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Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory

- The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
 Author: Stephen Porges
 Description:

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 by authoring Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory

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.

About Dr. Stephen Porges

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the 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 400 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.

Books by Stephen Porges

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)

Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory by Stephen Borges and Deb Dana

The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018)

Polyvagal Safety: Attachment, Communication, Self-Regulation (Norton 2021).

About Deborah Dana

Deborah Dana, LCSW, is a clinician, consultant, author and speaker.

Her work is focused on using the lens of Polyvagal Theory to understand and resolve the impact of trauma in our lives.

She is a founding member of the Polyvagal Institute and lectures internationally.

Deb’s work shows how an understanding of Polyvagal Theory is applicable across the board to relationships, mental health, and trauma.

She highlights the intricacies of how we can all use an understanding of the organizing principles of Polyvagal Theory to change the ways we navigate our daily lives.

Deb believes that we all benefit when we have a basic understanding of the ways the nervous system works and learn how to become active operators of this essential system.

Clinical works written by Deborah Dana with publisher W.W. Norton include:

The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation

Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 Client Centered Practices the Polyvagal Flip Chart, the Polyvagal Card Deck, and

Polyvagal Practices: Anchoring the Self in Safety

Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory.

Other Books From - Complex Trauma Books

About the author

Stephen Porges

Stephen Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the 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...

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Deborah Dana

Deborah Dana, LCSW, is a clinician, consultant, author and speaker. Her work is focused on using the lens of Polyvagal Theory to understand and resolve the impact of trauma in our lives. She is a founding member of the Polyvagal...

Read More

Other Books By - Stephen Porges


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