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March, 2003
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Why can some people be exposed to toxins, stressors, or traumatic events and be significantly less affected than others? The author conducts a review of research, constructs a theoretical model psychophysiological resilience, and examines the impact of prenatal and early childhood events on the formation of neural regulatory circuits. Psychophysiological resilience involves psychological, physiological, emotional, and spiritual resilience. Research is cited to support the theory that events occurring during gestation and birth offer clues to sustained adaptive programming that supports species preservation. Research relating the impacts of adaptive vs. maladaptive neurodevelopmental programming on currently relevant issues including psychosocial violence, functional intelligence, and somatic disease processes is cited. Emerging research on the role of the heart and the use of guided imagery and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback in rebuilding physiological and emotional adaptive processes of resilience is articulated.


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Dorothy Marie Mandel, M.A.

Dorothy Marie Mandel, M.A. and doctoral student of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, currently works as a Psychological Assistant at the Erickson Institute in Santa Rosa, California. Please address correspondence about this article to: birthbus@pacbell.net or (707) 542-2439.