- The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) – calms us down to rest, digest, sleep, and heal, or shuts us way down in freeze, or dissociation, to cope with overwhelming trauma. It evolved first, with the reptilian brain.
- The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) – revs us up to meet the demands of daily life, or revs us way up to cope with survival threat. It evolved with the mammalian brain.
- The Social Nervous System (Soc.NS), (Porges, 1995) – fine-tunes our system, adjusting up or down for responsive communication. It evolved with the human brain.
Body Up! Co-Regulation – Connecting nervous system to nervous system with another person (or mammal), in a way that helps both of you regulate your own nervous systems. It usually depends on embodiment and attunement with yourself and the other.
Completion (Levine & Poole Heller, 1997) – Finishing interrupted activation patterns that got trapped in the nervous system during trauma. Completion builds resiliency.
Co-Regulation – Using our connection with each other to shift emotional gears, or to stay steady in challenging situations. It is cooperative, and two way. Like cooperation, co-regulation is interactive, by definition. Together, we are each regulating our own nervous system. It is a way we can support another person while benefitting rather than depleting ourselves. Co-regulation means good for you, and good for me, too.
- Voluntary Nervous System (VNS) – The neural networks that allow us to move and sense at will. It includes muscles like biceps and pectorals and sensory organs like eyes and skin.
- Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – The neural networks that calm or freeze us down, rev us up, or fine-tune us for communication. This involuntary part of our nervous system regulates heart and breath rate, sleep, digestion, temperature, blood pressure, immunity, energy levels and more.