Brainspotting: brain-body communication

This article describes how our body communicates with our brains and how what we feel alters what we see and hear. The three states of the “polyvagal ladder” that we discuss in sessions – top of the ladder (calm and connected), middle of the ladder (fight or flight), and bottom of the ladder (defeated, dissociated, or frozen) – dictate how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

“The vagus nerve is one of the pathways through which the body and brain talk to each other in an unconscious conversation. Much of this conversation is about how we are relating to others.”

“Maybe you walk into a social situation that feels welcoming. Green light. Your brain and body get prepared for a friendly conversation. But maybe the person in front of you feels threatening. Yellow light. You go into fight-or-flight mode. Your body instantly changes. Your ear, for example, adjusts to hear high and low frequencies — a scream or a growl — rather than midrange frequencies, human speech. Or maybe the threat feels like a matter of life and death. Red light. Your brain and body begin to shut down.