Co-regulation and our inbuilt need for safety and connection

  • Posted On: 22 July 2022
Co-regulation and our inbuilt need for safety and connection

As human beings we have a biological need to co-regulate with others and a longing to connect. 

This need is a must to survive when we are born but it doesn’t go away. 

When we come into contact with another person we automatically way up if we can move towards them or if we should move away from them (if we can). 


This is an ongoing conversation between nervous systems via a process called neuroception which doesn’t involve our brain. 

We mainly pick up these cues of danger or safety from the other persons face. 

We instinctively and automatically scan a persons eyes, smile and head movements. We listen to their tone of voice and volume.


We listen to and look out for altered heart and breathing rates.

And we also take in information from our environment again looking for cues of safety and danger.


During your birth, if there were cues of danger- if there was an environment or interaction with someone which didn’t feel supportive or which made you feel unsafe- this will have created a stress response in your body and nervous system.


Equally if cues of safety were missing: eye contact, a smile, a gentle voice or an environment which felt unsafe- this creates a sense danger too. 


‘Big or small’, fleeting or lasting, singular or multiple- cues of danger are powerful and individual to each and everyone of us.


They are also valid. You do not have to justify them. 


Trauma disrupts co-regulation and retunes the nervous system to be defensive. 


You have a bigger drive to survive and can pick up more cues of danger. 


This impacts your longing to connect and can leave you finding it hard to connect with yourself, bond with your baby and have meaningful and positive relationships with your partner and friends and family. 


 You are not choosing to feel or act this way. 


It’s an automatic response to your experience. Your body still perceives treat, feels unsafe and is keeping you alive.


I help you to co-regulate and to feel more like yourself again 🤍


When you are ready. I’m here.




*Credit to Stephen Porges & Deb Dana for this information & their incredible work in this area.

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