Courses

Polyvagal Theory: Neural Exercises for Safety and Social Connection

  • MindBody Studies
  • By
  • Wednesdays, October 6, 13, 20, 27, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm ET

About the Course

The course will elaborate on how Polyvagal Theory provides a neural foundation for a brain-body medicine that would lead to insights into the treatment of trauma and chronic stress-related mental and physical health challenges.  The theory describes how, via evolution, a connection emerged in the brain between the nerves that control the heart and the face. This face-heart connection provided the structures for the “social engagement system” that link sociality with autonomic regulation and explains the important mediating role of physiological state in facilitating either connectedness and intimacy or defense such as fight/flight, hypervigilance, dissociation, collapse, shutdown, and even syncope. The theory leads to better understanding of the relationship between mental and physical illnesses and provides the therapist with a better understanding that calming their client’s autonomic nervous system will foster emergent spontaneous social behavior, more optimally regulated autonomic functions, and reduced hypersensitivities. 

Module 1: Origin of the Polyvagal Theory

Module 2: The Evolutionary Journey of the Autonomic Nervous System Leads to Sociality

Module 3: A Polyvagal Perspective of Co-regulation

Module 4: The Role of Autonomic State in Interpersonal Accessibility

Students who take this course will:

  • Describe how specific circuits in the autonomic nervous system are related to social and defensive behaviors.
  • Describe the physical features of the clinical conditions necessary to promote feelings of safety in the client. 
  • Explain why deficits in the Social Engagement System are core features of several psychiatric disorders.
  • Explain how trauma shifts neural states to support defensive reactions and disrupt typical function of the autonomic nervous system
  • Describe a face-heart connection that defines a social engagement system that links our bodily feelings with facial expression, vocal intonation, and gesture.
  • Describe the mechanisms through which voice conveys physiological state and how listening to types of vocalizations and acoustic stimulation can aid in the regulation of biobehavioral states.

About Dr. Stephen Porges

Dr. Stephen W. Porges is a distinguished university scientist at Indiana University, where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. He is also a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. His more than 350 peer‐reviewed scientific papers, published across several disciplines, have been cited in approximately 40,000 peer-reviewed papers. He holds several patents involved in monitoring and regulating autonomic state and originated the Polyvagal Theory, which emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral, mental, and health problems related to traumatic experiences. He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation, The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, and Polyvagal Safety, as well as co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies, and Polyvagal Safety.

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  • Access to this course, plus…
  • Member Only Content
    Unlimited access to premium articles, special podcast series, and other member only content.
  • EPTV Streaming Video Service
    Access to EPTV Original Series and our video library of over 250+ hours of lectures, talks and workshops.
  • Wisdom School Courses
    Access to 60+ on-demand courses plus two new courses every month.