Jan began her career as social worker and psychotherapist 40 years ago. She began listening with non-pathologizing ears and heard shocking stories of sexual torture, and responses that confused her.
Women were cutting themselves, bingeing and purging huge quantities of food, and abusing drugs and alcohol. As she listened she learned that somehow these self-harming behaviors were “helping” individuals to escape intolerable emotional states. They were shifting their mood from flooding anxiety to numbing deadness, or vice versa.
Because these behaviors were so helpful they were compulsively repeated and often became addictions.
Jan’s book Treating Trauma and Addiction with The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model: A Bottom Up Approach is the result of rethinking the Felt Sense Experience Model that she wrote about in her book, Emerging Practice in Focusing- Oriented Psychotherapy, 2014. Jan’s integrated the Polyvagal lens Theory to create a more sophisticated way of understanding emotional regulation, where addictive behaviour is an embodied response to emotional dysregulation.
Links In This Episode
The Primacy of Human Presence, by Eugene Gendlin. A PDF download.
The Courage to Heal, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis