Polyvagal Theory: Fight/Flight/Freeze vs Social Engagement System
The Polyvagal Theory offers tremendous insight into what drives conflict. Based on hard neurobiology science, PVT describes behavior such as fight/flight/freeze (FFF) and Social Engagement System (SES). Simply put, PVT posits that all people, are always, to some degree always in either a FFF or SES state. PVT research establishes that when in an FFF state, hearing is physically impacted, as is access to the broadest range of information processing and relational strategies. The Integrative Client-Centered Model (ICCM) asserts that clients are typically in a FFF state when they first come in for help (and often throughout the counseling process), and holds that counselors can help clients make better decisions by helping them move from a FFF state to a SES state before choices have to be made. PVT is a rich and complex theory, and understanding it helps counselors in a variety of ways. Below are links to a series of five different videos of PVT founder Stephen Porges talking about his theory. The first is the longest, and perhaps the best of the batch.