Stephen Porges

Author of the Polyvagal Theory, Distinguished University Scientist, Professor of Psychiatry

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is a 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 300 peer‐reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines that have been cited in more than 30,000 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.


20th / 21st October 2021 Young Hearts & Minds

Presentation Three - How Adversity Retunes our Nervous System: Rethinking the Long-term Impact of Trauma Through the Lens of Polyvagal Theory

Following trauma, the body’s warning system often gets stuck on high alert. Listen to Dr Stephen Porges as he shares some effective ways for “speaking” directly to an individual's nervous system. Dr Porges will present how things like tone of voice, certain gestures and music can help safety after a traumatic experience, particularly for young people.

Dr Porges will also address the question, "Do adverse events retune our nervous system and contribute to diminished wellbeing?" Dr Porges will address how to reframe the question and ask, not about the event, but focus on the individual reaction or response. Much of our society defines trauma by the event when the real critical issue is the individual’s reaction. By not accepting that, we end up saying; “If I can survive this and do well, why can’t you?” So we start blaming the survivors again. The point that we have to understand is that when a person has a reaction or response to trauma, the body interprets the traumatic event as a life threat. There’s a massive retuning of how the nervous system works, how it regulates underlying physiological systems that impact social behaviour, psychological experiences, and also on physical outcomes.


20th / 21st October 2021 Young Hearts & Minds

Q & A Session