The Polyvagal Theory: A new perspective on the relation between the nervous system and behaviour

The Polyvagal Theory: A new perspective on the relation between the nervous system and behaviour

2008-10-01 00:00:00

What if many of your troubles could be explained by an automatic reaction in your body to what’s happening around you? what if an understanding of several mental and emotional disorders, ranging from autism to panic attacks, lay in a new theoretical approach of how the nervous system integrates and regulates bodily and psychological processes?

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D., thinks it could be so. Porges, professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and director for that institution’s Brain-Body Center, has spent much of his life searching for clues to the way the brain operates, and has developed what he has termed Polyvagal Theory.

The Polyvagal Theory is a study of the evolution of the human nervous system and the origins of brain structures, and it assumes that more of our social behavious and emotional disorders and biological – that is, they are ‘hard wired’ into us – than we usually think. Based on the theory, Porges and his colleagues have developed treatment techniques that can help people communicate better and relate beter to others.
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