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Innovative clinicians share their experiences integrating Polyvagal Theory into their treatment models.
Clinicians who have dedicated their work to bringing the benefits of the Polyvagal Theory to a range of clients have come together to present Polyvagal Theory in a creative and personal way.
Chapters on a range of topics from compassionate medical care to optimized therapeutic relationships to clinician's experiences as parents extract from the theory the powerful influence and importance of cases and feelings of safety in the clinical setting.
Additionally, there are chapters which:
elaborate on the principle of safety in clinical practice with children with abuse histories
explain the restorative consequences of movement, rhythm, and dance in promoting social connectedness and resilience in trauma survivors
explains how Polyvagal Theory can be used to understand the neurophysiological processes in various therapies
discuss dissociative processes and treatments designed to experience bodily feelings of safety and trust
examine fear of flying and how using positive memories as an active "bottom up" neuroceptive process may effectively down-regulate defense
shed light on the poorly understood experience of grief
Through the insights of innovative and benevolent clinicians, whose treatment models are Polyvagal informed, this book provides an accessible way for clinicians to embrace this groundbreaking theory in their own work.
Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Trauma Research Center within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of 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 served as president of both 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 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anaesthesiology, 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.
Deb Dana, LCSW is a clinician and consultant specializing in working with complex trauma and is the Coordinator of the Kinsey Institute Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. She developed the Rhythm of Regulation Clinical Training Series and lectures internationally on ways in which Polyvagal Theory informs work with trauma survivors.
“[E]ssential knowledge for everyone who works as a therapist. . . . The contributors to this book offer a wide range of the applications for polyvagal theory. . . . I highly recommend this book for professionals. . . . [F]or anyone who is interested in the underlying physiology on how we come to view the world and how as we do.” — Psych Central
“This collection of papers is an extraordinarily interesting exploration of the theory in practice. The plethora of contributions present case studies that are as touching as they are insightful.” — Sussex Counselling and Psychotherapy News
“Stephen Porges has not only made one of the most profound and illuminating contributions to our understanding of the nervous system in the last 50 years, but he has made one of the most useful ones, cracking the facial code, deepening Darwin’s work—an extraordinary feat—while teaching us to understand a patient’s nervous system’s state, sometimes when even they themselves cannot. And now, in this wonderful, illuminating book, co-edited with Deb Dana and filled with contributions from some of the leading lights from across the healing professions, we see how useful a variety of clinicians find Porges’ breakthroughs. This book teaches so many practical applications and shows how creative clinicians can use this work to settle even the most distressed human beings and help them transition into the state in which they are most likely to heal.” — Norman Doidge, MD, author, The Brain That Changes Itself, and The Brain’s Way of Healing
“The autonomic nervous system, oft neglected and until recently dismissed as primitive, takes center stage as the focus of exploration in this significant work. The most important names in our understanding of interpersonal trauma are represented here as they explain Porges’ Polyvagal Theory and its influence on understanding behavior and psychological processes. Safety, reciprocity, and synchronicity underpin the biology of social engagement to create the substrate for healing trauma. All this is elegantly explained in this book.” — Drew Pinsky MD, Internist, New York Times bestselling author, host The Dr. Drew Podcast