C.H.O.I.C.E. is at the Heart of Teaching Trauma-Informed Mindfulness

Use this easy-to-remember acronym as a starting point for creating trauma-aware spaces and sessions when teaching mindfulness.

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A recent emphasis on trauma-informed approaches in the mindfulness community has been an overdue addition to teaching more effectively, reaching more students, and helping more people heal. In the past few years of both reading the research and speaking directly with folks, I’ve begun to assemble a list of tips. Like all of us, this too is a work in progress, but can hopefully be a guide for many of us as we deepen our teaching skills.

Use the C.H.O.I.C.E. Acronym

C- Consent: Don’t push people (including yourself) beyond your safety limits. Contemplative practice is not the solution to everything nor is it for everyone, and we don’t want to encourage “emotional bypass.” We all have a comfort zone, a growth zone outside of that, and a danger zone beyond that still. Try your best to keep to the comfort and growth zones. 

H- Honesty: Present yourself and the practices honestly. People, especially kids and teens, often as a matter of safety, can smell inauthenticity if you over promise about the practices, or if you have a hidden agenda. Be honest about the origins of the practices, whether you are sharing what you learned and…