PVT and ACT: A Dialog with Dr. Stephen W. Porges and Dr. Steven C. Hayes

Course Price


Course length

1.5 Hours

About the course

Through in-depth and open-hearted discussion, Drs. Porges and Hayes explore the similarities and differences of their approaches, and how they can complement each other in therapeutic work to help heal trauma, promote flexibility, nurture compassion, and encourage prosocial actions. Moderated by Dr. Maarten Aalberse, this free online webinar is a collaborative production by Praxis and the Polyvagal Institute. 

PVT provides insights into the way our autonomic nervous system unconsciously mediates social engagement, trust, and intimacy. It offers trauma and body-oriented therapists a perspective that enables more precise, attuned ways of responding to their clients' needs as well as methods that enhance co-regulation and self-regulation. 

ACT, with roots in Skinnerian Behaviorism and Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, relies heavily on mindfulness techniques: consciously bringing awareness to the here-and-now experience with openness, curiosity, and flexibility. It focuses on observing, understanding, and transforming the processes that are the driving force of human suffering. This is a fascinating discussion of two complementary approaches that are both making a significant contribution to the field of psychotherapy. 

Instructor Information:


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.

Steven C. Hayes, PhD

Steven C. Hayes, PhD is an American clinical psychologist and Nevada Foundation Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Psychology, where he is a faculty member in their Ph.D. program in behavior analysis. He is known for devising a behavior analysis of human language and cognition called relational frame theory, and its clinical application to various psychological difficulties, such as anxiety. Hayes also developed a widely used and evidence-based procedure often used in counseling called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which relies heavily on counterconditioning techniques, such as mindfulness and positive reinforcement. An author of 38 books and 550 articles, in 1992 Dr. Hayes was listed by the Institute for Scientific Information as the 30th "highest impact" psychologist in the world during 1986-1990 based on the citation impact of his writings during that period. According to Time columnist John Cloud, "Steven Hayes is at the top of his field. A past president of the distinguished Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, he has written or co-written some 300 peer-reviewed articles and 27 books. Few psychologists are so well published".