From Chaos to Calm – Part 1: Creating a Container


In my last post, I talked about how increased regulation in my nervous system was a key factor in some really big changes for me. I mentioned that it helped me stop relying on sugar, but it also was part of reducing fatigue, anxiety and depression.

How does that happen? Here’s how I work with clients.

Step One: We build a container.

beaker 2

It is built from THREE things:

  1. The Therapeutic Alliance between me and my client.
  2. Skills YOU learn. Coaching I give to my client about how their nervous system works, so that they can help stabilize symptoms outside of our sessions. It’s a “top-down” approach; a sort of cognitive-behavioral experience of stress reduction, but with the body’s stress response as a focus.neon sign
  3. “Bottom-up” stabilization. In simple terms, I work directly with a client’s nervous system to show it how to get to a settled state. Then I direct the client to notice how it feels, so it gets reinforced. There are a lot of different ways this can be done. I’ve found the most effective for me is through very specialized touch work.

The top-down and bottom-up strategies join forces to reduce inner chaos and calm symptoms.

bottom up

Your awareness and curiosity help you pay attention to the stress signals from your body. When you respond in a way that supports your nervous system to calm down, you’re creating a great habit for keeping stress from getting out of control.

found itWhen calm happens more frequently, your system learns to get there on its own more often, and might not need to rely on your conscious effort to get there!

We work on the container until your system tells us it’s ready to move on to its next phase:


Stay tuned for part 2 on reintegration coming soon, and in the meantime, keep using all the skills you’ve learned for relaxation, but this time, take just a moment and notice what in your body feels relaxed. Enjoy it if it’s pleasant.

Here’s a guided relaxation you might like to try.

Let me know how it goes!

For more information on my work, go to

About Brandy V

Brandy is a trauma therapist who specializes in the physiological experience of stress.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, Healing, PTSD, self-regulation, trauma recovery and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to From Chaos to Calm – Part 1: Creating a Container

  1. Pingback: Part 2: From Calm to Clarity – Reintegration | You Have it in you to heal

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