A taste of science ..
From Fight or Flight or Freeze to Safety/Joy/Unboundedness
The brain-body connection is the nervous system. As our brain and body becomes more organized, our nervous system becomes more robustly connected, or coherent.
With coherence, we better process the world around us. We become more confident, happy and engaged. These emotional states reflect an underlying biological reality of better connection between the body and mind in the nervous system.
States of dissonance are states of disconnection. Neurologically, these are neural networks which are functionally incoherent. Because our nervous system is unintegrated, they oftentimes are conflict generating.
It can feel like a bridgeless sensation from here to there, an impassable wall between one’s mind and body, a lopsidedness or inefficiency to one’s energy, or a bloated feeling of general wrongness.
When our nervous system is out of alignment, a feeling of entropy, or in other words decay, can set in. We not only become aware of the decay in ourselves, but our environment, which the nervous system is intent on navigating. This entropic intuition can cause further anxiety and stress, and within a system intent on a negative feedback loop, can set in motion further disconnection and incoherence.
With the proper treatment creating the conditions for a healthy nervous system, the periods of well-being become much longer and the suffering much more manageable and even productive for your personal development. It is not stress that is the enemy, necessarily. Rather, it is necessary to break the negative feedback loop of disconnection and anxiety, to sensibly process the incoherence, setting the stage for a mind-body integration.
After all, the nervous system is a system formed by connection and disconnection!
We define well-being as a state where you feel:
Curious and Playful
Engaged and Aware
Interested in Social Interaction
Able to Act for the Self
Curious and Playful
We define Mental Health as:
The ability to create well-being for yourself and for those around you EVEN in the most adverse of circumstances.
We define Mental Illness as:
The tendency to create suffering for yourself and for those around you even when the most favourable circumstances exist.
Why is the Mind-Body Connection Important
Our culture and traditional psychology has emphasized the mind to an absurd level. The result is that most psychological treatments and psychotherapies only achieve a modest level of improvement.
By neglecting the body, the very treatments that seek to create robust nervous systems are disconnected from the very systems they seek to heal. In other words, traditional therapy fails whereby they come pre-packaged with disconnection.
Many of us have spent hours in therapy, reading self-help books, attending seminars, following spiritual teachings only to achieve a sense of improvement that fades quickly. It’s common to begin to think that spirituality, connection, and happiness in themselves are all too virtual. Are these not just words, without anything real at the bottom of it? At its worst, this lack of durability in our received wisdom can cement into us destructive patterns of nihilistic disintegration. Things become meaningless.
Newer research has shown that the key to healing is in the Body-Mind Connection. Polyvagal therapy, developed and researched by Dr. Stephen Porges has identified the importance of the “secret nerve,” named the Vagal Nerve. The Vagus connects all the muscles in your face, your brain, your lungs, heart and gut. 80 percent of the information from the Vagal nerve travels from the body (heart, lungs, facial nerves, and gut) towards the Brain. Only 20 percent of information travels from the brain towards the body.
In short, when you try to “think your way to well-being”, you are working with only 20 percent of your capacities.
Polyvagal Theory and the Mind-Body Connection
Polyvagal Theory and Mind-Body Connection theories have turned the field of psychology on its head. Here are a few examples:
- ADD and ADHD are now conceptualized as an overstimulated nervous system (a childhood where you were stuck in a fight or flight response) that persists into adulthood.
- Depression in many instances can be understood as a chronic state of “freeze” in the nervous system, i.e., not feeling safe.
- Anxiety disorders can be understood as a chronic state of “Fight or Flight”, i.e., not feeling safe.
- Trauma is considered much more common than we once thought. Trauma is understood as an assault to the nervous system. A Traumatized nervous system is stuck in “Fight or Flight” or in “Freeze” mode.
- Positive attachments in life (mother, father, partner, friends) can help co-regulate your nervous system and help you feel “Safe and Sound”.
- Co-regulation is about attunement (empathy) and resonance (compassion).
- Your inability to calm down, get going, be motivated, and/or improve with traditional therapy is not your fault. It is decided by your nervous system.
- Addictions can be understood as attempts to manage a dysregulated/traumatized nervous system.
- Addictions are caused not by what happened to you. They are caused by having been “left alone” with the trauma and the pain.
- A chronic state of self-hatred, self-criticism and perfectionism is a “Fight or Flight” response.
- A chronic state of apathy, disconnection or loneliness is a “Freeze response”.
- A repetitive tendency to enter into or be blind-sighted by abusive relationships results from not knowing what a “safe” nervous system feels like. These patterns can only be broken when the mind-body connection is restored and healed.
Befriend your nervous system and then befriend your mind.
- Culture, ancestry, family, work-systems program and constantly affect your nervous system.
- You are always responding/reacting. Your behavior is constantly influenced by the cultural expectations and norms of your family (family or origin and nuclear family) and the cultural norms of the direct current system around you (your work, your friends).
- It is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to heal.
- You are not a problem to be solved. You are a living being responding to your past and present circumstances.
“Trauma is not just a story it is feeling,” Stephen Porges, PhD.
The Safe & Sound Protocol
The SSP program, facilitated by qualified and certified professionals, employs a practical bottom-up approach to help people regulate their nervous system more consistently and independently.
The program is used in tandem with normal therapy. With SSP, a higher degree of neuroplasticity is introduced into the system, non-invasively and without pharmaceuticals. The results can be very powerful and empowering. It is such an effective system it is necessary to establish the groundwork first through a few sessions with Dr. Cohen or Senior Associate Elaine Lowe. This is in order to maximize the benefits.
The Safe and Sound Protocol can be used for many different purposes. SSP can be used to develop better focus, deeper connections, or can be used to escape rigid, destructive patterns and ways of seeing things. Fluid, adaptive intelligence is extraordinarily useful in processing the complex challenges the modern world poses. SSP has a proven track record with many different age groups with a variety of needs.
Neuroplasticity is defined as the ability to change the connections in your brain even through adulthood. The Safe & Sound Protocol is designed as a platform for neuroplasticity. The brain is an enormously powerful organ, and with sound, we can tap deeply to encourage that power to realize itself. The original 5-hour listening program wakes up, exercises and opens the nervous system, to build capacity and achieve reduced sensitivity and a more resilient physiological state.
“Trauma treatment is not about telling stories about the past. Trauma treatment is about helping people to be here now, to tolerate what they feel right in the present,” Bessel Van Der Kolk MD
Contact us to book your treatment plan today.