The Neuroscience of Safety: Impact of Trauma, Abuse, and Chronic Stress on Mental Health

Lecture and Workshop. Safety is critical in enabling humans to optimize their potential. The neurophysiological processes associated with feeling safe are a prerequisite not only for social behavior but also for accessing 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.

When Feb 13, 2017
from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Where Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library,
Contact Name
Contact Phone 9198432883
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Lecture and Workgroup Sessions

Speaker: Stephen W. Porges, PhD

Safety is critical in enabling humans to optimize their potential. The neurophysiological processes associated with feeling safe are a prerequisite not only for social behavior but also for accessing 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 social behavior turns off defenses and promotes opportunities to feel safe. It provides an innovative model to understand bodily responses to trauma and stress and the importance of the client’s physiological state in mediating the effectiveness of clinical treatments. From a Polyvagal perspective, interventions that target the capacity to feel safe and use social behavior to regulate physiological state can be effective in treating psychological disorders that are dependent on defense systems. 

About Dr. Porges
Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland.  He is the former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences. He is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 250 peer‐reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines.  In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the consequence of feeling safe in maintaining and optimizing mental and physical health.

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