The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)


I am now using word of the computer language to describe some of the features of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Some people might not like being compared with a machine, but it makes it quite understandable how the ANS works.


The ANS is the operating system of the body and was mainly programmed through interactions with other people during the first years of life. Depending on the quality of the interactions the program has more or less bugs.


Counselling on its own only has a minor impact on the autonomic nervous system.


3 States of the Autonomic Nervous System

kinesiology-counselling, Auckland, Sibylle Kiehne
3 states of the ANS



The programming did not work optimally: The priority is to look for cues of danger. The corridor of well-being is very narrow.


The nervous system  is most of the time in a state of distrust and anxiety and either in a state of hyper (fight, flight)- or hypo (freeze)arousal.


Then the body automatically runs behavioral pattern we learned in the past. They might have been very useful at that time, but the automatism does rob the adult person of the chance to choose more appropriate behavior.



False Corridor of Well-Being

kinesiology-counselling, Auckland, Sibylle Kiehne
false corridor of well-being





The programming was good: The priority is to look for cues of safety, our corridor of well-being is really wide.


Our nervous system is in a state of trust and is connected with our real self and thus able to connect with ourselves, others, nature, and the planet. Real vulnerability, empathy, and intimacy will show.



The autonomic nervous system knows three different states:


The main task of the ANS is constantly but subconsciously searching for cues of safety or danger. We only notice the outcome of the process in bodily sensations or feelings which is language of the body. 


Whether we are subconsciously looking for cues of safety or danger depends on our early experiences. This process is called neuroception.



Huper-and Hypo-Arousal

kinesiology-counselling, Auckland, Sibylle Kiehne
aroused states of the ANS





The programming did not work optimally: When during childhood our need for appropriate co-regulation during states of hyper- or hypo-arousal were not met appropriately, our nervous system lost the capacity to stay within the corridor of well-being. The system constantly stays in a slightly hyper- or hypo-aroused state (false corridor of well-being). We are disconnected from our real self using a lot of protection layers.


The result is that our body constantly produces stress hormones. This is harmful to our metabolism and increases the risk of chronic physic and psychic diseases. 



Wide Corridor of Well-being

kinesiology-counselling, Auckland, Sibylle Kiehne
corridor of well-being