The Polyvagal Theory is a major scientific advancement in neuroscience with clinical applications to a new brain-body medicine providing insights into the treatment of trauma-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 our bodily feelings with facial expression, vocal intonation, and gesture. The Polyvagal Theory provides a more informed understanding of the automatic reactions of our body to safety, danger, and life threat. The theory transforms the human narrative from a documentary (emphasizing events and objects) to a pragmatic quest for safety with an implicit bodily drive to survive (emphasizing feelings). This talk will explore the role of physiological state in facilitating either connectedness and intimacy or defence such as fight/flight, hypervigilance, dissociation, collapse, shutdown, and even syncope.
This online program is worth 1.25 hours CPD.
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|Transcript - Connectedness as a Biological Imperative (35.5 KB)
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Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is a distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland, and is a founder of the Polyvagal Institute. Dr. Porges served as president of both the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published approximately 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. His research has been cited in more than 50,000 peer-review publications. In 1994, Dr. Porges proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders.
He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe (Norton, 2017), Polyvagal Safety (Norton, 2021), co-author with Seth Porges of Our Body Polyvagal World (Norton, 2023), and co-editor with Deb Dana of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018). Dr. Porges is also the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol™, which currently is used by approximately 3,000 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement.
Dr. Peter Levine holds doctorates in both medical biophysics and psychology. He is the developer of Somatic Experiencing® (SE), a naturalistic body-awareness approach to healing trauma, which he teaches all over the globe. Dr. Levine is also the founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment and was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the space shuttle.
An accomplished author, Dr. Levine penned Healing Trauma, Sexual Healing and the bestselling book, Waking the Tiger. He also co-authored with Maggie Kline Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes and Trauma-Proofing Your Kids. His latest book, In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness, is a testament to his lifelong investigation into the connection between evolutionary biology, neuroscience, animal behavior, and more than 40 years of clinical experience in the healing of trauma.
Dr. Levine was honored in 2010 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP) and is a Senior Fellow at Meadows Behavioral Healthcare.
Financial: Dr. Peter Levine is the founder and president of the Ergos Institute of Somatic Education, the president and editorial director of Ergos Institute Press, and receives a consulting fee from the Meadows Addiction Center. He receives royalties as a published author. Dr. Levine receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Peter Levine is a senior clinical fellow and advisor to the Meadows Addiction Treatment Center. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Humanistic Psychological Association, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
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