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"Take the power of change into your own hands, and be the

difference you want to see in your life today." (M. Dezelic)




© 2013, By Marie Dezelic

Dr. Marie Dezelic
Found In:

Available on Amazon in Pack of 30 Cards to be used in Therapy Sessions or for Education

Window of Tolerance - Trauma/Anxiety Related Responses: Widening the Comfort Zone for Increased Flexibility

by M. Dezelic, PhD © 2013


"Window of Tolerance" is a term coined by Dr. Dan Siegel, and is now widely used in understanding normal brain/physiology reaction responses, as well in trauma-informed treatment terminology, and in all areas of mental health.  Efforts are made to assist individuals to learn how to widen their personal, unique Window of Tolerance, as well as to have methods to stay in the Window of Tolerance via self-soothing and self-regulating behaviors.  When an individual "jumps" out, or feels "pushed" out of their Window of Tolerance on the upper or lower sides, the prefrontal cortex is essentially going offline, with only subcortical brain regions (limbic system-emotional brain, and brain stem) staying active, removing ability to think through actions and consequences.  Before any type of talking or making sense of a situation can occur, individuals need to find a way back into their Window of Tolerace, through self-soothing and self-regulating behaviors, which will allow all regions of the brain to get back online, and our processing system to function appropriately.  Having this visual handout often assists individuals to see what is happening to them, and why disconnection in relationships occurs when we are not in our Window of Tolerance.  


In relationships, when couples are experiencing extreme distress, we often see that both individuals are out of their personal Windows of Tolerance, and are attempting to get their needs met or talk through a problem.  Here, we want to help each partner learn how to stay in their personal Window of Tolerance, possibly assist their partner to stay in the Window if they are getting out of it, and create a matching of Windows, where engagement can occur safely and comfortably. 





Ogden, P., Minton, K., & Pain, C. (2006).  Trauma and the body: A sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Porges, S. W. (2011).  The polyvagal theory: Neurophysiological foundations of emotions, attachment, communication, and self-regulation.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Siegel, D. J. (2011).  Mindsight: The new science of personal transformation.  New York: Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks.

Siegel, D. J. (2012).  Pocket guide to interpersonal neurobiology: An integrative handbook of the mind.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company.


These Handouts are meant for Mind-Body-Spirit (bio-psycho-social-spiritual) awareness and self-help empowerment.  ENJOY!



No part of the material provided constitutes or replaces psychological and medical services.  In the event that you experience distress or unpleasant symptoms, seek professional help immediately.



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