The autonomic nervous system is at the heart of daily living powerfully shaping experiences of safety and influencing the capacity for connection. Polyvagal Theory, through the organizing principles of hierarchy, neuroception, and co-regulation, has revolutionized our understanding of how this system works. We now know that trauma interrupts the development of autonomic regulation and shapes the system away from connection into patterns of protection. For many clients, states of fight, flight, and collapse are frequent, intense, and prolonged while the state of safety and connection is elusive. Their autonomic nervous systems now respond in characteristic post-traumatic patterns of hyperarousal, hypervigilance, disconnection, and numbing.

A Polyvagal approach uses an updated map of the autonomic circuits that underlie behaviours and beliefs so clinicians can reliably lead their clients out of adaptive survival responses into the autonomically regulated state of safety that is necessary for successful treatment. Polyvagal Theory gives clinicians a guide to help clients safely tune into their autonomic states, reshape their nervous systems, and rewrite the trauma stories that are carried in their autonomic pathways.

Deb Dana - The Weekend University

Deb Dana, LCSW is a clinician and consultant specializing in working with complex trauma. She is a consultant to the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute, Clinical Advisor to Khiron Clinics, and an advisor to Unyte. She developed the Rhythm of Regulation Clinical Training Series and lectures internationally on ways Polyvagal Theory informs work with trauma survivors. Deb is the author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation, Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 Client-Centered Practices, co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies, and creator of the Polyvagal Flip Chart. For more information, please see: rhythmofregulation.com