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Welcome to the Polyvagal Congress

Wednesday, 22.06.2022, 13:00 CET

Polyvagal Congress

22.06.2022 | 13:00-21:30 CET | 9 lectures | Live via Zoom

Polyvagal theory is increasingly being widely received and discussed in therapeutic and counselling circles. It enriches many fields there, both conceptually and in practice.
The Carl-Auer Academy, Carl-Auer Publishing House, the Polyvagal Academy and the Milton-Erickson-Institut Rottweil invite you to an exciting online congress. The organiser is the Trenkle Organisation Rottweil.

Renowned practitioners and trainers from Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland and South Africa will show where and how they find the Polyvagal Theory helpful in their therapeutic, clinical and educational work and why.
Congress languages are German and English. All contributions will be simultaneously interpreted into German or English.

In the run-up to the actual conference, speakers from partner institutes from Poland, Romania and other European countries will offer separate short contributions in the respective national languages.

Click here to register.

Announcement letters from the initiators

Polyvagal Academy

Dear Readers
We are pleased to invite you here as Polyvagal Academy to the first European Polyvagal Theory Congress. It is a great pleasure for us!
The fact that we are able to do this with partners such as the Carl-Auer-Verlag and the Carl-Auer Akademie as well as Mr Bernhard Trenkle and the Milton-Erickson-Institut Rottweil is a double joy and honour at the same time - and at this point we would like to express our sincere thanks!

What do we hope for this congress?
Polyvagal theory (PVT) has been in practical use in therapy and education for some time now and is - almost - familiar territory to an ever-growing professional audience. At least when it comes to one of the foundations of polyvagal theory: there are three states of our autonomic nervous system that control our reactions to signals from our environment regarding safety, danger and life threat.

The multidisciplinary significance and complexity of polyvagal theory then becomes apparent when we study the literature. As soon as we go deeper, many exciting questions about its application arise. Possibilities of significance open up that go far beyond the (already common) inclusion in trauma therapy.

With our congress we now want to strengthen the professional exchange, among other things to achieve the networking of PVT with additional scientific research and practical experience. This networking is about the most diverse areas in general psychotherapy, medicine, (social) work and education, prevention with such important new areas of application in therapy as e.g. depression, anxiety disorders, borderline, addiction. In medicine, e.g. neurogastroenterology, neurocardiology, neonatology; in the field of education, safe schools, successful co-regulation already in the kindergarten, but also basically psychoeducation for PVT in all areas where people live, learn and work together are needed.

At this first congress we will focus on the following central topics of PVT:

- Neuroception
- Co-regulation and self-regulation
- Flexibility on the "polyvagal ladder" - how to safely transition from acute and past neural states of defence into states of connectedness.

There are many quotes by Dr Porges that are worth mentioning. A favourite quote that is very current and reflects our motivation for networking PVT with as many disciplines as possible is: "If you want to improve the world, start by making people feel safer“.

For this, PVT provides us with deep understanding rooted in the neurobiological realm. The experts we have invited will open their toolboxes for us and share with us the contributions that polyvagal theory can make to their successful work.

If this congress can find its way into the world and all participants take away new tools to convey more safety to their children, their family, their clients, their pupils, their patients, their employees, their neighbours on a communicatively embodied level - then this congress will achieve what we wish for.

Together we lay the foundation for this to grow in the future, to find ever new forms and to lead to inspiring exchange.

Finally, a big thank you to the Polyvagal Gesellschaft e.V. (i.Gr.), which initiated this congress and the cooperation.

Your team of the Polyvagal Academy

Matthias Ohler

Publishing Director Carl-Auer-Verlag, Head of the Carl-Auer Academy

The Carl-Auer Academy and the Carl-Auer Verlag consider themselves fortunate that there is currently another very special opportunity to live up to one of their mottos in a very practical way: Making improbable communication more probable by helping to organise it.

