Polyvagal Theory, Oxytocin and the Neurobiology of Love and Trust
With Stephen W. Porges, PhD and Sue Carter, PhD
Recorded Saturday 8 June 2019
The Therapeutic Use of the Body’s Social Engagement System to Promote Feelings of Safety, Connectedness, Intimacy and Recovery
In this workshop Porges and Carter will demonstrate the clinical applications of their research into Polyvagal Theory and oxytocin and social behavior. Their scientifically validated advancements in neuroscience offer a new way of considering brain-body medicine.READ MORE...
Safety is critical in enabling humans to optimize their potential. The neurophysiological processes associated with feeling safe are a prerequisite not only for optimal mental health and social behavior but are also relevant in the clinical setting. Physiological states that support feeling safe enhance therapeutic opportunities to access both the higher brain structures that enable humans to be creative and generative and the lower brain structures involved in regulating health, growth, and restoration.
The Polyvagal Theory explains how interactions within the therapeutic setting may turn off defenses and promote opportunities to feel safe. The theory provides an innovative model to understand the importance of the client’s physiological state in mediating the effectiveness of clinical treatments. Consistent with a Polyvagal perspective, oxytocin and vasopressin dynamically moderate the autonomic nervous system influencing vagal pathways and anti-inflammatory circuits that help explain the adaptive consequences of love, trust, and social behavior for emotional and physical health. Thus, interventions that target the client’s capacity to feel safe and use the social engagement system to regulate physiological state can be effective enhancements of treatments of mental health disorders that are dependent on defense systems. The workshop will integrate the Polyvagal Theory with current research on the mammalian neuropeptides of oxytocin and vasopressin, which facilitate social behaviors and trust.