Polyvagal Theory in Ottawa

Polyvagal Theory in Ottawa

mindspa 3

Learn More About Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal Theory is a theory developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, a neuroscientist and psychologist, that explains the role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in regulating our physiological and emotional responses. The theory suggests that the ANS, specifically the vagus nerve, plays a crucial role in our social engagement, emotional regulation, and overall well-being.

According to Polyvagal Theory, the ANS has evolved over time, and it consists of three hierarchical subsystems that respond to different levels of threat:

1. Social Engagement System: This is the highest level of the ANS hierarchy. When we feel safe and secure, the social engagement system is activated, allowing us to connect with others, communicate effectively, and experience positive emotions. This system is associated with the ventral vagus nerve, which promotes feelings of safety and connection.

2. Sympathetic Fight-or-Flight Response: When we perceive a threat, the sympathetic nervous system activates, preparing us for fight or flight. This response is associated with increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and heightened arousal.

3. Parasympathetic Freeze Response: If the threat is overwhelming or we are unable to fight or flee, the parasympathetic nervous system can initiate a freeze response. This response is associated with immobility, dissociation, and shutdown.

Polyvagal Theory emphasizes the importance of the vagus nerve, which is the longest cranial nerve and plays a critical role in regulating our physiological and emotional states. The theory suggests that disruptions in the functioning of the vagus nerve can lead to difficulties in social engagement, emotional regulation, and overall well-being.

Understanding Polyvagal Theory can have implications for various fields, including psychology, psychiatry, trauma therapy, and interpersonal relationships. It provides a framework for understanding how our nervous system responds to different situations and how we can regulate our responses to promote feelings of safety, connection, and well-being.

Here are a few peer-reviewed sources on Polyvagal Theory that you may find helpful:

1. Porges, S. W. (1995). Orienting in a defensive world: Mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A Polyvagal Theory. Psychophysiology, 32(4), 301-318.

2. Porges, S. W. (2001). The polyvagal theory: Phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 42(2), 123-146.

3. Porges, S. W. (2003). Social engagement and attachment: A phylogenetic perspective. Attachment & Human Development, 5(2), 141-166.

4. Porges, S. W. (2007). The polyvagal perspective. Biological Psychology, 74(2), 116-143.

These articles are authored by Dr. Stephen Porges, the developer of Polyvagal Theory, and provide a comprehensive understanding of the theory’s concepts, its evolutionary basis, and its implications for social engagement, attachment, and psychophysiology.

[16/01/2024 8:43 PM] Tina Wilston: Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the stories and narratives that individuals construct about their lives. It was developed in the 1980s by Michael White and David Epston, and it is based on the belief that our identities and experiences are shaped by the stories we tell ourselves and others.

Video: Polyvagal Theory Explained Simply

Want to Learn More About Polyvagal Theory? Schedule a free consultation with us today

Specialized Therapy Services We Offer in Addition to Polyvagal Theory: