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PodcastPolyvagal Theory

Episode 9 – Kim Barthel – Relationships matter in developing resilience.

Today it is my great pleasure to be speaking with Kim Barthel, Occupational Therapist, from Canada. Kim is a much-loved teacher, speaker and mentor to many. Kim has a gift for connecting diverse ideas, neuroscience and people in the service of supporting resiliency and health worldwide. Kim weaves the neurobiology of interpersonal relationships with sensory-motor neural systems to widen our understanding of the human spirit and healing. Kim has extensive experience working with individuals and communities across multiple settings such as First Nations People, children and adults who have experienced trauma, children on the autism spectrum and with sensory processing difficulties. She has worked with people who have experienced natural disasters, who live in war zones, and refugee camps.

In this interview, Kim shares her knowledge of the brain-body connection in helping people with trauma. That, when we are in a defensive state the access to our cortex, the “thinking” brain for self-talk, reasoning and listening, is inhibited or offline impacting impulsive or reactive responses but also impacting the ability to learn. Something many kids may be struggling with right now with schooling shifting to online platforms. 

Helping loved ones, friends, clients and our society overall, starts with working on ourselves. Porges speaks about Neuroception, the subconscious cues of safety we send and receive. The micro-movements in body language, facial gesture and vocal inflection all indicate what state our nervous system is in…..parasympathetic-calm or sympathetic- activated. Each Nervous system impacts each other. Kim explains that creating change starts with ourselves.

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