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Digital Recordings

Treating Autism and PTSD Comorbid Through a Polyvagal-Informed Lens: A Framework to Inform EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Interventions in Therapy

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Sean Inderbitzen, APSW, MINT
1 Hour 30 Minutes
Apr 22, 2022
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Digital Recordings


What if treating autism were more like working with trauma and less like learning a foreign language like Behavioral Analysis? That the states in which a person is more or less autistic is governed by where within their window of tolerance they are. Building on the work of Stephen Porges, the developer of Polyvagal theory (PVT), view autism expert Sean Inderbitzen, APSW, MINT, an autistic social worker as he guides you through:

  • Etiology of autism through the lens of a dampened social engagement system
  • Polyvagal Informed Framework of Autism Spectrum Disorder, a hypothesized idea that autism is state specific, not lifelong and enduring
  • How this framework informs modifications for EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Polyvagal theory gives us a basis to understand autism in a way that is modifiable with greater gains in accessing autistic clients’ window of tolerance... resulting in increased creativity, openness, curiosity, cognitive flexibility, and social engagement!



This online program is worth 1.5 hours CPD.



Sean Inderbitzen, APSW, MINT's Profile

Sean Inderbitzen, APSW, MINT Related seminars and products

Sean Inderbitzen, APSW, MINT, has lived 32 years with Autism Spectrum Disorder and is an active clinical social worker within a community health center specializing in the treatment of autism and co-occurring trauma.

In addition to his work as a therapist, Sean is a doctoral student of Tulane University’s School of Social Work, and a collaborator on two studies on the treatment of PTSD in children with autism utilizing modified EMDR and utilizing Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP). He works closely with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute on the SP study under the research and clinical guidance of Dr. Bonnie Goldstein and is under the research direction of Dr. Bruce Thyer, BCBA-D, LCSW, a distinguished research professor from Florida State University, for the EMDR study.

Sean is an active member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and regularly lectures for state governments, foundations, and universities on motivational interviewing and the intersection of autism and mental health. His writings can be found regularly featured on, a non-profit group devoted to advancing the neurodiversity movement. Learn more at

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Sean Inderbitzen is a consultant and has an employment relationship with Northlakes Community Clinic. He receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Sean Inderbitzen is an adult who is on the autism spectrum.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


For a more detailed outline that includes times or durations of time, if needed, please email


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  1. Utilize Polyvagal Theory to inform clinical treatment of Autism and comorbid PTSD.
  2. Implement the Polyvagal-Informed Framework of Autism Spectrum Disorder to inform EMDR interventions for autistic clients with PTSD.
  3. Employ the Polyvagal Informed Framework of Autism Spectrum Disorder to inform Sensorimotor Psychotherapy interventions for autistic clients with PTSD.


  • A Polyvagal Model of Autism and PTSD Comorbid: Rethinking Autism
    • Research on the overlap
    • What is the window of tolerance and its relevance to Polyvagal theory?
    • Implications of trauma on Executive Dysfunction
    • Implications on memory storage: Adaptive Information Processing Theory
    • Case study: Autistic child with PTSD and Dissociative Amnesia
  • Polyvagal-Informed Lens to Inform:
    • EMDR Treatment of PTSD in Autism
    • Protocol walk through
    • Adaptations for social stories and tapping
    • Case study: Autistic child with PTSD receiving EMDR
    • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Treatment of PTSD in Autism
    • Modifications for mindful study of the body and mindfulness
  • Case study: Autistic child with PTSD receiving SP
  • Limitations of Research and Potential Risk

Target Audience

  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers/School-Based Personnel
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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