Polyvagal Theory & Expressive Arts Therapy: Essential Tools for Clinical Practice

3:00pm - February 8, 2023 thru 4:30pm - February 8, 2023 | Timezone: US/Pacific
Pacific Southwest MHTTC
Registration Deadline: February 8, 2023


Polyvagal Theory & Expressive Arts Therapy: Essential Tools for Clinical Practice 



Using a trauma-informed lens, this training offers tools from expressive arts therapy (EXA) for working with a variety of clients. Presenter Suraya Keating, MFT, REAT, RDT, will discuss various multimodal arts practices as they relate to polyvagal theory. These practices can be used to soothe and/or energize the nervous system, employ co-regulation in helpful ways, promote self-awareness, and support the agency, empowerment, and well-being of many populations, including individuals with PTSD, LGBTQ+ and non-binary people, individuals with autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental health disorders.


This training will provide space for participants to discuss and practice using expressive arts therapy tools informed by polyvagal theory for each of the above populations.




Wednesday, February 8, from 3-4:30 p.m. PT 




This training is intended to serve clinical practitioners, including marriage and family therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers, drug recovery counselors, psychiatric nurses, as well as those in training or internship programs for their respective licenses.

1.5 CEUs are available through full participation in this training event.



Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

1.    Learn and explain key elements of polyvagal theory as it applies to helping clients care for their nervous system.

2.    Articulate two examples of expressive arts therapy interventions that activate the ventral vagal nerve/social engagement system.

3.    Identify one expressive arts therapy tool that can help a client regulate their nervous system when it goes into dorsal vagal/freeze mode.

4.    Identify one expressive arts therapy tool that can help a client soothe when they are experiencing a fight or flight nervous system response.

5.    Identify and explain key considerations of the specific population they are focused on, and how to mindfully adapt expressive arts therapy interventions according to the needs of each person and population. 


Register by 10a.m. PT, Wednesday, February 8, 2023


About the Facilitator:

Suraya Keating


Suraya Keating, MFT, REAT, RDT, is a master trainer in expressive arts and drama therapy as well as adjunct professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. For 25 years, she has facilitated expressive arts and drama therapy processes with individuals and groups in schools, prisons, and hospitals, with a focus on populations who are marginalized and oppressed. During this time, she has also guided others in the creation and performance of therapeutic life-story theater. For ten years, Suraya co-supervised Contra Costa County’s Expressive Arts Therapy Department, where she trained and supervised MFT associates in the cultivation of a wide variety of tools from expressive arts therapy to support the wellbeing of individuals on the inpatient medical and psychiatric units of a county hospital, in addiction recovery programs at outpatient clinics, and in a variety of other settings. Since 2005, she has worked as Shakespeare for Social Justice Director for Marin Shakespeare’s prison programs, where she has trained hundreds of teaching artists, drama therapy students, and others interested in bringing the arts to carceral settings. Suraya works with therapeutic clients in-person and online, and also offers individual expressive arts consultation sessions as well as one-to-one solo performance coaching.