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Digital Seminar

Treating Trauma With the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model™: Advanced Strategies To Harness the Power of the Body’s Natural Healing Process

Jan Winhall, MSW, FOT
5 Hours 50 Minutes
Audio and Video
Oct 05, 2023
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Digital Seminar
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Being a trauma and addiction psychotherapist is very challenging work. We form deep, often life changing connections with people who are looking to us for help. We search for new ways to alleviate their suffering, while often developing our own vicarious trauma. How can we be most effective? What is the best way to understand trauma and its companions; dissociation, self-harm, and addiction? Are they a disease that needs curing? Or is there another way of understanding these embodied responses? Fortunately, recent neuroscience research is revealing something that many therapists recognized forty years ago. The answer to these questions lies in the wisdom of the body.

My Felt Sense Polyvagal Model (FSPM) shifts the current pathologising paradigm to an embodied strength-based approach. Over decades of experience I have created a treatment model that harnesses two innate healing processes in the body, neuroception (polyvagal theory) and interoception (felt sense).  The FSPM incorporates the latest research in Stephen Porges Polyvagal theory with the powerful work of Eugene Gendlin’s Felt Sense/Focusing psychotherapy. This enables us to appreciate trauma/addictive behaviors as adaptive responses in maladaptive environments. The model offers a powerful somatic treatment modality by teaching clinicians ways to track and shape these two embodied processes. Clients gradually reclaim connection with their bodies in a gentle and safe journey of integration.


Continuing Professional Development Certificates

- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 6.0 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Jan Winhall, MSW, FOT's Profile

Jan Winhall, MSW, FOT Related seminars and products

Jan Winhall, MSW, FOT, is an author, teacher and seasoned trauma and addiction psychotherapist. She is an educational partner and course developer with the Polyvagal Institute where she teaches a certification course based on her book Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model, Routledge 2021. She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Toronto and a Certifying Co-Ordinator with the International Focusing Institute. Jan is co-director of the Borden Street Clinic where she supervises graduate students. She enjoys teaching all over the world. You can reach her at


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Jan Winhall maintains a private practice and has employment relationships with the University of Toronto, Athabasca University, Smith College, and Yorkville University. She receives royalties as a published author. Jan Winhall receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Jan Winhall has no relevant non-financial relationships.


  1. Describe five concepts in polyvagal theory as they apply to trauma informed embodied psychotherapy 
  2. Describe the neurophysiological states of the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model for treating trauma and addiction  
  3. Explain trauma and addiction through the lens of Polyvagal theory. 
  4. Name the four avenues into Gendlin’s concept of the felt sense and describe how to introduce them into psychotherapy 
  5. Explain the Four Circle Harm Reduction Practice and how to apply it with clients. 
  6. Describe and apply the Embodied Assessment and Treatment tool, explaining how it differs from the traditional bio-psycho-social assessment. 


Introduction to the development and application of the 3 versions of the FSPM over 40 years 

  • Teaching the basics of the Autonomic Nervous System and how to use the Graphic model to teach clients how to recognize and rewire the Autonomic Nervous System
  • Introduction to the six steps of Focusing and how to introduce and apply the embodied process in clinical settings
  • Introduction of the use the Body Cards as a tool for helping clients become more embodied, and to resource grounded states in the ANS
  • Practice: The Felt Sense Polyvagal Grounding Practice, Creating a Safe Nest. Participants will be guided through this practice

In depth examination of the second version of the FSPM: Attachment/Trauma/ Interpersonal Neurobiology 

  • Exploration of attachment styles and trauma research, examination of how systems of oppression impact healing.
  • Practice: Early Attachment Felt Sense: exploring early wounding and how it relates to attachment styles and ANS states. Participants learn the embodied practice in order to teach it to clients.   
  • Description of how to work with each ANS state using Focusing Oriented Strategies the role of Global trauma in the development of addiction 
  • Description of the Four Circle Harm Reduction Model and how to apply it in therapy to help clients heal from self-harm and addiction

In depth examination of the third version of the FSPM/Polyvagal Theory 

  • Five Lessons in Polyvagal Theory: Safety First, Interoception, Neuroception, Co-regulation, Social engagement, and how to apply these lessons with clients so clinicians understand how to translate the theory into the psychotherapy. Case studies will be included to illustrate.  
  • The Intervening Variable: what is it and how it impacts our clients capacity to heal
  • Practice: Felt Sense of Safety/Neuroception
  • Participants will explore the practice of focusing, finding the felt sense of neuroception in the body. The use of Body cards will be demonstrated

Presentation of the Embodied Assessment and Treatment Tool (EATT)  

  • Participants will learn how to complete a EATT assessment so they can apply the FSPM in ongoing treatment.
  • Description of each of the nine components of the EATT.
  • Demo with a FSPM trainer in applying the EATT with a client.

Each day will include didactic presentation, case examples, somatic practices, and demos.  

Target Audience

  • Counselors 
  • Social Workers 
  • Psychologists 
  • Psychiatrists 
  • Marriage & Family Therapists 
  • Addiction Counselors 
  • Physicians 
  • Nurses 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Other mental health professionals

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