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Applying polyvagal principles in practice


Polyvagal Theory is now well established and has been particularly applied in therapeutic disciplines.  Created by Stephen Porges nearly 30 years ago and popularised in therapy by Deb Dana and others, it is now well accepted that the ‘state’ of our nervous system has a huge impact on behaviours, traumas, triggers and so much more.

But what are we looking for in General Practice?

How might a patient present in reality – that might draw your attention to polyvagal theory and the need to consider it in how you communicate with your patient and how you can gain rapport, consent and engagement?

This webinar will explore a basic revisit of polyvagal theory and the autonomic ladder.  And it will then focus on what to look for in each autonomic state, to identify where your patient is at – and how you can avoid re-traumatising them, or spiralling them down to a withdrawn state where they can no longer work with you to discuss or explore their health outcomes.  We will look briefly at triggers, glimmers, cues of threat and cues of safety and how we can inadvertently disrupt (or rupture) our connection – and how to get it back.

In short, this webinar is a practical approach to how to apply polyvagal principles in practice to enhance patient communication and care.




Suzanne Henwood

Neuroscience based coach and counsellor

Dr Suzanne Henwood started her professional life as a Diagnostic Radiographer, moving into Education and culminating for nearly a decade as an Associate Professor in Health and Social Sciences.  She is fascinated by what makes people tick.  Over the years, she has trained in a number of coaching/counselling modalities to help people deeply connect with themselves and resolve what is unresourceful.   

She holds certifications in ACT (including ACT for Trauma and Depression), IDT – Interactive Drawing Therapy (including IDT for Trauma and Spirituality), NLP (she is an NLP trainer), mBraining (She is one of two Master Trainers in mBIT Globally), Time Line Therapy, Havening, Polyvagal Informed Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy for Severe Anxiety and Depression, Existential Coaching, Map of Meaning, Emotional Culture Deck, Refocusing Counselling and Heart Math.  In 2022 she was a finalist in the ANLP Awards for Research and Education.

She works largely in the field of stress and anxiety and deep self-connection and belief, working with a GP Practice to offer a neuroscience-based, integrated approach to wellbeing. Her company is mBraining4Success, and she works globally.