Polyvagal Theory

Khiron Clinics is proud to be certified by the Polyvagal Institute. Polyvagal Theory
provides an avenue to explore how our physical state can influence our emotional and
cognitive behaviour.
The Polyvagal-Informed Certificate program focuses on Six Key Areas related to
communications, culture, and successful leadership for an organisation. “The goal of
the program is to increase understanding of our own nervous systems, how we react to
threat vs safety, and to then extend that sensitivity throughout the organisation,”
explains Dr. Stephen Porges, professor emeritus, author and creator of Polyvagal
Theory, “People who feel safe are generally free to be more focused and creative in their
work.”

What is Polyvagal Theory?

Polyvagal Theory provides a revolutionary map of the nervous system, describing the underlying basis for our behaviour and feelings. The theory proposes that much of our cognitive and emotional intelligence stems from our physical state. Our body has an
innate sense of when we are safe and when we are not, and our body responds accordingly by speeding up our heart rate and stress levels if we feel unsafe and have the need to fight or flee, slowing down heart rate and higher brain functions when we are scared to death (“freezing”), or relaxing us and increasing our ability to engage socially and think creatively when we feel safe and appreciated. This internal ‘barometer’ is known as our autonomic nervous system, and Polyvagal Theory sheds new light as to exactly how it works on both individual and social levels. It also provides valuable instruction as to how we can improve our ability to relate and communicate with others within an organizational environment.
Chronic stress or trauma can prevent our autonomic nervous system from functioning in a healthy way, signalling danger when there is none and keeping us stuck in a state of survival. Social gatherings can be frightening and a simple meeting at work can become threatening. Living in prolonged states of survival often

The NY Times journalist, David Brooks, explains it well: “According to Porges’ ‘Polyvagal Theory,’ the concept of safety is fundamental to our mental state….when you step back and see the brain and body thinking together, the old distinction between reason and emotion doesn’t seem to make sense… we’re not separate brains, coolly observing each other. We’re physical viscera, deeply interacting with each other. The important communication is happening at a much deeper level.”

For any questions about assessment or admission please contact us.

Call any time UK: 020 3668 1606 US: (866) 801 6184

What does it mean to be Polyvagal-Informed?

Simply put, it is acknowledging that we move through our daily lives as complete human beings and, in response, creating environments that support and care for our innate need for safety. The notion that we can compartmentalize our stress, anxiety, or trauma
is misguided. Our brains are not able to isolate our lifetime of experiences and our learned views of the world and people while at work or at school. Perhaps for a brief period of time some of us can “stuff it down”, “suck it up”, or “pull yourself up by your
bootstraps”, however, our mental and physical well-being are taking the hit. Awareness and understanding through training and education on the Polyvagal Theory, and changes in policies, practices, and environments, can not only increase resilience
for many people, it can be healing. The Polyvagal Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a new paradigm for health and wellness. The Institute provides training and supports community and facilitates research centred around a revolutionary understanding of the body and mind, as presented in the work of Stephen Porges and Polyvagal Theory. To learn more about the Polyvagal Institute and Polyvagal-Informed Certification, visit: www.polyvagalinstitute.org

How Khiron is a Polyvagal Informed Workplace,

The polyvagal theory has informed the clinician’s somatic trauma trainings and has been part of the orientation of the clinical work at Khiron House since its start.

Since 2017, there has been a more refined focus on the specific delivery of the Theory as per the three states of regulations and the ‘Polyvagal Ladder’. It has become an intrinsic part of the psychoeducation delivered on an ongoing basis to prepare the clients to address their traumatic memories developing affect tolerance.

The Polyvagal Theory is one of the Four Pillars of the treatment at Khiron, we are using lectures and one-to-one sessions to deliver the theory as it fists any specific clients, and their therapists will identify the elements of the Polyvagal Ladder with them using the results consistently in therapy. Integrating this approach in treatment changes the client’s relationship with themselves and their body for good.

At Khiron, we have a neurophysiological and relational approach to trauma recovery rooted in the organisation’s orientation to the work and each other. We base our service on the premises of trauma-informed healthy human relating. This implies that everyone is willing and able, within their limits, to be curious about themselves and their effects on the community and, with that, the willingness to pursue their personal development. We have an extended training program for admin and clinical staff using the Polyvagal theory, a compassionate orientation to relating, and we practice mindfulness. We require and support the team to pursue their own therapy. We meet with a few moments of present-moment awareness and check in with each other. We practice self-regulation of our nervous system and co-regulation regularly.

The clinical team, the support workers and administrative staff are familiarised with the States of Regulation and the need to be responsible for one’s and the group’s personal process and regulation. They can quickly become aware of when their system is dysregulated and sympathetic. This has become accepted and acceptable to relate to and support each other. When starting some meetings, we take a couple of minutes to centre and ground ourselves, and we have a check-in to find out where everybody is at. When we identify someone to be triggered or activated, we tend to name it and offer support in an ideal way. When there is conflict, we use the Talking Boundary model for validation and safe communication.

The staff, at all levels, are in ongoing training and supervision. We have scheduled
breaks within the working day, and attention is given to our self-regulation at work and outside. Even during the hiring process, the importance of candidates always taking care of themselves is emphasised.

We can pay more attention to the effect of the physical environment on the regulation of all on the premises. We have dedicated and refurbished rooms to create a staff area as comfortable as possible. We also undertook a significant refurbishment of the whole house to upgrade it to a more suitable working and living environment. We have many plants indoors and outdoors, pets, and generally, a sense of care for the premises is present. We are incredibly privileged to be in a location of extraordinary beauty.

It’s all about making sure that people feel safe, and that includes our communications. So, it’s how we talk about issues and address the services we offer. We don’t do direct selling or aggressive marketing in our newsletters or social media. We inform and educate rather than sell. All our messaging is hopeful and positive, not frightening, and negative. There is no negative selling, such as "are you desperately depressed? If so, Khiron is the only solution for you etc.

When it comes to prospects and clients, it’s the same. It’s about information, education, and exploration rather than trying to be persuasive or selling our services.

Just a few words to express my deepest gratitude to you for enabling me to be here and finally start my process of healing.

Charlie, 39, Newcastle

I slept 9 hours last night, unheard of. I am already truly grateful for the change I have seen.

Michael, 30, USA

I want to acknowledge all the magic you did and the fact that its still working. I never dared to imagine things could be going as well as they are

Rosemary, 31, Somerset

Professional memberships and associations

We work with members of respected organisations to deliver our services.

We are registered with the Care Quality Commission

We are here to help

If you have a client, or know of someone who is struggling, reach out to Khiron.
We believe that we can stop the revolving door of treatment and misdiagnosis by providing effective residential and outpatient therapies for underlying psychological trauma, stress and breakdown.

Allow us to help you find the path to effective, long lasting recovery.
For information, call us today.

Call any time UK: 020 3668 1606 US: (866) 801 6184