The Polyvagal Theory Demystifying the Body's Response to Trauma (Digital Seminar)
Human responses to trauma and abuse are devastating and compromise subsequent social behavior and emotion regulation. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the “hardwired” response to life threat, may demystify these debilitating consequences. The Polyvagal Theory provides a plausible explanation of how trauma experiences and chronic abuse disrupt homeostatic physiological processes and social behavior and how clinical treatments might be designed to remediate these problems when trauma distorts perception and displaces spontaneous social behaviors with defensive reactions.
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This presentation will focus on the restorative power of understanding the adaptive function of stress reactions as an important adjunct to treatment. By deconstructing the biobehavioral features of stress reactions, both client and therapist are better informed in their journey to a successful outcome. The presentation will emphasize the role of “neuroception,” a neurophysiological process through which our nervous system evaluates risk in the environment, without awareness and often independent of a cognitive narrative. Trauma may reset neuroception to protect us from others when there is no “real” danger. The presentation will inform the therapist about how to assess the deleterious consequences of trauma-related experiences by understanding the adaptive psychological, behavioral, and health features of each of the three “Polyvagal” visceral response strategies (i.e., social engagement, mobilization, and immobilization ) and how successful therapeutic interventions promote a neuroception of safety with the consequential improvements in mental and physical health by enabling mobilization and immobilization to occur without fear.
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