My clinical work is based on the principles of Polyvagal Theory.  Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, Polyvagal Theory offers a way to understand the human autonomic nervous system and directly engage with our habitual patterns of response.  Through a polyvagal lens we learn to listen to our embodied stories.  Using a polyvagal perspective, we can let go of self criticism and bring an open heart to exploring the "ways and whys" of our daily we interact or isolate, join or judge, move toward or away, speak or stay silent.  Below you will find my Beginner's Guide to Polyvagal Theory offered to you for personal use and use in clinical practice.  If you are interested in deeper work with Polyvagal Theory please see the Workshops page for upcoming trainings or contact me to schedule a training or for individual work.

The Rhythm of Regulation: Building Safety From a Polyvagal Perspective

The Rhythm of Regulation series is based on the work of renowned neuroscience researcher Stephen Porges.  His development of Polyvagal Theory presents an expanded understanding of the ways the autonomic nervous system influences our experiences of safety and our ability for connection.  

Dr. Porges’ research offers a cutting edge framework for the treatment of trauma.  Polyvagal Theory provides a state of the art map outlining a new way of looking at habitual patterns of action, disconnection, and engagement.  

In this new workshop series, Deb Dana translates Dr. Porges’ theory into clinical application with the creation of her integrated approach to polyvagal intervention.  We begin with an examination of Polyvagal Theory and the science of the autonomic nervous system followed by comprehensive study of the phases of polyvagal intervention. 

The Rhythm of Regulation series includes:

One Day Introduction Workshop

Two Day Immersion Series

52 hour Intensive Training Program         

Rhythm of Regulation Intensive Training Program

Walking a Polyvagal Pathway...

On March 25, 2015, my husband, Bob, became one of the approximately 600,000 people in the United States who suffer a first-time stroke. It was on that day, in that moment, that we began our walk on a polyvagal path through stroke recovery. My tendency is to push myself, my vagal brake releasing to give me maximum energy without metabolic activation, but I am noticing that I am too often introducing a bigger neural challenge for Bob than he is ready for. His neuroception of safety has narrowed since his stroke. This may be natural, but I, as his wife and now suddenly transformed into a caregiver, have to regulate my energy output so I don’t overwhelm him. He now experiences more cues of danger and fewer cues of safety, and I struggle to accept that change. Looking ahead is either joy filled or fear filled depending on where on the autonomic hierarchy we find ourselves. As Bob and I move through this time of brain reorganization, I’ve taken the responsibility to bring the benefits of ventral vagal energy to our daily living experiences as often and long and deeply as possible. Many times a challenge, this is the “medication” that will quiet his biological defense systems and support health, growth, and restoration.

A Story of Stroke Recovery Told through a Polyvagal Perspective to be published in Clinical Applications of The Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018)