Understanding the Physiology
Getting to Know your Nervous System
“Unlike reptiles, the mammalian nervous system did not evolve solely to survive in dangerous life threatening contexts, but it evolved to promote social interactions and social bonds in safe environments.” - Stephen Porges, PhD
After years of training in how to work with individuals suffering from symptoms of trauma, it was a relief to discover that Stephen Porges, PhD puts a lot of emphasis on our ability to be in relationship as opposed to simply being able to survive. Although survival may have driven the importance of establishing social bonds, those same social bonds allow us to experience compassion, joy, love – a full range of pleasurable experiences in relation to ourselves and to others.
It is from this viewpoint that I began exploring how to incorporate this physiological drive to connect into my own practice, both personally and professionally. What I found was the ways in which people began to expand and deepen their relationships as we worked with the impact of various events and situations in their lives, events and situations that had held them back most profoundly in the area of interpersonal relationships.
In future blog posts and video recordings, I will be discussing some of the basic physiological underpinnings that support both our ability to relate and our ability to survive threats. We’ll start with Porges and add other theories and bodies of research as we go along. I look forward to supporting your progression through this material. Please contact me if you would like an individual consultation.