I see the struggle within, the cascading stress triggers, the change in eye contact, posture and tone. And so I realise he needs me to be his stress buffer, to remain calm and well balanced so he can co-regulate with me. I start to hear his speech in a different way, not for the words, but for what they tell me about his current emotions and perspective.

"I can see how that would be difficult," I say, "it sounds like you feel frustrated, is that right?" From the shift in his tone I can tell his stress response is ebbing already.

"Yeah," he says, beginning to make eye contact again, "I was trying to get things right. I really was..."