Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model Certificate Program

Course Price


Course length

27 hours

About the course

Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model Certificate Program™

Enrollment for the November 2022 to Aprill 2023 cohort is now closed. Stay tuned for a new cohort to start Spring/Summer 2023.

NOTE: If you took the initial PVI course 'Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model' with Jan Winhall, please contact us for a discount on this course.


There's no denying that there's a powerful movement in the trauma field towards helping clients to connect with embodied wisdom.

Many trainings emphasize the importance of this connection but do not actually provide the specifics on how to help your clients feel into their bodies.

In order to assist our clients, we need to engage in our own felt sense experiencing. My training offers you a safe and powerful way to explore your own felt sense experience and to bring this process to your clients.

Whether you are a therapist, coach, or bodyworker, my Felt Sense Polyvagal Model™ is a generic framework that can support any modality.

It will help you to help your clients harness the wisdom of their body as a powerful healing tool.


The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model™ helps people transition from being stressed, overwhelmed, or addicted…to becoming more regulated, grounded, and calm in their bodies.

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. It shifts the current pathologizing paradigm to a strength based approach and provides a generic framework that can support any therapeutic modality. Therapists, coaches, bodyworkers are all welcomed here.


Addictions and other trauma responses are increasing day by day. 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, and yet when we treat one, we are very often working with the other. The state of addiction is traumatic in and of itself and so, it’s important to work with both! In this workshop we will explore the intersection of trauma and addiction and how to address both with an embodied approach.


Participants of this course will gain focusing partnerships and become part of a growing supportive community of like-minded therapists who understand the importance of a polyvagal lens in working with clients.

This new certificate course will include six 120-minute live zoom classes, once a month. The first 75 minutes of each class will be spent with elaboration of the pre recorded material that students receive each month. This will include examining research in the area of polyvagal theory, experiential therapy, and trauma-informed practice.

In the final 45 minutes of the class you will break into small supportive groups where assistants help you to learn the embodied practices of mindfulness and focusing, so that you will be able to facilitate these processes with your clients in a therapeutic context.

Participants of this course will be assigned into focusing partnerships, a neural exercise in co-regulation which can be used as a therapeutic tool as well as a contemplative practice.  You will meet with your focusing partner for about one hour on each of the weeks when there is not a live class to practice on your own time. At least 15 partner sessions must be logged for the Focusing Proficiency Certificate, which is about 3 sessions per month. 

In order to create a safe-enough container, participants are expected to engage in a private, quiet setting, with their cameras “on”, as we will be working experientially.

Over the six months' duration of this course we will have time to really integrate all the material, get to know each other and form relationships that can endure over a lifetime.


Participants will be guided in the use of tools for applying the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model™ to treat trauma and addiction.

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 course also includes a description of the theoretical framework, and an introduction to The Embodied Assessment and Treatment Tool™ (EATT) with in-depth training on how to use it. This tool reflects the experiential nature of a body based psychotherapy.

Instruction will be given on how to apply the model through live demonstrations, experiential exercises in how to teach mindfulness and focusing, and presentations of case examples.


-  24 Approved CE’s  

-  Six 120-minute live monthly zoom classes

-  9 hours of on-demand lectures by Jan Winhall

-  Recorded conversations between Jan Winhall and Stephen Porges

-  Focusing partnership: experiential instruction in partnered focusing/listening practice, a co-regulating tool and contemplative practice

Upon passing a final course quiz, participants will receive:

-  Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model, Certificate Program from the Polyvagal Institute

- Focusing Proficiency from the International Focusing Institute



The live zoom sessions will be held on Saturdays from
12:00pm - 2:00pm ET on the following dates:

November 5, 2022

December 3, 2022

January 7, 2023

February 4, 2023

March 4, 2023

April 1, 2023

Focusing Partnerships

In addition to class time you will be meeting with your Focusing Partner once a week, excluding the week that we meet for the zoom class, so three times a month. In order to receive the Focusing Proficiency Certificate you must provide documentation of 15 Partner sessions over the six months. You will need at least  50 minutes - totaling 12.5 hours during the course. Each person gets 20 minutes of Focusing and your partner reflects back your felt sense. This practice is a lifelong gift. I strongly encourage you to fully embrace it.


If you MUST miss one class, the first 75 minute recording will be available for you to watch.  We will provide one make up class for the 45 minute break out room at the end of the program. In order to fulfill the requirements for the 2 certificates and the  approved CE's you will need to attend all classes, or watch a maximum of 1 recording of the live class.





Students will have access to the course for 300 days from the registration date.

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


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.