Developing a Neuroception of Safety Scale

Project: Research - no external funding

Project Details


The aim of this study is to develop a standardised measure of Neuroception of Safety, grounded in The Polyvagal Theory to enhance clinical and academic work. The PVT offers a ‘Science of Safety’ which revolutionises our understanding of trauma. Viewed through a Polyvagal lens we can better understand why people do or do not feel safe whilst informing clinical practice and strategies to mitigate against exposure to traumatic experiences and promote wellbeing, resilience and post-traumatic growth. To assess the impact of any PVT informed interventions it would be useful to have a standardised measure of feeling safe grounded in this framework. Existing measures consider safety-seeking behaviour following a traumatic event from a cognitive theoretical framework whilst those developed from a PVT framework consider only bodily symptoms. A standardised measure of safety grounded in the PVT which would enhance clinical and academic work in this growing field.

This survey has been developed with consultancy from Dr Stephen Porges, world leader in Polyvagal Theory, Dr Jacek Kolacz, international leader in psychometric scale development (both Kinsey Institute Traumatic Stress Research Consortium, Indiana University), Deb Dana, Psychotherapist and leader in the Clinical Applications of The Polyvagal Theory, USA and leading psychologists working in clinical practice with people who have experienced trauma including Dr Thomas Bacon, Clinical Psychologist, NHS Fife and Dr Emily Pathe, Counselling Psychologist, NHS Lanarkshire.
Effective start/end date31/10/1930/11/21


  • trauma
  • psychologically informed medicine
  • safety
  • polyvagal theory
  • psychometric

Research Output

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

An embodied understanding of living with a heart condition from birth

Morton, L., 7 Jul 2018.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Born with a heart condition: the clinical implications of the poly vagal theory

Morton, L., 31 Jul 2018, Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emerence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies. Porges, S. W. & Dana, D. A. (eds.). New York

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Strategic Themes - Impact award

Morton, Liza (Recipient) & Cogan, Nicola (Recipient), 12 Jun 2019

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


  • 6 Invited talk
  • 2 Types of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation
  • 1 Types of Public engagement and outreach - To be assigned

Psychologically Informed Medicine

Liza Morton (Speaker)

29 Jan 2020

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

The heart of the matter: the need for standards around congenital heart disease – Dr Liza Morton

Liza Morton (Recipient)

22 Oct 2019

Activity: Other activity typesTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation