This week I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Dr Stephen Porges for the Radical Recovery Summit. Those of you who are familiar with my work have heard me say many times “Safety IS the Treatment”. It has become a tag line for me because it points to the foundation of healing. When we feel safe, our body comes up out of freeze or down-regulates from fight/flight, and we move into a state of trust and connection. From there, we can access our body’s innate healing capacities. Our body knows how to heal. Our nervous system knows how to come back to regulation and calm. This post and the clip from the interview are part of my conversation with Dr Porges.

“How do you convince a nervous system that it can trust those around it?”

We have an integrated nervous system that evolved to connect with others. Our own nervous system has tremendous self-healing capacity when it is not under threat. We have to create a narrative of welcoming and integration in our mindbody. What an interesting nervous system I have. What can it do? We witness ourselves, with respect.

Shaming and blame prevent us from recruiting our own homeostatic systems to heal. We hunker down and protect ourselves. In the world that we’re in, we think that if we ramp up the motivation, the person will change. We think if we make it worse, it will get better, without understanding that as we make it worse, the body has no place to go but down.

We have tremendous capacity. If we can create a safe context where our body doesn’t go into threat, our nervous system helps us heal.

In an integrated nervous system model, we see that our mental and physical health are attributes of the same nervous system. As our body heals, our ability to socially interact improves and our mental states become more resilient and adjustable within the world we are in.

In Star Trek, when they go into danger, their energy shields go up. Defenses, or energy shields, use energy and diverts in our brain the ability to reach higher cortical areas. We can’t be creative, spiritual or benevolent unless our body is safe.

Are the cues that your body is responding to cues of safety or are they cues of threat?

Safety IS the treatment.

If we remove cues of threat, then the body can move back into this calmer safe state to promote its own health, growth and restoration.” Dr Stephen Porges, founder Polyvagal Theory

Details on how to watch the full interview here:

Cues of Safety
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