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Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Podcast: Episode 26 – Polyvagal Equine-assisted Therapy and SSP for Horses

Courtesy of the Safe & Sound Protocol Podcast and iLs Australia

In this episode of the Safe and Sound Protocol Podcast, host Joanne McIntyre speaks with SSP provider Rebecca Bailey, Ph.D., about the Polyvagal Equine Institute (PVEI), using the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) with horses, and how equines can support the healing journey.

Dr. Bailey is a leading trauma therapist with more than 30 years of experience specializing in complex case scenarios. Dedicated to the notion that authenticity, common sense and kindness are the most important elements of effective treatment, Dr. Bailey is a lifelong equestrian and animal lover who continues to believe that animals (horses, in particular) have much to teach humans about curiosity and compassion.

“I loved speaking with Rebecca and am so looking forward to our ongoing collaboration about implementing SSP with stressed and anxious horses as well as horse and rider connection,” Joanne says.

Key Topics Discussed in This Episode

  1. How equines were pivotal in her work with supporting Jaycee Dugard, who was abducted for 18 years
  2. Rethinking Stockholm syndrome from a new “appeasement” framework (read the published paper, Appeasement: replacing Stockholm syndrome as a definition of a survival strategy, a collaboration with Dr. Stephen Porges)
  3. What makes horses an ideal collaborator to help humans learn about their nervous systems, what practitioners can learn about their own nervous systems from equine work to help better support clients, and moving away from talk therapy to body-based work
  4. Sensing in: how horses help teach us humans to be attuned to other humans
  5. Personal experience using the SSP with horses to help decrease anxiety
  6. Forming the Polyvagal Equine Institute with co-founders Jaycee Dugard and Margie McDonald
  7. And more

Continue reading: Neuromodulation using computer-altered music to treat 10-year-old unresponsive to standard interventions for FND

Published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry and co-authored by Dr. Stephen Porges and an expert medical and research team, this case study provides insight into the mechanism and impact of the SSP, specifically on a 10-year-old with FND who saw significant improvements from the SSP.

About the Speaker

Rebecca Bailey, Ph.D., is a leading family psychologist and equestrian who has become a world-renowned professional teacher, speaker, author, and entrepreneur.

Dr. Bailey is actively involved in applying Dr. Stephen Porges’ research on the autonomic nervous system to her long-standing work with a variety of patients recovering from life-altering stressful and traumatic experiences. She believes that understanding the interaction between the nervous system and our thoughts and actions is the key to compassionately guiding families and individuals to healing and self-understanding. Along with her two colleagues, Margie McDonald and Jaycee Dugard, she has founded the Polyvagal Equine Institute.

She is the author of two books: Safe Kids: Smart Parents and Equine Connections: Polyvagal Principles as well as articles on Polyvagal principles in the courtroom and the application of equine interventions to a variety of populations. 

About the Host Joanne McIntyre

Joanne McIntyre is an Occupational Therapist with over 30 years of clinical experience. She completed her Master’s of Science, majoring in psychology, while residing in the U.S. for 23 years, during which she founded a therapy practice including speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists, in addition to being an instructor for Integrated Listening Systems.

Joanne pursued specialty training in various clinical interventions and treatment programs that identify and address the underlying neurological causes of state regulation, learning and behavior, versus focusing on symptomology. Her training included Board Certification in Neurofeedback and Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback training, Neurodevelopmental (NDT), SIPT Certification, Interactive Metronome and Advanced iLs Pro training, EMDR, and Intro IFS training.

Joanne returned to Australia in 2015 and is Clinical Director of Integrated Listening Australia, providing practitioner training and clinical support to clinicians and families in the SSP, Focus System, Pro-System and iom2. Joanne commenced Ph.D. studies at La Trobe University within the School of Psychology and Public Health, investigating the neurobehavioral underpinnings of the Safe and Sound Protocol intervention developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, supported by the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC).

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