Oftentimes, people think Cam and Leo are the names of my kids. ;) I get the question so often, I thought it warranted a blog post.
In fact, Cam & Leo are the two cute co-hosts of our social-emotional learning program. Each are intentionally-designed embodiments of the two relevant parts of our brains when it comes to our Selves as emotional creatures:
Cam is a chameleon. He represents our amygdala, or our reptilian, or emotional centre of our brain. Like our amygdala, Cam tends to react to what goes on around him. His colours, like his emotional states, change according to his environment.
Leo is a leopard. He represents our prefrontal cortex – the rational centre of our brain. Like our prefrontal cortex, Leo’s mode is thoughtful and calculated. He is distinctly un-emotional, and is not influenced, emotionally, by what takes place around him. His spots don’t change.
We all have a Cam and a Leo. Some of us (most of us) are more Cam-ish, while others are more Leo-ish, by nature. All of us need to learn how to strike a healthy balance between these two aspects of our Selves.
Sometimes it’s the right time for Leo. Sometimes it’s the right time for Cam.
We can use our Leo to help us get out from under our Cam; and at other times we can use our Cam to help wiggle us out of Leo-mode.
The idea behind Cam & Leo’s Emotion School is for individuals – kids and adults, alike – to gain awareness of these two parts of themselves; understand the unconscious psychological underpinnings that propel each part to manifest the way they do; and ultimately learn how to negotiate between, or effectively balance, between them.
When we are able to effectively balance between our Cam and our Leo, we achieve what is known as “The Wise Mind” (from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – DBT).
More often than not, the challenge to achieving The Wise Mind is an unruly Cam – and putting emotions in their rightful place. This is no easy feat. But we can do it. The answer lies in training ourselves to think about our emotions differently so that when we are triggered, emotionally, we are still able to contextualize that experience (rather than let it overtake us).
Cam and Leo make this basic concept easier to understand, and more fun! Through them, our Emotion School families gain a language for explaining how we’re showing up in the world, emotionally, and in relationships with others: “Who’s in charge right now, you’re Cam or your Leo?”, “Is that a Leo thought or a Cam thought?”, “How would your Leo respond to this situation?”, etc.
If you have any questions about Cam and Leo, or about Cam & Leo’s Emotion School, reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org.