You might wonder whether you or your child could benefit from this?

Below are 10 signs of interoception extremes. Many signs can also be related to other reasons than unclear interoceptive awareness. Medical advice should always be explored first, and the information below does not replace medical advice.

Having night-time/daytime toileting accidents.
Only noticing the need to pee/poop when the feeling is intense (at the very last minute) or seeking out frequent trips to the toilet.
Only noticing the need to pee/poop when the feeling is intense (at the very last minute) or seeking out frequent trips to the toilet.
Emotions seems to go from mild to intense in a split second.
Missing early signs of overwhelm/anxiety/frustration.
Going for long periods of time without eating and not feeling hungry or seeking out food and drinks much more frequently than others.
Eating large quantities of food without seeming to get full or feeling full with very small portions of food.
Not recognizing when sleepy or feeling sleepy despite getting a lot of sleep.
Not feeling pain when injured or being sensitive to pain or having chronic pain.
Unsure of which activities help them to feel good.
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The interoception curriculum was created by Kelly Mahler, an occupational therapist from the US who devoted her career to change the way we view what is often called ‘challenging, disruptive or purposeful’ behaviour.

The curriculum can be given from age 4 till 99 and is aimed at anyone who can benefit from increasing their bodily awareness. I think we can all learn more about how our body is feeling but research has found out that individuals with learning disabilities, trauma, ADHD and ASD struggle even more noticing how their body is feeling and then to connect them to the right emotion.

So how does this curriculum work?

The curriculum consists out of 3 steps:

Step 1NOTICING body parts namely hands, feet and toes, mouth, eyes, ears, nose, voice, cheeks, skin, muscles, lungs, heart, brain, stomach, bladder, and the whole body.

Step 2: CONNECTING those body signals to the right emotions. 

Step 3: ACTION, using feel-good strategies to cope with the inner sensations of the body

The first step is NOTICING how your body is feeling. After the initial assessment, a mutual decision will be made to focus on which body parts . There are 15 body parts + the whole body. Not everyone will need all the body parts but some of the children will. Some might need 1 session per body part whilst other children need more than one session. This will be discussed after the assessment and first session. The work done with me, needs to be reinforced at home. It is only with repetition and asking yourself/your child how your body is feeling several times a day that we might get a better understanding of those feelings.

After the first step comes how to CONNECT those feelings to the right emotions. Here we go from NOTICING the feeling to: Does it feels comfortable or uncomfortable? Either way we can do things to change how our body is feeling. These will be linked with EMOTIONS.

The last step will be working together with the individual by gathering all the information we have from the previous 2 steps to write up feeling-good STRATEGIES to make an uncomfortable body more comfortable and allow the individual to SELF-REGULATE their own feelings and emotions by taking ACTION.

Practical:

  • Initial assessment is 1h and cost 150 CHF.
  • Interoception sessions are 45 min and cost 100 CHF.
  • 1 session per week seems to work in most cases. In case some body parts needs to contain more than one session, 2 sessions a week can be given on the same body part.