Polyvagal therapy, derived from Polyvagal theory, is a therapeutic approach that leverages our understanding of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to facilitate healing and self-regulation. This therapy, pioneered by Dr. Stephen Porges, aims to address the impacts of stress, trauma, and social interactions on our nervous system. It provides strategies and interventions to help individuals regulate their ANS responses, fostering safety, connection, and resilience in challenging circumstances.
At the core of Polyvagal theory are three interconnected components of the ANS: the ventral vagal complex, sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and dorsal vagal complex. These components work together to shape our responses to different situations and stimuli.
To illustrate the hierarchy of ANS states, Polyvagal theory employs a metaphorical ladder. This ladder represents the various physiological and psychological responses that occur in different states of the autonomic nervous system.