course »Fight/ Flight/ Freeze: Understanding the Continuum of Threat Responses in Working with System-Involved Youth

Date: 11/7/2017, 9:00 am—4:30 pm
County: Alameda County
CEUs: Yes
Location: Berkeley
Sponsor: A Better Way, Inc.
Phone: 510-601-0203
How come some young people respond to threat by getting aggressive, whereas others totally shut down, and others try to get away? Stephen Porges landmark Polyvagal Theory may well be the most important revisioning of our understanding of the autonomic nervous system that has emerged in the last 50 years. It provides a new map of the way that the mammalian nervous system regulates social engagement and threat states, including fight/ flight and freeze states. It provides an elegant description of the range of behaviors that are available to us depending on how safe or unsafe we feel. Porges ground-breaking insights involve the recognition of a parasympathetic nervous system with not one, but two distinct branches: one recently evolved, a social engagement nervous system that emerges in mammals and provides fine- tuning regulation of the heart and supports calm affective states, and one ancient, a dorsal vagal system of extreme energy conservation, that is activated as a system of last resort in perceived or actual life threat. The theory can give us insight into a broad range of client behavior, and has profound clinical implications, suggesting that we tailor our interventions to the current state of the client’s nervous system for maximum benefit. In this training we’ll examine the theory itself, what it implies about how we intervene, and how to intervene more skillfully.