The Polyvagal Theory is among the most important and comprehensive maps informing clinical trauma therapy. Students of traumatology will be greatly enriched by this recent work. What makes this deep exploration even more engaging are the lively dialogues in which Porges's great body of wisdom becomes even more accessible to all those interested in the search for safety, in the face of threat and trauma.--Peter A Levine, PhD, author of Trauma and Memory, Brain and Body in the Search for the Living Past, and In an Unspoken Voice
For an introduction to the theory and to Stephen Porges. . . I encourage you to read this book. [A] remarkable book.
The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory is a landmark work, a lucid scientific explanation of how nurture is the very foundation of our nature. Porges explains how safety and reciprocity are biologically encoded, defining the quality of our lives. Basic safety is essential not only for having satisfying relationships, but also for optimally activating the higher brain structures responsible for creativity and generativity. By the defining the core features of "safety" as consisting of internal visceral sensitivities that define how we deal with threat and approach our surroundings, Porges invites us to revise our focus on safety from fences, metal detectors, and surveillance monitoring, to using the fundamental wiring of our brains, including our voices and our faces, to organize our lives, our families and our institutions. This book shows how most psychiatric problems are expressed in failures of attunement and reciprocity, and, by explaining the biological foundations of reciprocity, provides a guide to innovative methods to gain a sense of safety, mutuality and belonging.--Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Medical Director Trauma Center at JRI, Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, author of NYT bestseller The Body Keeps the Score
Bridging the gap between research, science, and the therapy room.
When The Polyvagal Theory was published in 2011, it took the therapeutic world by storm, bringing Stephen Porges’s insights about the autonomic nervous system to a clinical audience interested in understanding trauma, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. The book made accessible to clinicians and other professionals a polyvagal perspective that provided new concepts and insights for understanding human behavior. The perspective placed an emphasis on the important link between psychological experiences and physical manifestations in the body. That book was brilliant but also quite challenging to read for some.
Since publication of that book, Stephen Porges has been urged to make these ideas more accessible and The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory is the result. Constructs and concepts embedded in polyvagal theory are explained conversationally in The Pocket Guide and there is an introductory chapter which discusses the science and the scientific culture in which polyvagal theory was originally developed. Publication of this work enables Stephen Porges to expand the meaning and clinical relevance of this groundbreaking theory.