"This was an OUTSTANDING certificate course jam packed with video lessons, written material, and abundant resources organized in such a way as to optimize learning! This was truly an online course at its finest, with wonderful opportunities for live interactive sessions as well. I came in with a relatively strong background in polyvagal theory and yet found that I learned a ton, and learned it in such a way that I can now apply it more confidently in both my personal life and in my professional life as a therapist and wellness coach. Michael Allison's warmth and caring, and his ability to connect through this material is a testament to him embodying what he teaches. The teaching style was excellent, clear and engaging and there were just the right amount of repetition, reinforcement and interactive exercises to have this material sink in on a deep level. I couldn't wait to engage in new materials each week. This class has been transformative to me and the way I practice, and I hope to the patients/clients with whom I work."
--Beth Kurland, Ph.D.
Play Zone Pro: Polyvagal-informed Certificate for Wellness & Performance Coaches
Our next cohort starts live Zoom sessions on February 7, 2023 and continues for 8 weeks with Zoom sessions every other Tuesday (Feb 7, Feb 21, Mar 7, Mar 21). You may enroll in this course at any time, begin learning right away, progress at your own pace, and then jump into the next series of LIVE TRAINING SESSIONS in February 2023.
Polyvagal Theory describes the science of how our autonomic nervous system continually scans the internal, external and relational environments for risk and safety, and adaptively shifts physiological state (i.e. neural regulation of visceral organs, bodily systems, heart rate, breathing, etc.) depending on whether the current conditions are subconsciously evaluated as safe, dangerous or overwhelming (i.e. life-threatening). These reflexive bodily reactions (i.e. changes in heart rate, breathing, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc.) impact every aspect of our health, wellness and performance, as well as influence how we interact with others and experience the world.
More than our subjective experience, when we feel safe, our body is in a physiological state supporting health, growth and restoration (i.e. homeostasis). Whereas, when we feel unsafe, our body is interrupting homeostasis and either expending resources to attack, defend or escape, or conserving what’s left and shutting things down in a last ditch effort to survive.
These are adaptive survival responses triggered autonomically that follow a predictable pattern paralleling evolution in reverse versus being consciously planned, thinking-brain decisions. It is only when we feel safe in our body that we are optimizing our metabolic resources, internal bodily systems, and our patterns of responses, behaviors, and how we relate to others, in ways that promote our health, resilience and overall quality of life.
Therefore, as a Polyvagal-informed Coach we have three fundamental goals that we hold for ourselves and for our clients:
Meet the body where it is. We recognize whether we feel safe or unsafe, and respect that our bodily feelings have an underlying neurophysiology regulated by our autonomic nervous system.
Help the body to find, feel and absorb what’s safe to the body. In addition to threat, we have the capacity to detect cues of safety in the surrounding environment, within our own body, and through our interactions with others. We help ourselves to get better at seeing, hearing and feeling the features available to us that soothe, calm and reassure our body that we’re ok.
Build strategies, inner resources, habits, daily practices and relationships that promote feelings of safety and connection in the body. We intentionally cultivate these spaces, places, actions and interactions that match our body’s biological needs for safety to counteract the competitive, evaluative, dynamically changing and uncertain climates of today.
At the heart of Polyvagal-informed Coaching, metaphorically and neurophysiologically, is how we relate with our clients. The secret to our evolutionary success as social mammals resides in our face-heart connection, the neuroanatomical link between the vagal regulation of our heart and the neural regulation of the muscles in our face and head that enables communication, cooperation and sociality to function as a neural modulator (i.e. cranial nerves 5,7,9,10 & 11). We exchange clues about our physiological state, whether friend or foe, through our facial expressions, prosody of our voice, how we breathe, the sounds we hear, and our body language (i.e. postures, movements, gestures, etc.).
