Our wonderful Nervous System
This polyvagal-themed counseling session helps you to get to know your nervous system reactions. Now, what do I mean? You have probably heard of the fight, flight, freeze response to stress, this is part of the autonomic nervous system. More specifically from a mental health perspective, we use the polyvagal approach to understand how this same autonomic nervous system impacts mental health. The nervous system is shaped by early childhood experiences and is continuously being altered by ongoing experiences. These habitual response patterns to life events over time become an ingrained behavioral response (a pattern, an automatic reaction) but for a very good purpose! Our responses kept us safe - emotionally and physically.
We can interrupt older patterns and create a new way of understanding how our different states (that are impacted by our nervous system sense of safety) impact our thinking, feeling and reactions. In these themed counseling sessions, let's learn to safely listen to your autonomic stores that shape your nervous system. We begin by mapping out how your nervous system reacts while in 3 different states (sympathetic, dorsal, and parasympathetic states and in between)
Our autonomic nervous system impacts the way that our body and brain responds to our daily life experiences. Our bodily experiences impact how we think and feel - it is a huge factor in the stories we tell ourselves. It impacts how we regulate our emotions and if we feel safe to connect with others. We only connect when we feel safe, feeling safe is hugly impacted by how our nervous system responded to events in our past and present.
UNDERSTANDING what is happening behind the senses really helps in externalizing your own process - it will give you a new language and conceptual understanding of why you act the way you do. I have found it useful to view my different moods (emotional and physical) through the lens of polyvagal. It reduces shaming thoughts and moves us into a state of being curious about where one is on their MAP. In this mini intro session, we will MAP your different states and develop language and understanding around what this feels like for you!
Helpful Scholarly Information:
Weekly or bi-weekly sessions (1 hour to 1.5 hours)
The total number of sessions will vary for each client, on average I would estimate 2 months for weekly sessions or 4 months for bi-weekly.
But again, every client is different and you may, of course, end our sessions at any time or you may need more time practicing with concepts. Then you can always request "tune-up" sessions as needed to further support yourself in this journey called life!
I do like to encourage an estimated end date as a way to encourage a sense of completion, independence, and self-resiliency.
I will discuss new information for each session. I will have a visual presentation for all of us visual learners out there! In addition, we will have times where we will be creating your own MAP-it ladder. This is the educational part of the session.
In the second half of our session, we will have a counseling conversation on your personal experiences and we will also discuss your experiences putting into practice what you have learned.
In our follow-up sessions, we will discuss your experiences of practicing the learned concepts. Please note, no pressure to do any homework, I offer this type of counseling experience to help you apply the principles to your life so you feel you are making progress.
Insurance may be accepted if meet you the criteria for mental diagnosis health in DSM-V. See the insurance page for detailed information.