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Jan's Book is out NOW

In our dislocated state, we as a culture can’t know how to feel into the problem or the solution. We cling to our top down explanation of demon drugs to avoid feeling into the embodied cultural trauma of our times. Like the addicted soul, we delude ourselves. We have lost our way. But only in our heads. The body knows the answer. 

– Jan Winhall       

Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model - book cover

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Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model: A Bottom-Up Approach

In sharp contrast with the problematic top-down medicalized method to treating addiction, this book presents a paradigm-shifting, bottom-up approach that considers addiction as an adaptive attempt to regulate emotional states and trauma.

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What this book is about...

Jan Winhall presents a paradigm-shifting, bottom-up approach which draws from the Polyvagal Theory, Embodied Situated Cognition/The Felt Sense, and the Lewis Learning Model of Addiction to offer a graphically illustrated and deeply embodied way of conceptualizing and treating addiction through supporting autonomic regulation. This new model de-pathologizes addiction as it teaches embodied practices through tapping into the felt sense, the body’s inner wisdom.

The book’s informed, compassionate approach to understanding and treating trauma and addiction is highly adaptable to any school of psychotherapy and will appeal to addiction experts, trauma specialists, and clinicians in all mental health fields.

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What They're Saying About This Book

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. The author shares her intellectual journey in which unique insights transform two disparate perspectives into obvious complements leading to a powerful treatment model. As Polyvagal Theory gives the language of neuroscience to Gendlin’s felt sense, the phenomenological world of Gendlin becomes transformed by Polyvagal Theory into observable shifts in autonomic state. The product of this creative journey is an integrated therapeutic strategy with the potential to decode the wisdom of the body with its full repertoire of survival reactions into positive outcomes that promote optimal mental and physical health. These successes are highlighted by new abilities to co-regulate with others that lead to successful trusting relationships.
Stephen W. Porges, PhD
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
In this insightful volume 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, illustrated by poignant clinical vignettes.
Gabor Maté
Gabor Maté, MD
Author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
Reframing addiction and its treatment through the lens of Experiential Psychotherapy, Polyvagal Theory, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Imago Relationship Therapy, 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 and Helen
Harville Hendrix, PhD, and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD
Authors of Doing Imago Relationship Therapy in the Space Between
Brave and revolutionary in her thinking, Jan Winhall has written a compelling book on addiction—a must-read for both clinicians and the general public alike. Compassionate, wise and profound, this book will leave its mark for years to come.
Ann Dowsett Johnson
Award-winning journalist, newly trained trauma psychotherapist and bestselling author of Drink, A Woman’s Intimate Journey with Alcohol
Jan Winhall has developed a powerful healing model that integrates polyvagal theory and felt sense experience. The model comes to life in this beautifully written book. It engages you in a process of discovery that helps you make it your own from the inside out.
Serge Prengel
Serge Prengel
Psychotherapist trained in Focusing, Core Energetics and Somatic Experiencing, co-editor of Defining Moments For Therapists and editor of the Relational Implicit & Somatic Psychotherapy podcast
This is an inspiring book that invites therapists to see addiction freshly, not as a disease but as a way of regulating the nervous system to adapt to the person’s social context. Jan combines Porges’ polyvagal theory with Gendlin’s Focusing-oriented therapy in a creative manner that embraces both theory and practice. Her models for understanding and working with addiction are brought to life with case examples, personal sharing, and invitations to the reader to explore their own experience and understanding of the subject.
Peter Afford
Author of Therapy in the Age of Neuroscience
Jan Winhall’s book is wise, emotionally compelling and hopeful. I highly recommend it to any clinician who wants to expand their therapeutic toolkit for addressing addictive behaviour.
Andrew Tatarsky, PhD
Founder and director at The Center for Optimal Living
Jan Winhall blends Gendlinian bottom-up process of felt sensing with Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory. Her book is both broad and deep and a remarkable contribution to the Field of Addiction. Jan’s wise and heartfelt human presence is fully embodied throughout the book as she takes us on her own journey over 40 years as a psychotherapist. Clinicians will be able to easily take in these fresh clinical avenues, perspectives and practical clinical treatment methods. I will continue to savor this book as a theoretical resource and as a clinician’s handbook for treating Addictions.
Karen Whalen
Karen Whalen, PhD
This book is a powerful illustration of Eugene Gendlin’s ‘Thinking at the Edge’ methodology for working with the Felt Sense. The integration of Porges Polyvagal theory with the author’s bodily knowing creates a brilliant model for working with trauma and addiction. Her courage to challenge the disease model benefits all who are impacted by addiction. The writing is elegant, comprehensive, and touching in a transformative way.
Dr. Evelyn Fendler-Lee
Dr. Evelyn Fendler-Lee
Based on Porges' biologically-based theory of trauma, this book shows how addiction is a brilliantly adaptive way to ‘bear the unbearable’ rather than a sickness. Integrating this framework with her intuitive grasp of body-centered therapy, Winhall helps us both reinterpret and treat this most formidable of habits.
Marc Lewis
Marc Lewis, PhD
Author of The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease
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order Your Copy NOW

Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model - book cover

20% discount at
Use promo code FSPM23

Also available from Caversham Booksellers and Amazon