Stephen Porges — Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory
Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, a 2019 Cape Cod Institute workshop led by Stephen Porges August 5-9, 2019
Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe
August 5-9, 2019
This course will include updated course material.
Safety is critical in enabling humans to optimize their potential. The neurophysiological processes associated with feeling safe are a prerequisite not only for social behavior but also for accessing both the higher brain structures that enable humans to be creative and generative and the lower brain structures involved in regulating health, growth, and restoration. The Polyvagal Theory explains how social behavior turns off defenses and promotes opportunities to feel safe. It provides an innovative model to understand bodily responses to trauma and stress and the importance of the client’s physiological state in mediating the effectiveness of clinical treatments. From a Polyvagal perspective, interventions that target the capacity to feel safe and use social behavior to regulate physiological state can be effective in treating psychological disorders that are dependent on defense systems.
In this workshop, through presentations, experiential exercises, and class discussion, we will learn the principles and features of the Polyvagal Theory and how to apply it in a clinical setting. We will cover how the Polyvagal Theory can demystify several features related to stress-related illnesses and psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, autism, depression, and anxiety. Time will be spent on what the Social Engagement System is and how the brain-face-heart connection evolved. We will discuss how deficits in the regulation of the Social Engagement System relate to the core features of several psychiatric disorders. We will learn how neural process evaluates risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits which promote either social interactions or defensive behaviors and how the Social Engagement System is compromised by stress and trauma and how to reset it.
The Polyvagal Theory
The discovery of three neural platforms for social engagement, fight/flight, and shutdown behaviors
Social Engagement System and Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders
How our facial expressions, vocalizations, and gestures are regulated by neural mechanisms involved in regulating our autonomic nervous system
Neuroception: Detecting and Evaluating Risk
How our social and physical environment triggers changes in physiological state
Demystifying Biobehavioral Responses to Trauma and Abuse
Fight/flight and immobilization defense strategies
Applying the Polyvagal Theory in Clinical Settings
State regulation as a core feature of psychiatric disorders
What our alumni are saying:
"Stephen Porges is a phenomenal presenter"
"Dr. Porges! Brilliant and charming!"
"Dr. Porges was an excellent instructor with deep knowledge of physiological processes linked to physical and mental health"