A Polyvagal Lens on Trauma-Informed Care in Post-Secondary Education

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Okun, Karen
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Post-secondary educational institutions are in a unique position to remove the separation barriers of the trauma survivor's recovery process between their clinical care and their educational experience. Adopting a Polyvagal lens (Porges 1999, 2011, 2011) as a platform for creating a shift in the culture of trauma-informed care supports a unified perspective on trauma allowing for a shared language and accountability. Stephen Porges' (2022) science of safety guides a view of the autonomic nervous system which allows for an understanding of both the response to and the recovery from trauma in such a way that leaves hope for the reshaping of the nervous system as part of the healing process. Research on the roles of safety and co-regulation as mechanisms in the trauma recovery process suggests students might benefit from experiencing these directly in the classroom as a means of supporting optimal learning. Introducing a means for a shift in the culture of trauma-informed care such as a multi-tiered or whole-school approach supports the unique position of the post-secondary institution in providing implicit care within the collective pedagogy as opposed to on the periphery of the student's education.
polyvagal , trauma-informed care , post-secondary education , co-regulation , neurobiological approach , safety , whole-school approach , unified accountability
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