How safe do you feel? Revolutionising mental health with the Polyvagal Theory

Audio only version

September 19th, 2020
Professor Stephen Porges

Show Description

Professor Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory shows how the state of our nervous system determines our mental (and physical) health. 

He proposes a new paradigm in which mental illness is the result of our bodies’ reaction to a prolonged experience of threat, provoking a biochemical cascade which reduces our capacity for health, growth and repair. 

He urges us to listen to our bodies as much as we listen to our minds, and to build more nervous-system informed relationships and institutions, for better mental health for all.

About Professor Stephen Porges

Podcast guest photo

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. 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 has published more than 350 peer‐reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines that have been cited in more than 38,000 peer-reviewed papers. He holds several patents involved in monitoring and regulating autonomic state.

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 the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, (Norton, 2017) and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018). He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by more than 1500 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement.

Show Notes