After experiencing trauma, our clients often dissociate from their bodies aiming to escape intense sensations and emotional pain. They then increasingly react to inner and outer cues linked to behavioral patterns that are below conscious awareness.
Even after treatment, clients who have experienced severe or sustained trauma, are often overwhelmed by residual symptoms and are trapped in reactivity to triggers. Safe-embodiment skills, carefully introduced, sequenced, and titrated, can move clients beyond the life-diminishing cycles of avoidance and re-traumatization.
In this live online training, you will learn an array of skills designed to create the safety needed to work with the body and with fearful parts of the self. You will learn how to help clients identify, befriend, and shift autonomic states and parts of the self that otherwise perpetuate avoidance and reactivity.
In both virtual and in-person therapy sessions, you will be able to offer embodied trauma-resiliency tools designed to strengthen vagal tone and the motivation to incorporate these vagal toning strategies into their daily lives. Integrate and sequence dialogue with parts of the self with gentle movement and breath, increasing your client’s self-efficacy, steadiness, and ability to choose rather than react.
Watch Debra, an experienced international presenter, in this day of experiential learning as she shares embodied Polyvagal Theory applications. Conclude the day with new tools for trauma recovery and vibrant resiliency.
Debra Alvis, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and private practitioner with over twenty-five years of clinical experience. She specializes in an integrative approach bringing together polyvagal, neuroscientific, and somatic principles to treat trauma and co-morbid disorders.
Debra discovered that the polyvagal approach facilitates a mindful awareness of the biological reactions influencing the therapist/client relationship and the client's sense of safety in the world. Integrating physiological, brain-based, body-focused approaches with traditional psychotherapeutic orientations helped clients to recover more easefully and quickly from trauma. In addition, with an increased sense of safety and connectedness, clients more frequently practiced the strategies required through her work in private practice and as a clinical supervisor, educator, and consultant.
Dr. Alvis developed and led the Mind/Body Program at the University of Georgia where she now teaches health psychology graduate students to apply polyvagal, neuroscientific, and somatic approaches, serves as project director for federal grant focusing on integrative healthcare, and develops mindfulness-based research studies. A thirty-year personal contemplative practice and over a thousand hours training as a mindfulness and yoga teacher further enrich her presentations.
Financial: Debra Alvis is in private practice. Dr. Alvis receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Debra Alvis has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.
Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)
Access never expires for this product.
Analyze how the primary tenets of Polyvagal theory can be applied to trauma treatment through embodied contemplative practice.
Demonstrate how compassion-based interventions shift vagal states and shame-based trauma reactions.
Demonstrate inner dialogue with disowned aspects of the self for building a secure attachment to the self.
Demonstrate two breathing practices for calming fight/flight, energizing the body, and focusing the mind.
Integrate simple movements to relieve anxiety and shift from shut down.
Develop cultural sensitivity through individualizing treatment.
Apply Polyvagal Theory in Trauma Treatment
Vagal States & Autonomic Hierarchy
Neuroception – how the traumatized nervous system interfaces with the world
Re-establish effective co-regulation – a biological imperative
Utilize prosody or voice
Provide trauma-informed psychoeducation on intermingled vagal states
Build Recovery & Resiliency Through Smart Vagal Activity
Eye movements to build resiliency
Resourcing – Map vagal states and pivotal practices
Shift & Re-Shape the Traumatized Nervous System with Embodied Contemplation
Energizing Breaths to Stimulate Safety in Social Connection
Skull shining breath
Ocean sounding breath
Calming breaths to stem anxiety
Shining moon breath
Movements to Awaken the Shut-Down Nervous System
Gentle back-bending movements
Standing stretches to focus mind/body
Goddess posture – Breath plus movement
Movements to Calm Fight/Flight
Easy forward bending
Simple sigh & stretch
A dance with the hands - Mudras
Face-to-Heart Connection Through Sound & Movement
Call & response chant
Walking meditation to awaken compassion
Loving kindness imagery
Calm & Rewire the Traumatized Nervous System
Identify vagal state triggers and resets
The five senses – A return to the here and now
Deep relaxation to support safe connection
Adapt and individualize trauma treatment with cultural sensitivity
Apply Polyvagal Theory to racial healing
Extend resiliency building to implicit memory, body memory, and procedural conditioning
The Polyvagal-Wise Trauma Therapist
Explore ahimsa or non-violence with self and clients
Self-compassion to negotiate fight/flight from inner critic
Build safety and connection between sessions
Right action & ethics for strengthening ANS resiliency