Skip to main content
Digital Seminar

Deb Dana’s Polyvagal Theory in Action Training: Creating Safety & Connection with Trauma Clients

Courtney Rolfe, MA, LCPC
6 Hours 04 Minutes
Mar 24, 2023
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Trauma clients are often stuck in a dysregulated state—and in the words of author and international trainer Deb Dana, LCSW—they “long to come into a state of regulation”.

But how do we help them navigate the normal “shifting” from one state to another— hyper to calm, irritated to relaxed, overwhelmed to feeling in control—when each client is unique, each therapist is unique, and each approach is unique?

Using the foundation of our autonomic nervous system and working with states of engagement and dysregulation are universal ingredients for clinical success to happen. Learning Polyvagal Theory and how to apply it in your practice may become one of the most transformational moments in your career.

This training will be led by Courtney Rolfe, MA, LCPC on behalf of Deb Dana, LCSW. Courtney is one of a select group of senior trainers who are part of Deb Dana’s training team for the 6-month clinical training course: Foundations of Polyvagal-Informed Practice.

This one-day training incorporates core elements from Deb’s groundbreaking framework and unique methodology. You will learn how to effectively utilize Deb’s original tools and techniques in your client sessions. All workshop content and material is copyright by Deb Dana LCSW & Rhythm of Regulation™, are incorporated in this PESI training with permission from Deb Dana, LCSW. Attend and you will learn:

  • A deep knowledge of Polyvagal Theory – in easy to understand language
  • Practical ways to work with the autonomic nervous system that create connection and safety

The Polyvagal approach is not a model of therapy or a protocol to follow. It is an understanding of three organizing principles around which you can create your own approach and technique, blending them with your preferred model.

The goal is that you leave the training inspired to try something new with a client— and that you have a roadmap to do so effectively.

Purchase this training and revolutionize your practice!


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


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 program is worth 6.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Courtney Rolfe, MA, LCPC's Profile

Courtney Rolfe, MA, LCPC Related seminars and products

Courtney Rolfe, MA, LCPC, is a licensed psychotherapist, speaker, writer, and leading expert in the clinical application of the Polyvagal Theory. Courtney is a long-standing senior trainer in Deb Dana’s Rhythm of Regulation training series and has led several training cohorts through the Rhythm of Regulation’s intensive 6 month “Foundations of Polyvagal Theory in Practice” course. She is steadfast in bringing the Polyvagal Theory to clients and clinicians alike.

Courtney is the founder of Modern Mind & Heart based in Chicago, Illinois, which provides individual counseling, clinical consultation, and training with the specialized focus on application of Polyvagal Theory. Her training in trauma work and somatic-based modalities has allowed her to work with clients presenting a wide range of difficulties, including trauma of all types, relational conflict, anxiety, depression, and emotion regulation.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Courtney Rolfe maintains a private practice and has employment relationships with the Polyvagal Institute and Rhythm of Regulation. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Courtney Rolfe will have a published book in February 2024.


  1. Determine the principles of Polyvagal Theory and how to communicate them in client friendly language.
  2. Distinguish three circuits of the autonomic nervous system for use in client psychoeducation.
  3. Analyze how the autonomic nervous system operates as an internal surveillance system and its impact on clients’ habitual responses to trauma.
  4. Determine how to help clients engage the regulating capacities of the autonomic nervous system that create an environment of safety.
  5. Determine how to exercise the Social Engagement System to assist clients in becoming more adept in skills of co-regulating and creating reciprocal relationships.
  6. Assess for patterns in clients’ autonomic states to better inform treatment planning.


  • The evolution of the autonomic nervous system
  • How trauma shapes ways the body responds
  • Three organizing principles of Polyvagal Theory:
  • Neuroception: Detection without perception
  • Hierarchy: 3 predictable pathways of response
  • Coregulation: The biological imperative
  • How the internal surveillance system works
  • Identifying cues of safety and danger
  • Connecting to our innate autonomic wisdom
  • Understanding patterns of protection and connection
  • Exploring three autonomic circuits
  • Sympathetic mobilization
  • Ventral vagal connection
  • Dorsal vagal collapse
  • How trauma shapes biology
  • Moving between states
  • Introduction to autonomic mapping
  • The five elements of the Social Engagement System
  • What happens when parts of the system are unavailable?
  • Using the Social Engagement System to regulate states
  • How to “exercise” the Social Engagement System
  • Identifying portals of intervention
  • Using breath as a regulator
  • Resourcing new patterns through movement
  • Exploring the autonomic response to touch
  • Using autonomic imagery
  • Getting comfortable teaching Polyvagal
  • Theory to clients
  • Tracking the flow of a Polyvagal-guided clinical session
  • Polyvagal-guided assessment and treatment planning
  • Polyvagal Theory and Phase I trauma treatment
  • The guiding questions
  • Ethical considerations
  • Research limitations and potential risk

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

Please wait ...

Back to Top