Polyvagal Theory by Dee Wagner
Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory developed out of his experiments with the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve serves the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the calming aspect of our nervous system mechanics. The parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system balances the sympathetic active part, but in much more nuanced ways than we understood before polyvagal theory.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Panksepp’s present research is devoted to the analysis of the neuroanatomical and neurochemical mechanisms of emotional behaviors (in theemerging field of affective neuroscience), with a focus on understanding how separation responses, social bonding, social play, fear, anticipatory processes, and drug craving are organized in the brain, especially with reference to psychiatric disorders. His past work in hypothalamic mechanisms of energy balance control was supported by a NIMH Research Scientist Development Award. He is author of over 200 scientific articles which deal with basic physiological mechanisms of motivated behavior. He is co-editor of the multivolume “Handbook of the Hypothalamus” and of “Emotions and Psychopathology.” He is current editor of the series “Advances in Biological Psychiatry,” and his text on Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions just appeared from Oxford University Press. His general research orientation is that a detailed understanding of basic emotional systems at the neural level will highlight the basic sources of human values and the nature and genesis of emotional disorders in humans. He has helped develop the controversial opioid-antagonist therapy for autistic children based on his pre-clinical investigations into brain circuits which control social behaviors and is pursuing new therapies for the treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD).
Emotions and motivation
Aggression, addiction, social behaviors, brain reward and punishment
Autism and other neuro developmental disorders
Rufus worked as a clinical psychologist for twenty years in the NHS in England. He is currently working in Bolton in an inpatient setting and with his partner offering training and consultancy in holistic approaches to mental health and wellbeing. His interest in recovery from psychosis and other difficulties is rooted in his own experiences of psychosis when he was 18 and subsequent recovery journey. He is in the process of seeking a publisher for a book he has written about his life and work. He is interested in helping to create alternative understandings to medical labelling and the heavy handed use of psychiatric drugs, which is still the dominant approach today. He believes everybody can flourish, grow and develop if they get the right support network around them that they are willing to invest in. His work is part of a wider movements in mental health that includes the hearing voices movement, community development approaches and other self help and holistic health movements.
In his work with trauma patients, Dr. Rigg has observed how the brain is constantly reacting to sensory information, generating non-thinking reactions before our intelligent individual human brains are able to process the event and formulate a self-driven response.
John is a professional musician, who became a physician in his 40s.
Bessel van der Kolk on Trauma, Development and Healing
by David Bullard
Internationally acclaimed clinician, educator and researcher Bessel van der Kolk, shares some observations from his 40-year passion for understanding and treating people who have experienced trauma.
Talking About it Doesn’t Put it Behind You
David Bullard: Bessel, you are the medical director and founder of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute and professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine. You have been one of the most influential and outspoken clinicians, educators and researchers contributing to our understanding of trauma and its treatment.
I don’t remember reading a professional book in several intense sittings like I just did with your new book, The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. It’s been praised by everyone from Jon Kabat-Zinn and Francine Shapiro to Jack Kornfield, Peter Levine and Judith Herman, who called it a “masterpiece that combines the boundless curiosity of the scientist, the erudition of the scholar, and the passion of the truth teller.” Let me start with some basics: Could you say something about why talk therapy alone doesn’t work when treating trauma?
Bessel van der Kolk: From my vantage point as a researcher we know that the impact of trauma is upon the survival or animal part of the brain. That means that our automatic danger signals are disturbed, and we become hyper- or hypo-active: aroused or numbed out. We become like frightened animals. We cannot reason ourselves out of being frightened or upset.
Of course, talking can be very helpful in acknowledging the reality about what’s happened and how it’s affected you, but talking about it doesn’t put it behind you because it doesn’t go deep enough into the survival brain.
Gabor Mate ” When the body says no”.
Now in paperback, the bestselling exploration of the effects of the mind-body connection on stress and disease
Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there such a thing as a “”cancer personality””? Drawing on scientific research and the author’s decades of experience as a practicing physician, this book provides answers to these and other important questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.
Sane New World
Ruby Wax – comedian, writer and mental health campaigner – shows us how our minds can jeopardize our sanity.
With her own periods of depression and now a Masters from Oxford in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy to draw from, she explains how our busy, chattering, self-critical thoughts drive us to anxiety and stress.
If we are to break the cycle, we need to understand how our brains work, rewire our thinking and find calm in a frenetic world.
Helping you become the master, not the slave, of your mind, here is the manual to saner living.READ MORE