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What is Right-Brain Restorative Practices

Right-Brain Restorative Practices is an implicit, self-centered modality, which evolved through elements of social-emotional learning, humanistic psychology, and regulation theory. Right-Brain Restorative Practices are grounded on guiding and supporting an individual as they learn to build the container necessary to internalize remorse, gain insight, and empathically develop accountability and restoration.
  • Right-Brain Practices aim to positively influence the valence and impact of opposing and/or maladaptive behavior.
  • Valence refers to whether the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors are negative, neutral, or positive towards the violation or harm.
  • Strength refers to the intensity and intrusiveness of the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, and it can vary due to factors such as the perceived harm caused by the incident.
  • Engaging in a Right-Brain to Right-Brain restorative conversation supports the individual in building self awareness to transform their adverse responses by altering the valence from negative to either neutral or positive or changing both the valence and strength of the reactions.

Why is Right Brain Restorative Practices more suitable for any environment?

Right Brain Restorative Practices is a modality within the Restorative Justice gamut. It focuses on addressing emotions that are subordinate during conflict, burnout, and or poor institutional culture and climate. When these essential factors of human connection and communication are addressed is when student creativity and congruency occurs.

Right-Brain Restorative Practices Premise

Helping individuals heal or process an event via restorative practices solicits information from specific brain regions, specifically domains that respond to danger or a perceived threat. As restorative practitioners, the quality of our understanding and awareness of our client's history is critical to explore. The complexity of every emotional and cognitive block that surfaces is where the real magic and true healing can unfold. Recalling what happened for many can become a grievous and transformative process when the pain and trauma are connected to their narrative.

Right Brain Conflict De-Escalation

When two individuals engage in a verbal dispute, many themes begin to surface. There is a moment during which non-verbal communications shift and parties may perceive one another as a threat. By the receiver, this phenomenon activates certain procedural sensations, memories, and visceral processing. The act of conflict and the reaction in our brain centralizes in the right hemisphere "the right brain" different from the left hemisphere which has different but profound responsibilities. The right brain is responsible for unconscious emotional and relational functions (Schore, 2009a). Furthermore, the right brain has the most robust connection to the body. The right brain houses the right side of the amygdala, whose central focus is negative emotions and sounding the alarm system of the body. At the onset of conflict, our brain cortisol levels rise causing us to dysregulate within a matter of seconds. Anger builds up quickly while blood and glucose rush to the brain and body.

Affect Dysregulation During a Restorative Encounter (Pre-Conference/ Setting up the field?

Emotions are the highest order of direct expression of bioregulation in complex organisms (Damasio, 1998). Our brain is a mature organ, and it is responsible for storing all our emotional history. It is stored in regions from which procedural reactions derive (Shores, 2010). Conflicts or interpersonal situations inevitably trigger or activate, to some extent, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) stress axis. This situation elicits a sudden increase of energy-expanding sympathetic elements of the individual's autonomic nervous system (ANS) and results in a significantly elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. This situation assumes the posture of somatic expressions during a dysregulated hypermetabolic psychobiological state of fear or terror. Depending on the individual’s emotional awareness, the somatic expressions may vary from passive, moderate, or extreme.

What are the contributions of operating under a Right Brain Restorative culture?

Institutions that have equitable values, policies, and disciplinary objectives create an environment where individuals can optimize their skills. At a neuroscience perspective when a human brain is calm and congruent which translates in suitable emotional modulation and cognitive functioning the individual is more receptive toward institutional goals, expectations, and norm. A significant element is the environment in which the activity is occurring. The environment must contain the following:





K-12 Educational systems

School systems are moving towards the notion of relationship building and social-emotional awareness as vectors towards academic success, develop a strong student growth-mindset and build a robust institution where character development can take place, and a culture of connectedness can influence daily school climate. Our schools have been plagued In recent events with school shooting, student mental health emergencies, and bullying which has set a base for our youth to fear school and perceive it as unsafe this mindset ignites different regions on the brain that exacerbate sometimes problematic behavior without proper regulation.

Right Brain Restorative Practices (School Application)

Right Brain Restorative Practices (RBRP) is an implicit-self-centered modality which evolved through elements of social-emotional learning, humanistic psychology, and regulation theory. Right Brain Restorative Practices, the premise is to help an individual build the container necessary to internalize remorse, gain insight, and empathically develop accountability and restoration.

RBRP helps build to an adaptive social-emotional competent school, during adolescence various phenomena arise such as abstract thinking this requires more information and understanding of the WHY behind school policies, teacher directives, and school motivation. Right Brain Restorative Practices live within a continuum, (want to learn more) —-Link to the RB Continuum

College and University campuses across the country are beginning to understand that restorative practices have great potential for handling student misconduct and policy violations. There is a growing interest in implementing restorative practices programming for colleges and universities.

When young graduating adults matriculate to higher ed, multiple themes arise which require a different type of awareness. For a vast majority of students that leave small community charter schools or institution with a small student body have voiced feeling a culture shock, as K-12 schools are moving towards building a robust school culture where community, fair process, student voice, and access are at its forefront.

Brain research in the field of affect-regulation has centralized their research on the notion that self-regulation requires a process to mature, modulate appropriate, and develop. The brain has not reached its full capacity until; for male reaching that point is age 26 and for females reach that level at age 24.

Restorative Alliance

The restorative alliance is a synchronization of emotional communication (Right-Brain to Right-Brain communication). The alliance begins by witnessing without judgment, which allows an individual (receiver) to take the risk in opening up, in essence, developing a vulnerable co-regulating relationship. Establishing an acute relationship that can foster safety is crucial before the defense mechanism surfaces during the restorative encounter. Right-brain processes are dominant during a moment of emotional vulnerability or interpersonal conflict. These experiences are crucial components in establishing the restorative alliance and reestablishing trust during moments of deconstructing harmful events or alliance ruptures.

Carlos Alvarez Presenting at the International Institute For Restorative Practices IIRP Conference Bethlehem Pennsylvania
Conference & Presentations

• The Neurobiology of Restorative Practices- School Climate Conference 2018, 2019 Temecula Ca

• The Neurobiology of a Gang Embedded Youth – Safe School Conference Costa Mesa Ca

• Right Brain Restorative Justice- Deans List Summit 2019 NY, New York

• Healing the Urban Gang Member “Keeping the Brain and Body in Mind” – 2018 Toronto Canada

• Magic of Psalm Sex Trafficking Awareness Conference- 2018 Panelist on Trauma and Right Brain Restorative Practices

• LAUSD Charter Symposium- 2018 Presenter on Restorative Justices

• Southern California Mediation Conference – 2016 Panelist of Restorative Justice K-12 Malibu California

Professional development or Training for Higher Education are:

• Introductory Overview of Restorative Justice

• Basic Training in Restorative Practices and Program Development/Management

• Training Students and Staff to be Restorative Justice Facilitators

• Holding Peacemaking Circles for Large Group Issues