The Window of Tolerance
The Window of Tolerance is a term, developed by ProfessorDan Siegel, used to describe the zone of arousal in which a person can function most effectively. When people are within this zone, they are typically able to readily receive, process, and integrate information and otherwise respond to the demands of everyday life without much difficulty. Anything in life that affects your ability to handle the vagaries of life means you are not working within your window of tolerance. There is, however, a lot you can do to expand your window of tolerance. The following diagram explains it graphically.
What counselling can do is to explore with you how to increase your window of tolerance. Counselling assists you to develop greater discernment tools including the ‘being with’ tools of observing and non-judgement combined with the ‘working with’ tools of personal development and self-regulation. These ‘working with’ tools include practices of safety and regulation, resilience, inner awareness (incl. being with and working with our critical voices), the three flows of compassion incl. self-compassion, belongingness and presence.
Copyright Thinking Healthy - John Julian