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Polyvagal Theory & Using the Body to Heal the Mind

Polyvagal Theory & Using the Body to Heal the Mind


One Year Course Access
One Year
Course Access
Risk Free, Satisfaction Guarantee
Risk Free
Evidence Based Learning
Evidence Based
Over 15,000 students taught
Psychedelic Support has enrolled over 15,000 students in our free and paid courses! All proceeds from our paid courses have gone into funding more education and resources for the public around safe and ethical use of psychedelics in therapy and harm reduction.
Course Description

What you think and feel isn’t just “in your head” - it’s influenced by tangible structures and observable chemicals coursing through your physical body. The nervous system not only helps the brain control the body but also allows the body to tell the brain how to think and feel. 

After explaining the “wiring” of the central nervous system, Dr. Zelfand will introduce concepts like neuroception and the polyvagal theory (as proposed by Stephen Porges, PhD) and explain how shaking can help us recover from trauma (as explained by Peter A. Levine, PhD). She also offers simple, do-it-yourself hacks for stimulating the vagus nerve to help us feel safe. 

Dr. Zelfand will also explain the details of the gut-brain axis and how we can best use our bodies (and what we put into them) to help us heal from anxiety, depression, trauma, and more.

Who is this course for?

This course is for both new and experienced guides, students, healthcare professionals, people who are taking their healing into their own hands, and anyone interested in gaining insight into the human psyche.

Course Curriculum

Foundational Concepts

  • 3 types of nerves; 3 branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS)
  • Vagus nerve, its branches, and its afferent & efferent fibers
  • Introduction to polyvagal theory, as proposed by Stephen Porges, PhD
  • Exploration of shaking for trauma release, as proposed by Peter A Levine, PhD
  • At home strategies for vagus nerve stimulation
  • Alcohol and the nervous system
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Food as medicine

Learning Objectives

After this course, you will be able to:

  1. List the branches of the autonomic nervous system, and describe the function of each.
  2. Summarize the polyvagal theory, as proposed by Stephen Porges, PhD.
  3. Explain how shaking can be used to heal trauma through the body, as proposed by Peter A Levine, PhD.
  4. List several techniques for stimulating the vagus nerve.
  5. Summarize how the gut regulates mental health.
Professional Continuing Education

In support of improving patient care, Psychedelic Support offers continuing education for health providers through the the American Psychological Association (APA).

American Psychological Association Education Sponsor
I really enjoyed this course. Although I am currently in the 'Body' side of 'Bodymind' work, I feel this course is applicable for practitioners on either side of the BodyMind equation.
Melody J Francis, BHS, LMT, AdvCBP, ERYT500
Completing Polyvagal Theory as my third course has been an absolute privilege. Dr. Zelfand's expertise and concise presentation style made the experience thoroughly enjoyable. Even my 5-year-old, who decided to sit in, now grasps the concept of Polyvagal Theory thanks to her remarkable ability to make complex topics easily understandable. These bite-size courses consistently deliver accurate, current, relevant, and trauma-informed information, ensuring effortless assimilation of knowledge.
The Dope Doula
Meet your Course Instructors, Contributors, & Peer Reviewers:
Dr. Erica Zelfand
Dr. Erica Zelfand specializes in integrative mental health and functional medicine. In addition to treating patients of all ages in her private practice, Dr. Zelfand is a ketamine prescriber, facilitator of therapeutic psychedelic experiences, trainer of psychedelic facilitators, acclaimed international speaker, and medical writer. She often presents at medical conferences on the clinical applications of psychedelic healing, and advocates for the legalization of psychedelics.
Dr. Erica Zelfand
Licensed Family Doctor
Right to Heal, Simba Health
Extra Info
  • Online platform access: 1 year.
  • After 1 year, renew your account for an additional year by purchasing any of our on-demand courses. All previously purchased courses will be accessible in your dashboard.
  • 100% student satisfaction or money-back guarantee.
  • For the best experience, we recommend taking the course on a tablet or computer.
  • Course FAQ can be found here.

Self-paced course includes:

  • Video presentation (75 minutes)
  • Experiential breathing and stretching exercises (20 minutes)
  • Course slides and resources including references, books, and website links
  • Discussion forum to engage with other learners and instructors
  • Knowledge checks
  • 1 year access to our online learning platform
  • Invite to our monthly speaker series and access to videos from our past events
  • Official Psychedelic Support Certificate of Completion


Certificate Information

Interested in the different certificate options for our courses? Read on to learn more:

Learn more about Completion Certificate

Once you complete the course you will receive a Psychedelic Support Certificate of Completion. Choose this option if you are not a licensed health provider and do not need continuing education credit for your professional degree.