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Application of Polyvagal Theory to the Treatment of Eating Disorders

Course Description:

Explore clinical implications and strategies for working with clients with eating disorder symptoms from a Polyvagal Perspective; which is a theory that can inform all types of treatment modalities ( i.e, Internal Family Systems, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy etc.) We will gain an understanding of the Autonomic Nervous Nystem and ED symptoms as adaptation to attachment, complex and cultural traumas. An engaging discussion of the use of a therapists’ own tracking of their Autonomic Nervous System in the therapeutic process will conclude the presentation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Following the presentation participants will be able to identify and explain the three circuits and five states from Polyvagal Theory (Autonomic Nervous System) and the implications for the treatment of eating disorders.
  2. Following the presentation participants will be able to identify the three organizing principles of the Autonomic Nervous Systems and difficulties in state regulation viewed through the lens of eating disorders as an adaptation to traumatic developmental and/or other traumas.
  3. Following the presentation participants will leave with resources from the work of Deb Dana, LPC regarding “Polyvagal Mapping” i.e., moving flexibly though the states of the autonomic nervous system via coregulation and autoregulation for use in their personal and professional life.

Gail Gnade, Ph.D.

Dr. Gnade received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1992. Dr. Gnade is the Senior Clinical Consultant with Focus Treatment and Integrative Centers in Chattanooga and Knoxville, TN. Dr. Gnade specializes in the treatment of Trauma, Eating Disorder and the Substance Abuse population. She is a Certified EMDR Therapist from an attachment and somatic perspective as well as a Level 1 trained therapist from the Embodied Recovery Institute. Dr. Gnade has integrated 30 years of experience and a passion for the clinical implications of Polyvagal Theory, Interpersonal Neurobiologyand Attachment Traumas in treatment of Eating Disorders.