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Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: creating safety and connection with trauma clients

If our clients could have thought their way out of the impact of trauma and adversity, they would have done that a long time ago. 
Trauma resolution is not about thinking. Healing depends, instead, on the work undertaken at the level of the autonomic nervous system, which shapes our clients’ experiences of safety and influences their capacity for connection. Traumatic events have a far-reaching impact on this system. Autonomic pathways trigger survival responses that often lead our clients on a painful journey into a state of shutdown, collapse, and dissociation. How can we help our clients find their way back to safety, and how do we prevent it from happening in the first place? 
Polyvagal Theory, developed by Stephen Porges, offers a revolutionary roadmap to lead clients out of their adaptive survival responses into the autonomically regulated state of safety that is necessary for successful trauma treatment. Dr. Porges’ colleague and author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy, Deb Dana, shares this roadmap with you in this exciting recording. 
You will become fluent in the language of Polyvagal Theory and confident in your ability to help clients safely tune into and reshape their nervous systems, and rewrite the trauma stories that are carried in their autonomic pathways. Come learn the organising principles of Polyvagal Theory and work with practices designed to help clients move out of despair and isolation and return to a place of awareness, connection, and social engagement. 


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Deborah Dana
Oct 28, 2021
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Digital Recordings - Also available: Live Video Webinar


CPD This live program is worth 12 hours CPD.


Deborah Dana's Profile

Deborah Dana Related seminars and products

Deb Dana, LCSW is a clinician, consultant, and author specializing in using the lens of Polyvagal Theory to understand and resolve the impact of trauma and create ways of working that honour the role of the autonomic nervous system. She developed the Rhythm of Regulation Clinical Training Series and lectures internationally on ways Polyvagal Theory informs clinical work.  She is trained in Internal Family Systems, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Tapas Acupressure Technique, and completed the Certificate Program in Traumatic Stress Studies at the Trauma Centre.

Deb is a founding member of the Polyvagal Institute, clinical advisor to Khiron Clinics, and an advisor to Unyte. She is the author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation (Norton, 2018), Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 Client-Centred Practices (Norton, 2020), Befriending Your Nervous System (Sounds True, 2020), Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory (forthcoming from Sounds True), co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018), and creator of the Polyvagal Flip Chart (Norton, 2020).

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Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals



Live Video Webcast




Tea & coffee break


Live Video Webcast




Tea & coffee break


Live Video Webcast




  1. Describe the principles of Polyvagal Theory and how to communicate them in client-friendly language. 
  2. Explore three circuits of the autonomic nervous system for the purpose of client psychoeducation. 
  3. Analyse how the autonomic nervous system operates as an internal surveillance system and its impact on clients’ habitual responses to trauma. 
  4. Determine how to help clients engage the regulating capacities of the autonomic nervous system in order to create an environment of safety. 
  5. Explain how to exercise the Social Engagement System to assist clients in becoming more adept in skills of co-regulation and creating reciprocal relationships. 
  6. Assess for patterns in clients’ autonomic states to better inform treatment planning. 
  7. Summarise the trauma-informed therapist’s role as co-regulator and its impact on clinical outcomes. 
  8. Identify portals of intervention in the autonomic nervous system to more effectively establish safety and treat trauma. 
  9. Discover the right degree of neural challenge and exercises to employ with clients to help shape the autonomic nervous system toward safety and connection. 
  10. Examine how to work with the cycle or reciprocity-rupture-repair in helping clients achieve the biological need for connection. 
  11. Design a Polyvagal-informed clinical practice based on appropriate assessment and treatment planning. 
  12. Examine ethical issues, research limitations, and potential risks to be considered by a Polyvagal-informed therapist


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