The Wisdom of the Subcortical Brain

Mario C. Salvador


This article discusses how early experiences shaped in the deepest neural networks become organizational schemas that colour our experiences during the lifespan. These basic organizational schemas inform the many ways clients relate with others through microphysiological reactions, gestures and physiological patterns. These patterns and reactions provide windows into early unconscious experiences (implicit memories), which are essential to explore in therapy.  The importance of the therapeutic relationship is also discussed in terms of Porges’ polyvagal theory, and how this relationship creates a safe environment to awaken the social engagement system and activate the neural circuits of healing, restoration and growth.


polyvagal theory; implicit memories; trauma treatment; therapeutic relationship; emotional regulation

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