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22 Comments

  1. Dart Cree, Teacher, CA says

    I agree almost totally with this one. But there is a hypo-freeze state too. This is the lower energy version. The subject is still alert, but doesn’t have the instant response capability. I do this lots when I’m in a crowd. I am calm as a clam, but I am very aware where all the exits are. I’m continuously watching, doing threat assessments. But I am NOT hyper. Heart rate is normal to slightly sub normal (about 60) breathing is a bit deeper and faster than normal. Emotionally I’m somewhat hypo, low level of Window of Tolerance. Verbally I’m quiet. I don’t want to be distracted by conversation.

    The animal analog of this is a german shepherd or border collie on guard duty.

  2. Amanda Planchard, Social Work, Atlanta, GA, USA says

    is tonic immobility freeze or shut down or a combination? what about when dissociation is involved? can you freeze and dissociate or is it always with shutdown?

  3. Shreeya Khanal, Coach, NP says

    Does depression mean one’s nervous system is in a state of shutdown?

    • Eve Cheshier, Other, Omaha, NE, USA says

      Hey right up there in this paragraph it says it’s free to watch but when I go there it wants a credit card number. That’s not free

  4. Monique Ravesloot, Coach, Greenville, SC, SC, USA says

    Could you please share your sources for the dynorphin release in relationship to the disassociation in case of shutdown? I just experienced this after massive bloodloss in the hospital, and I would like to understand the mechanism better. Mine was not brought on by a mental panic state, but a physical state of lack of blood volume, and was almost instantly reversed by blood transfusions and saline IV’s.
    Thank you.

  5. David Wu, Health Education, CA says

    what are the sources/references for this distinction? And how do you go about treating them (differently)?

  6. Anonymous, Other, AbingtonAbington , MA, USA says

    How does this apply to a person with the condition POTS autonomic nervous system disorder? Is it possible that these methods might help a person with this health condition stabilize themselves ? I have gastroparesis that looks like it might be caused from that . I want to do whatever I can to improve my situation. I’d like to help others with what I have learned .
    Thank You , Elaine

    • Kylee Feist, Other, Fresno, CA, USA says

      I was wondering this EXACT same thing!!

  7. Steven s, Another Field, Saint Louis, MO, USA says

    I have only recently seen this type of understanding, although I have described my experience as “shutdown since I was a kid”.

    Developmentally I lost somethings that I am always trying to find within myself so that I can function in life.

    This has been exhausting and easy to be discouraged and go into shutdown as my normal mode of existence.

    At 60 yo feel like I need a good parent to help me develop.

    • E C, Another Field, Omaha, NE, USA says

      Almost lifetime shut down here too at least that’s my nervous systems preferred way of existing and I am sick and tired of it

  8. Anne Alvarez, Psychotherapy, GB says

    I am so glad to hear you describing this shutdown state.I have written about reclamation and vitalization as a means of calling someone gently into contact when they have fallen into `undrawn’ as opposed to withdrawn states. That is, gone beyond despair and given up. Described in my two books, Live Company
    and The Thinking Heart. Yours, Anne Alvarez
    Also in Alvarez and Reid ( eds) Autism and Personality.

  9. Leela Cheary, Another Field, AU says

    I’m someone who experiences both of these.
    The only thing that moves me through and out has been jokes.
    Seriously.
    A good YouTube of funny animals or fart jokes do wonders.
    Though avoiding these overwhelm responses in the first place, is ideal… they are truly exhausting.
    But when you can’t…
    Make them laugh.

  10. aaron thomas, Health Education, MX says

    tight muscles and hyper aroused…sounds more like sympathetic dominance to me, whereas equal amount of PNS and SNS is like before a big game or race….focus….excited…calm…relaxed…the spring is getting loaded up ready to pounce

  11. Lera Welch, Counseling, Santa Rosa, CA, USA says

    how does this apply to individuals who are intreverted intuitive type of personality vs. extraverted type and all the other types that Dr. Carl Jung describes in his psychoanalytic work? How does the unconscious come in to this work in dreams and images that can be a big part in working with the client.
    I am a Jungian life coach with a degree in psychology and stress management profiler. I am having hard time wondering how you assess the personality type along with the trauma experience. I find this a very crucial part in working with clients.

  12. Pala Leone, Coach, CA says

    I have experienced a freeze as literally frozen ankles up to mid-leg, while quite body aware. It is very hard to warm up after experiencing that manifestation. I thought this was a dysregulated freeze due to overstimulation, but according to your graphic, it appears as a shutdown/collapse?

    For me, it is a clue that I need to self-regulate actively like doing Feldenkrais.

    • J Johnston, Coach, Albuquerque, NM, USA says

      I also experience shutdown primarily as an overwhelming feeling of cold that comes about suddenly and completely independent of the external temperature. (Sometimes that cold feeling is my only clue that anything is happening – a clear sign of dissociation.) According to my Fitbit it is accompanied by a substantial drop in heart rate, consistent with hypo- rather than hyperarousal. So even though the immediate sensation is of freezing, the correct categorization is shutdown.

  13. Karen Landrum, Counseling, Richmond, VA, USA says

    Would the shut down/collapse response be considered dissociation? Also, could a freeze or flight response escalate to a shut down response, if the client continues to experience stress? I’m thinking of a client who described becoming very anxious and having a panic attack, and when the stress escalated, she dissociated.

    • Noora Syed, Psychotherapy, AU says

      Are you describing me? I go through this exact process, I worry and panic (freez) then if it keeps escalating I dissociate.

  14. Bonnie Shields, Social Work, Pittsburgh, PA, USA says

    I find it helpful to just be with the patient at the time inviting them to listen to my voice as I provide cues for releasing fear while encouraging them to remind themselves of their inner strength and call on that toward the goal of collaborating with the mind and body.

  15. shirley Mea, Psychotherapy, GB says

    Yet another really helpful, easy to understand handout, thankyou.I love the graphics, people seem to really be able to relate them.
    I will be able to share this via the pshycoeducation sessions I have with the angry, afraid, lost teenegers I work with to begin to help them to understand their own responses to certain stimuli, or just when ther repsonses happen.I feel this will really empower them.Thankyou.
    I have used 5 finger breathing to help some of my clients move through a shutdown repsponse. Holding each finger seemed to ground them to reconnect to themselves as they breath on each finger contact.
    S.M Therapsit and Clinical Supervsior UK.

  16. Sharon McKenna-Daniels, Counseling, GB says

    Thankyou for this information, I am very grateful. I am a therapist and have developed a training programme for managers and staff understanding and managing work related stress and anxiety, and in working in this area for fifteen years there is much trauma; from people’s experiences in the workplace and also the triggering of trauma related to their history. Thankyou and wishing you all the best. S M D

  17. Kirsten, Marriage/Family Therapy, DK says

    I am working on how to devellop a new concept for working with childern/young people, that does not go to school. Many of them had too littel tuning in from parents. They have been administrated around, instead of beeing met. Thank you so much for this masterclass. I am so glad, that I can serve better, thanks to you! ❤️. Best wishes Kirsten