Full Course Description
Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory with Stephen Porges, PhD: Trauma, Attachment, Self-Regulation & Emotions
- Characterize the principle features and foundation of the Polyvagal Theory.
- Articulate how the Polyvagal Theory may explain behavioral features related to psychiatric disorders and other behavioral problems.
- Determine how maladaptive behaviors, which may accompany several psychiatric disorders, may reflect adaptive responses triggered by survival mechanisms.
- Communicate how the neural process (neuroception) evaluates risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits promoting either social interactions or defensive behaviors.
- Appraise the definition of the features of the Social Engagement System to include the neural pathways that connect the brain, face, and heart.
- Illustrate how deficits in the regulation of the Social Engagement System are expressed as core features of several psychiatric disorders.
- Specify how therapeutic presence is based on the interaction between the Social Engagement Systems of client and therapist.
- Evaluate how the Social Engagement System is involved in optimizing therapeutic outcomes.
- Ascertain which features of the Social Engagement System are compromised by stress and trauma.
- Determine how acoustic stimulation, via the Safe and Sound Protocol, may function as an acoustic vagal nerve stimulator to shift autonomic state and facilitate spontaneous social engagement behaviors.
The Polyvagal Theory
Social Engagement System and Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders
- The biology of safety and danger
- The principles and features of the Polyvagal Theory and how to apply it in a clinical setting
- How the Polyvagal Theory can explain several features related to stress-related illnesses and psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, autism, depression, and anxiety
- The Social Engagement System and how it compromised by stress and trauma
- Resetting our Social Engagement System
- Evolutionary changes and adaptive functions in the autonomic nervous system
- Humans response hierarchy to challenges
- Three neural platforms that provide the neurophysiological bases for social engagement, fight/flight, and shutdown behaviors
Neuroception: Detecting and Evaluating Risk
- A description of the “face-heart” connection that forms a functional social engagement system
- How our facial expressions, vocalizations, and gestures are regulated by neural mechanisms that are involved in regulating our autonomic nervous system
”Demystifying” Common Biobehavioral Responses to Trauma and Abuse
- How our social and physical environment triggers changes in physiological state
- Understanding that adaptive physiological reactions may result in maladaptive behaviors
- Immobilization without fear
- Play as a neural exercise
- Listening as a neural exercise
Applying the Polyvagal Theory in Clinical Settings to Improve Treatment Outcome
- Fight/flight and immobilization defense strategies
- Adaptive function of immobilization and the associated clinical difficulties
- How the stresses and challenges of life distort social awareness and displace spontaneous social engagement behaviors with defensive reactions
- Understanding and treating auditory hypersensitivities
- Emotional state regulation as a core feature of psychiatric disorders
- Deconstructing features of autism and PTSD
- Strategies to explain disruption and repair of symbiotic regulation
- Identifying social cues that disrupt or repair defensive reaction
- Risks & limitations of the theory & clinical practice
Polyvagal Theory Informed Trauma Assessment and Interventions: An Autonomic Roadmap to Safety, Connection and Healing
- Determine the principles of Polyvagal Theory and how to communicate them in client friendly language.
- Distinguish three circuits of the autonomic nervous system for use in client psychoeducation.
- Analyze how the autonomic nervous system operates as an internal surveillance system and its impact on clients’ habitual responses to trauma.
- Determine how to help clients engage the regulating capacities of the autonomic nervous system that create an environment of safety.
- Determine how to exercise the Social Engagement System to assist clients in becoming more adept in skills of co-regulation and creating reciprocal relationships.
- Assess for patterns in clients’ autonomic states to better inform treatment planning.
- Support the trauma-informed therapist’s role as co-regulator and its impact on clinical outcomes.
- Distinguish portals of intervention in the autonomic nervous system to more effectively establish safety and treat trauma.
- Employ the right degree of neural challenge and exercises to employ with clients to help shape the autonomic nervous system toward safety and connection.
- Evaluate how to work with the cycle or reciprocity-rupture-repair in helping clients achieve the biological need for connection.
- Design a Polyvagal-guided clinical practice based on appropriate assessment and treatment planning.
- Categorize ethical issues, research limitations, and potential risks to be considered by a Polyvagal-guided therapist.
ESSENTIALS OF POLYVAGAL THEORY
- Evolution of the autonomic nervous system
- How trauma influences autonomic profiles
- Three organizing principles
- Neuroception: Detection without perception
- Hierarchy: 3 predictable pathways of response
- Coregulation: The biological imperative
NEUROCEPTION AND THE SHAPING OF AUTONOMIC PATHWAYS
- Understand the internal surveillance system
- Track cues of safety and danger
- Everyday “biological rudeness”
- Trauma, autonomic wisdom, and cognitive override
NAVIGATE THE AUTONOMIC HIERARCHY
- Exploring three autonomic circuits
- Sympathetic branch
- Ventral vagal pathway
- Dorsal vagal pathway
- How trauma shapes cycles of autonomic response
- Engage the regulating capacities of the autonomic nervous system
- Introduction to autonomic mapping
THE SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT SYSTEM
- The five elements of the Social Engagement System
- What happens when parts of the system are unavailable?
- Using the Social Engagement System to regulate states
- Exercising the Social Engagement System
TRACKING AUTONOMIC STATES
- Seeing patterns over time
- Use micro-moments to resource change
- Explore the blended states of play and stillness
- Create autonomic anchors
MEETING THE BIOLOGICAL NEED FOR CONNECTION
- Mapping the continuum of solitude to sociality
- Create safety in co-regulation
- Working with the cycle of reciprocity - rupture - repair
SHAPING THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM TOWARD SAFETY
- Identify portals of intervention
- Create neural exercises
- Use breath as a regulator
- Resourcing new patterns through movement
- Explore the autonomic response to touch
- Use autonomic imagery
INCORPORATING POLYVAGAL THEORY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
- Getting comfortable teaching Polyvagal Theory to clients
- Tracking the 8 steps of a Polyvagal-Informed clinical session
- Polyvagal-Informed assessment and treatment planning
- Polyvagal Theory and Phase I trauma treatment
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A POLYVAGALINFORMED THERAPIST
- The guiding questions
- Ethical considerations
- Research limitations and potential risks
Neuroscience & Physiology of Trauma: Extended Interview with Stephen Porges PhD
- Ascertain the clinical implications of the polyvagal theory in terms of hierarchy: ventral vagal response; sympathetic response and dorsal vagal.
- Experience of stress
- Fight/flight freeze response
- Trauma outcomes