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Revolutionizing Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model

Course Price


Course length

6 hours

About the course

This self-paced, six-hour course will present a new way of understanding and treating trauma and addiction based on my book Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model™ (Routledge, 2021). The model is based on the latest research in the areas of neuroscience and trauma treatment. The work of Stephen Porges, Dan Siegel, Bessel van der Kolk, Judith Herman, Marc Lewis, and Eugene Gendlin form the theoretical and evidence-based foundation of the model.

Trauma and addiction responses are increasing day by day as people cry out for help. We desperately need a fresh approach that treats the trauma of addiction where it lives; in the body. The fields of trauma and addiction have developed separately, yet when we treat one we are very often working with the other. And the state of addiction is traumatic in and of itself. So, how do we work with both? In this course we will explore the intersection of trauma and addiction and how to address both with an embodied approach.

The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model provides a paradigm shift from the traditional disease approach to a polyvagal informed understanding of trauma and addiction through the lens of the autonomic nervous system. It  thereby shifts the current pathologizing paradigm to a strength based approach. Addictive behaviors are the body's attempt to emotionally regulate by acting as propellers that facilitate neurophysiological shifts in our nervous system. The model integrates Porges’ Polyvagal theory, and Gendlin’s Felt Sense/ Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy process, enabling us to appreciate trauma/addictive behaviors as adaptive responses to maladaptive environments.

The model provides a generic framework that can enrich many areas of study including, education, health, and organizational development by integrating awareness of embodied processes and how vitally relevant that is to desired outcomes.  It also supports any therapeutic modality.

The Felt Sense Polyvagal Dialogue is a tool that integrates Imago therapy with the model. This provides a methodology for working with couples and families that engages them in an embodied approach. The webinar includes a description of the theoretical framework, and an introduction to The Embodied Assessment and Treatment Tool This tool reflects the experiential nature of a body based psychotherapy.

A mixture of didactic information, experiential Focusing/ Felt Sense practices, a demonstration and case examples will guide the clinician on how to apply the model. This course will be informative for those new to the field of trauma/addiction as well as seasoned practitioners. Psychotherapists, educators, coaches, body workers, are all welcome.

The course combines on-demand lectures by Jan Winhall with a one hour long conversation between Jan and Stephen Porges. Six modules detail felt sense/polyvagal principles presented in the coursework.

Students will have access to the course for 180 days from the date of purchase.

5.5 CE's are available for $60 upon course completion.

Suggested Reading:

Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model, by Jan Winhall, Routledge, 2021. You can purchase it at with a 20 percent discount.

Winhall, J. Porges, S. Winhall, Stephen W. Porges - Revolutionizing Addiction Treatment....pdf

Gendlin, E. T. Focusing. (1978/1981). New York: Bantamdell.

Teachings are appropriate for healthcare professionals as well as the public. Healthcare professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program in ways beneficial to clients or patients.

Instructor Information:


Jan Winhall, M.S.W. R.S.W FOT

Jan Winhall, M.S.W. F.O.T. is an author, teacher and psychotherapist. She is an adjunct lecturer and practicum supervisor in the Department of Social Work, University of Toronto. Jan is director of Focusing on Borden, a psychotherapy and training center. She has built a community of people who teach and practice Focusing as a way of life. Jan presents internationally on trauma and addiction.

Her book, Treating Addiction with The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model: A Bottom Up Approach is the result of rethinking the Felt Sense Experience Model that she wrote about in Emerging Practice in Focusing- Oriented Psychotherapy, 2014.

"In Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model Jan Winhall introduces a new strategy to treat addiction that brilliantly integrates Gendlin’s classic concept of a felt sense with Polyvagal Theory. The author shares her intellectual journey in which unique insights transform two disparate perspectives into obvious complements leading to a powerful treatment model." ―Stephen W. Porges, PhD, scientist, author, creator of Polyvagal Theory.

"In this insightful volume Jan Winhall brings together the essence of groundbreaking modern therapeutic practices with her own decades of hard-won clinical experience to fashion a new, deeply humane and promising model of addiction treatment, illustrated by poignant clinical vignettes." ― Gabor Maté, MD, is the author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.

"Reframing addiction and its treatment through the lens of Experiential Psychotherapy, Polyvagal Theory, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Imago Relationship Therapy, Jan Winhall has produced a brilliant synthesis and expansion of addiction theory and treatment that should be read by all therapists, not just addiction specialists." ―Harville Hendrix, PhD, and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, authors of Doing Imago Relationship Therapy in the Space Between



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