How our responses to
proximity and touch are mediated
by natural neural mechanisms.
Professors Dr Sue Carter Phd, Dr Stephen Porges Phd with Amber Gray
in Sydney at the 2008 Love or Trauma Workshop.
Professor Stephen Porges and Amber Gray with Principal Carol Stuart
and Relationship Counsellor Rod McClure
In August 2008 Sydney was fortunate enough to host Professor Stephen Porges, his Professor wife Sue Carter and the amazing Elemental Continiuum Instructor Amber Gray presenting at a wonderful work shop held at the Sydney Masonic Centre and sponsored by the Carrara organisation of Survivors of Torture and Trauma (STARTTS)
Professor Porges presented his Polyvagal Theory to understand and treat features of stress, depression, trauma, autism and other psychiatric disorders,.
Dr. Porges is a leading international neuroscientist with particular interests in understanding the neurobiology of social behavior. Currently he is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Brain-Body Center in the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds appointments in the
Departments of Psychology, BioEngineering, and Anatomy and Cell Biology.
His research crosses disciplines and he has published in anesthesiology, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, space medicine, and substance abuse.
In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the autonomic nervous system to the emergence of social behavior.
The theory provides insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders.
The theory has stimulated research and treatments that emphasize the importance of physiological state and behavioral regulation in the expression of several psychiatric disorders including autism and provides a theoretical perspective to study and to treat stress and trauma.
His research and theories force us both to ask new questions about how we regulate our social behavior and emotions and to reconceptualize how we understand and treat several psychopathologies.
Professor Porges has proposed an integrated neurobiological theory, known as the Polyvagal Theory, that proposes that shifts in our physiological state can color or distort our perception of the world and trigger either social engagement behaviors leading to close proximity and intimacy or defensive strategies that promote either fight/flight or shut-down behaviors.
The Polyvagal Theory
emphasizes the evolution of the autonomic nervous system and proposes that important features of our social engagement and emotional behaviors are biologically driven and relatively insensitive to cognitive mediation and learning strategies. Professor Porges proposes that clinical and educational strategies can be more effective if they are delivered with an appreciation of the individual's physiological state.
Stephen Porges shared his knowledge and experience to explain the Polyvagal Theory and how the theory provides insights into the neural mechanisms mediating the atypical affective and social features of several psychiatric disorders.
Specifically, he described the Listening Project Protocol, an acoustic stimulation procedure that is effective in reducing hearing sensitivities and stimulating social engagement behaviors in autistic children.
In addition, he described the new methods he has developed to assess affect awareness, auditory hypersensitivity, and auditory processing that are related to several clinical diagnoses.
Based on 40 years of research on heart rate variability, Professor Porges conceptualized the Polyvagal Theory. Measures of heart rate variability provide "windows" to the physiological states described in the Polyvagal Theory. Consistent with this theme relating neural regulation of the heart to behavior, on the important role of Heart Rate Variability and heart coherence training as a method to enhance social engagement behaviors.
Prof Stephen Porges:
-Dr. Porges is currently a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Brain-Body Center in the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago
-He holds appointments in the Departments of Psychology, BioEngineering, and Anatomy and Cell Biology.
-Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr. Porges served as Chair of the Department of Human Development and Director of the Institute for Child Study at the University of Maryland.
-He is a former President of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been President of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, a consortium of societies representing approximately 20,000 biobehavioral scientists.
-He was a recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award.
-He has chaired the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maternal and Child Health Research Committee and was a visiting scientist in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Laboratory of Comparative Ethology.
-He was awarded a patent on a methodology to describe neural regulation of the heart. He is a neuroscientist with particular interests in understanding the neurobiology of social behavior.
We would also dearly love to commend the NSW team at STARTTS Carramar for their foresight and energies to sponsor these wonderful, illumanting souls Dr Sue Carter, Dr Stephen Porges and Amber Gray to Australia.
If you have further interest in addressing these matters of trauma in your life please don't hesitate to call and arrange or discuss an appointment before these unresolved with held energies force you and your loved ones apart.
Phone 93877752 after hours 0412 777303 0r email us at