Polyvegal Informed Therapy

Polyvegal informed therapy means we have a keen understanding of the nervous system’s role in our mental health. We work to engage clients' awareness of their nervous system and how it functions in order to help clients feel empowered and safe in the world.


The body’s autonomic nervous system operates two branches: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch mobilizes us to defend against danger via the fight-or-flight response. A client who has high anxiety, or problems controlling anger,  is “stuck” in this “fight or flight response”.  The somewhat less understood parasympathetic branch helps us lower our defenses and regain a state of calm. The parasympathetic system is made up of the vagus nerve, which starts at the base of the skull and winds its way down the body to the abdomen. One pathway, known as the ventral vagal, responds to cues of safety and supports a sense of centeredness and readiness for social engagement. By contrast, the dorsal vagal pathway responds to cues of life-threat, causing us to shut down, become numb, and disconnect from others. A client who dissociates has found refuge in a dorsal vagal state.


From a polyvagal perspective, a key goal of therapy is to help the client learn ways to move out of a dysregulated state—either a numbed-out “dorsal vagal” state or a hyper aroused “sympathetic” one—and return to “ventral vagal,”  the feeling of  safety and connectedness.

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What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. 


EMDR can help you manage and treat your anxiety. Better yet, to eliminate it. We focus on what triggers you to feel anxious.  Sometimes it is a cognitive process, sometimes it is a past memory.  Whatever the trigger, we can help you overcome it.

EMDR


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. A big part of EMDR therapy is noticing body sensations connected to certain thoughts, beliefs, or memories. As a culture, we often make the mistake of thinking that our emotions come from our brains, but anyone who has experienced immense sadness, fear, or joy knows that this experience is in the body. Experiencing EMDR allows clients to go from intense body sensations around a traumatic memory, to feeling almost nothing in their body when they think of that memory.  Sometimes clients even experience positive body sensations  - feeling pride, empowerment, or connection when they think of reprocessed memories.



Mindfulness


We utilyze mindfulness in order to help our clients become more calm and connected to themselves. Clients learn strategies to focus awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting their feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.  Becoming an “observer” of your mind and body creates a feeling of calm and control. Clients no longer are afraid of their emotions. They are able to have a more calm and compassionate reaction to big emotions and not be swept away by them. Mindfulness often utilizes breath work, body awareness, and calming the nervous system.

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