Understanding Reactions to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights from the Polyvagal Theory and the Oxytocin Hypothesis

Live Broadcast Dates: Monday, October 19, and Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Live Broadcast Time: 1:00 pm – 4:15 pm on both days, EDT (Toronto, New York), UTC -4
Convert to your local time here

Registration Costs:
Guest and Community Learner Webinar Rate – $292.00
Guest and Community Learner Webinar + Q&A Rate – $308
Dedicated Learner Webinar Rate* – $248.20

All pricing is $CAD. $USD equivalent is about 30% less than $CAD. To estimate webinar rate before taxes in your local currency, click here.

*Dedicated Learners pay $22/month and automatically save 15% PLUS have access to all Q&A sessions free. To become a Dedicated Learner, click here.

Can’t Attend Live? This webinar will be recorded and archived. All registrants will be given unlimited access to the recording for a full year after the Live Broadcast date.

The spread of the SARSCov2 virus presents an unprecedented event that rapidly introduced widespread life threat, economic de-stabilization, and social isolation. The human nervous system is tuned to detect safety and danger, integrating body and brain responses via the autonomic nervous system. Polyvagal Theory provides a perspective to understand the impact of the pandemic on mental and physical health AND a roadmap to help lessen the effects of adverse reactions and traumatic triggers in response to pandemic conditions.

This webinar will integrate the Polyvagal Theory with current research on oxytocin and vasopressin to explore the mechanisms of interventions that can help your clients feel safer and use the social engagement system to regulate their physiology when they are stressed or triggered.

You will learn about the important role of the state of the autonomic nervous system in exacerbating or dampening threat reactions to the pandemic. You will also explore the impact of past trauma on your client’s susceptibility to behavioural and physiological destabilization.

Through activating the portals of social engagement which can promote calmness and connectedness, Polyvagal theory provides you with strategies that can lessen your clients’ adverse reactions to threat. Oxytocin and vasopressin activation can dynamically moderate autonomic nervous system influencing vagal pathways and anti-inflammatory circuits that help explain the adaptive consequences of love, trust, and social behaviour for emotional and physical health.

In this webinar, Drs. Porges and Carter will discuss applications of their research to the current pandemic.

By the end of this webinar, participants will be better able to —

  • Describe the principles and features of the Polyvagal Theory
  • Explain how the autonomic nervous system is triggered into a defensive state during the pandemic
  • Discuss how deficits in the regulation of the Social Engagement System are related to the core features of several psychiatric disorders
  • Explain how maladaptive behaviours, including states of dissociation, may be an emergent property of an adaptive physiological state triggered by survival mechanisms
  • Discuss a face-heart connection that defines a social engagement system linking bodily feelings with facial expression, vocal intonation, and gesture
  • Describe a neural process (neuroception) that evaluates risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits that promote either social interactions or defensive behaviours
  • Discuss the evolutionary importance of social behaviour in creating modern life forms including humans
  • Describe stress and trauma from a biological perspective and discover why the human experiences of love or fear, via the effects of oxytocin and vasopressin, can influence these
  • Explain how oxytocin and vasopressin act as “neuromodulators” within the theoretical context of the Polyvagal Theory
  • Discuss the epigenetic importance of early life experiences (nurture and stress) and learn of current evidence that implicates oxytocin and vasopressin

Follow-Up Q & A Session with Stephen Porges and Sue Carter

Join Stephen Porges and Sue Carter for a Follow-Up Q & A session to:

  • Ask questions that have arisen in the week after the webinar
  • Share unexpected insights, experiences and challenges that you have encountered as you put some of what you learnt into practice

Live Follow-Up Q & A Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020
Broadcast Time:  11:00 am – 12:00 pm, EDT

The Follow-Up Q & A Sessions are scheduled a short time after the Live Broadcast date and are designed to help webinar participants further integrate and deepen their understanding and implementation of webinar material. After having had a chance to absorb and reflect on what you learnt in the webinar, you are invited to join the speaker in an hour-long Q & A session to ask questions, share your experiences in implementing some of the ideas explored in the webinar and discuss challenges and unexpected insights that may have arisen.

