Multiple areas of research, from genetics and epigenetics to neuroscience and neuroimmuno-endocrinology, have demonstrated the complex interconnections that take place between our brain, and body. We now find ourselves thinking in terms of complex, self-organizing systems that give rise to our experiences. This article starts with a simplified overview of recent developments in the scientific field of neuroplasticity, in which the vagus nerve plays an essential role. The vagus nerve is as well involved in stress regulation (the heart-brain connection) as well as in the communication with the body (brain-gut axis). The polyvagal theory explains the unique role of the vagus nerve in early chronic traumatization. I conclude this article with a few cautionary points for when attempting to integrate these new scientific findings into clinical treatment of clients with adverse childhood experiences.
The tPeP (Journal Person-centered experiential Psychotherapy) is the scientific journal for Dutch and Flemish psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, that work from, or are interested in a client-centered perspective.