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Regulating the Nervous System and Healing Childhood Wounds

In this episode of What You’re Craving, Molly welcomes clinical psychologist Dr. Alisa Kriegel. Dr. Alisa shares her perspective on two relevant topics that have a lot of evidence nowadays: how our childhood wounds impact our relationships and how the nervous system maintains balance in the body. 

According to Dr. Alisa, in our relationships, we tend to repeat the same patterns we learned during our childhood. All the lessons, the emotions, and the wounds can be a significant part of how we interact with our partners. The key here is to learn to heal those wounds first instead of focusing on fixing the external world around us. 

When it comes to regulating our nervous system, it is fundamental to identify when we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or triggered. By being aware of it, we can start regulating the nervous system with a few techniques. Dr. Alisa also explains the differences between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system and the reactions we experience when we become anxious, known as fight or flight reactions.

Episode Quotes

  • “I’m a big believer that you have to understand what happened in the past. Not to blame it, but to learn from it, to understand yourself, and to use it, because that’s going to dictate what comes up for you.”
  • “Ideally, in a relationship, you can be co-regulators for each other, but what that requires is first recognizing your own nervous system responses and what helps you to feel soothed.”

Related Links

Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory by Deb Dana

About Dr. Alisa Kriegel

Dr. Alisa Kriegel is a clinical psychologist with over twenty-five years of experience. She has a private practice in New York City, working with individual adults and couples. She has extensive training in DBT and Mindfulness. Dr. Kriegel’s podcast “Let’s Talk About Sex, Really” can be found on all major platforms. Her memoir, “Take the Fear with You and Jump” is set to come out in Fall 2024.

Connect with Dr. Alisa Kriegel


Podcast: Let’s Talk about Sex, Really

About Molly Carmel

Molly is a leading addiction and eating disorder therapist and the founder of the BeaconProgram, which offers individual and group solutions to help people break free from their destructive relationships with food and dieting. She is also the author of ‘Breaking up with Sugar’ and the host of ‘What You’re Craving’ Podcast.

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