Follow-Up Q & A Fee for Guests and Community Learners at time of registration: CAD$16

Follow-Up Q & A Fee for Guests and Community Learners AFTER: CAD$30

Dedicated Learners and Whole Enchilada Learners of the Leading Edge Seminars Advantage Network are automatically registered  for Follow Up Q & As at no charge.

Please note: CEs are available for the webinar only (CE info for Canadians and Non-US participants click here, CE info for US participants click here).

Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland.  He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral, mental, and health problems related to traumatic experiences.

Sue Carter, PhD, is currently Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Bloomington, and Executive Director Emerita of the Kinsey Institute and Rudy Professor Emerita of Biology. She formerly held professorships at the University of Maryland and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed publications and edited 5 books including “Attachment and Bonding: A New Synthesis.” Dr. Carter is the scientist who discovered the relationship between social behavior and oxytocin. She studies the evolution of human sociality and the role of oxytocin pathways in promoting social bonding and overcoming fear and trauma.

Day 1

Time Topic Covered
1:15 – 1:45 pm
  • Challenging times: COvid-19 Pandemic provides a paradoxical challenge to our nervous system
1:45 – 3:15 pm
  • Polyvagal Theory: The Adaptive function of evolutionary changes in the autonomic nervous system
3:15 – 3:30pm 15 Minute Break
3:30 – 4:30pm
  • Connectedness: A biological imperative

Day 2

Time Topic Covered
1:15 – 1:45 pm
  • The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Polyvagal Perspective
1:45 – 3:15 pm
  • Oxytocin and Human Evolution: Part 1
    The Role of Oxytocin in Birth, Social Attachment and Affective Relationships and Overcoming Fear and Trauma
3:15 – 3:30pm 15 Minute Break
3:30 – 4:30pm
  • Oxytocin and Human Evolution: Part 2
    How Do Love and Fear Tune the Oxytocin System – Helping the Mammalian Body to Manage Stress and Trauma

This training offers 6 hours of direct contact (not counting breaks or lunch). It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards/regulatory body to verify CE requirements for their license to practice.

For Live Broadcast Attendees

Webinar attendance by participants is automatically tracked, documented and archived for future reference. Upon confirming you have attended 100% of the webinar and upon completion of a course evaluation, you will be issued a certificate of participation (see below).

For Attendees of On Demand/Recorded Version

If you cannot verify 100% attendance of the Live Broadcast or if you are watching the On Demand/recorded version of this webinar, you will need to complete a Post-Webinar Quiz with a pass of at least 80% in order to verify your attendance.

For US Participants

  • Continuing Education Credit is pending approval through Commonwealth Educational Seminars for these following professions.
  • Instructions on how obtaining your Certificate of Attendance will be distributed either upon completion of the Live Broadcast or after participants pass the Post-Webinar Quiz following the On Demand recorded version of the webinar.

For more general info about CEs for US Participants, please click here.  

For Canadian and International participants

Upon fulfillment of the above requirements, Canadian and international participants will be issued a Certificate of Participation which features:

  • Name of Participant
  • Title of Training
  • Name of Presenter plus their credentials
  • Number of hours of training
  • Date of training
  • Confirmation that you have passed a quiz with at least 80% grade to verify your attendance

Please check carefully with your regulating body/organization that this certificate is sufficient proof for you to claim CEUs.

For general information about Continuing Education for Canadians and International participants, please click here.  

This training is aimed at all mental health professionals including:

  • social workers
  • counsellors
  • psychologists
  • psychiatrists
  • medical professionals supporting mental health patients
  • psychotherapists
  • mental health counsellors
  • marriage and family therapists and counsellors
  • occupational therapists
  • vocational rehabilitation therapists
  • addiction counsellors
  • religious counsellors
  • therapists
  • case managers
  • art therapists
  • licensed professional counsellors
  • all other professionals who would like to develop, update or expand their skills and knowledge in mental health practices
Guest and Community Participant Rate $292.00
Guest and Community Participant Rate $308.00
Dedicated Learner Rate* $248.20
Whole Enchilada Rate Included

*Dedicated Learners pay $22/month and automatically save 15% PLUS have access to all Q&A sessions free. To become a Dedicated Learner, click here

All pricing is in $CAD. The $USD equivalent is about 30% less than $CAD. To estimate webinar rate before taxes in your local currency, click here.

Event Detail

October 19, 2020 1:15 pm
October 20, 2020 4:30 pm