"Polyvagal Theory...the science of feeling safe enough to fall in love with life and take the risks of living..."
Deb Dana’s work as a clinician, consultant, lecturer, and Coordinator of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute is focused on using the lens of Polyvagal Theory to understand and resolve the impact of trauma and create ways of working that honour the role of the autonomic nervous system as we move through states of protection and connection in an ongoing quest for safety. The autonomic nervous system is a common denominator in the human family. We all share the same bio-behavioural platform.
Polyvagal Theory offers a neurophysiological framework to consider the reasons why people act in the ways they do. Through a polyvagal lens, we understand that actions are automatic and adaptive, generated by the autonomic nervous system well below the level of conscious awareness. This is not the brain making a cognitive choice, these are autonomic energies moving in patterns of protection and with this new awareness, the door opens to compassion.
Out of Stephen Porges’s brilliant work developing Polyvagal Theory continued by amazing people like Deb Dana, a worldwide community of Polyvagal-informed people and systems is developing as we better understand the power of the autonomic nervous system to guide our movements and shape our stories.
Deb is the author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation, Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 Client-Centred Practices, and Befriending the Nervous System. She is the co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies, and creator of the Polyvagal Flip Chart.