Discovering Self in Relationship
Connection is at the core of all human experience. We all share the need to be seen and understood. We long to belong and to experience ourselves within the context of loving, nurturing relationships. Sadly, childhood neglect or abuse betrays our trust in others and can impair our ability to form healthy relationships as adults. A history of trauma can also contribute to ongoing experiences of dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is the part of your nervous system that manages how you respond to stress and allows you to relax in response to environmental cues.
Ongoing emotional dysregulation tends to interfere with our capacity for intimacy, parenting, or meaningful friendships. The concept of co-regulation, also called mutual regulation or social affect regulation, can be defined as the way in which one person’s autonomic nervous system sensitively interacts with another person’s autonomic nervous system in a way that facilitates greater emotional balance and physical health. Simply put, we humans are deeply interconnected with each other and influence each other in a multitude of ways.
“Through a healthy therapeutic relationship, you have opportunities to attend to the relational wounds from your childhood. Co-regulation in psychotherapy provides opportunities for you to have new, socially learned experiences of connection, attunement, acceptance, and compassion. Through somatic psychology we can fine-tune this exchange to find the sweet spot where our deepest healing resides.”
-Dr. Arielle Schwartz