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Just You. No ego, no shadow, no parts... / SNB 149 poster and show notes

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Listen to the episode above. There are also three more episodes on this topic. You can find the playlist for the series here.


Here is my poster for episode 149. Download and print on 11x17 paper if you have it. :)

Show notes

Stucknaut letter from Sieghild Liza, 65y/o Austrian woman


I listened to a podcast (Complex Trauma Recovery) you were a guest on and ended up buying your course (Polyvagal 101?). I got through the first part of the course but I am a little confused. I have a limited understanding of psychology (or whatever the proper term is) and I'm getting caught up in how all these systems and ideas fit/don't fit together.

  • Yes, things are confusing

  • BSA is about increasing the vagal brake strength through practicing being in safety

  • PVT101 is about learning the biology underneath our mental health

  • General mh ideas fit into PVT because PVT is not mental health specific, it’s cross-professions

  • It’s science. It’s foundational to other professions.

  • So the question then is how to other psychological ideas connect to PVT? Where is the intersection?

I am looking to take courses like yours but I'm reaching information overload. I've been studying attachment theory, abandonment issues, been doing cbt and emdr in therapy, and have heard about inner child healing, shadow work, somatic therapy, and I'm sure there are hundreds of ideas I haven't come across yet.

  • Problem but not a problem

  • Competition is good

  • Consumers need to be aware and look for what clicks within us

  • I am not interested in psychological constructs like parts work, reparenting, shadow work, ego

  • Unnecessary cognitive layer for me

  • Competing therapy modalities is okay too

  • But the basics is what works

I've been diagnosed with adhd, anxiety, cptsd, depression but like you mentioned in the podcast, I'm not sure if the diagnostics are really that meaningful or even accurate.

  • They’re really not imo

  • And they can become part of our identities

  • Not temporary state dysregulation

  • And professionals disagree about this stuff all the time

  • We don’t even agree on the purpose and functionality or criteria of dx

  • There is no blood test or urine test

Is polyvagal the best place to direct my energy? Are there other resources/theories you think are essential to learn in congruence?

  • Foundational knowledge, helpful concepts, psychological constructs and therapeutic techniques

  • Understanding concepts is important, like attachment and abandonment

  • These are truths that could apply to your life

  • Important for learning and applying

  • Not enough on their own

  • Understanding psychological constructs is less important

  • These are not true, but could be applied to your life as a metaphor/reframe

  • Functional in state regulation

  • Not enough on their own

  • Doing specific techniques is important, but also not as important as therapy alliance

  • Techniques can be helpful, like reframes, talking to an empty chair, reality testing, practicing listening and communication skills

  • But not sufficient on their own

  • PVT is foundational knowledge

  • To understanding consciousness, connection, danger

  • Imo, this is the starting point if you’re open to something new

Are these other ideas in conflict with polyvagal theory?

  • No, but how do they connect?

  • These are mostly top-down reframes to the brain stem

  • These help with state regulation

  • There is no shadow state, no parts state for different internal family members

  • They may get your closer to your state by regulating enough and then looking inward

  • But this is an added cognitive layer too

  • And this relies on an expert giving wisdom about shadow selves and parts and egos and child selves and true selves

  • I’ll make one up right now!

Puzzle Completion Therapy (PCT)

  • You’re missing a puzzle piece to become your completed self

  • You need to identify where the missing piece is inside of you

  • A technique is to start with the outside edges

    • Like maybe the easier facets of your life - like school

    • Then work toward the middle pieces, aka the traumas and attachments and abandonments

  • PST will be available for coaching soon, called Puzzle Self Coaching

Is polyvagal the best place to start or are there other things I need to master before/alongside?

  • I think it’s foundational knowledge, great place to start

  • Somatic focused things

  • But comprehensive of thoughts, feelings, sensations

  • Not just moving around, dancing, breathing

  • SE seems great

  • BSA is the next step imo

  • PVT101 and then BSA

Honestly, I'm just really overwhelmed and heard you give a little push back on inner child work on the podcast so I thought I'd ask which ideas are the most valuable. I feel really behind and it seems that polyvagal is the best place to start, but I feel like I'm dipping my toes into a little bit of everything and not really retaining a lot of info. Thank you again for your work. It's succinct and easy for me to process, I just worry I don't know how any of this works.

  • You’re welcome

  • Yeah, it’s overwhelming

  • I hope this was clear for you as well

  • And thanks again for taking one of my courses


This and other content produced by Justin Sunseri (“JustinLMFT”) (i.e; podcast, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) is not therapy, not intended to be therapy or be a replacement for therapy. Nothing in this creates or indicates a therapeutic relationship. Please consult with your therapist or seek for one in your area if you are experiencing mental health symptoms. Nothing should be construed to be specific life advice; it is for educational and entertainment purposes only.


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