Neurobiology of Love and Human Relationships

Polyvagal theory, oxytocin, and the neurobiology of love with Dr. Stephen W. Porges and Dr. Sue Carter Porges

 250€ 197€

121,49 € + VAT


12 unique sessions with Dr. Stephen W.Porges and Dr. Sue Carter Porges

Start anytime!

You have guaranteed access to the course materials for TWELF months after enrolling in the online course.

Seminar format

Lectures and Q & A Sessions presented through recorded video lessons

Once registered you will have access to the video-lectures, transcripts, recorded question and answer sessions.

Content in English

The full course was designed by Dr Stephen Porges. This is the third edition of the course and now is fully digital. Each lecture has a pdf transcription to download. You have the records of the Q&A sessions corresponding to the first and second edition of this training. You have access to the course materials for 6 months of time counting from the enrollment date.

Downloadable transcripts of the lecture sessions

You will be able to download the transcription of the video-lectures by Dr Porges and Dr Carter to read the content carefully and make your own notes.


Session One: Introduction to the Seminar, Recorded video from October 2020.

Session Two: Neurobiology of Human Connectivity, presented by Dr Porges, with Transcript Download. and Quiz.

Session Three: Polyvagal Theory – The Adaptive Function of Evolutionary Changes in the Autonomic Nervous System, Presented by Dr Porges, with Transcript Download and Quiz.

Session Four: Recorded Questions and Answers Session Q&A. Version A and B (From the first and second editions)

Session Five: The Social Engagement System and its role in promoting connection, trust, intimacy and transforming triggers of defence into play, Presented by Dr Porges, with transcript download and Quiz.

Session Six: Listening as a therapeutic portal and advances with the auditory protocol SSP to regulate the nervous system, presented by Dr Porges, with transcript download and Quiz.

Session Seven: How an Oxytocin Model and Polyvagal Theory Reflect Convergent Processes for Understanding Connection, Trust and Love-Bases Relationships, presented by Dr Porges, with transcript download and Quiz.

Session Eight: Question and Answer Session with Dr Porges

Session Nine: The role of oxytocin in birth, social attachment, affective relations and in overcoming fear and trauma presented by Dr Carter, with transcript download.

Session Ten: How love and fear tune the oxytocin system presented by Dr Carter, with transcript download.

Session Eleven:Recorded Questions and answer session with Dr Sue Carter, with transcript download.

Session Twelve: Recorded Closing Session with Dr Porges and Dr Carter.

Learning goals

  • Define the principles and characteristics of Polyvagal Theory.
  • Explain how Polyvagal Theory offers a new perspective on clinical symptoms related to psychiatric diagnoses (e.g. PTSD, autism, depression and anxiety).
  • Describe how maladaptive behaviours, including dissociative states, can be an emerging property of an adaptive physiological state triggered by survival mechanisms.
  • Discuss the face-heart connection that defines the system of social engagement by linking body feelings with facial expression, vocal intonation and gestures.
  • Identify how deficits in the regulation of the Social Engagement System are related to the central characteristics of several psychiatric disorders
  • Tell about a neural process (neuroception) that assesses risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits that promote either social interactions or defensive behaviors.
  • Express how the polyvagal theory identifies the specific characteristics of “acoustic” stimulation embedded in vocal music and prosodic voice that can contribute to the improvement of social engagement behaviours.
  • Discuss how trauma and stress can “mismatch” auditory processing and distort our ability to process human speech.
  • Describe how oxytocin contributes to the neurobiology of social bonding and love.
  • Tell how oxytocin is involved in the regulation of stress and the improvement of health.
  • Explain how oxytocin mediates the impact of social support, social bonding, and trust relationships on physical and mental health.
  • Describe how oxytocin and vasopressin act as “neuromodulators” within the theoretical context of the Polyvagal Theory.

About our presenters

Stephen W. Porges

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders. He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, (Norton, 2017) and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018). He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by more than 1400 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, to improve language processing and state regulation.

C. Sue Carter

C. Sue Carter, Ph.D. is a Distinguished University Research Scientist at Indiana University Bloomington. From 2014-2019, Dr. Carter was Director of the Kinsey Institute and Rudy Professor of Biology at Indiana University where she is now an Emerita Professor. She is also Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was co-director of the Brain-Body Center in the Department of Psychiatry. Previously, Dr. Carter held the position of Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland and before that was a Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Ecology, Ethology and Evolution at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Carter is a past-president of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society and holds Fellow status in that society, as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received an NIH Career Award from the National Institute of Mental Health and has been the recipient of federal funding for her research for over five decades. She is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and has edited 5 books (including “Attachment and bonding: A new synthesis) (MIT Press, 2006). Dr. Carter is the scientist who has discovered the relationship between social behavior and oxytocin. Her work examines how oxytocin pathways regulate behavioral and physiological systems, necessary for mammalian sociability and eventually human evolution

Sessions overview


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