• The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory

  • The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe
  • By: Stephen W. Porges
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory

By: Stephen W. Porges
Narrated by: Joe Hempel
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Publisher's Summary

When The Polyvagal Theory was published in 2011, it took the therapeutic world by storm, bringing Stephen Porges's insights about the autonomic nervous system to a clinical audience interested in understanding trauma, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. 

The book made accessible to clinicians and other professionals a polyvagal perspective that provided new concepts and insights for understanding human behavior. The perspective placed an emphasis on the important link between psychological experiences and physical manifestations in the body. That book was brilliant but also quite challenging to read for some.

Since publication of that book, Stephen Porges has been urged to make these ideas more accessible and The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory is the result. Constructs and concepts embedded in polyvagal theory are explained conversationally in The Pocket Guide and there is an introductory chapter which discusses the science and the scientific culture in which polyvagal theory was originally developed. 

Publication of this work enables Stephen Porges to expand the meaning and clinical relevance of this groundbreaking theory.

©2017 Stephen W. Porges (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory

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Skip the glossary!

This book begins with an hour long reading of the terms in the glossary. While I understand why- this book contains a lot of scientific terminology- its a slow start. So I skipped the glossary and moved on to the discussion part of the book where things picked up. This book is full of useful information about polyvagal theory, and only at times got a bit too technical for me, your average traumatized human with a deep interest in healing and understanding. Otherwise I really enjoyed this intro to polyvagal theory and it was easy to see how this would apply in real life. It changed the lens through which I see behavior in general. I will probably listen again to further digest all the information offered.

6 people found this helpful

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Polyvagal Theory as a basis of Treatment.

The interview format was interesting in that the application possibilities for therapy were explored. It is also informative to hear how the developer of this theory understands it's practical use. He discusses the changing state of our physical bodies and how that is related to different parts of our neurologic systems. I would highly recommend this book to all MFTS, Social Workers, and Psycholigists, and anyone else who works with trauma, substance use and individuals who are at risk.

4 people found this helpful

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Very informative and relatable

Hi I am very pleased with the conversational manner in which this book was produced and written. It made a potentially difficult subject understandable and relatable in a way that expanded my understanding of the subject matter

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Oh. Dear. God. NO. 😄

I bought this thinking "pocket guide" meant less technically dense and more digestible for non-clinicians / "self-healers." NOPE. Couldn't even make it past chapter 1. I tried, I really did. 😄

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Required reading for clinicians!

This book helped to click all the pieces in place! Yes it is highly technical and often difficult to follow if you do not have a medical degree. I had to read it twice and it was completely worth it

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"pocket guide" is deceiving title

Enjoyed this book once I got past the first couple of chapters. It's worth the credit if you stick with it. This book really got me thinking about how I can apply this theory to my classroom and interactions with others.

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  • Selina
  • 11-25-20

Dense but Well presented

Not the easiest to follow as it's specialised content, but overall there are good examples for each point

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  • Lauren Packham
  • 07-06-22

for anyone who has experienced trauma

Or for anyone who is close to someone who has, this book provides insight you need.

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  • Alex Frotjold
  • 01-11-22

Great book

I really enjoyed this book. I gave it five stars for everything.

I’ve read all the books on Polyvagal theory and I noticed that this book talked a lot about the social engagement system. I might be wrong, but I feel as though it has been over emphasised or overrated. I am leaning towards the belief that the social engagement system is an important part of mental and social health but the theory in this book doesn’t fit in with how I’ve seen people able to regulate the autonomic nervous system very well without social engagement. Buddhist hermits are a good example of this. This can be seen in the movie Amongst White Clouds. The book also talks about how the social engagement system is something that differentiates mammals from reptiles. I find this oversimplified and would like to explore the difference between mammals that live predominantly in packs and mammals that are predominantly self isolating. I believe the social engagement system can’t play much of a role in regulating the autonomic nervous system, in a mammal that spends 95% of its life not engaging with its own species.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-04-22

relevant for understanding trauma and autism

the book sequentially explains, with relevant examples, impacts of trauma and autism through a reasonably easy listen to compared to other polyvagel books.
The autism explains how our brain body talks via the middle ear and brain cell abs visceral systems
A gr8 read for therapists, teachers, doctors, parents and everyone really as most of us have experienced some trauma abd this helpful current explanation sh3ds light on the neglected area of polyvagel (body) experiences/responses in our lives.

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  • Fran Heath
  • 09-12-22

Insightful and clear.

Absolutely brilliant! What a fabulous resource and a brilliant text. Want more. Will listen again for sure! Calm narrator. Thank you. Text nearly as phenomenal as live presentation....nearly.