This time it is about the polyvagal theory, which is increasingly widely received and discussed in therapeutic, counselling and educational circles. It enriches many practitioners there, both conceptually and in their daily practice. This applies to the systemic, hypnotherapeutic and hypnosystemic field, but also to pedagogy and the organisation of education.

To name just a few selected examples of authors from the Carl-Auer programme: In her practical book „Wieder ganz werden - Traumaheilung mit Ego-State-Therapie und Körperwissen“ (Becoming whole again - trauma healing with ego-state therapy and body knowledge), Dr. Silvia Zanotta conveys the importance of ego-state therapy, Somatic Experiencing and resource therapy as well as decidedly neurobiological principles for successful trauma therapy and refers in detail to research from polyvagal theory. The Yellow School programme by Erwin Müller and Stefan Schmid, among others, receives essential impulses from the polyvagal theory, alongside process and embodiment-focused psychology (PEP) and the theory of personality-system interactions (PSI) by Julius Kuhl, which have proved enormously useful in practice - as have Martin Lemme's and Bruno Körner's further development of New Authority into Systemic Authority (The Power of Presence). The couple and sex therapist Monika Röder uses not only Sexocorporel and systemic principles but also the polyvagal theory in her specialist books for everybody to directly address beyond specialist circles (Der kleine Ehe-Retter and Der kleine Sex-Retter).
There are certainly critical discussions on polyvagal theory in the neuroscientific research field, as there were and are on autopoiesis, mirror neurons, functional imaging, the experiments of Benjamin Libet and many others. With this congress, we are putting the focus on practice.
We are pleased that the online congress on 22 June 2022 will offer the opportunity to gain insights from renowned professional colleagues on the relevance of polyvagal theory in their respective practices. We are delighted that the founder of polyvagal theory, Dr Stephen Porges, will also be contributing. And we are pleased that with the Milton-Erickson-Institut Rottweil, namely Bernhard Trenkle, and the Trenkle organisation, strong partners are once again involved when it comes to realising an inspiring professional exchange. Last but not least, we would like to thank the Polyvagal Society, which helped to initiate this congress.

Best regards and a warm welcome to 22 June!
Matthias Ohler
Managing Director of Carl-Auer Verlag and Head of the Carl-Auer Academy

Bernhard Trenkle

Psych. MA, Dipl.Wi.-Ing., Head of the Milton Erickson Institute Rottweil

Why do we support the Polyvagal Society in organising this online conference?

Somewhat unusual, I begin with a joke from my first "Ha-Handbuch der Psychotherapie":

The teacher asks which is faster: light or sound. A student immediately comes forward: "Sound." Teacher: "What makes you think that?" The student says that when he turns on the television at home, the sound comes first and only later the picture. The teacher says, "Unfortunately, a wrong answer."
Another student speaks up, "Light is faster, teacher." - "Right! And why?" The student thinks, "When I press the power button on my compact stereo, the light comes on first and only then does the sound come." Teacher says, "OK, right answer, but wrong reasoning. So I ask again, which is faster, light or sound?" A third student comes forward, "Light." The teacher asks again for a rationale, "Yes, if I'm standing on a mountain and a shot is fired on the mountain opposite, I see the gun smoke first, and only some time later do I hear the shot." Before the teacher, trained in reinforcement, can begin to praise, the pupil adds: "And that's because the eyes sit further forward than the ears."

The lesson to be learned from this story is that sometimes you can have the right answer, but the theoretical reasoning doesn't always have to be right.
For the last 20 years or so, colleagues whose work I value have been pointing out the relevance of polyvagal theory, especially for trauma therapy. Other colleagues in the scientific field sometimes doubt these theories and their neurophysiological basis.
Recently, a well-known colleague in the field said: "I partly agree with the criticism of the Polyvagal theory, but for me that does not change the fact that it is helpful and relevant in practical work.
The theoretical discussions are held in other forums. With this succinct online congress, we want to hear from colleagues in practice where and how they find polyvagal theory helpful in their work and why.