaged in the classroom. Encourage your child to connect with peers by talking to them, listening to their stories, and engaging in conversations.

Ron Huxley can help your and your child focus and learn after dealing with stress and trauma. Ron Huxley is a licensed therapist specializing in anxiety and trauma. Contact him today!

6 Steps Adoptive Parents Need to Learn

When you adopt a child, it’s not uncommon to find yourself parenting a child who has been traumatized. The emotional regulation skills that all children learn in their early years were probably not developed as well as they could have been in the child’s pre-adoption life, and now you’re facing the task of helping your child learn how to manage their emotions.

It’s not always easy, but some strategies can help make this process easier. Here are some tips for dealing with emotionally dysregulated children who were adopted:

1.) Learn about trauma and its effects on developing minds and bodies.

2.) Learn about emotional regulation and how it develops in children.

3.) Identify what emotional regulation looks like for your child—what do they do when they get upset? How do they express anger? Frustration? Sadness? Joy? What helps them calm down when they get upset? What makes them get upset or escalate into inappropriate behaviors? And most importantly: what doesn’t work when they feel overwhelmed by intense emotions?

4.) Since every child is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Learn brain-based parenting skills and methods.

5) Identity the attachment styles for each family member and discover techniques that create greater security.

6) Take care of yourself. Self-care is not a luxury. It is necessary to be more patient and resilient with your dysregulated child.

Take a free course on Trauma-Informed Care in the home, school, and community at

If you need specialized help, contact Ron Huxley today by clicking here and scheduling an appointment.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well-being of individuals and communities.

Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental Health Month Ron Huxley is highlighting the what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. During the month of May, we are focusing on different topics that can help process the events of the past year and the feelings that surround them, while also building up skills and supports that extend beyond COVID-19.

We know that the past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. If you found that it impacted your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, of the almost half a million individuals that took the anxiety screening at, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there are practical tools that can help improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration, recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making time to take care of yourself.

It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.

A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health screening at It’s a quick, free, and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and begin finding hope and healing.
Ultimately, during this month of May, Ron Huxley wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible.

Check out the many mental health tools create free at the

Trauma and the Senses

Trauma and the Senses

Trauma impacts the brain and body. Our sensory system can become dys-regulated and dys-integrated due to toxic stress and trauma. The result may be sensory processing problems that look like other mental health disorders but are really just trauma. This video will look at the four A’s of treatment and how trauma affects our senses. Get more info at or schedule a session today.

Ron Huxley can provide your organization or event with trauma-informed trainings on a variety of topics, tailored to your specific group. Click here for more…

The Problem with Labeling Trauma

There is a common problem in social work and mental health today in trying to label people who have experience trauma. The reason for this is that trauma can impact the brain and the body in a way that produces a wide-range of symptoms that can be confusing to understand.

Most professionals are not “trauma-informed” meaning they haven’t received training on how trauma affects every area of human functioning or how to treat the whole person. Trauma, particularly the adverse experiences endured in early childhood, that can result in coping mechanisms that mimic criteria of various clinical diagnoses.

What are some of the labels you have heard placed on traumatized children or adults?

  • Manipulative
  • Oppositional
  • Defiant
  • Hyperactive
  • Temperamental
  • Trouble makers
  • Bipolar
  • Narcissistic
  • Borderline
  • No conscience
  • Destructive
  • Stressed Out
  • and many more…

In addition to a lack of trauma awareness, we are all “meaning-seeking creatures” that want to label everything so that we can feel better about ourselves and our world. Unfortunately, it can do a lot of damage to the people we are labeling. If we label incorrectly, we will treat them incorrectly. This is might also be why so many survivors appear to “sabotage” their success. It isn’t a real desire to ruin their life. They need sensitive professionals and parents who understand how to deal with the root, trauma issues.

Fortunately, there is a national movement to train parents and professionals, who work with traumatized children, to become more “Trauma-Informed.” This movement is reaching out to homes, school, and organizations and explaining “What is trauma?”, “Impact of Trauma on the Brain, Behavior and Health”, “Adverse Childhood Experiences”, “Power of Resilience”, “Regulation Skills”, “Dissociation”, “Mindfulness and Compassion”, “Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Trauma in Children”, “Attachment Disorders”, “Post-traumatic stress and Post-trauma Growth”, “Trauma in the Community”, “Avoiding Re-traumatization in Survivors”, “Trauma-Sensitive Schools”, “Faith-Based Approaches to Trauma” and more.

The focus of these training efforts is shifting the primary question inherent in treatment plans, screenings, programs and polices from asking “what is wrong with you” to “what has happened to you”. 

