What is Polyvagal Theory? 

Polyvagal theory was developed by Porges, a professor of psychiatry, as a way to explain how our experiences, particularly trauma, affect the nervous system and as a result of this, our behaviour. It is a way of explaining how our nervous system responds when we perceive our surroundings as being dangerous. Porges’ theory focuses particularly on the Vagus nerve and it’s counter balancing responses to danger and safety. In Polyvagal theory there are three development stages of response: Immobilisation, Mobilisation and Social Engagement. 

How does Polyvagal Theory work in psychotherapy? 

Polyvagal theory works off of the premise that social engagement can work to allow you to learn to register your fear responses and recognise safety again. It will also concentrate on regulation of the nervous system which becomes dysregulated due to traumas we have experienced throughout our lives.

What issues does Polyvagal Theory work well with? 

Polyvagal Theory works well with anxiety as well as issues relating to childhood adversity or trauma. It can also be used to work with PTSD. 



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