The foundational role of safety in our lives.
Ever since publication of The Polyvagal Theory in 2011, demand for information about this innovative perspective has been constant. Here Stephen W. Porges brings together his most important writings since the publication of that seminal work. At its heart, polyvagal theory is about safety. It provides an understanding that feeling safe is dependent on autonomic states, and that our cognitive evaluations of risk in the environment, including identifying potentially dangerous relationships, play a secondary role to our visceral reactions to people and places.
Our reaction to the continuing global pandemic supports one of the central concepts of polyvagal theory: that a desire to connect safely with others is our biological imperative. Indeed, life may be seen as an inherent quest for safety. These ideas, and more, are outlined in chapters on therapeutic presence, group psychotherapy, yoga and music therapy, autism, trauma, date rape, medical trauma, and COVID-19.
- Introduction: An Embedded History of a New Science
- 1. Neurocardiology Through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory – Stephen W. Porges and Jacek Kolacz
- 2. Polyvagal Theory: A Biobehavioural Journey to Sociality – Stephen W. Porges
- 3. Play as a Neural Exercise: Insights From the Polyvagal Theory – Stephen W. Porges
- 4. Vagal Pathways: Portals to Compassion – Stephen W. Porges
- 5. Yoga Therapy and Polyvagal Theory: The Convergence of Traditional Wisdom and Contemporary Neuroscience for Self-Regulation and Resilience – Marlysa B. Sullivan, Matt Erb, Laura Schmalzl, Steffany Moonaz, Jessica Noggle Taylor, and Stephen W. Porges
- 6. Mindfulness-Based Movement: A Polyvagal Perspective – Alexander R. Lucas, Heidi D. Klepin, Stephen W. Porges, and W. Jack Rejeski
- 7. Group Psychotherapy as a Neural Exercise: Bridging Polyvagal Theory and Attachment Theory – Philip J. Flores and Stephen W. Porges
- 8. Neural Mechanisms Underlying Human–Animal Interaction: An Evolutionary Perspective – C. Sue Carter and Stephen W. Porges
- 9. Therapeutic Presence: Neurophysiological Mechanisms Mediating Feeling Safe in Therapeutic Relationships – Shari M. Geller and Stephen W. Porges
- 10. Play and the Dynamics of Treating Paediatric Medical Trauma: Insights From Polyvagal Theory – Stephen W. Porges and Stuart Daniel
- 11. Brain–Body Connection May Ease Autistic People’s Social Problems – Stephen W. Porges
- 12. Reducing Auditory Hypersensitivities in Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Preliminary Findings Evaluating the Listening Project Protocol – Stephen W. Porges, Olga V. Bazhenova, Elgiz Bal, Nancy Carlson, Yevgeniya Sorokin, Keri J. Heilman, Edwin H. Cook, and Gregory F. Lewis
- 13. The Significance of Stillness – Stephen W. Porges and Denise Winn
- 14. The COVID-19 Pandemic Is a Paradoxical Challenge to Our Nervous System: A Polyvagal Perspective – Stephen W. Porges
- Appendix: Polyvagal Theory: A Primer
Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory and author of more than 400 papers. He lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
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