• Biofeedback
  • Chronic Pain
  • Free Intro
  • Nervous System
  • Pain Management
  • Polyvagal Theory

Solving Chronic Pain Summit: A New Pathway to Relief


January 22 – January 24, 2021

Click HERE to view the Summit Schedule
(All times listed in this schedule are PST)

Click HERE for details on CE’s offered

Summit Co-Hosted by the Polyvagal Institute

Chronic pain is a complex problem, and understanding all the aspects of it in a given patient is the key to successfully treating it. For many health professionals and patients, however, the problem is considered currently unsolvable. Fortunately, cutting-edge understandings in our neurophysiology have opened a door to a new paradigm for, not just managing, but solving chronic pain. This emerging approach is being successfully used by an increasing number of health care providers across the country.

This summit will focus on the primary keys to the pain problem: central nervous system activity and the autonomic nervous system’s roles in modulating the metabolic, endocrine, and immune responses to threat through the lens of the Polyvagal theory. This 3-day course will be structured as follows:

  • Day 1: The framework of the nature of pain and the body’s response to sustained threat
  • Day 2: The principles behind the solutions for addressing chronic pain with the new pain paradigm – Calming the autonomic nervous system and re-routing the central nervous system.
  • Day 3: Tools to take home – an overview of evidence-based interventions that create safety and reduce pain.

The goal of this summit is to present a deep analysis of the body’s response to threat and to provide the scientific understanding and clinical practices that will enable clinicians and patients to create a shift to safety.

Note: This program will be offered online. Sessions of all our online programs will be recorded. The recording will be available for 30 days after the program ends.



What You’ll Learn

  • An overview of the components of the neurophysiological nature of chronic pain
    • Polyvagal Theory and the autonomic nervous system
    • The central nervous system
    • Brain-body communication within a one nervous system model
    • The role of inflammation – A common root of chronic mental and physical disease states
    • The modulating function of oxytocin and vasopressin
  • Clinical mental and physical manifestations of sustained threat
  • The role of trauma/childhood adversity in creating chronic pain
  • Principles of treatment – creating safety
    • Addressing the addictive nature of anger
    • The power of social connection
    • The doctor/patient relationship and the necessity of listening
    • Forgiveness – the dividing line between misery and healing – you can’t move forward until you let go.
    • The potency of play
  • Putting it into action – The Tools
    • Education
    • Clinical biofeedback/breathing techniques
    • Expressive writing
    • No discussing pain, complaining, giving unsolicited advice, criticism, or gossiping – be nice!!
    • Leveraging neuroplasticity to create a new vision and future
    • Connecting to a spiritual journey
    • Calming the mind
    • Forgiveness as a learned skill. The only way to take your life back.

The Need

Chronic pain is a disease state that is generally considered one to be managed, not solved. There is tremendous frustration amongst clinicians in treating chronic pain because results are often poor, patients are angry and the costs to society are crippling, but the last ten years of research have revealed many new answers that have not been implemented in clinical care, until now. The science now shows a new pathway to a powerful shift from the structural model of chronic pain to one based on addressing core neurophysiology. The information in this course will also be relevant to mental health professionals for addressing emotional pain, which is effectively treated by this new multi-dimensional framework and approach.

The Science

Acute pain is a protective evolutionary mechanism in the service of survival. There is nothing useful about chronic pain. When pain becomes chronic it is less about structural, nerve or tissue damage and more about the central and autonomic nervous system’s sustained hypervigilant state to support defense. Emerging research points us in the direction of the “one nervous system” model as being the key to resolving chronic pain.

When we are chronically under a physiological state of threat (chronic pain, life demands, unresolved traumas, etc.), our survival response activates the central and autonomic nervous system that creates a vicious cycle of inflammation and sensitization of the body. This is coupled with the synergistic mental effects of depression, anxiety, anger, hopelessness and the maintenance of chronic pain. Polyvagal Theory, being at the center of the threat cascade, provides a unifying strategy for chronic pain sufferers to recruit innate internal resources to retune their CNS and ANS to experience feelings of safety. Optimizing the body’s neurochemical state will promote a deep sense of physical and mental well-being and mitigates chronic pain.

Who This Program is For

  • All healthcare professionals who treat patients in chronic pain
  • Administrators/ medical directors who are designing and managing systems of care around chronic disease
  • Wellness coaches
  • Patients and caregivers interested in a deeper understanding of chronic pain
  • Workers’ compensation claims examiners
  • Vocational counselors

Ce’s availble

CE’s are available for eligible professions. There is a $50 fee – please note this fee is for CE’s certificate only in addition to the program fee.

Please carefully look over the CE’s offered to make sure your license qualifies for the credit. The last day to purchase the CE’s is on the last day of the summit, January 24th, 2021. For more information click HERE.


Summit Schedule

Click HERE to view.
(All times listed in this schedule are PST)


  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Supplies list for the class: N/A
  • Zoom Software Requirements: This is an online course which requires Zoom webinar software. Zoom is easy to use. Click HERE to make sure your computer is set-up correctly.

A Three-Day Summit
Friday-Sunday, January 22-24, 2021
10:30 AM – 7:00 PM EST  (7:30 AM  –  4:00 PM PST)
$249 Members & Nonmembers


Solving Chronic Pain Summit: A New Pathway to Relief


  • 3 Session(s)
  • Friday-Sunday,
    January 22-24, 2021
    10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
    7:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Download schedule





Les Aria, PhD, a pain psychologist who has been practicing for the past 16 years with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Northern California, served as the Lead Pain Psychologist for Kaiser Northern California to help redesign the chronic pain workshop curriculum to incorporate modern pain science, mindfulness and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).

David R. Clawson, MD, a practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor in Seattle, WA, believes in a conservative and holistic approach to treatment prior to more aggressive care.

David Hanscom, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon whose practice focused on patients with failed back surgeries, quit his practice in Seattle, WA to present his insights into solving chronic pain, which evolved from his own personal battle with it.

Stephen Porges, PhD, Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is founding Director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium, 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.


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