The International Focusing Institute, in a USABP Spotlight Series Event, present a new way of understanding and treating trauma and addiction. Introduced by Jan Winhall.  Hosted by Liam Blume.

2 CE credits Pending
This live event is recorded for on-demand home study viewing by members and paid registrants

“In Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model Jan Winhall introduces a new strategy to treat addiction that brilliantly integrates Gendlin’s classic concept of a felt sense with Polyvagal Theory…”

~ Stephen W. Porges, PhD, Distinguished University Scientist, founding director, Traumatic Stress Research Consortium, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University Bloomington; professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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“…Jan Winhall has produced a brilliant synthesis and expansion of addiction theory and treatment that should be read by all therapists, not just addiction specialists.”

~ Harville Hendrix, PhD, and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, authors of Doing Imago Relationship Therapy in the Space Between

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“… Jan Winhall brings together the essence of groundbreaking modern therapeutic practices with her own decades of hard-won clinical experience to fashion a new, deeply humane and promising model of addiction treatment…”

~ Gabor Maté, MD, is the author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

Workshop Description

This live webinar (later to be used as a home study course) will present a new way of understanding and treating trauma and addiction. The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model provides a paradigm shift from the traditional disease approach  to an embodied understanding of trauma and its underbelly, addiction, through the lens of the autonomic nervous system. Addictions are seen as the bodies’ attempt to emotionally regulate by acting as propellors that facilitate shifts in our nervous system. The model Integrates Gendlin’s Felt Sense process with Porges Polyvagal theory, enabling us to appreciate addictive behaviors as adaptive responses to maladaptive environments. The model provides a generic framework that can be integrated into any therapeutic modality. The webinar will include a description of how to apply the model with clients through participant exercises, case examples and live demonstration.

5 – 7 Bullet Points Summarizing Main Points of Workshop

• Introducing the journey over forty years of clinical experience in developing the Felt Sense Polyagal Model. Including: Critiquing current top down ways of treating addiction and the need for a bottom up approach.

• Describing the evolution of the model, three graphic versions as they developed. First Model: Felt Sense Experience: Feminist, Trauma informed model includes description of Gendlin’s Felt Sense and Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy

• Second Model: Felt Sense Experience Model of Treating Addiction. Description of Siegel’s Interpersonal Neurobiology as it integrated into the model to build on the theoretical framework. The role of attachment as it relates to addiction and trauma.

• Third Model: The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model to treat Trauma and Addiction. Description of Polyvagal theory as it integrates into the model.  Addictions are seen as propellors of neurophysiological state changes in the autonomic nervous system. Introduction of the two graphic versions of the model, client and clinician.

• Application of the Model with Clients. Description of the felt sense experience of each state and how to promote healing through neural exercises such as Focusing Oriented Strategies. Use of Three Circle Practice and working in Groups.

• Live Demonstration of Application of the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model with client.

Learning Objectives

List 3-5 learning objectives. Format as what participants will be able to DO after the session, not what the presenter intends to COVER during the session.

Participants will be able to:

1. describe the two branches of the traditional model of the autonomic nervous system and Porges contribution of the third branch (Polyvagal Theory), the dorsal vagus, and the social engagement system.

2. describe the basic neurophysiological states of the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model for treating addiction and trauma.

3. explain addictive behaviors through the lens of Polyvagal theory.

4. name the four avenues into Gendlin’s concept of Felt Sense and how to apply this embodied practice in psychotherapy.


Instructor’s Bio: Jan Winhall, M.S.W., R.S.W., F.O.T.

Jan Winhall is an author, teacher and psychotherapist. She is an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Social Work, University of Toronto. She is director of Focusing on Borden, a psychotherapy and training center. She has built a community of people who teach and practice Focusing as a way of life.

Jan presents internationally on trauma and addiction.

Her upcoming book, Treating Addiction with The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model: A Bottom Up Approach is the result of rethinking the Felt Sense Experience Model that she wrote about in Emerging Practice in Focusing- Oriented Psychotherapy, 2014.



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Winhall, J. (2014). Understanding and Treating Addiction with the Felt Sense Experience Model. In G. Madison, Ed.) Emerging practice in focusing-oriented psychotherapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.