“When another person gets dysregulated, we are designed to feel the dysregulation too! Think of it like your nervous system and their nervous system are saying “hello” to each other. We can partly thank our mirror neuron system for this phenomenon. When we see someone experiencing emotions, we actually imagine having the same experience. The wisdom in this is that it supports our ability to attune and have empathy. It also gives us information about what might be going on for the other person. One of the other reasons we get dysregulated is because our brains are constantly scanning our environment for safety clues and whether or not there is a challenge to overcome.” (Dion, L., 2022)
Once a youth learns that you are honest about your emotions and willing to regulate yourself when with them, they are much more willing to join in or experiment with it themselves. Co-regulation becomes an incredibly useful touchpoint when a youth is distressed. “Yikes, you seem really frustrated, I can feel it, let’s do some breaths together and see if it helps.”
For more information check out some of Lisa Dion‘s podcast and YouTube videos; she started Synergistic Play Therapy, which draws on neuroscience, neurosequential work, play therapy, and psychotherapy.