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Tools for Self-Regulation and Navigating the Polyvagal System
Participants will gain an understanding of the neuroscience behind mindfulness
and how it supports emotion regulation. Concrete strategies to use both proactively and in moments of distress will be demonstrated for participants to implement into self care and clinical practice. Participants will reflect on their own polyvagal response to stress and develop a plan to effectively manage this response. This is highly experiential so participants are encouraged to engage in demonstrations in order to maximize the benefit of this workshop.
Number of CEs: 3.0
In the words of Mr. Rogers (Fred, not Carl), “Anything that‘s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.” All major psychotherapies involving encountering—rather than avoiding—unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Though talk therapy is powerful, it can be augmented with experiences that activate the brain in ways not typically experienced in a talk therapy session. Advancements in virtual reality (VR) technology, which have made VR technology more accessible and affordable than ever, now permit clients and counselors yet another means to expand beyond the confines of the typical therapy room to share safe but powerful therapeutic experiences. This training session was designed to introduce counselors to VR-assisted therapy and how it can be used for exposure therapy, relaxation (mindfulness training and somatic quieting), behavioral activation, social skills training, and psychoeducation. Meta analyses of VR-assisted exposure therapies show large effect sizes compared to control conditions that are comparable to other in vivo exposure approaches (Carl et al., 2019; Eshuis et al., 2021;Wechsler et al., 2019).