Safety is critical in enabling humans to optimise their potential. The neurophysiological processes associated with feeling safe are a prerequisite not only for social behavior but also for accessing both the higher brain structures that enable humans to be creative and generative and the lower brain structures involved in regulating health, growth, and restoration.
The Polyvagal Theory explains how social behaviour turns off defences and promotes opportunities to feel safe. It provides an innovative model to understand bodily responses to trauma and stress and the importance of the client’s physiological state in mediating the effectiveness of clinical treatments. From a Polyvagal perspective, interventions that target the capacity to feel safe and use social behavior to regulate physiological state can be effective in treating psychological disorders that are dependent on defence systems. This workshop includes new and updated material that is significant for those working in the therapy, medical and caring professions.
Dr Porges is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University Bloomington where he directs the Traumatic Stress Research Center in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he directed the Brain-Body Center in the Department of Psychiatry, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, where he chaired the Department of Human Development and directed the Institute for Child Study.
He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and also of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. He is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 200 peer reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, space medicine, and substance abuse.
In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the vertebrate autonomic nervous system to the emergence of social behavior. The theory provides insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders. The theory has stimulated research and treatments that emphasize the importance of physiological state and behavioral regulation in the expression of several psychiatric disorders and provides a theoretical perspective to study and to treat stress and trauma. He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton, 2011) and is currently writing Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe.
See also The Breath of Life Conference