Creating Cues of Safety & Danger (6/6)

Presenter: Deb Dana

In order to feel safe, we need context, choice, and connection.

Our bodies perceive danger when our choices are limited or we feel trapped. They also perceive danger when there are too many choices or we are given choices with a guide as to how to make good choices.

Think about where you are on the scale of wanting unlimited choices to needing limited choices.

Change is often a cue of danger.

We have to have good experiences of co-regulation before we can learn to effectively self-regulate. We need co-regulation throughout our lives.

I don’t ask my clients to do things I haven’t already done. I have to know my own nervous system before I work with other people’s nervous systems.

If you are used to self-regulating, you will try to get yourself to ventral all by yourself. You need someone else to co-regulate, either as a guide or a witness, so that you can learn that you don’t have to do it alone. Once you’ve been able to do that, then you can more effectively do it on your own or alone, when you no longer have to do it alone.

What welcomes you or warns you in my environment? In your environment? What in your space helps you feel safe?

Experiment with proximity, eye gaze, prosody, words, phrases, vocal bursts. Does this help you feel here and welcomed? Or does this take you into unease and out of feeling safe here with me?

What does my nervous system need in this moment to be anchored in ventral vagal safety & regulation?

Do you need me to change something about the way that I am speaking? My volume? Are there any particular words that feel welcoming or warning?

Head here to learn more about co-regulating and how I co-regulate during therapy sessions.

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