At its most basic level, human communication is one nervous system responding to another, searching for signals that it’s safe to connect and flooding us with distress responses when it’s not. Polyvagal Theory has revolutionized our understanding of the complex, unconscious forces at play in therapeutic interactions, offering a road map to help us navigate and engage this deeply embodied system. Learn how to use the five pathways of the Social Engagement System to regulate your own states and enter into fuller autonomic attunement with your clients. You’ll explore how to:
- Use your own autonomic nervous system to create an environment of safety for your clients
- Develop the expressive range of your eyes, voice, breath, and body to enrich your nonverbal attunement skills
- Help your clients listen to their internal state and let go of their problem stories
- Reliably guide your clients from state to state and enhance their capacity for self-regulation
Deb Dana, LCSW, is coordinator of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute and developer of the Rhythm of Regulation training series. She’s the coeditor, with Stephen Porges, of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory and author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy.