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Understanding Polyvagal Theory: Emotion, Attachment, and Self-Regulation with Stephen Porges

Neuroscience: NP0032 – Session 6

Do you work with traumatized clients? Do you want to be able to create safety with your clients? With Stephen Porges you’ll learn what polyvagal theory is and with that knowledge learn how to engage with traumatized clients by integrating non-verbal behavior into your sessions.

After the session, please let us know what you think. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email

Posted in CE Comments, NP0032: Why Neuroscience Matters | Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Understanding Polyvagal Theory: Emotion, Attachment, and Self-Regulation with Stephen Porges

  1. Diana Bunday says:

    I wondered as I heard the work with trauma how would this
    therapy with Phobias?

  2. Diana Bunday says:

    I wondered as I heard the work with trauma how would this
    therapy with Phobias?

  3. Edie Savage-Weeks says:

    Thank you for this very educational series. Each session has peeked my desire to learn more. This session on the Polyvagal Theory and its help in understanding trauma clients and us as human beings was interesting and useful.

  4. kw171 says:

    great presentation. never heard of polyvagal theory. i am trying to figure out how to use this with neurological populations. some may have difficulty with social regulation due to neurological injury. so can we cause some polyvagal stimulation in damaged nervous systems and how do we do that in psychotherapy.

  5. Hello, this was so affirming and amazing to hear!

    I was trained in clinical hypnosis, and it taught me so much about pacing and leading, joining with the client and determining what made for comfort or discomfort. Also being aware of the feelings aroused in us by different people and situations.

    The very foundation of being a therapist is, to me, built on the awareness of our gut reactions so that we can get support to NOT bring our reactivity from our own life into a session. Then we breathe in as we join each client (requiring our own relaxation/safety-related skills)and determine what type of “play” (again based on safety–PLUS the freedom to improvise) can occur with that person in the session.

    Our “role conserve” (based on psychodrama) needs to expand to meet that of the client somehow. And our nonverbal communication, with posture and gestures (based on many of the understandings of movement therapy)needs to be geared to where we are in the dance with the client.

    I look forward to reading more of your work and I can only hope that our models for the training of therapists will some day (soon!) incorporate much more of your theory.
    Thank you for all you shared with us today.

  6. Heather says:

    It was a real pleasure to hear Stephen speak to the importance of being present with clients and his emphasis of our own voice and inner calm to be able to listen and see how clients respond to being in a safe place with a safe person.
    I also congratulate Stephen for emphasizing the value of being a human being over being a therapy model driven therapist. Thank-you.

  7. Theresa says:

    Thank you so much Stephen for your work and sharing it with us. Thank you Rich for your facilitation. Stephen, I have listened to you speak online before and appreciated this opportunity to reinforce my understanding. When I first heard about shutting down as a survival mechanism it gave me great joy as it made such sense to me and also gave hope to the people I work with. Also your comments about the medical world hit hard as it has been an ongoing distress for me, in relation to my own medical treatment and that of loved ones, to see the ongoing invasion of privacy, often even humiliation and the lack of safety in hospitals – I am sure healing would accelerate and discharges go up if a real understanding of this issue – of voice tone and face were part of medical training. Thank you again.

  8. says:

    Really enjoyed this interview. I’ve watched most of them. I had to stop and start a lot to get all the language i.e., ” phylogenic hierarchy”, etc. But what I appreciated the most what the enjoyment both participants got out of talking to each other – which was in a sense exactly what SP was talking about. Mario, North Carolina

  9. cshaw2 says:

    I was enrolled in grad school at University of Maryland College Park when Dr. Porges was in the Human Development Department there, and am glad to see that his work is making its way into clinical practice. The idea of allowing the client to feel safe in the therapeutic environment, and the multiple non-verbal communication cues to encourage that safe social engagement, will go a long way towards improving practice for my staff.

  10. ered39 says:

    I am interested in the gut-brain connection, to put it simplistically. I wonder why there seems to be such a huge prevalence of food intolerance, bloating etc. Can we draw any conclusions about our mental states?

  11. Great! Therapy is becoming a life saver these days. People tend to stoop down into depression due to stress and family issues and in that context, therapy is very prominent. It helps people to shed their stress off and live a life with a tension free life. Quite a good read!

  12. Arndtstr says:

    Excellent presentation! I’m in private practice extensively focused on eating disorders. I find the safety within my therapeutic relationships and the clients attachment are key, to creating the journey toward recovery.

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