Full Course Description
Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory with Stephen Porges, PhD: Trauma, Attachment, Self-Regulation & Emotions
- Characterize the principle features and foundation of the Polyvagal Theory.
- Articulate how the Polyvagal Theory may explain behavioral features related to psychiatric disorders and other behavioral problems.
- Explore how maladaptive behaviors, which may accompany several psychiatric disorders, may reflect adaptive responses triggered by survival mechanisms.
- Communicate how the neural process (neuroception) evaluates risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits promoting either social interactions or defensive behaviors.
- Appraise the definition of the features of the Social Engagement System to include the neural pathways that connect the brain, face, and heart.
- Illustrate how deficits in the regulation of the Social Engagement System are expressed as core features of several psychiatric disorders.
- Specify how therapeutic presence is based on the interaction between the Social Engagement Systems of client and therapist.
- Evaluate how the Social Engagement System is involved in optimizing therapeutic outcomes.
- Ascertain which features of the Social Engagement System are compromised by stress and trauma.
The Polyvagal Theory
Social Engagement System and Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders
- The biology of safety and danger
- The principles and features of the Polyvagal Theory and how to apply it in a clinical setting
- How the Polyvagal Theory can explain several features related to stress-related illnesses and psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, autism, depression, and anxiety
- The Social Engagement System and how it compromised by stress and trauma
- Resetting our Social Engagement System
- Evolutionary changes and adaptive functions in the autonomic nervous system
- Humans response hierarchy to challenges
- Three neural platforms that provide the neurophysiological bases for social engagement, fight/flight, and shutdown behaviors
Neuroception: Detecting and Evaluating Risk
- A description of the “face-heart” connection that forms a functional social engagement system
- How our facial expressions, vocalizations, and gestures are regulated by neural mechanisms that are involved in regulating our autonomic nervous system
”Demystifying” Common Biobehavioral Responses to Trauma and Abuse
- How our social and physical environment triggers changes in physiological state
- Understanding that adaptive physiological reactions may result in maladaptive behaviors
- Immobilization without fear
- Play as a neural exercise
- Listening as a neural exercise
Applying the Polyvagal Theory in Clinical Settings to Improve Treatment Outcome
- Fight/flight and immobilization defense strategies
- Adaptive function of immobilization and the associated clinical difficulties
- How the stresses and challenges of life distort social awareness and displace spontaneous social engagement behaviors with defensive reactions
- Understanding and treating auditory hypersensitivities
- Emotional state regulation as a core feature of psychiatric disorders
- Deconstructing features of autism and PTSD
- Strategies to explain disruption and repair of symbiotic regulation
- Identifying social cues that disrupt or repair defensive reaction
- Risks & limitations of the theory & clinical practice
Polyvagal Theory Informed Trauma Assessment and Interventions: An Autonomic Roadmap to Safety, Connection and Healing
- Describe the principles of Polyvagal Theory and how to communicate them in client friendly language.
- Explore three circuits of the autonomic nervous system for the purpose of client psychoeducation.
- Analyze how the autonomic nervous system operates as an internal surveillance system and its impact on clients’ habitual responses to trauma.
- Determine how to help clients engage the regulating capacities of the autonomic nervous system in order to create an environment of safety.
- Explain how to exercise the Social Engagement System to assist clients in becoming more adept in skills of co-regulation and creating reciprocal relationships.
- Assess for patterns in clients’ autonomic states to better inform treatment planning.
- Summarize the trauma-informed therapist’s role as co-regulator and its impact on clinical outcomes.
- Identify portals of intervention in the autonomic nervous system to more effectively establish safety and treat trauma.
- Discover the right degree of neural challenge and exercises to employ with clients to help shape the autonomic nervous system toward safety and connection.
- Examine how to work with the cycle or reciprocity-rupture-repair in helping clients achieve the biological need for connection.
- Design a Polyvagal-informed clinical practice based on appropriate assessment and treatment planning.
- Examine ethical issues, research limitations, and potential risks to be considered by a Polyvagal-informed therapist
ESSENTIALS OF POLYVAGAL THEORY
- Evolution of the autonomic nervous system
- How trauma influences autonomic profiles
- Three organizing principles
- Neuroception: Detection without perception
- Hierarchy: 3 predictable pathways of response
- Coregulation: The biological imperative
NEUROCEPTION AND THE SHAPING OF AUTONOMIC PATHWAYS
- Understand the internal surveillance system
- Track cues of safety and danger
- Everyday “biological rudeness”
- Trauma, autonomic wisdom, and cognitive override
NAVIGATE THE AUTONOMIC HIERARCHY
- Exploring three autonomic circuits
- Sympathetic branch
- Ventral vagal pathway
- Dorsal vagal pathway
- How trauma shapes cycles of autonomic response
- Engage the regulating capacities of the autonomic nervous system
- Introduction to autonomic mapping
THE SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT SYSTEM
- The five elements of the Social Engagement System
- What happens when parts of the system are unavailable?
- Using the Social Engagement System to regulate states
- Exercising the Social Engagement System
TRACKING AUTONOMIC STATES
- Seeing patterns over time
- Use micro-moments to resource change
- Explore the blended states of play and stillness
- Create autonomic anchors
MEETING THE BIOLOGICAL NEED FOR CONNECTION
- Mapping the continuum of solitude to sociality
- Create safety in co-regulation
- Working with the cycle of reciprocity - rupture - repair
SHAPING THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM TOWARD SAFETY
- Identify portals of intervention
- Create neural exercises
- Use breath as a regulator
- Resourcing new patterns through movement
- Explore the autonomic response to touch
- Use autonomic imagery
INCORPORATING POLYVAGAL THEORY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
- Getting comfortable teaching Polyvagal Theory to clients
- Tracking the 8 steps of a Polyvagal-Informed clinical session
- Polyvagal-Informed assessment and treatment planning
- Polyvagal Theory and Phase I trauma treatment
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A POLYVAGALINFORMED THERAPIST
- The guiding questions
- Ethical considerations
- Research limitations and potential risks
Neuroscience & Physiology of Trauma: Extended Interview with Stephen Porges PhD
- Ascertain the clinical implications of the polyvagal theory in terms of hierarchy: ventral vagal response; sympathetic response and dorsal vagal.
- Experience of stress
- Fight/flight freeze response
- Trauma outcomes