Reactivity & Relationships:

Widening the Lens with Bowen Theory and Polyvagal Theory

Conference Details

Dates: Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Times:  8:45–4:00 pm Pacific time, with a 30-minute lunch break
Location: Online live speaker presentation
– Full-time Student – $95.00
– Regular Early Bird on/before March 27 – $195.00
– Regular – $225.00
– Group Recording Only – $1170.00
All registrations include recording access for 30 days, whether or not you attend.
Refer to the bottom of this page for a full description of each fee or click on each registration fee on Eventbrite for details..


Spring Conference 2024 Brochure

Conference Overview

What is going on in my brain and body when I interact in relationships? Can this neurophysiological understanding help me do better with myself and with others? Living Systems 2024 conference, “Reactivity and Relationships” aims to increase one’s understanding of how people function in relationships from the perspectives of Bowen theory and Polyvagal theory.

The day will begin with an interview with Dr. Stephen Porges and include an overview of the autonomic nervous system and its role in social behaviour and relationships. Victoria Harrison will present for the majority of the day on her decades of research on reactivity in relationships from a Bowen theory perspective, especially through the use of biofeedback and neurofeedback measures. The final presentation will be from Dixie Vandersluys who will present a tracking tool, including aspects of both theories, as a way to become aware of one’s specific markers of reactivity in daily life. The conference will conclude with a panel discussion and an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Who is the workshop for:

This workshop is suitable for individuals, clinicians, and practitioners interested in Bowen or Polyvagal theories. Also, anyone interested in a more scientific understanding of relationships.

Learning Objectives

1. Understanding reactivity from the perspectives of Polyvagal theory and Bowen theory
2. Examining the role that reactivity plays in relationships
3. Providing practical tools to measure and track reactivity in relationship interactions

Conference Agenda:

8:45 am: Welcome
9:00 am: Interview with Dr. Porges and audience questions
10:45 am: Victoria Harrison: Reactivity in Emotional Systems:
mmmm    Evolution and the Family
12:30 pm: Lunch
1:15 pm: Victoria Harrison: Research on Reactivity:
mm mm Physiology and Family Systems
2:45 pm: Dixie Vandersluys: Tracking Tool of Autonomic Awareness
3:30 pm: Panel discussion


A refund is available before March 27, 2024, minus $30 Eventbrite admin fee. There are no refunds after March 27, 2024 unless for an emergency as determined by Living Systems.

About the Presenters

Stephen W. Porges, PhD is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioural & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory and the creator of the Safe and Sound Protocol™, a music-based intervention to improve spontaneous social engagement and state regulation. Dr. Porges is a founder of the Polyvagal Institute.

Victoria Harrison, MA, LMFT is a founding director of the Center for the Study of Natural Systems, where she serves as Director of the Board and provides programs based on Bowen theory in Houston, Texas. She integrates biofeedback and neurofeedback with family systems psychotherapy in her clinical practice and teaching. Ms. Harrison began studying Bowen theory at Georgetown University Family Center in 1976 and served on faculty at Bowen Center for the Study of the Family from 1992 to May 2023 when she resigned. The Bowen Center awarded her the Caskie Research Award in 2004 and 2015 for projects studying physiological reactivity and relationships. Besides many articles, she has authored The Family Diagram & Family Research and is working on her next book The Dance of Life in Nature and the Family.

Dixie Vandersluys, MA, CCC, is a third-year trainee in the Living Systems post-graduate program. In 2023, she was part of the first cohort of the Polyvagal Institute’s “Polyvagal Certificate Course.” She runs Storybrook Therapy, a private counselling practice in Minnedosa, Manitoba.

A Letter of Attendance is available for continuing education purposes.

Please select this option when registering.


Early Bird Deadline is March 27, 2024. Sales end April 16th.

Please use this Eventbrite link to register: Click here.

For inquiries, please email:

Please use the following registration types on Eventbrite.

General Admission:
The General Admission fee after March 27 includes attending the online conference as well as receiving the recording for 30 days. This General Admission recording link is for single use only.

The Student Fee includes attending the online conference as well as receiving the recording for 30 days. This recording link is for single use only. A full-time student is a student who is enrolled in a minimum of 9 credits or 3 academic courses. Email proof of FT student status to

Early bird:
The Early Bird Regular Fee includes attending the online conference as well as receiving the recording for 30 days. This regular early bird recording link is for single use only.

Group Recording Only – The Group Recording is available for 30 days after the conference and can be shared with a group of colleagues in the same agency or organization (maximum of 25 people).

Living Systems Counselling is a registered society, charity# 107784308RR001. We are a leading provider of counselling, training, education, and research-based on Bowen family systems theory. We offer counselling for family, couples, addiction, mental health issues. 9 locations in the Vancouver Lower Mainland. We thank the BC Gaming Commission, District of North Vancouver, City of North Vancouver, Individual donors and our members for their support.

209-1500 Marine Drive, North Vancouver, BC, V7P 1T7

Telephone: 604.926.5496…….Email: