Take 5! for adversity and trauma: an integrative approach to social and emotional learning

Tam Lundy (Take 5! Institute, Albany, California, USA)

Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning

ISSN: 2397-7604

Article publication date: 10 May 2019

Issue publication date: 29 August 2019



Lundy, T. (2019), "Take 5! for adversity and trauma: an integrative approach to social and emotional learning", Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 106-108. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIT-02-2019-0029



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Tam Lundy


Published in Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode

Take 5! for adversity and trauma: an integrative approach to social and emotional learning

Trauma in the classroom

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and the life-altering effects of early trauma, are of growing concern to educators and other professionals that support children and youth. The impact of childhood adversity is well-known; the higher the ACE score, the greater the risk for physical and mental health challenges, behavior problems and learning problems (Harris, 2018).

With such conclusive evidence[1], ACEs are receiving attention from educators, health professionals and policy makers. We want to protect children and youth from adverse experiences, and when adversity does interrupt their lives, we want them to be resilient, drawing on inner self-regulation capacities that help to buffer the effects of trauma.

Social and emotional learning, self-regulation and trauma: integration is key!

Integration is an essential factor in three interconnected areas of research and practice: social and emotional learning, self-regulation and trauma (Siegel, 2012). As Neuroscientist Dan Siegel explains, integration means “linking differentiated parts into a functional whole[2].” Integration, he says, is the “underlying mechanism of self-regulation.” Correspondingly, it is the mechanism that underpins learning and health – in people, and in systems (Siegel, 2011). For Siegel, self-regulation is synonymous with self-integration.

When designing and evaluating approaches to social and emotional learning, then, integration is a key principle; it is what promotes healthy change (Shapiro, 2013). This becomes even more important when a student’s experience includes trauma. So, future inquiry will need to address the factor of integration in at least three ways:

  1. Integrated self: self-regulation capacity-building that focuses on the “whole person” – integrating neurophysiological, emotional, cognitive and relational experience and skills. Relationship factors include interpersonal experiences, as well as the social and cultural contexts that inform and influence individual experience.

  2. Integrative inquiry: a consilient approach to knowledge generation, integrating theory, research and promising practices in diverse disciplines; for example, neuroscience, education, psychology, health promotion, and human development.

  3. Integrative practice:

    • a comprehensive and inclusive approach that blends current program offerings and best practices with insights and innovations emerging from ongoing interdisciplinary inquiry; and

    • a long-term school-wide commitment to building self-regulation capacities that proactively promote mental wellness, and also help to offset the effects of trauma.

Take 5! Self-Reg Asset-Building: an integrative approach to social and emotional learning

Take 5! Self-Reg Asset-Building is an innovative and integrative approach to social and emotional learning, offering educators a positive and proactive way to respond to the ACEs epidemic and other sources of trauma. Supporting children to grow their capacity for self-regulation, we help them address the sensory, behavioral, emotional, mental and relationship challenges that typically develop when trauma is part of their experience.

Take 5! integrates tried-and-true SEL approaches with additional evidence-based tools known to promote health, mental well-being and resilience. For example, Interpersonal Neurobiology weaves findings in neuroscience with studies in independent disciplines, including psychology and mental health. The salutogenic – or “health-generating” – orientation of Take 5! comes from the field of health promotion (Antonovsky, 1996), offering a perspectival shift from deficits to strengths and capacities. Dialectical behavior therapy offers evidence-based tools that are both therapeutically effective and foster mental well-being and resilience[3]. This comprehensive theoretical grounding is supplemented with ongoing research in human development[4], while the meta-perspectives of integral theory facilitate integration at every scale[5].

Take 5! emphasizes five assets that strengthen self-regulation capacities in children and youth:

  1. BE HERE Mindful Awareness Assets.

  2. BE WITH Interpersonal Effectiveness Assets.

  3. BE CALM Emotion Regulation Assets.

  4. BE STRONG Resilience and Thriving Assets.

  5. BE CHANGE Connectedness and Contribution Assets.

These five assets are congruent with the core competencies identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. In addition, the Take 5! assets help to prevent and buffer the effects of adversity and trauma. Resilience is strengthened when a high ACEs score is offset by a stabilizing measure of Self-Reg ASSETS.

Although Take 5! is firmly grounded in theory, research and practice innovations, these insights are synthesized into a unified “hands-on” approach that’s easily understood and put into practice by children, youth, and the adults that support them. It’s an inclusive approach to self-regulation and social and emotional learning that can enrich the toolkit of educators and other professionals that support children and youth … even when life brings experiences of adversity and trauma.



See, for example, the 2018 report “A hidden crisis: Findings on adverse childhood experiences in California.” Center for Youth Wellness, San Francisco, CA.


Bringing a developmental lens to self-regulation and social and emotional learning, Take 5! draws on the works of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Robert Kegan, Jane Loevinger, Susanne Cook-Greuter, Terri O’Fallon and others.


See, for example, Wilber (2007).


Antonovsky, A. (1996), “The salutogenic model as a theory to guide health promotion”, Health Promotion International, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 11-18.

Harris, N.B. (2018), The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, New York, NY.

Linehan, M. (2015), DBT Skills Training Manual, 2nd ed., The Guilford Press, New York, NY.

Shapiro, F. (2013), “Redefining trauma and its hidden connections”, in Siegel, D.J. and Solomon, M. (Eds), Healing Moments in Psychotherapy, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, pp. 89-113.

Siegel, D.J. (2011), Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, Bantam Books, New York, NY.

Siegel, D.J. (2012), The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, 2nd ed., The Guilford Press, New York, NY.

Wilber, K. (2007), The Integral Vision, Shambhala Publications, Boston, MA.

Corresponding author

Tam Lundy can be contacted at: tamlundy@take5selfreg.com

About the author

Tam Lundy, PhD, is Director of Take 5! Institute and founder of Take 5! Self-Reg Asset-Building. Tam has led diverse initiatives that promote child, youth, family, and community health & well-being. She has also taught graduate courses in Health Promotion and Education. Tam holds a Doctorate in Human and Social Development from the University of Victoria.

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