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Maggie Phillips - Freedom From Physical & Emotional Pain: Polyvagal Science and Solutions

With Maggie Phillips who co-authored her book "Freedom from Pain" with Peter Levine.

This workshop emphasises the somatic interventions that can provide enduring resolution of pain and other effects of trauma. The contributions of Stephen Porges to polyvagal science, especially the unique links between trauma and pain, as well as somatic strategies indicated for treatment, will be reviewed, demonstrated, and practiced. Specific topics include:

How persistent and chronic pain can be understood by incomplete sympathetic fight/flight responses;

Specific direct and indirect somatic strategies to help regulate dorsal vagal responses linked to pain;

Ways to down-regulate sympathetic active defense responses related to pain;

How social engagement is the solution to more primitive causes of pain;

Ways to teach self-regulation of pain related to active defenses;

Tools to turn on the ventral vagal response to widen the window of healing opportunities;

How the fear/immobility cycle is connected to both the sympathetic and dorsal vagal circuits and how to help clients move out of this cycle.

Live demonstrations and practice exercises will be used to expand key points and develop skills. The ventral vagal engagement between therapists and client will be explored, and avenues to repair that promote integration and developmental maturation will be examined. Case consultation and clinical discussions are welcomed.


This first day emphasises Polyvagal Science and its unique links to the creation of trauma and pain and keys to their solution. We will review clues in body expression that may indicate trauma, and how persistent or chronic pain can be explained by incomplete fight, flight, and freeze/shutdown. We will discuss the fear/immobility cycle, how it is connected to both the sympathetic and dorsal vagal circuits, and practice strategies to help clients move through this cycle.


The second day provides a focus on Polyvagal Solutions for Emotional and Physical Pain Conditions. We will highlight Sympathetic/Adrenal pain and effective interventions, Social Engagement and Ventral Vagal pain and solutions, and pain related to dorsal vagal shut-down, freeze and dissociation. We will explore the role of faulty neuroception and how to shift these reactions, and examine how the ventral vagal connection can be viewed as the solution to more primitive, early life roots of pain.

We will also identify and practice strategies drawn from Somatic Experiencing and Somatic Ego-State Therapy to help regulate dorsal vagal responses linked to pain, to down-regulate sympathetic hyperactivated responses related to pain, and tools to turn on ventral vagal responses so that healing is possible and enduring.

The cost of the weekend with Maggie is £370. If you book before 30th June the price is £350. To book this event click here.