This understanding of our heart-face connection, meeting the body where it is, and our shared biological journey to feel safe, become the foundation for how we show up, what we do, and why we do it. Through self awareness, self care and compassion we become authentic, accessible and reliably present. This is the pathway to health, wellness and performance for ourselves and our clients. This is the essence of becoming a Polyvagal-informed Coach and optimizing our human experience.
Whether you are a Health or Life Coach, Sports Coach, Wellness Practitioner, Fitness Trainer, Executive Coach, Physical Therapist, Performing Artist, Yoga or Pilates Instructor - anyone leading others to better health, performance and wellbeing - through this Polyvagal-Informed Certificate Course, you will:
Develop a deep understanding of PVT that you can apply directly to your work, how you show up, what you do, and how you are received so that you can optimize the growth and development of those you are working with.
Construct a comprehensive framework grounded in PVT that will support and organize all of the other tools and strategies you implement in your work.
Cultivate resources, tools, practices and strategies aligned directly with your unique discipline that you can employ on-demand for yourself and those you are leading.
Become part of an integrated community of other coaches, leaders, wellness practitioners, performers and enthusiasts who are Polyvagal-aligned and continue to evolve, share ideas and collaborate on your professional journey.
Gain wisdom, experience and an embodied understanding so that you can feel confident in applying Polyvagal Theory and the methodology of The Play Zone in all aspects of your work.
Learn how to regain control of your physiology to optimize your wellness, performance, longevity, adaptability and improve the quality of your relationships in every role that you play.
Build daily habits, lifestyle practices, inner resources and relationships that help you become an effective co-regulator
Join our interactive APP of PV-informed coaches and health practitioners to continue sharing resources and expanding your learning, practices and applications.
“The Play Zone is a truly remarkable and game changing course. Not only does Michael distill and teach the complexities and nuances of PVT in a readily understandable fashion, he also applies the concepts in a novel domain. His application of the theory in the realm of human performance is a groundbreaking paradigm that sets the foundation for all of us to perform our best in any and all domains of life.”
Darin Davidson, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon
Certificate from PVI: Polyvagal-Informed Certificate for Wellness & Performance Coaches
CEs: 18 (see below)
Course Design: hybrid of live (6 hours) and on-demand (20 hours) instruction, plus case studies and exam;
the four live 90-minute sessions are every other week over an 8-week period, with on-demand assignments in between
live sessions are held on Tuesdays 2:30PM - 4PM Eastern Time; all sessions are recorded and available if missed
Outline and Format
CE's and/or Certificate Available Upon Completion
Michael has partnered with Polyvagal Institute and Stephen W. Porges Ph.D. in developing education and coaching around the application of Polyvagal Theory. His unique application of Polyvagal Theory to performance - The Play Zone - provides a paradigm shifting methodology to optimize control of our performance through skillful and conscious control of our physiology, and is endorsed by Polyvagal Institute and Dr. Porges. He will be a featured speaker at the Polyvagal Institute’s Annual Summit coming up in October, and is currently leading the development of a PV-informed Coaching Certification program.
Michael consults with professional, collegiate and high performing coaches, teams, organizations, athletes and performers in a variety of disciplines, as well as executive coaches, business leaders and corporate teams. He is a Health & Performance Coach, Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist, Post Rehab Specialist and Certified Oxygen Advantage Breathwork Instructor. He is the author of SMARTER Coaching, a certificated behavior change course accredited by the American Council on Exercise. In addition, Michael is a certificated ILS Safe & Sound Provider / Remote Provider and Focus System Training Provider.
With more than 25 years of experience in the fitness & wellness industry, he is the founder (1999) and co-owner of Physical Focus Inc. in Santa Barbara, California (www.physicalfocus.com) and leads a team of personal trainers, fitness instructors, health coaches, nutritionists and bodyworkers.
Most importantly, Michael is a husband of 22+ years to his wife Jamie, a teacher-librarian, and father of two beautiful daughters, Kate (21) and Samantha (17).
Email Address: michael@theplayzone,com
Stephen W. Porges, PhD
Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. 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. He is also the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™, which is used by therapists to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement.