15th Annual Swiss Learning Festival - The VAGUS

Mysterious Coordinator of Our Health


Date: 1st day:
19 Aug 2021
2nd day:
20 Aug 2021
3rd day:
21 Aug 2021
4th day:
22 Aug 2021
Time: Starting at  10.30 am on the first day,  ending at 3.30 pm on the last day 
Teacher: Marianne Bentzen (DK)
Dr. Peter A. Levine (USA)
Prof. Dr. Stephen Porges (USA)
Language: English translated into German
Costs: CHF 1'090

Day passes are available in a limited number. Cost: 300 CHF per day (250 CHF on Sunday)

Course location: Seminarhotel Rigi
Seestrasse 53 - 55
6353 Weggis am Vierwaldstättersee

Please book your room directly a Hotel Rigi: infobFElunMKf9CFJGEhotelrigi.ch
Please note that for participants lodging somewhere else the Hotel Rigi is charging an obligatory cover fee of CHF 32.— for lunch and the general use of the facilities.

Day 1:

Prof. Dr. Stephen Porges (USA)

Humans are the phylogenetic product of a journey towards sociality that is highlighted by the evolutionary transition from asocial reptiles to social mammals. The presentations will focus on the dependence of sociality on the emergence of the uniquely mammalian ventral vagus and social engagement system.

Session 1 focuses on common themes of sociality that occur across mammalian This bias towards sociality is disrupted by trauma and replaced with a bias towards detecting threat.

Session 2 provides information on the evolutionary changes that resulted in unique changes to the autonomic nervous system of mammals that enabled them to reflexively down regulate threat reactions, to be safe in proximity of others, to trust others and to co-regulate.

Session 3 will elaborate on how neuroception enables cues of safety reflexively down regulate threat reactions, calm autonomic state, and foster accessibility and opportunities for therapeutic gains.


Day 2:

Marianne Bentzen (DK)

When the Vagus grows up …
When do we lose ventral vagal responses in childhood and adulthood and how do we regain it?

Session 1 focuses on interactions in childhood and teenage years that inhibit the social engagement system, and how the ventral vagal system then can reconnect.

Session 2 focuses on adult loss of ventral vagal function through traumatic and stressful events and experiences, and on some of the ways that we can reestablish this sense of social connection and warmth. 


Day 3

Dr. Peter A. Levine (USA)

The Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve

In a very real sense, the vagus nerve is a two-way stream, connecting mind and body. When the connection is fluid and coherent, we feel safe and at ease with our selves and with our environment.However, when this conduit is disrupted, we become disconnected from our core feelings and alienated from an abiding deep sense of Self. We are also at odds with the world, perceiving threat where it does not exist.

In this program, we will learn simple tools to regulate and reestablish a coherent flow along the vagus nerve. This two-way connection then gives rise to many fluid sensations and feelings of well-being.We can then be more at ease within ourselves and mutually connected with chosen others; such is the vast power of the vagus nerve.

Day 4

Panel and Open Space
with Marianne Bentzen, Prof. Dr. Stephen Porges and Dr. Peter A. Levine
Moderator: Dr. Urs Honauer

On the fourth day we will look at how the different approaches and perspectives of the three speakers can be combined with each other. This happens in the spirit of the Open Space idea with complementary ideas and also by means of practical and playful discovery between the lecturers and the audience. The fourth day of the festival is always a day of surprise and integration - and an important completion of the three approaches to the title theme. The aim is to network knowledge that has already been presented or brought in in order to pass it on with a visionary attitude.

Peter A. Levine will also be doing demo sessions.

For more information click here

Marianne Bentzen

Marianne Bentzen graduated as psychomotor therapist in1980, co-founded the Bodynamic Institute in 1985, and was an international faculty member and training director for 13 years. She left the B.I. in 1997 and has since developed Neuroaffective Psychotherapy trainings and consultation. She currently teaches in Scandinavia and Europe and has led trainings in 16 countries. Her maps of …

Dr. Peter A. Levine

Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. (USA) is the originator and developer of Somatic Experiencing® and the President of the Foundation for Human Enrichment. He holds doctorate degrees in both Medical Biophysics and Psychology. During his forty plus year study of stress and trauma, Dr. Levine has contributed to a variety of scientific, medical, and popular publications. His best selling book, Waking the …

Prof. Dr. Stephen Porges

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Trauma Research Center within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he directed the Brain-Body Center. Dr. Porges is also Professor Emeritus at the …