Welcome on the website of Heleen Grooten
Working as a speechtherapist since 1979 I got more and more interested in working with people with complaints that cannot be explained by medical doctors. I saw that many people had a ‘story’ or a trauma that they never could not speak out loud. After studies in systemic constellations and trauma therapies such as somatic experiencing I got inspired by neurobiological oriented insights. I came in contact Stephen Porges and his Polyvagaltheory. I started to do research in cooperation with Porges and his team of the Trauma research centre of the Kinsey Institute of the university of Indiana. In my work I apply the new polyvagal inspired treatments such as the Safe and Sound Protocol and the Polyvagal therapy. These calm down the unconcious, autonomic nervous system and help to regulate complaints.
Safety and respect in a pleasant surrounding characterize my work.
Study and work
- Speech therapy (1979)
- Practice 1979-present
- Teacher academy of speech therapy (Nijmegen1982-1988)
- Study in several breathing- and voice therapies
- Development of quality demands for speech therapists (Dutch foundation for speech therapy)
- 2000-2002 study in Systemic Constellations
- Project manager SISC Netherlands, an international research in constellations applied to symptoms and illnesses, initiated by Gunthard Weber and Stephan Hausner. (2006-2012)
- Workshops for clients and therapists in Bulgaria (2009- heden) see: www.eliopolis.org
- (Inter)national lectures about ‘Medically unexplained voice- and throat symptoms’: such as PEVOC (2013, 2015), NVMD (2014), Voice conference Salzburg (2014 en 2016), EVTA conference Belgium (2015, 2016)
- SP conference Jacksonville,U.S. (2019)
- Study group Polyvagaltheory and voice (2012-2018)
- Study Somatic Experiencing (2011-2014)
- Cooperation with Maastricht university hospital (2015-present)
- Training Polyvagal theory and voice (practitioners Somatic Experiencing, 2017)
- Foundation training Bodynamic (bodyoriented psychotherapy) (2016/2017) and workshops with Lisbeth en Ditte Marcher
- Training EMI: Eye, Movement Integration (fundamental en advanced), a body oriented form of EMDR (2017 en 2018)
- Research for medical unexplained voice and throatproblems, with Dr.Piet Kooijman and Dr.Jacek Kolacz (Kinsey institute) (2016-present)
- Pilot SSP for medical unexplained voice and throat symptoms, initiated by Dr Porges, Jacek Kolacz and ILS (2018-present)
- Training Deb Dana Polyvagal therapy (2018 en 2019)
- Cooperation with publisher Mens! in the Dutch translation of Deb Dana’s book: The Polyvagal theory in therapy (2019)
Many people that come to my practice have complaints and symptoms that doctors could not explain. Stress, life events, or even trauma can be partly one of the causes of the symptoms.
Stress means for me: a nervous system that is overloaded and overstimulated and is not able to regulate its self anymore. Those people cannot relax, are restless, overreact on sounds, can have sleeping disorders and might have next to their problems other complaints too such as irritatable bowl symptoms.
Seen from a neurobiological sight their autonomic nervous system is not able to generate safety anymore, but is constantly directed to defence mechanisms such as fight/flight or freeze.
Stephen Porges developed his Polyvagal Theory in which he describes that evolutionary old systems still are active in our developed human brains and nervous systems.
When we are at ease, our autonomic nervous system which determines over 80% of our behaviour functions optimal. We are able to socially engage and communicate with others, our cells will be repared unconciously, we feel safe with ourselves and others. Porges describes in his theory that this follows from the newest branche of an important nerve: the tenth brain nerve, called Vagus. This branche innervates partly our facial muscles, voice, throat, heart and lungs.
In case of danger this nerve branche is temporarily less active, which anables us to prepare us for fight or flight. We are directed to our surrounding: sounds are interpretated different, our voice is more loud and high, our heart is beating faster, we breath more active, muscles are more tense. This all to be prepared and react efficiently on danger.
When the threat is even more serious, in terms of life treatening, the oldest branch of the vagus nerve gets active. This anables us to survive by getting immobile: freeze, faint or dissociate. Breathing is shallow, muscle tension is either high or very low (faint), intestines are less active and communication is limited: no or a very soft voice, no words, no concentration.
A healthy system will, after the threat is gone, go back towards social engagement. In case of damning circumstances systems of some people, especially when they had more corresponding expierences, their system will not be that resilient and stay in the defence state. When this lasts long it can lead to health, emotional or mental problems. This means that their systems act as if the threat is still there.
This state can be called a dysfunctional autonomic state.
New developed methods such as SSP, the Safe and Sound Protocol, can help to regulate the autonomic nervous system. It took Porges 30 years to develop SSP. It was orginally developed for people with autism, new research, such as my pilot, show that people get less anxious, hypertensed voices, hypersensitivity for sounds, irritated bowl syndrome and tinnitus reduces.
Polyvagal therapy, a method developed by Deb Dana helps to get aware of the autonomous symptoms of the several states, by mapping them on a symbolic ladder. People learn to recognise what triggers their survival and defense mechanisms and thereafter what helps them to regulate their systems.
Nearby the two methods as described above I use elements of body-oriented trauma therapy, mindfulness and voice- breathing- and posture therapy.
- Workshop Pevoc Copenhagen, August 28-30 2019
- Congres Polyvagaltheory and therapy, Amsterdam, October 26 2019, in cooperation with Hartfocus(Dutch spoken): How clients can learn to balance their Autonomic Nervous System themselves.
- Workshop Polyvagal therapy, Groesbeek March 13-15 2020, (Dutch spoken)
I offer workshops in Polyvagaltheory and therapy, Dutch and English language.
I offer consults in Dutch, English and German language and workshops in Dutch and English.
The price of a consult is € 80,- for one hour.
Dana D. The polyvagal theory in therapy (2018)
Van der Kolk B., The body keeps the score, brain, mind and body in healing of trauma, (2014)
Porges S.W., The Polyvagal theory (2011)
Porges S.W., The pocket guide to the polyvagal theory (2017)
Porges S.W. and Dana D.Clinical applications of the Polyvagal theory (2018)
Levine P.A. and Frederick, Waking the tiger (2016)
Levine P.A. In an unspoken voice (2010)