Termed the “Lewis and Clark of the SSP,” Heather MacDuffie has been fascinated with collecting, mapping and tracking the positive effects of the SSP. Utilizing a complex systems approach to deciphering individual SSP responses has been a far-ranging exploration of her historical pursuit of understanding embodied functioning that she takes on as a labor of love.
After encountering the extensive effects of the SSP listening system, she is diving in to learn the Focus program as well. Heather has maintained a private psychotherapy practice since 2003 focused on adults with complex psychiatric and medical presentations. She brings a scientifically rigorous frame of reference to understanding, articulating and applying Polyvagal Theory to the many rich schools of psychotherapy, including analytic, object relations, Jungian (symbolic), cognitive, relational and somatic/experiential. She is passionate about the preservation of this diversity as it is present in the world practice community. She looks to create bridging concepts with polyvagal theory as a point of convergence for psychology itself, and to embrace the expertise of many realms of practice such as occupational therapy or speech and language therapy.
In the past Heather participated on a HRSA medical workforce initiative (Healthy People 2010) to develop a stand-alone multimedia curriculum for use in graduate level allied health programs. Released as CD ROM, the curriculum taught deep understanding of the disability experience and was utilized in social work, nursing and OT courses and to address the need for equal social and medical access for people with disabling conditions. She assisted in the creation of the Disability Studies Concentration curriculum at the University of Maine and then taught and evaluated both introductory and graduate level courses in the Concentration.
In the course of a varied life, she has participated in research projects in physiological psychology (McCullough Effect), renal physiology (protein diet and renal function), early childhood education, and policy-initiated social service development (HRSA). She seeks to integrate diverse types and sources of knowledge in order to enrich understanding of humanness, and feed this back to SSP practice in its diverse forms.
Heather lives in northern Maine with her wife, two dogs, two cats, two horses, paddleboard, bicycle, kick-sled, cross country skis and ziplines!