Work Desk

Scientific Papers, Chapters, Books, and Interviews

Reading the actual research is important, but it’s also helpful when the research is connected to the larger picture and the dots are connected. The papers and books listed below do just that.  

Scientific Papers


The COVID-19 Pandemic is a Paradoxical Challenge to Our Nervous System: A Polyvagal Perspective
The polyvagal theory provides insight into mitigating the threat of COVID-19 on our physical and social wellbeing.

The Traumatic Stress Research Consortium (TSRC) - March 2020 Newsletter

A Kinsey Institute newsletter that shares the initial findings from a clinical questionnaire of trauma therapists in effort to understand what motivates trauma therapists and where they might need support.  

Love: an emergent property of the mammalian autonomic nervous system. 
The paper proposes a hypothetical model to explain that the evolution of the mammalian polyvagal states is related to the emergence of two components of intimacy: courtship and the formation of enduring pair-bonds.

Orienting in a Defensive World: mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A Polyvagal Theory.
The paper proffers the Polyvagal Theory to explain how the vagus nerve of the mammalian autonomic nervous system regulates the heart in response to stressors and induces certain psychophysiological states.



The Vagus: A mediator of behavioral and physiologic features associated with autism

Observations of autistic behaviors, facial expressions, and physiologic responses suggest challenges with the social engagement system and tendency towards defensive behaviors of mobilization and immobilization. This implicates the vagus nerve in the pathophysiology of autism including the dysregulation of the HPA Axis, the gut, and the immune system.

The Polyvagal Hypothesis: Common mechanisms mediating autonomic regulation, vocalizations, and listening

An application of the Polyvagal Theory to interpret the involvement of mammalian vocalization in reciprocal communication, socialization, and adaptive survival behavior. Acoustic features, neural regulation, and middle ear anatomy are considered in this polyvagal hypothesis.

Vagal Pathways: Portals to Compassion

Porges conceptualizes how ancient and ritualized contemplative practices such as chanting, prayer, meditation, and dance employ breathing, vocalization, and posture to shift into a physiological state mediated by the vagus nerve that enhances health and subjective experiences.



The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology), Stephen W. Porges

This book compiles, for the first time, Stephen W. Porges’s decades of research. A leading expert in developmental psychophysiology and developmental behavioral neuroscience, Porges is the mind behind the groundbreaking Polyvagal Theory, which has startling implications for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and autism. Adopted by clinicians around the world, the Polyvagal Theory has provided exciting new insights into the way our autonomic nervous system unconsciously mediates social engagement, trust, and intimacy.


Clinical Applications of The Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed  Therapies, Stephen W. Porges and Deb A. Dana

Innovative clinicians share their experiences integrating Polyvagal Theory into their treatment models. 

Book Review: Written by Nancy Eichorn and published in Somatic Psychotherapy Today


The Pocket Guide to The Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, Stephen W. Porges

Bridging the gap between research, science, and the therapy room. 

Book Review: Written by Nancy Eichorn and published in Somatic Psychotherapy Today



Wearing Your Heart on Your Face: The Polyvagal Circuit in the Consulting Room
Ryan Howes, PhD from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology interviews Stephen Porges on the influence of the autonomic nervous system on safety, trust, and intimacy, and how therapists can more effectively support their clients by making them feel safe. 

NICABM Interview: The Polyvagal Theory use in treating trauma    
In this interview with the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), Porges speaks to trauma, the autonomic nervous system, neuroception, triggering PTSD, social engagement and social attachment, Autism, scientific research versus clinical diagnosis, and the Listening Project as a treatment for auditory hypersensitivity. 

NICABM Interview: Body, Brain, Behavior:  How Polyvagal Theory
In this interview with the NICABM, Porges speaks to the origin of polyvagal theory, the two vagus nerves within a family of neural pathways, cardiopulmonary function, interoception, vagal tone and emotion, three stages of neural control of the heart, the vagal brake, Autism, and Borderline Personality Disorder. 

NICABM Interview: Beyond the Brain:  How the Vagal System Holds the Secret to Treating Trauma
In this interview with the NICABM, Porges speaks to neuroception and feeling safe, the social engagement system, the vagal paradox, the vagus nerves in trauma, novel events for reptiles and mammals, the vagus and dissociative styles, single-state learning, mobilization during treatment, tone of voice in therapy, and how to communicate the vagus system with patients.