The Polyvagal Guide to Relational Safety

The Polyvagal Guide to Relational Safety

Recorded Friday 11 June 2021

With Deb Dana, LCSW

CPD Credits: 3.5 hours

The autonomic nervous system is at the heart of daily living, powerfully shaping our experiences of safety and influencing our capacity for connection. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory provides a guide to the autonomic circuits that underlie behaviours and beliefs. It gives us an understanding of the body-to brain neural highways that give birth to our personal stories of safety and survival.

In this workshop Deb Dana will offer a polyvagal roadmap for psychotherapists, exploring ways to listen with curiosity and compassion to emerging autonomic states and answer the essential question, “What does the nervous system need in this moment to find safety in connection?”



Deb Dana,


Befriending the Nervous System
Autonomic mapping gives us a way to safely connect with, and get to know, experiences in each of the three autonomic states — ventral, sympathetic, and dorsal. When we map, we learn to turn toward the nervous system and tune in to the information that is held there. In this session, participants will learn how to create a Personal Profile Map as the first step in this befriending process.


Bringing awareness
Neuroception is the nervous system’s internal surveillance system. Working in the background, outside of conscious awareness, it uses embodied, environmental, and relational pathways to listen for cues of safety, danger or threat to life. We (all mammals) then enact the autonomic and automatic response needed in the moment to keep us safe. In this session, participants will learn to bring the implicit experience of neuroception into explicit awareness of that moment and to use that information to shape an experience of safety.


Safely connecting
The nervous system sends and searches for cues of safety and danger, broadcasting and receiving information by using the pathways of the social engagement system.