Stephen Porges

University Scientist, Professor, Polyvagal Theory Neuroscientist

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is a distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium.

He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland.

He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioural & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award.

He has published more than 300 peer‐reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines that have been cited in more than 30,000 peer-reviewed papers. He holds several patents involved in monitoring and regulating autonomic state.

He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral, mental, and health problems related to traumatic experiences.

He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, (Norton, 2017) and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018).

He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by more than 1500 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement.

17:45 - 19:25

Day Two 20th January

Keynote Five - Stephen Porges

Intergenerational trauma through the lens of the Polyvagal Theory

 This keynote will discuss how features of intergenerational trauma can be explained through the lens of the Polyvagal Theory.  The theory emphasises the role that the autonomic nervous system has in mediating the valence and intensity of our reactions to events and individuals. The theory helps explain the transgenerational features in our environment, often shaped by family and cultural institutions, that personalize and redefine the cues that trigger states of safety and threat across generations. The process promotes consistent intergenerational defensive and aggressive strategies instead of feelings of trust and connectedness with others. Healing the intergenerational trauma starts by understanding the cultural programming of cues that shift autonomic state and promote defense. Through an understanding of how our nervous system detects risk and embraces feelings of safety (i.e. neuroception), interventions can retune autonomic state to enable spontaneous social engagement and trust.

19:25 - 19:40

Day Two 20th January

Q & A Session

19:40 - 19:50

Day Two 20th January

Closing Remarks