4 thoughts on “The ‘Please’ Response to Threat: A Social Engagement System Survival Strategy

  1. Suzanne

    Interesting discussion. I’ve heard of the “tend and befriend” response which I think is synonymous with what you are describing in the social engagement system stress response. I wonder about the extent to which oxytocin (the “cuddle” hormone) affects our reactions and whether concepts like “trauma bonding” can be explained through this lens. The quote you shared highlighted something that I hadn’t considered, which is whether the placating is a more advanced, frontal lobe process of empathy, or a less nuanced conditioned series of responses most likely to defuse the situation.

    1. Penny Heiple, Three Principles Healing Post author

      Yes, interesting thoughts! “Tend and befriend” is a social engagement system response, and I think the trauma bonding is also, and not necessarily healthy in the long term. Oxytocin is the hormone of the healthy mode of social engagement system but interesting thoughts about how it could be involved in nuanced ways. Thanks for your comments!

  2. Shin Shin

    Thanks so much for writing about this topic – there is precious little information available! I’ve also been mulling this over for years. I think because the trauma theories are proposed mostly by men, brilliant though some of them are, they overlook the importance of the tend and befriend/please response.


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