This book offers therapists an integrated approach to adding a polyvagal foundation to their work with clients. With clear explanations of the organizing principles of Polyvagal Theory, this complex theory is translated into clinician and client-friendly language. Using a unique autonomic mapping process along with worksheets designed to effectively track autonomic response patterns, this book presents practical ways to work with clients' experiences of connection. Through exercises that have been specifically created to engage the regulating capacities of the ventral vagal system, therapists are given tools to help clients reshape their autonomic nervous systems.
Adding a polyvagal perspective to clinical practice draws the autonomic nervous system directly into the work of therapy, helping clients re-pattern their nervous systems, build capacities for regulation, and create autonomic pathways of safety and connection. With chapters that build confidence in understanding Polyvagal Theory, chapters that introduce worksheets for mapping, tracking, and practices for re-patterning, as well as a series of autonomic meditations, this book offers therapists a guide to practicing polyvagal-informed therapy.
The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy is essential reading for therapists who work with trauma and those who seek an easy and accessible way of understanding the significance that Polyvagal Theory has to clinical work.
Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994, he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric and physical disorders. He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe (Norton, 2017), and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018). He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol™, which currently is used by more than 1400 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, to improve language processing and for state regulation.
Deb Dana, LCSW, LICSW, is a clinician and consultant specializing in using the lens of Polyvagal Theory to understand and resolve the impact of trauma and create ways of working that honor the role of the autonomic nervous system. She developed the Rhythm of Regulation Clinical Training Series and lectures internationally on ways Polyvagal Theory informs clinical work. She is a founding member of the Polyvagal Institute, clinical advisor at Khiron Clinics, and an advisor to Unyte.
Deb is the author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation (Norton, 2018), Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 Client-Centered Practices (Norton, 2020), Befriending Your Nervous System (Sounds True, 2020), Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory (forthcoming from Sounds True), co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018), and creator of the Polyvagal Flip Chart (Norton, 2020).
To learn more, visit rhythmofregulation.com or www.polyvagalinstitute.org.
Financial: Deborah Dana maintains a private practice and is a consultant at Khiron House Clinics and the Veterans Administration. She receives royalties as a published author and receives a speaking honorarium from the Cape Cod Institute, The Knowledge Tree, the PCPSI, and the Polyvagal Institute. Deborah Dana receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Deborah Dana is a board member of the Polyvagal Institute. She is a volunteer consultant for Unyte/iLS.
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