This paradigm shift starts the dialogue with survivors, humanizes our practices and helps traumatized children and adults on how to find true healing.

If you would like Ron to train your organization on Trauma-Informed Care, contact him today at 805-709-2023 or email at

Spiritual Surround: How to shift the negative atmosphere of your home.

Join me for the third seminar in the “Healing the Traumatized Child” series November 26, 2018, from 9 am to 12 noon. The seminar will be held at GraceSlo Church on 1350 Osos St., San Luis Obispo, California.

Healing strategies for traumatized children involve helping children help within the spiritual atmosphere of the home. Let’s explore spiritual strategies that create compassion and loving kindness in our children and ourselves. Transform negative atmospheres into hope-filled realities with this practical training by Ron Huxley, LMFT.

It’s not too late to sign up for the “Healing the Hurt
Child” seminar this coming Monday, October 31 at GraceSLO Church in San Luis Obispo. Perfect for any foster and adoptive parents or professionals working with traumatized children.

How do violence and trauma affect a child’s brain? 

Watch this video:

A research-based discussion by Ron Huxley, LMFT

It is interesting how society views traumatic experiences. We tend to “sweep it under the rug” and pretend it doesn’t affect us or tell ourselves to “move on.” So many people come into my office who have a long list of traumatic experiences but can’t identify one reason why they are having problems in their work and family relationships today.

If we as adults do not recognize the effects of exposure to violence and traumatic abuse and neglect, we won’t recognize it in our children either. There is a belief that children are resilient and they won’t remember the early incidents of violence in their lives but that is simply not sound science or everyday reality.

Watch the video above to see what modern-day researchers are saying about a child’s exposure to violence and trauma. I will make a few more comments that highlight areas for parenting the traumatized child. 

The child’s brain develops from the bottom up and the inside out. Fear disrupts and shuts down the thinking areas of the brain that shows up in night terrors, severe tantrums and difficulty in attachment and bonding. At times, it seems that children have no conscience or remorse. These are survival strategies!

Children exposed to violence and trauma have a higher rate of mental health issues and chaotic relationships later in life. It is a “lifetime legacy” with unhealthy coping behaviors and individuals end up doing the very thing that was done to them no matter how much they vow to never be or do that to another human being.

Healing for traumatized children needs to re-experience stressful situations by using calmer, more rational strategies. Being able to talk about feelings instead of acting them out is crucial to children. Children need “healthy adults to connect to…”

Traumatized children who become parenting themselves have to re-learn how to create an environment that is safe and healthy. The “most important thing a parent needs to understand is that a child’s brain will become what it is exposed to…The brain is a mirror of a child’s experience.”

It seems simplistic but if you want your child to be kind, they have to be treated kindly. If you want your children to feel safe, they need to experience safety. If you want your child to be respectful, you have to treat them respectfully.

What are your reactions to this video? How have you overcome your traumatized childhood and become a safe, healthy parent?

Video source: (via

The Fourth “F” of Trauma
By Ron Huxley, LMFT

When I work with traumatized people, I always keep in mind that they have one of three reactions: Fight, Flight and Freeze. These are primal brain mechanisms that manage threats to the self. Each type of reaction has its intervention but at the core of these interventions is the fourth “F”: Fusion.

Trauma disrupts relationships and self/other organization. At extreme levels it can cause dissociative disorders (what we used to call Multiple Personality Disorders) splitting off internal parts of the self in an effort to survive and function. At milder levels it can cause us to build defenses or social masks that allow us to get through our days despite feelings of pain or loss. Either we are not acting out of our true self. We also have difficulties with others manifesting by poor intimacy, commitment fears, unmanageable anger, feelings of anxiety and depression.

What we want to achieve is fusion. A fusion of self and personality and a fusion of relationships (self with other). This is easy said than done but it is possible. It is not hopeless as we once thought. The real challenge is trying to help others who are in a state of fight, flight or freeze without ourselves going into a similar state. Staying “fused” in our emotions, in the face trauma, is hard!

Attachment Disordered Children – Radio Show Interview with Ron Huxley


If you didn’t catch my radio show interview this morning you can listen to the archived mp3 at Brenda Nixon, host of the Parents Plate radio show, invited me to chat about the controversial diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and the current state of mental health treatment of traumatized children today. I shared some great ideas in our hour long discussion that you will want to listen in on…everything from how children are diagnosed to attachment neuroscience to practical parenting tools. I even shared on why children with attachment impairments “Monster Up!” – a phrase I coined. Take a moment to download or stream the show at