The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)

Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology

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W. W. Norton & Company
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A collection of groundbreaking research by a leading figure in neuroscience. This book compiles, for the first time, Stephen W. Porges’s decades of research. A leading expert in developmental psychophysiology and developmental behavioral neuroscience, Porges is the mind behind the groundbreaking Polyvagal Theory, which has startling implications for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and autism. Adopted by clinicians around the world, the Polyvagal Theory has provided exciting new insights into the way our autonomic nervous system unconsciously mediates social engagement, trust, and intimacy.
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About the author

Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Trauma Research Center within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of both the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anaesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Apr 25, 2011
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780393709063
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Neuropsychology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Life is an ongoing struggle for patients who have been chronically traumatized. They typically have a wide array of symptoms, often classified under different combinations of comorbidity, which can make assessment and treatment complicated and confusing for the therapist.

Many patients have substantial problems with daily living and relationships, including serious intrapsychic conflicts and maladaptive coping strategies. Their suffering essentially relates to a terrifying and painful past that haunts them. Even when survivors attempt to hide their distress beneath a facade of normality—a common strategy—therapists often feel besieged by their many symptoms and serious pain. Small wonder that many survivors of chronic traumatization have seen several therapists with little if any gains, and that quite a few have been labeled as untreatable or resistant.

In this book, three leading researchers and clinicians share what they have learned from treating and studying chronically traumatized individuals across more than 65 years of collective experience. Based on the theory of structural dissociation of the personality in combination with a Janetian psychology of action, the authors have developed a model of phase-oriented treatment that focuses on the identification and treatment of structural dissociation and related maladaptive mental and behavioral actions. The foundation of this approach is to support patients in learning more effective mental and behavioral actions that will enable them to become more adaptive in life and to resolve their structural dissociation. This principle implies an overall therapeutic goal of raising the integrative capacity, in order to cope with the demands of daily life and deal with the haunting remnants of the past, with the “unfinished business” of traumatic memories.

Of interest to clinicians, students of clinical psychology and psychiatry, as well as to researchers, all those interested in adult survivors of chronic child abuse and neglect will find helpful insights and tools that may make the treatment more effective and efficient, and more tolerable for the suffering patient.
How each of us can become a therapeutic presence in the world.

Images and sounds of war, natural disasters, and human-made devastation explicitly surround us and implicitly leave their imprint in our muscles, our belly and heart, our nervous systems, and the brains in our skulls. We each experience more digital data than we are capable of processing in a day, and this is leading to a loss of empathy and human contact. This loss of leisurely, sustained, face-to-face connection is making true presence a rare experience for many of us, and is  neurally ingraining fast pace and split attention as the norm.

Yet despite all of this, the ability to offer the safe sanctuary of presence is central to effective clinical treatment of trauma and indeed to all of therapeutic practice. It is our challenge to remain present within our culture, Badenoch argues, no matter how difficult this might be. She makes the case that we are built to seek out, enter, and sustain warm relationships, all this connection will allow us to support the emergence of a humane world.

In this book, Bonnie Badenoch, a gifted translator of neuroscientific concepts into human terms, offers readers brain- and body-based insights into how we can form deep relational encounters with our clients and our selves and how relational neuroscience can teach us about the astonishing ways we are interwoven with one another. How we walk about in our daily lives will touch everyone, often below the level of conscious awareness. 

The first part of The Heart of Trauma provides readers with an extended understanding of the ways in which our physical bodies are implicated in our conscious and non-conscious experience. Badenoch then delves even deeper into the clinical implications of moving through the world. She presents a strong, scientifically grounded case for doing the work of opening to hemispheric balance and relational deepening. 

A book for clinicians and clients to use together that explains key concepts of body psychotherapy. The body’s intelligence is largely an untapped resource in psychotherapy, yet the story told by the “somatic narrative”-- gesture, posture, prosody, facial expressions, eye gaze, and movement -- is arguably more significant than the story told by the words. The language of the body communicates implicit meanings and reveals the legacy of trauma and of early or forgotten dynamics with attachment figures. To omit the body as a target of therapeutic action is an unfortunate oversight that deprives clients of a vital avenue of self-knowledge and change.

Written for therapists and clients to explore together in therapy, this book is a practical guide to the language of the body. It begins with a section that orients therapists and clients to the volume and how to use it, followed by an overview of the role of the brain and the use of mindfulness. The last three sections are organized according to a phase approach to therapy, focusing first on developing personal resources, particularly somatic ones; second on utilizing a bottom-up, somatic approach to memory; and third on exploring the impact of attachment on procedural learning, emotional biases, and cognitive distortions. Each chapter is accompanied by a guide to help therapists apply the chapter’s teachings in clinical practice and by worksheets to help clients integrate the material on a personal level.

The concepts, interventions, and worksheets introduced in this book are designed as an adjunct to, and in support of, other methods of treatment rather than as a stand-alone treatment or manualized approach. By drawing on the therapeutic relationship and adjusting interventions to the particular needs of each client, thoughtful attention to what is being spoken beneath the words through the body can heighten the intimacy of the therapist/client journey and help change take place more easily in the hidden recesses of the self.
The body, for a host of reasons, has been left out of the "talking cure." Psychotherapists who have been trained in models of psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, or cognitive therapeutic approaches are skilled at listening to the language and affect of the client. They track the clients' associations, fantasies, and signs of psychic conflict, distress, and defenses. Yet while the majority of therapists are trained to notice the appearance and even the movements of the client's body, thoughtful engagement with the client's embodied experience has remained peripheral to traditional therapeutic interventions. Trauma and the Body is a detailed review of research in neuroscience, trauma, dissociation, and attachment theory that points to the need for an integrative mind-body approach to trauma. The premise of this book is that, by adding body-oriented interventions to their repertoire, traditionally trained therapists can increase the depth and efficacy of their clinical work. Sensorimotor psychotherapy is an approach that builds on traditional psychotherapeutic understanding but includes the body as central in the therapeutic field of awareness, using observational skills, theories, and interventions not usually practiced in psychodynamic psychotherapy. By synthesizing bottom-up and top down interventions, the authors combine the best of both worlds to help chronically traumatized clients find resolution and meaning in their lives and develop a new, somatically integrated sense of self.

Topics addressed include: Cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor dimensions of information processing • modulating arousal • dyadic regulation and the body • the orienting response • defensive subsystems • adaptation and action systems • treatment principles • skills for working with the body in present time • developing somatic resources for stabilization • processing
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