The impact of touch on emotion regulation development and in psychotherapy

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Touch plays a powerful role in human development and emotional regulation. Despite this fact it is not used effectively in therapy. This talk explores current research into the biological and psychological effects of touch and how to use touch to increase emotional regulation skills.

Transcript of The impact of touch on emotion regulation development and in psychotherapy

  • The Neurobiology of Touch and Trauma Somatic Experiencing from Dysregulation to Coherence Mike Changaris, Psy. D. This work is copy written under the creative commons attribution license you may use this work as a whole or adapt it as long as you site this author as the source.
  • A Mothers Touch Kangaroo care Kangaroo care An infant is held skin-to-skin to their mother or father, generating heat for the newborn much like a baby kangaroo receives in its mothers pouch. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/38988444/ns/today-parenting Wed resigned ourselves to the fact we were going to lose him; we were just trying to make the most of those last precious moments. We thought, What a blessing, we get to see his eyes before he passes away, Kate said. But they stayed open!
  • Embodied Arrival Invitation to orient... To room, To others, To skin contact with chair Top Down and Bottom Up The Brain Story: Insula, Anterior Cyngulet, and the Orbital Frontal Cortex Mindful Self Massage
  • Overview Begin to understand the role of touch in the communication of emotion and in affect regulation. Understand key brain regions involved in trauma, touch, pain and emotion regulation. Review some of the recent literature on the psychophysiological impacts of touch treatments. Recognize affect dysregulation and key neural structures involved. Begin to understand how to incorporate touch treatment in to a treatment plan.
  • Who we are is created through touch
  • Touch is Communication Touch is one of the most understudied senses, yet it can be a profound communicator of emotion. Recent studies have found that people can identify multiple emotions through physical touch such as anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy via touch with a high degree of accuracy. (Hertenstein, Holmes, McCullough, & Keltner, 2009) People can decode emotional information communicated by touch by simply watching touch on a film. (Hertenstein, Holmes, McCullough, & Keltner, 2009; Keysers, Wicker, Gazzola, Anton, Fogassi & Gallese, 2004)
  • Touch Interventions for Trauma Touch can be used in several ways to reduce the symptoms of trauma. 1. To re-establish the regulation of the autonomic nervous system. 2. To desensitize individuals to trauma triggers. 3. To increase the ability to attend to interceptive cues from the body. 4. To reduce fight/flight activation 5. Support the growth of emotion regulation centers in the brain.
  • Affect Regulation Four Main Types of Affect Regulation. Cognitive regulation is deciding to use an affect regulation skill. Co-regulation the regulation through the interaction with another person or animal. Auto-regulation the internalized regulation or automatic regulation processes. Self-Regulation the integration of the above types of affect regulation.
  • Cognitive Regulation and Touch Any touch based skill some one uses consciously to regulate their emotional response. Lineahan: Soothing in the 5 senses. (dbtselfhelp.com) For Example: Placing ones hand on ones heart Tapping Standing in a warm shower Massaging ones feet/ self massage. Taking a bath Progressive muscle relaxation. Chi Gung Slapping
  • Co-regulation Regulation and Touch Co-regulation is regulation of emotions through the interaction with another person or animal. Co-regulation through indirect mirroring. Requires the ability of the individual to tolerate, mirror and contain the affective state of the other. Sub-cortical dialog of neuroception Individuals w/ Antisocial Personality lack this ability to modulate w/ another. (Research on pupil dilation). Listening w/ the hands Co-regulation provided through conscious intervention. Placing of a hand on the back of some one upset. Increasing ones positive affect and then contacting the other. Client and therapist negotiating where contact would feel supportive and providing that contact.
  • Auto-regulation and Touch Auto-regulation is the internalized pattern of affect regulation. Automatic Thoughts, Schemas and Cognition Patterns of cognition, self talk, and beliefs Situational triggers Interaction between cognitive and emotional systems Automatic Emotions: Loops of emotions Cingulet Gyrus: Can replay emotional events of the past as if they are happening and plays a role in depression. Daniel Hughes Story of Katie RIGs Representation of interactions generalized.
