I really enjoy Steven Porges’ wonderful contributions from the field of neuro-science. His studies of our nervous system have helped to deepen the scientific and therapeutic understanding of what actually happens between people. What he describes is a process common to all mammals, co-regulation, where being together allows us to calm down and assess danger/safety by perceiving (or Neuroception) another’s nervous state. In this time of physical distancing and isolation, we have increased need for contact. By contrast, texting, emailing and “social”media remove the vital elements of vocal tone and facial expression which have evolved over time to help us sense what each other feels, wants, needs, fears etc.
Thanks once again to Serge Prengel’s Relational Implicit podcast for a clear and timely conversation.
Personally I prefer the term physical distancing because we need to work hard retain the social contact, as Porges says. We need to keep a safe distance to prevent possible viral transmission, but we need to maintain contact to reduce unnecessary anxiety and counter the feeling of isolation. So we talk, we make jokes, send love,… I heard of people dressing as animals and dancing outside their neighbours window on a child’s birthday…we do what we can to make contact and keep connected.
To this end I am seeing clients online wherever possible, and using the various video/phone calling methods to meet and make contact with people.