SCARF Model: Triggers of Survival or Growth Mindset

The most basic function of the brain is survival, and that requires a fine-tuned ability to determine when to approach or when to avoid someone or something.  This is an evolutionary adaptation that developed when humans were more at risk of being chased by sabre-tooth tigers.  

We are all motivated to move toward perceived rewards and away from perceived threats, Jennifer.

David Rock created the SCARF Model to help us better understand the 5 main stimuli that drive our responses, either toward reward or away from threat.

The reward circuits in the brain lead to regenerating emotions that generally motivate action, cooperation, and productivity. The threat circuits in the brain lead to depleting emotions that generally cause avoidance, divisiveness, and emotional reactivity.

Perceived threats and rewards can influence our behaviors in different ways. Because we are all social animals, it’s important to understand how to manage the threat and reward responses when they happen, and the SCARF Model is one way to understand why we all get triggered.

Check out my video below as I go deeper into the SCARF Model.

💜About Jennifer💜

I’m Jennifer Whitacre, trauma specialist, empowerment strategist and shadow guide, and I help people strengthen their internal relationships through a process of SELF discovery. I guide and support my clients through the transformative process of developing SELF presence so they can shift from rigidity, reactiveness, and chaos into more flexibility, responsiveness, and connectedness.

People who are able to make this internal shift find they have more agency, decisions aren’t as difficult, they have more emotional stamina to deal with life’s ups and downs; and they have much higher levels of empathy and understanding for themselves and others.

The process is similar and unique for each client. Healing the invisible wounds inflicted from past trauma requires that we become familiar with non-verbal communication. That’s because the subconscious mind communicates non-verbally and unconsciously, the opposite kind of communication valued by the conscious mind. By understanding our own subconscious minds, the two minds become coherent and our lives naturally become more integrated.

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This blog is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat or diagnose. Reading this blog does not create a practitioner/client relationship with Jennifer Whitacre or with Jennifer Whitacre LLC. If you find this information to be relevant to you, you are encouraged to connect with a licensed mental health care professional. If you are interested in becoming a client of Jennifer Whitacre LLC, please connect by visiting:

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