The Journey of Learning Self-Reg

The Journey of Learning Self-Reg

Learning Self-Reg has been a journey full of surprises (and gifts).

Stuart’s work resonated with me from the moment I first discovered his writings in 2011. But one of the unexpected surprises was that somewhere along the line I realized that I was actually studying and learning about my own Self-Reg in the process.

Another surprise in my learning journey was the (sometimes humbling) roller coaster ride of believing I knew quite lot about Self-Reg, before coming to realize that my knowledge amounted to — at best — a droplet of water in the bucket of what there was to learn, know, and most importantly, live. Self-Reg was easy at first, then it became a bit overwhelming as I learned more and realized just how much there was to it. A bit of imposter syndrome and lots of self-doubt kicked in. The gift was moving through that and coming through on the other side into a very different Self-Reg “space”, that I explain in this short video.

By | 2016-11-28T11:17:26+00:00 July 6th, 2016|


  1. Aviva July 8, 2016 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, Susan! I continue to have these same moments as I learn more about Self-Reg, and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Maybe we all need this reminder once in a while that there is always more to learn — and that’s okay.


    • Susan Hopkins July 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Dear Aviva, isn’t it fascinating how many of us on the Self-Reg learning journey feel this way? I wonder why it seems so simple at first. Any ideas?


      • Aviva July 30, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

        This is a great question, Susan! I think that part of it is that when we read a book (which is certainly how I learned about Self-Reg), we make sense of the content given our current class/students/children, and we really only look at what fits with these needs. As we start to learn more though, and we see different needs, we begin to realize that the learning doesn’t stop. I also think that another component is that we’re human, and as much as we may read/know/understand, sometimes given our own stressors. we don’t respond in the best of ways. It’s one thing to know, and another thing to live it. I also wonder if there’s a part of being a teacher, where we feel as though we need to know everything. If we admit that there are things that we don’t understand or don’t know yet, we may be seen as “weaker” or “less competent.” Is it these concerns that make us convince ourselves that Self-Reg is simpler than it is, for if we don’t, we think we’ll be viewed differently? Finally, I also think that Self-Reg has been seen/adopted in certain ways in the school system, so these are the things that we think about the most (e.g., the calm environment). When we read more and learn more (like I did through the courses), we realize there’s a lot more to Self-Reg than that. I’m curious to hear what others think.


        • Susan Hopkins August 13, 2016 at 8:40 am - Reply

          Aviva this is such a FANTASTIC response. This line jumps out to me: “It’s one thing to know, and another thing to live it.”

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  3. Aviva Dunsiger August 18, 2016 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Thanks Susan! I think that this has been some of the biggest learning for me. Even when I have the Self-Reg running commentary in my head, I know that given certain times and situations, I respond differently than I wish I did. We’re all human, and looking at ourselves with “soft eyes” (something that you talk about a lot) has been key for me. Despite all of my new learning, I know how much more I still have to learn! Oh, the joys and complexities of self-regulation!


  4. Adrienne Sweat December 23, 2016 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Love it. Yes, I struggle with the ideal of perfection, and thinking that I’ve learned this, and I should be able to do it. But the process, in action on yourself or others, is not perfect and can’t be. No ending, only process. Even in coregulation, there is no perfect version of this, only the continuation of the process, over and over again.

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