Updated: Mar 28, 2020
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Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory by Stephen Porges - much easier to understand with a handy glossary at the beginning. Start here.
The Polyvagal Theory by Stephen Porges - seriously in depth, highly academic
Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory edited by Stephen Porges and Deb Dana - applications to lots of fields, including therapy, medical, nursing and grief
INTRO TO THE POLYVAGAL THEORY
Episode 1 Show Notes
Mammals are able to automatically adjust to various levels of safety, danger or life threat. But these adjustments have consequences for daily living because we can get stuck.
The Autonomic Nervous System controls the body’s internal environment.
Breathing, heart rate, digestion
2 main branches: sympathetic & parasympathetic
Every autonomic response is in service of survival
STEPS ON A LADDER
Safe & Social
Flight & Fight
It’s not an option, it’s a sequence.
Either Safe & Social, Flight/Fight or Freeze
A reaction to the outside world, internal world, and our perceptions
The filter that we experience the world through
The body’s ability to detect risk outside of conscious awareness
Shifts the body up and down the polyvagal ladder to the different states
As the body moves down the ladder, we lose access to the behaviors higher up the ladder and defensive behaviors are unlocked in order to survive
The body detects and shifts to the appropriate State based on environment
The body uses safe & social behavior in a safe environment
The body does not use defenses like fighting or fleeing unless in danger
The body does not accurately detect or shift State based on environment
The body does not flee or fight when in unsafe situations
The body does not use safe & social behavior in a safe environment
May be at the core of many mental health disorders
To get back to the top of the ladder, we need to go through each state. If we’re in shut down, we need to go into fight, then flight and then into safety. If we’re in fight, we need to move up to flight and then into safety
When these State shifts occur, we create a story to explain why.
“The teacher hates me. There’s no point in trying,”
“I deserved it.”
“I shouldn’t have been there.”