Rekindling Kinship for Connection and Calm

The roots of many symptoms on the trauma spectrum response, lie in autonomic nervous system dysregulation. Trauma’s impact is far reaching, not only for the individual survivor, but for whole families and communities. For those of us working with trauma, we may be unaware of what happens in the sympathetic nervous system, particularly in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and other human biological functions, especially if our primary survival response is interupted or thwarted. While modern life circumstances and adverse childhood experiences may cause sustained hyper or hypo-aroused states (dysregulation), disruption is occurring in our nervous system at the cellular level; to restore the mind/body to wellbeing, it is important for all providers to understand that traumatic experiences are imprinted in the mind/body memory and consider what that means for their interpretation and management of symptoms and clinical interactions. For clients, to know that our physiology, neurobiology and emotional dysregulation patterns are connected to our primary survival and are not personal, it may reduce the shame often associated with trauma and its aftermath. In this workshop, participants will learn about the survival response and how to organize their own reactions to danger and life-threat for self healing. We will examine how different patterns of emotion dysregulation may influence the application of EMDR treatment in Phases 1 and 2. We will consider various emotion-regulation practices, drawing on groundbreaking work in neuroscience as well as ancient AAM and indigenous practices to restore the autonomic nervous system to a calm state.

Learning objectives:

1. Gain a basic understanding of neurobiological and autonomic nervous system through diagrams and discussion.
2. Understand why early experiences of vulnerability or dysregulation, can trigger our bodies and minds into a chronic state of defense, characterized by mental and physical health issues.
3. Learn regulation strategies and practise a therapeutic stance that invites safety to the client and transforms emotionally dysregulating experiences to ‘adaptive resilience’ based on polyvagal theory and exercises for safety and connection as well as ancient mind/body practices such as meditation. (Consider dissociation as extreme dysregulation) Considerations for its use in all phases, especially in phases 1 and 2 of EMDR therapy, will be examined.
4. The group will build a toolkit of resources and exercises, drawing on Deb Dana’s exercises for Safety and Connection to down regulate our autonomic nervous system (ANS)

Persentage of EMDR Content: 40%