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"The Power of Showing Up"


As part of our Parent Speaker Series, Dr. Tina Bryson, a psychotherapist and founder/executive director of The Center for Connection, spoke with Country Day parents on February 17, 2022. 

Dr. Bryson discussed her new book, The Power of Showing Up, and shared how to use interpersonal neurobiology to break down the science of attachment and what it means to "show up" and be present.



The 4 S's: Safe, Seen, Soothed, Security

Head of Lower School Bill Mulcahy shared these insights with parents after Dr. Bryson's presentation about the "4 S's":

Dr. Bryson discussed the "4 S’s" throughout her presentation and how students' brains are more integrated when these are employed. In the words of Dr. Bryson this means, "students can employ the more sophisticated functions of their brain even when confronted with difficult situations and respond to the world from a position of security, demonstrating more emotional balance, more resilience, more insight, and more empathy.” Bryson goes on to say, “As a result the child will not only be happier, but also much more socially adept, which means they’ll be better able to get along with others, collaboratively solve problems, consider consequences, and think about others’ feelings."

Dr. Bryson’s four S’s:

Safe: In order to be successful, students must feel and know that they are safe. Students must know that the adults in their life are going to keep them physically and emotionally safe, and that while adults make mistakes (which she sees as positive provided they aren’t egregious and are discussed and modeled) just like children, they are committed to repairing them. 

Seen: Bryson discussed how it is incredibly important that we “show up” for our children and are present for them. Her book, The Power of Showing Up, discusses the importance of presence and this idea of being seen, in great detail, and is a great read.

Soothed: Bryson discussed how this can often be misunderstood as parents fixing problems, but instead refers to the importance of listening to our children, being there when they need us to listen, and helping them “ride the waves” when they come, instead of trying to have them avoid the waves all together. 

Security: This has to do with predictability, and the idea that children excel when provided routines, structures, and the idea that parents, teachers, and other trusted adults will be there for support when needed.

Dr. Bryson has the gift of distilling complicated neuroscience into easy to understand, actionable recommendations for adults. 

Other Resources from Dr. Bryson:

If you're interested in learning more about Dr. Bryson and her work, click the links below:

Learn more about Dr. Bryson's books: