Stop Breathe Squeeze Communicate Skills

Stop Breathe Squeeze Communicate Skills


The purpose of this chart is based on the foundations of knowing that: 

The purpose of this chart is based on the foundations of knowing that: 

  1. It is difficult to learn new skills when we do not know what part of life is challenging 
  2. It is difficult to find out what part of life is challenging when a person is at code red, orange or even yellow 

This chart is designed to provide specific behavioural instructions to support someone to get closer to code blue so they are able to (1) communicate and then (2) learn new skills to respond to life. 

Some instructions to support a person when they are close to or at code red: 


  1. Stop the behaviour you are currently using 


  1. Focus on the fleshy part at the top of your nose. 
  2. Breathe in, bringing awareness to the cool temperature at the tip of your nose 
  3. Breathe out, bringing awareness to the warm temperature around the lower part of the nose 


  1. Bring attention to a single part of the body 
  2. Gently squeeze the muscles in that part of the body (e.g. the hand) 
  3. Then relax that muscle group 
  4. Repeat gently squeezing and relaxing 
  5. Bring focus to how the muscles feel when they are being squeezed (i.e. likely tense) to when they are relaxed (i.e. likely at ease) 

And the most important step … 


  • What is the part of life that initially took the body higher than code blue? 
  • Words that can support here include: show me, tell me, help me understand what you are finding challenging right now? What was your picture of what you expected to happen? What was your smashed picture? Help me understand what you were expecting to happen. 

Note: One key purpose of breathe and squeeze is to support the body to return closer to code blue. When a body is closer to code blue, the final step of communication can occur. Thus, any relief-based strategy can then be used. Some people have a shower, jump on the trampoline, go for a walk, have a rest. The key is that there is no right or wrong here, rather a focus to bring the body to a state of being able to communicate. The error often made is that the relief strategy chosen does support the body to get back closer to code blue, but then the fourth step is not followed up with. The fourth step of communicate is actually the most important one. 


Having identified the part(s) of life the person was perceiving they were not yet completely equipped to respond to via the communication above, the opportunity of teaching and learning new skills can be provided. Skills that focus on supporting a person to feel more equipped to respond to the original part of life they perceived as challenging will be most supportive here. 

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