Individual Counseling Incorporating Polyvagal Theory For Healing Of Complex PTSD
Individual counseling is available at Take Charge, Inc. that incorporates polyvagal theory for the healing of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, or C-PTSD. Many people who suffer the ongoing effects of childhood or other prolonged trauma experience hypervigilance, or constantly looking out for danger as though they are unsafe at all times. Polyvagal theory explains this response as well as offering a few ways to help survivors with C-PTSD heal.
What Is Polyvagal Theory?
Polyvagal theory highlights the evolutionary development of two systems: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system which is overseen by the vagus nerve. Each has an important role in how the body reacts before, during, and after a stressful or traumatic event.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight, flight, or freeze response. In the fight or flight response, it speeds up the heartbeat and blood pressure and redirects blood from the brain to prepare the muscles to run toward or away. When there is no way to escape, the parasympathetic nervous system causes the person to freeze or collapse, which are both forms of dissociation.
The role of the parasympathetic nervous system is to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, calming the body down after a traumatic event. The vagus nerve is the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for a wide array of critical bodily functions. The vagus nerve plays a role in the control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate.
When the sympathetic nervous system becomes hyper-aroused, it damages the survivor’s ability to calm themselves after being triggered, even by something that bears no obvious resemblance to the danger that caused the damage. Additionally, if the parasympathetic system does not perform optimally, blood pressure can drop suddenly leading to fainting and other physical issues.
Neuroplasticity, Polyvagal Theory, and Individual Counseling
When someone receives repeated stimulation of their nervous systems from abuse or trauma, especially in childhood, their brains alter to include hypervigilance.
Humans, however, have a unique ability to change the structure of our brains. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience.
Polyvagal theory suggests that individual counseling is invaluable to teach the vagus nerve to calm down. It does this by the survivor learning to use experiences in to calm their hypervigilance.
Healing From Trauma Through Therapy
Healing from trauma takes a great deal of time and work in individual counseling with a trained mental health professional. For a person to heal from C-PTSD, a good therapeutic alliance built on trust and mutual respect is crucial. Knowing that their counselor is safe and will not abandon them is one of the most basic needs for someone who has suffered childhood trauma.
For more information about individual counseling and trauma-informed therapy in Johnson County, KS, call Take Charge, Inc. at (913) 239-8255. To schedule an appointment, click here.
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