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Mastering Vagal Toning Skills: Transformative Therapy for Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and Trauma

Mastering Vagal Toning Skills: Transformative Therapy for Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and Trauma

As therapists, we frequently work with clients grappling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and PTSD. Recent research reveals a critical link between these conditions and the dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. Understanding the bidirectional relationship between mental and physical health is paramount, making the mind-body connection an essential component of the healing process for our clients.

Times on both days:
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, London UK

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, New York, USA

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There is no known commercial support for this programme.

This course does not qualify for CE credits.

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Original price was: £ 149.00.Current price is: £ 109.00.

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Course Credits

CPD: 6 / CE: N/A

Speaker(s)

Dr Arielle Schwartz

Course length in hours

6 hrs of video content

Location

Online streaming only

Full course information

The vagus nerve, the primary modulator of the autonomic nervous system, plays a pivotal role in connecting the brain and the body. When the vagus nerve is well-toned and functioning optimally, the parasympathetic system remains active, effectively deactivating the sympathetic system’s arousal.

Vagal toning therapy, rooted in Polyvagal Theory, offers substantial therapeutic benefits by enhancing the tone and functioning of the vagus nerve. This therapy regulates critical autonomic functions and is key to emotional regulation. High vagal tone is linked to improved stress resilience, better mood stability, and a robust emotional regulation mechanism. Conversely, low vagal tone heightens stress responses, including anxiety, fear, and anger, and decreases tolerance for stress, change, and challenge. A lower vagal tone makes dysregulation more likely.

Incorporating practices such as deep diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, and cold exposure into therapy promotes autonomic balance in our clients. This fosters a state of calm and enhances emotional regulation. Physiological coherence not only reduces anxiety and depressive symptoms but also strengthens clients’ engagement and receptivity to psychotherapeutic interventions. A healthy vagal tone can thus be viewed as an optimal balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system actions, essential for overall emotional and mental well-being.

Specific Applications of Vagal Toning include:

  • Anxiety and Depression: A 2022 NCBI study demonstrated the efficacy and safety of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in treating depression. VNS therapy also showed promising effects on conditions with co-morbid depression such as epilepsy, obesity, and migraine.
  • Trauma: For clients with trauma histories, practices like rhythmic breathing and somatic experiencing help manage physiological responses to stress, reduce trauma-related symptoms, and expand the individual’s window of tolerance.
  • PTSD: Clients with PTSD often experience abnormal autonomic state fluctuations, leading to fight-or-flight behaviors such as withdrawal, immobilization, and dissociation. Vagus nerve stimulation helps counteract hyperarousal and reduce PTSD symptoms by modulating the sympathetic nervous system’s stress response.
  • Chronic conditions: Vagal toning addresses autonomic dysregulation associated with chronic conditions, enhancing overall physical and emotional health. By inhibiting oxidative stress, inflammation, and sympathetic activity, vagus nerve toning shows promising results for treating chronic conditions.

Vagal toning requires gentle stimulation of the vagus nerve pathway through breath, sound, eye movements, self-applied touch, and gentle movements. These practices help clients achieve balance by strengthening the nerve pathway of the social engagement system within the context of connection and safety through conscious breathing, movement, and self-compassion. While most people need to down-regulate their nervous system into the parasympathetic due to busy, stressful lives, some clients require up-regulating strategies to combat fatigue or collapse.

Grounded within the principles of polyvagal theory, affective neuroscience, and trauma-informed care, this training course with leading Polyvagal Theory expert Dr Arielle Schwartz will help you gain a better understanding of how our brains and bodies respond to stress and trauma. Participants in this training course will:

  • Understand the Mechanisms: Gain a comprehensive understanding of how vagal toning influences the autonomic nervous system and its implications for mental health
  • Master Techniques: Learn and practice various vagal toning techniques, including breathwork, mindfulness, cold exposure, and vocalizations
  • Integrate into Practice: Develop skills to seamlessly integrate vagal toning methods into existing therapeutic modalities
  • Enhance Therapeutic Efficacy: Discover how to use these techniques to improve client outcomes, reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and trauma
  • Empower Clients: Equip clients with self-regulation tools, fostering their sense of agency and promoting sustained mental well-being

Join Dr Arielle Schwartz, PhD, CCTP-II, E-RYT, an internationally sought-after teacher, therapeutic yoga instructor, and leading voice in healing PTSD and complex trauma. This program offers a unique opportunity to enhance your clinical practice with cutting-edge techniques promoting physiological and psychological wellness. Dr. Schwartz will explain the science of vagal toning and guide you through an experiential process, allowing you to sense the benefits of these practices for yourself and teach them to clients. These practices can quickly reduce clients’ anxiety, stress, obsessive thinking, or feelings of hopelessness. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain how to fine-tune the nervous system moment-by-moment to help clients emerge from chronic stress
  • Address client health with breath, movement, and body awareness practices
  • Discuss the fastest ways to reduce stress and regulate the nervous system
  • Explain the science of vagal tone and vagal efficiency
  • Discuss the key elements of applied polyvagal theory in psychotherapy
  • Discuss how to teach clients to naturally stimulate their vagus nerve to enhance their physical and emotional health

© nscience 2024 / 25

What's included in this course

What you’ll learn

Grounded within the principles of polyvagal theory, affective neuroscience, and trauma-informed care, this training course with leading Polyvagal Theory expert Dr Arielle Schwartz will help you gain a better understanding of how our brains and bodies respond to stress and trauma.

Learning objectives

  • Explain how to fine-tune the nervous system moment-by-moment to help clients emerge from chronic stress
  • Address client health with breath, movement, and body awareness practices
  • Discuss the fastest ways to reduce stress and regulate the nervous system
  • Explain the science of vagal tone and vagal efficiency
  • Discuss the key elements of applied polyvagal theory in psychotherapy
  • Discuss how to teach clients to naturally stimulate their vagus nerve to enhance their physical and emotional health

You'll also be able to...

Develop the ability to interpret and modulate the body’s nervous system (sensory and autonomic) to regulate arousal levels in clients and for safer trauma therapy

Identify and acquire recovery options and strategies for trauma clients inappropriate for trauma memory processing, particularly for those who don’t want to and those who decompensate or dysregulate from memory work

Also develop the ability to interpret and modulate the body’s nervous system (sensory and autonomic) to regulate arousal levels for professional self-care

About the speaker(s)

Arielle Schwartz, PhD, CCTP-II, E-YRT is a clinical psychologist and leading voice in the healing of trauma. She is an internationally sought-out teacher and author of seven books including The Complex PTSD Workbook, The Post-Traumatic Growth Guidebook, EMDR Therapy and Somatic Psychology, and Applied Polyvagal Theory in Yoga. As the founder of the Center for Resilience Informed Therapy, she offers a mind-body approach to therapy for trauma and informational mental health and wellness updates through her writing, public speaking, social media presence, and blog. She believes that the journey of trauma recovery is an awakening of the spiritual heart. Learn more at www.drarielleschwartz.com.

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