Expanding the 'Window of Tolerance'

The term ‘Window of Tolerance’ was coined by Dr Dan Seigel and is now used to understand the brains/bodies reaction and especially following trauma. The model suggests once in the window of tolerance, that we have a threshold for hyper-arousal/hypo-arousal levels which allows for the ups and downs of human emotions. We may encounter times of feeling angry, pain, anxiety but are generally able to use tactics to keep us in the window. If we track these reactions it will give us the ability to shift focus and maintain a healthy range.

Window of Tolerance ebb and flow.

There are ways in which each of us can build resilience so that our window opens more and in turn helps us tolerate more before going into a hyper/hypo vigilant state. Mindfulness is a method which is aimed at staying in the here and now. In staying in the present, it helps us keep past traumas at bay. Ways in which we can practice mindfulness are being present within your body, mindful eating, taking in surroundings and breathing exercises. Yoga and meditation can help with breathing correctly and keeping yourself centred in the moment. Reflection on the window of tolerance will enable us to be more mindful and recognise how we are feeling within our windows and this will help with gaining self-regulation skills to get back inside our window.

Therapy can help in broadening the window of tolerance by learning what it is that triggers you and in being aware of triggers can help you come up with new coping strategies. There are numerous forms of therapy that can help with this and they include psychodynamic counselling, CBT, and expressive arts therapy. If you would like more information on psychodynamic counselling, please don’t hesitate in contacting us at Therapeutic Counselling and speaking to Angela Jenkins an accredited registered member of the BACP on 01209718246/07974845549.

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