Polyvagal Theory for Somatic Experiencing Practitioners

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Course length


About the course

Polyvagal Theory for Somatic Experiencing (SE) Practitioners is specifically designed to introduce key polyvagal theories and practices to Somatic Experiencing Practitioners and students who have completed their first year of SE training.

The course begins with two teaching modules where master clinician Deb Dana presents the organizing principles of Polyvagal Theory in combination with practices that bring the theory into practical application. In the third module Deb Dana and the founder of Polyvagal Theory, Dr. Stephen Porges, continue to illustrate how the theory can be applied to the field of Somatic Experiencing through an in-depth case study analysis.  The series concludes with a lively discussion between Dr. Stephen Porges and the creator of Somatic Experiencing, Dr. Peter Levine, facilitated by the President of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, Dr. Christopher Walling.

The course is entirely on-demand with the exception of two live sessions with Dr. Stephen Porges and Deb Dana.  The live Q&A session dates are:

  • January 18th, 2pm EST with Stephen Porges

  • February 10th, 2pm EST with Deb Dana

The course module objectives are as follows:

Module 1:  Three Essential Elements, The Three Organizing Principles of Polyvagal Theory: Neuroception, Hierarchy, Co-Regulation, Vagal Brake

Module 2: Autonomic Mapping, Three Blended States, Ventral Vagal Anchors, Story of the States,  Becoming Polyvagal Informed

Module 3: Case Study Analysis with Deb Dana and Dr. Stephen Porges

Module 4:  Discussion with Dr. Porges, Peter Levine

Instructor Information:


Stephen 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.


Deb Dana, LCSW

Deb Dana, LCSW is a clinician and consultant specializing in using the lens of Polyvagal Theory to understand and resolve the impact of trauma and create ways of working that honor the role of the autonomic nervous system. She developed the Rhythm of Regulation Clinical Training Series and lectures internationally on ways Polyvagal Theory informs work with trauma survivors.  She is a founding member of the Polyvagal Institute, clinical advisor to Khiron Clinics, and an advisor to Unyte.

Dr. Peter Levine

Peter Levine, PhD, is a psychologist, researcher, and former stress consultant with NASA. He specializes in working with trauma and stress-related disorders.

Peter developed Somatic Experiencing, a body-oriented approach to treating trauma which focuses on processing traumatic memory, calming the nervous system, and releasing traumatic shock from the body. The approach was inspired by Peter’s observation of trauma recovery behaviors in nature.

He is the author of several books on the treatment of trauma, including Waking the Tiger and In an Unspoken Voice.