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Digital Seminar

Polyvagal Essentials for Every Clinician: Practical Applications for Safety, Attachment, Trauma and Anxiety

Debra Alvis
Approx. 6 Hours
Copyright :
Jun 02, 2020
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar - Also available: Live Webcast


Many of our clients struggle to find and maintain the safety needed to face the risks and the wonder inherent in living.

The Polyvagal Theory has been termed the science of safety. This safety allows us to regulate our emotions, process our trauma memories, and engage with others successfully.

This work gives us a psychological and physiological understanding of our shifts through mobilization, disconnection, and engagement. Dr. Stephen Porges’ evidenced perspective shapes new approaches to trauma treatment, relational concerns, and mood disorders.

Your presenter, Dr. Debra Alvis, will give you the science and theory in easy to understand language…and in an applied manner. End the day knowing how to map the autonomic response and how to repattern the autonomic nervous system for safety.

Experiential exercises and worksheets provided in the recording will guide you in the application of polyvagal knowledge to clinical work.

Join Debra in this exciting recording containing theory, research, and application. A well-seasoned and national presenter, she brings an extensive background in neuroscience, the experience of a twenty-five-year clinical practice, and a love of whole-person treatment approaches to the seminar.

Enjoy anecdotes, take in clinical scenarios designed to clarify application principles, and practice interventions with Debra’s expert guidance. Return to your practice with:

  • New, evidence-based approaches to replace clients’ maladaptive protective patterns
  • Ways to enhance your clients’ capacity to connect to the self and others
  • A transformational understanding of the autonomic nervous system to promote healing from trauma wounds


CE Information Coming Soon

Continuing education credit information is coming soon for this non-interactive self-study package.

CEs may be available for select professions, as listed in the target audience. Hours will be dependent on the actual recording time. Please check with your state licensing board or organization for specific requirements. 

There may be an additional fee for CE certificates. Please contact our Customer Service at 1-800-844-8260 for more details. 

**Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.


Debra Alvis's Profile

Debra Alvis Related seminars and products: 7


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 to move toward thriving. Debra has refined the application of this integrative model 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.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Debra Premashakti Alvis is in private practice. She receives compensation as a Professor for the University of Georgia. Dr. Alvis receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Debra Premashakti Alvis has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Additional Info

Program Information


Click here to purchase the DVD recording from our product store. CE hours and approvals on products may differ from live CE approvals.

Additional Resources

To order the book, The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory, please visit our product store.

To order the book, Trauma Treatment Toolbox, please visit our product store.

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Analyze how the Polyvagal Theory expands therapeutic knowledge and treatment concerning trauma, anxiety, depression, and social engagement disorders.
  2. Compose everyday language to better explain the Polyvagal Theory, helping clients understand their symptoms and increase their motivation.
  3. Assess client states of threat, risk, and safety and identify effective polyvagal interventions.
  4. Integrate therapist co-regulation tools designed build the client’s self-regulation capacities.
  5. Apply interventions to enhance self-regulation, support internal calm, increase feelings of safety, and increase social engagement.
  6. Utilize awareness-based approaches to strengthen resiliency.
  7. Employ contemplative practices that strengthen the clients’ capacity to shift their nervous system to better manage physiologic responses.


The Polyvagal Theory & How It Drives Behaviors
  • The biology of safety and danger
  • Evolutionary changes and adaptive functions
  • Social engagement, fight/flight, and shutdown
  • The human response hierarchy for challenges
  • Face-heart connection – the how and why of nervous system regulation
  • Gestures, vocalizations, facial expressions
  • Polyvagal theory risks and limitations in clinical practice
Building Skills to Assess & Increase Safety
  • Recognize how environments trigger physiological states
  • Identify adaptive physiological reactions and maladaptive behaviors
  • Build greater nervous systems flexibility:
    • Play as a neural exercise
    • Listening as a neural exercise
    • Attending to visceral feelings and social cues
Strengthen Self-Regulation Skills
  • Increase autonomic state awareness to strengthen emotional regulation
    • Map vagal states with writing, drawing, & mirroring
    • Identify social cues that initiate defensive reactions
    • Explore the regulation/dysregulation continuum
Establish Disorder-Specific Skills to Address Mood and Attachment
  • Recognize & shift characteristic nervous system states for depression, anxiety, and attachment
  • Soothe anxiety
    • Navigate the sympathetic response
    • Escape the tiger!
  • Enliven from depression:
    • Engage with awe, experience wonder
    • Savor moments and states
  • Repair attachment to self & others:
    • Belongingness treasures
    • Explore the face/heart connection
Negotiate Trauma Treatment – Explore Abuse and Neglect Responses
  • Name defense strategies of fight, flight, and immobilization
  • Highlight adaptive functions of immobilization, fight, & flight
  • Label defense reaction behaviors
  • Repattern social withdrawal & shutdown responses
Recognize Autonomic States & Strengthen Resiliency Through Contemplative Practice
  • How contemplative practices enhance nervous system responses
  • The five senses & the polyvagal system
  • Build present moment & witnessing skills
    • Autonomic meditations
    • Gentle movements and interoceptive awareness
    • Titrate movement into stillness
    • Tone the vagal nerve with breath, sound, & imagery
Expedite Recovery, Increase Well-Being – The Polyvagal Therapeutic Container
  • Co-regulate with the client
    • Recognize, Reach, Resonate, Regulate
    • Conclude the session with a return to social engagement
    • Yawn and stretch
    • Body calming
  • Evoke safety through room & exterior design
Returning to Practice Integrating a Polyvagal Approach
  • Establish relational reciprocity & repair skills
    • Perfect Nurturer Imagery
    • Syncing the breath
  • Build relationships with self and others
    • Self-compassion practices to fuel empathy
    • connection through compassion

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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