"Social bonding requires physical contact and a neurochemical change that creates permanent bonds," says psychophysiologist Stephen Porges. But what does a healthy or unhealthy bond look like in the therapy room?
In the following video clip from Stephen's 2016 Networker Symposium address, "The Science of Therapeutic Attachment," he explains why the building blocks of healthy relationships are social engagement and social bonding, and how these create a sense of safety that is remarkably effective at staving off psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.
Watch the clip now to find out which part of the body reveals healthy co-regulation.
Stephen Porges, PhD is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he’s creating a trauma research center within the Kinsey Institute. He’s author of The Polyvagal Theory.
"All the information regarding the ability to co-regulate being connected is conveyed in the muscles around the eye," says Stephen. This means that if your clients are hyperactive or prone to outbursts, the problem may lie in poor attachment from failed bids for reciprocal interaction. As Stephen notes, clients who've experienced poor attachment may turn to alternative soothing behaviors, such as overeating.
"Part of the problem in working with trauma victims is that very little attention is given to them," Stephen says. "People are more interested in the legal aspects of rape and abuse and less interested in helping and listening to those who've experienced these traumatic events. We've become a society that doesn't respect responses." Knowing when these responses manifest themselves in your consulting room, Stephen adds, is the first step to helping these clients heal.
Stay tuned for more of Stephen's clinical wisdom in our upcoming video blogs!