When life threatens us with losses, we are first faced with acute threats to immediate well-being and then with the ongoing stresses of dealing with the changes we must make and adjust to. The October fires in Sonoma County are a case in point. The ability to respond effectively to the immediate and long-term problems matters for the future and can be threatened by the impacts of stress on the functioning of individuals and families.
What determines how well anyone does when challenged and how do helping professionals assist people to function up in the face of acute and chronic stresses?
Programs in Bowen Theory is presenting an early spring meeting this year on Functioning Up and how levels of functioning and the ability to set one’s own course and self-regulate, is supported and undermined by the mind, the body and one’s relationships.
From psychology and family systems theory, here are some observations about functioning level and self-regulation:
- Self- regulation is a capacity that has limits.
- It is not equally distributed between people.
- It has a lot of impact on life course and adaptiveness.
- Its level varies depending on situational demands on the individual.
- When the situation increases the individual’s cognitive load, the individual is more reactive to and behavior is driven more by the situation than personal goals.
- When the family system increases the emotional load on members, emotional reactivity increases to the family system and other emotional stimuli, and behavior is driven more by emotional reactivity than by personal goals.
- When cognitive and emotional challenge overloads the individual, stress physiology is activated.
- If stress is met with self-regulation it can be moderated.
- But if stress physiology drives psychology and behavior, chronic decrements in self-regulatory capacity can result.
- Shifts in functioning level result either in more self-regulation (functioning up) or more regulation by the family system.
- Chronic regulation by the emotional system is a major risk factor for dysfunction and symptoms.
Join us on Saturday March 3, 2018 at the Courtyard Santa Rosa. See the conference information page for information on speakers, registration, earning six CE credits, and lodging.