How Polyvagal Theory Helps Us Manage Our Reactions to the COVID-19 Pandemic

This On-Demand Webinar is for 2 hours and talks about Polyvagal Theory. Access information, resources and CEU information will be sent to you shortly after registration and registrants will be given unlimited access to the recording for a full year.

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In this time of deep disruptions to daily life, we are confronted with challenges that are unfamiliar to our biology and disruptive to our neurobiologically patterned behaviors and feelings.  For us to comply with the requirements for social distancing and adhere to stay-at-home orders, we have to acknowledge and inhibit the powerful biological pull of our essential need for human connection.  While we want to anchor in an autonomic state of calmness and social engagement, our nervous system may be challenged by the Covid-19 crisis impacting our ability to follow through with our benevolent intentions to connect, support, and be present with others. Instead, the pervasiveness of the crisis dominates our awareness, triggers our nervous system into states of defense, and moves us between mobilized feelings of hypervigilance, anger, and anxiety, and immobilized feelings of despair, withdrawal, and collapse.   Polyvagal Theory informs us of the adaptive function of these shifts in autonomic state and helps us understand the emergent emotional feelings, behaviors, and personal narratives that accompany these physiological changes.

What happens when we are prevented from co-regulating with others?  What happens when social distancing and isolation prevent us from following our instinctive drive to calm through safe proximal relationships?  Polyvagal Theory offers a roadmap to help us navigate this unfamiliar territory.  In this two-hour webinar, Stephen Porges and Deb Dana will have a conversation about the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on our mental health, social relationships, and autonomic nervous system.  Using the principles of Polyvagal Theory they will look at the challenges for therapists and clients in the new world of online therapy.

You will learn about how:

  • The autonomic nervous system responds to cues of safety and risk
  • Social distancing and isolation impacts the autonomic nervous system
  • Moving from in-person to online therapy affects autonomic pathways of regulation and co-regulation for therapists and clients
  • To engage the pathways of the Social Engagement System to create an environment of safety and foster co-regulation during a remote session

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