The workshop will explore clinical applications of the Polyvagal Theory. The Polyvagal Theory links the evolution of the autonomic nervous system to affective experience, emotional expression, facial gestures, vocal communication and contingent social behavior, and provides a plausible explanation of several features that are compromised during stress and observed in numerous psychiatric disorders. Humans have evolved as highly social and mutually dependent beings. Yet, when overwhelmed by stress and threat, our autonomic nervous systems adaptively dictate more primordial strategies. Therapeutic interventions that engage in the regulation of these physiological states and target the capacity to sense safety are effective in treating disorders that result from chronic reliance on older stress responses. Positive clinical outcomes result from the expansion of the patient’s biobehavioral capacity by recruiting our most evolved adaptive neural circuit—the “social engagement system.”
*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*
Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D (Psychology) is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is the former President of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and a recipient of a NIMH Research Scientist Development Award. He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory and has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines.