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The Emergence of a Polyvagal-Informed Therapy: How Vocal Music and Voice Contribute to Healing Following Trauma

About the Course:

This presentation will focus on how Polyvagal Theory provides a plausible model to explain how and why intonation of voice and vocal music can support mental and physical health and enhance function during compromised states associated with illness, chronic stress, and trauma. The Polyvagal Theory provides a strategy to understand the neural mechanisms and processes that enable the intonation of voice to improve social engagement behaviors and to enhance the regulation of bodily and behavioral state. The theory provides insights that potentially explain how human vocalizations support mental and physical health. The Polyvagal Theory will explain how both context and intonation determine whether human vocalizations will support mental and physical health. The theory explains how vocalizations involved in talk therapy and vocal music require two attributes to be successful: 1) an interpersonal relationship between therapist and client that promote feelings of safety and trust, and 2) acoustic features of the vocalizations occurring in a range that overlaps with maternal lullabies. The Safe and Sound Protocol™ will be described as an example of an intervention that incorporates these two components.

The workshop will focus on the principles incorporated in the Safe and Sound Protocol™ and the lessons learned through preliminary clinical trials, current research, and feedback from clinicians applying the protocol to various clinical disorders including individuals with severe trauma histories. The Safe and Sound Protocol™ is a listening intervention, based on the Polyvagal Theory, designed to promote social engagement behaviors in individuals with problems in social interaction and communication. The Safe and Sound Protocol™ Listening Project is targeted at improving auditory processing and reducing hypersensitivity to sounds by “exercising” the neural regulation of the middle ear muscles and improving the regulation of autonomic state via the Social Engagement System.

This course is based on the recorded webinar, The Emergence of a Polyvagal-Informed Therapy: How Vocal Music and Voice Contribute to Healing Following Trauma created by Stephen Porges, PhD in 2019.

Publication Date:


Course Material Author

Stephen Porges, PhD

Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Trauma Stress Research Consortium within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of 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 served as president of both the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and 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 including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. 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 importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders. 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).

Course Creator

Sandi Cardaman

Sandi Cardaman has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor for more than 15 years. She has worked with eating disorders, domestic violence and clients who are working with the dependency system.

Recommended For:

Counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and social workers. This course is appropriate for all levels of knowledge. This content is at an intermediate level.

Course Objectives:

  1. Understand how Polyvagal Theory identifies the specific features of “acoustic” stimulation embedded within vocal music and prosodic voice that may contribute to the improvement of social engagement behaviors

  2. Understand how trauma and stresses can “retune” auditory processing and distort our ability to process human speech

  3. Describe the mechanisms through which voice conveys physiological state and how listening to types of vocalizations and acoustic stimulation can aid in the regulation of biobehavioral states

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American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD)

1.5 CE Credit hour

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American Psychological Association (APA)

1.5 CE Credit hour

CE Learning Systems is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)

1.5 CE Credit hour

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National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

1.5 CPD hour

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Course Material

This material is available to purchase for $45. For your convenience, has arranged with ISSTD to make it available for purchase right here. » More info

References for the Presentation

Exam Questions

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Course Number 102794
1.5 credit hour
Log in for credit hours relevant to your licensure.

  • Recorded Webinar
Exam Fee: $8.96 No exam fee with a membership package!
4.33 out of 5
3 members have taken this course


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