  • Self-Regulation and Touch Self-Regulation is the integration of auto-regulation, patterns of co-regulation, and ones cognitive regulation skills. As a person becomes more integrated these types of affect regulation work together to allow the individual to tolerate a range of stressors, different emotions and even exceeding their current affective auto-regulation capasity with comfort.
  • Touching Emotions 1. Brake up into dyads 2. Decide who will be the receiver first. 3. The partners let each other know where they feel safe receiving touch (e.g. shoulders, upper back etc.). 4. Receiver sits in a chair and chooses an emotion they will evoke through (memory of emotion, evoking the felt experience in the body etc.). 5. Negotiate contact 6. Giver: Attempt to listen with the hands and see if they can identify the emotion being communicated. 7. Then switch roles. 8. Share in dyads. Share in larger group.
  • Instructions 1. Choose partner. 2. Choose who gives touch first. 3. Negotiate contact (be safe). 4. Receiver: Choose emotion. 5. Giver: Listens with hands to attempt to identify the emotion.
  • Neurobiology of Affect Regulation HPA-Axis and Thalamus Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal-axis (HPA-- axis): Is made up of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal cortex. Its main task is to mobilize a powerful en ergetic defense when a person is threatened and to return to rest when the threat is gone. The HPA-- axis triggers cortisol secretion. Touch based interventions co uld help restore regulation to this system. Touch treatment been shown to reduce cortisol levels. Thalamus: Is a relay station for the brain. A damaged thalamus can result in a coma. Sensory information from touch reaches the cortex th rough connections in the thalamus It plays a role in modul ating levels of arousal. The thalamus may be the seat of human consciousness.
  • Neurobiology of Affect Regulation HPA-Axis and Thalamus Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal-axis (HPA-- axis): Is made up of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal cortex. Its main task is to mobilize a powerful en ergetic defense when a person is threatened and to return to rest when the threat is gone. The HPA-- axis triggers cortisol secretion. Touch based interventions co uld help restore regulation to this system. Touch treatment been shown to reduce cortisol levels. Thalamus: Is a relay station for the brain. A damaged thalamus can result in a coma. Sensory information from touch reaches the cortex th rough connections in the thalamus It plays a role in modul ating levels of arousal. The thalamus may be the seat of human consciousness.
  • Neurobiology of Affect Regulation Hippocampus The hippocampus Is found in the medial temporal lobe. The three major theories used to explain hippocampus f unctioning are that the hippocampus is involved in: beh avioral inhibition, declarative memory consolidation, and sense of place. In those with PTSD hippocampus declines have been noted. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), one study found a 26% decline compared with controls. No studies were found linking hippocampal growth with touch therapies. However, touch reduces cortisol production and high levels of cortisol. Hippocampal declines can be reduced through reregulatio n of cortisol.
  • Neurobiology of Affect Regulation Hippocampus The hippocampus Is found in the medial temporal lobe. The three major theories used to explain hippocampus f unctioning are that the hippocampus is involved in: beh avioral inhibition, declarative memory consolidation, and sense of place. In those with PTSD hippocampus declines have been noted. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), one study found a 26% decline compared with controls. No studies were found linking hippocampal growth with touch therapies. However, touch reduces cortisol production and high levels of cortisol. Hippocampal declines can be reduced through reregulatio n of cortisol.
  • Neurobiology of Affect Regulation The Insula The insula is a part of the limbic cortex. The insula has been postulated to be involved in the felt experience of introceptive cues from the body, viscera, appetit e, and addiction and plays a role in the integration of body se nsation of the primary emotions (such as anger, sadness, happiness, and disgust). It has connections with the amygdala and the orbital frontal cortex through conne