mental health, therapy, counseling and psychology terms glossary

What is the Polyvagal Theory?

The Polyvagal Theory provides a framework for understanding the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and its role in regulating social behavior, emotions, and physiological responses.

What is the Autonomic Nervous System?

The ANS is a part of our peripheral nervous system that regulates involuntary physiologic processes including things like our heart rate, respiration, digestion, sexual arousal, and even sneezing, coughing, and swallowing.

The Polyvagal Theory suggests that the ANS is not simply a system for regulating internal bodily functions, but also plays a crucial role in shaping social behavior and emotional experiences.

How is the Polyvagal Theory Used to in Trauma-Focused Treatment?

This theory is great for use in trauma-informed care as it can help clients understand how past traumatic experiences may have dysregulated their nervous system and impacted their ability to engage in relationships and self-care.

Would you like to discuss more about trauma-informed therapy with one of our Scottsdale therapists?