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Applying the Polyvagal Model to increase patients’ emotional self-regulation

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About This Course

Part One (November 12th):  Understanding How the Polyvagal Model Connects to Emotion Regulation and State Shifting.

In this two-part webinar, Dr. Baylin will first explain how the polyvagal model connects to emotion regulation and the processes of shifting between states of openness and self-defense.  The goal of part one is to give therapists a brain-based explanation of the polyvagal model and how it helps to understand a wide range of clinical problems that all share difficulties with regulating strong affect, with staying in “the window of self-regulation”. Dr. Baylin believes that therapists can incorporate knowledge about the polyvagal model into their daily practice more effectively when they first have a good working knowledge of these processes.   He will discuss the difference between automatic, “bottom up” state shifting and “top down” state shifting to lay the foundation for Part Two when we will focus on how to strengthen our ability to use the top down intentional processes to manage polyvagal state changes.  The top down mode of state shifting arises from humans’ unique ability to regulate the state shifting process rather than being at the mercy of the automated process that can create chronic problems with emotion regulation. Dr. Baylin will also discuss how individual differences in the functioning of the polyvagal systems arise from a combination of genetic differences and the effects of life experiences on the development of the polyvagal systems with an emphasis on the effects of early life experience on the development of the polyvagal systems.

Part Two (November 13th):  Applying the Polyvagal Model.

Building on the brain-based model of state shifting described in Part One, Dr. Baylin will use Part Two to discuss a number of different ways to promote intentional, mindful regulation of internal state shifting to support improved emotion regulation. Dr. Baylin will apply Porges’ concept of “neural exercises” to help therapists learn how to access the ventral vagal system that supports healthy emotion regulation and social engagement.  He will explain a number of different pathways or “portals” into the ventral vagal system that we can use to promote more effective emotion regulation and state shifting in ourselves and in our patients.   In addition, Dr. Baylin will discuss the role of the therapist as a “social buffering”, coregulating, “brain whispering” partner in the process of helping patients’ shift from chronic self-defensiveness into the state of open engagement.

Learning objectives of the Webinar:

  • Learn how the Polyvagal Model connects to emotion regulation.
  • Understand the difference between automatic and self-guided state shifting.
  • Learn how early life experience affects the development of the polyvagal systems.
  • Strengthen therapists’ ability to activate the ventral vagal social engagement system in themselves and their patients.
  • Learn several different ways to help patients shift from defensive states into openness.
  • Integrate brain-based knowledge into daily clinical practice.

Dr. Baylin received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1981.   For the past twenty years, while continuing his clinical practice, he has immersed himself in the study of neuroscience and in teaching mental health practitioners about the brain.   He has given numerous workshops for mental health professionals on “Putting the Brain in Therapy” and has delivered keynote addresses internationally and nationally at conferences on childhood trauma and attachment.  Several years ago, Dr. Baylin began a collaborative relationship with Daniel Hughes, a leader in the field of attachment-focused therapy.   Their first book, Brain Based Parenting, was released by Norton Press in 2012. In 2016, their second book, The Neurobiology of Attachment-focused Therapy, was released by Norton.  Both books are part of the Norton series on Interpersonal Neurobiology.


2 Lessons

Multimedia materials

First Day3:23:28
Second Day3:37:30

Student Feedback

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Reviews (1)

Was an excellent course. It is a shame that psychotherapy has so few models explaining behaviour from a neuro-physiological frame. This is where polyvagal theory comes in very handy. It provided me with better understanding of the mind body connection and brain structures involved in behaviour.

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