Recently, our team spent some time reflecting upon the topics we covered this year, and when we were able to view all of the 2023 topics merged together on one document, it surprised us just how much ground we covered. Wow! Within all of the topics, we learned so much from you—the interoception community—and deeply appreciate your responses, questions, comments, and personal stories. Check out some of our 2023 highlights below.
In the month of January, I spent time reflecting and setting some interoception intentions for 2023. It was hard to pick because there are many areas that I want to grow and expand. Here were my top 3:
- Stop Labeling the Feelings of Others and Get More Curious
- Continue to Advocate for More Regulation and Less Compliance-Based Approaches
- Ensure My Expectations are Aligned With a Person’s Capacity for Regulation
In February, we discussed that although traditional body mindfulness is shown to enhance the interoceptive connection, it can be a mismatch for many people (myself included!). So I have spent years learning how to adapt body mindfulness to make it more accessible and more successful for more people. Most of these interoception strategies, called Interoceptive Awareness Builders, are all forms of adapted mindfulness and can help us notice, understand, and/or regulate our body signals.
In March, we spent the month talking all about nurturing interoception from day one of life! How can we support each early learner to notice, understand, and regulate their own unique inner bodily sensations? This process starts the minute we enter this world and is shaped by our early life experiences.
The month of April was a big month! My friend Judy Endow joined me in covering the importance of providing neuro-affirming supports and how interoception plays a key role in this process. Interoception provides us with a scientific lens for appreciating inner diversity, teaching us that we all have different feels and that there is no wrong way to feel. As with neurodivergence, interoception is not something to be fixed, but rather to be explored and validated. To learn more about neuro-affirming supports, check Judy and my course:
In May, I was joined by my friend Rachael Thompson and we talked about emotions, emotion language & human connection. This topic generated a lot of buzz! Science is rapidly changing the way we understand the human emotion experience, how we come to identify our own emotions, how we understand emotion words, and the differences in how we each come to experience our inner feels. There’s so much learning in this space. We could probably do another few months on this topic….who knows…maybe we will! Until then, check out Rachael and my course on this topic.
- Having Fair Self-Regulation Expectations
- The Importance of Co-Regulation
- The Dangers of Compliance
- Interoception can be changed
- The Relationship Between Interoception and Emotions
I was in occupational therapy school over 20 years ago. Back then, the emphasis was on learning and updating ourselves based on the newest evidence, published research, or science. And while science is extremely important in helping us move and shift forward and grow, there is also lived experience and learning from the experience of people.
In July, we discussed a really important shift happening right now, and that is using this lived experience to help us grow, to help us learn, to help us update ourselves.
The month of August was focused on the impact of our words and how we speak to and about each other. I vulnerably shared how this is an area that I don’t get right all the time, and it’s an area that I am continually striving to be better in. Our words do matter.
Our words do matter.
In September, we thought it would be fun to interview a few of the school-based professionals who are using The Interoception Curriculum and to get inspired by some of their stories and what they’re doing. We hear so many positive outcomes that the students are reporting, that staff are reporting, and we thought that maybe we could bring some of that to you.
I conducted some interviews with these school-based professionals, which can all be found on My YouTube Channel.
October was a month where we highlighted the importance of self-understanding and how we need to help each person explore who they uniquely are, help them write a positive story about themselves, develop positive self-identity, understand what they like, what they don’t like, and what they need to thrive. Interoception is a key part of this process!
As the year was winding down, we brought back a very, very popular topic–alexithymia. This time, we zoomed in and focused on the incredible impact that The Interoception Curriculum can have for clients with alexithymia. As an occupational therapist and advocate for approaches that see beyond the surface and get at the root cause, I was thrilled to share how interoception can be a game-changer for clients navigating the complex landscape of alexithymia.
I had so much fun discussing these topics, connecting with all of you, learning together, and growing. It was such an incredible and meaningful year for me, and I cannot express enough how grateful I am that you are joining me in this journey of curiosity, compassion, and inner discovery. Looking forward to this new year, 2024, for lots more topics and learning!
Until next time!