Becoming Calmer and More Confident
Emotional Dysregulation Upsets the Applecart
It is an inability to manage the intensity and duration of negative emotions and has long been recognised as a central symptom of trauma disorders.
If a child or adult is struggling with emotion regulation, an upsetting situation will bring about strongly felt emotions that are difficult to recover from. The effects of these prolonged negative emotional periods may be physically, emotionally, and behaviourally intense. Emotional dysregulation can lead to behavioural problems and can interfere with a person's social interactions and relationships at home, school, or place of employment. Many adults suffering from emotional dysregulation may turn to alcohol or drugs to find relief from emotional upset and stress. This adds additional challenges to family and work relationships, and may take a severe toll on physical health.
Signs of Emotional Dysregulation
EXPRESSIONS OF NON-COPING MECHANISMS TO STRESS AND CHALLENGING SITUATIONS
- sudden angry outbursts or tantrums
- exaggerated crying fits or meltdowns
- creating chaos often leading to or resulting in conflict
- aggression towards self or others
- accusatory statements & extensive grudge-holding
- passive-aggressive behaviour
- impulsive and/or risky behaviour
- strained interpersonal relationships
- destroying or throwing objects
- severe conflict avoidance
- wild mood swings
Why don’t we all just have effective emotional regulation?
It becomes a vicious cycle in life. It is important to understand that children are not born with emotional regulation capabilities. An infant is biologically immature and physically incapable of soothing himself during times of upset.
A traumatised parent struggling with PTSD or C-PTSD who is unable to control their own emotions is unlikely to have the ability to help their own children. They in turn, do not have the opportunity to learn valuable emotional regulation skills while growing up.
There is robust research evidence linking early childhood interpersonal trauma and emotional dysregulation. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) often result from child maltreatment.
Calming Emotions with the Tomatis® Method
Emotional blockages can prevent people from listening. Good listeners are good learners, and good communicators are emotionally balanced.
Sensory stimulation energizes our brain, and in turn, it brings relaxation. It may be impaired when the brain triggers a protective mechanism, especially after a traumatic event or "emotional shock" like PTSD, which could worsen the emotional dysregulation or borderline personality disorder.
The ear is our most important sensory organ relaying messages from our external environment and our bodies to our brain. Nine pairs of cranial nerves connect the ear to various parts of the brain. The cochlea (inner ear) stimulates the brain through high frequency sounds. Thus, when functioning properly, more than 80% of the stimulation our brain receives comes from our ears. The Tomatis® Method uses Mozart’s music, filtered for specific purposes to stimulate our brain.
The ear is directly connected to the Vagus Nerve, and through this connection, the ear is connected to the body including the heart (‘heart-brain’) and to the gut (‘gut-brain’). Thus, just as the ear can stimulate the brain through sensory messages to energise it, through the Vagus Nerve it helps us to ‘digest our stress’ and relax.
The Tomatis® Method uses Gregorian Chant which has a powerful impact on the Vagus Nerve, to physically promote deep relaxation.
Both types of music are used in the Tomatis® Method due to their different effects on the muscles of the body: Mozart stimulates the extensor muscles and Gregorian Chant acts on flexor muscles, helping the body to relax.
As a listening intervention, the Tomatis® Method acts on the limbic system and prefrontal cortex to intervene in the regulation of emotions, and emotional disorders related to depression and anxiety. As a result, Tomatis® Method will also have a direct effect on stress regulation and reduction.