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Episode 055: “Living Centered and Exploring the Polyvagal Theory”

Featuring Kathleen Murphy, LPC, LMFT

On today’s episode, Lindsey and Mickenzie sat down with Onsite’s Associate Clinical Director, Kathleen Murphy, to explore the PolyVagal Theory. Kathleen outlined how this unique paradigm helps us understand the role the vagus nerve plays in our daily emotional regulation, social connections, and fear responses. Through practice and greater self-awareness, this methodology can help us understand how trauma and adverse circumstances change the way we see the world, and how we can heal and regulate in the context of community and relationship.

Meet this episode’s expert

Kathleen Murphy’s career is founded on over 35 years of experience working with people suffering from substance abuse issues complicated by relational trauma and attachment wounding. Before coming to Onsite as Associate Clinical Director, she spent eight years as the founding Executive Clinical Director of Breath Life Healing Centers in Los Angeles, CA.   

Before this role, she had the opportunity to deepen her experiential group therapy skills at the profound Breakthrough at Caron program in Wernersville, PA, and the Meadows in Wickenburg, AZ. In addition, she spent seven years working with families and individuals impacted by sexual assault and interpersonal violence. Her crisis-intervention skills were also enhanced by volunteering with the Austin Police department’s Victim Services. 

Kathleen often makes use of a variety of modalities and techniques to assist clients in reframing and reclaiming the self, including Polyvagal Theory, Mindfulness-based practices including Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness and compassion, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EMDR, IFS, AEDP, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Gestalt, polemics, dynamics, and didactics; psychoeducation, lectures and experiential group processes that are heavily influenced by attachment theory as well as psychodramatic.  

Her path was paved by earning her BA in Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin, and an MA in Counseling at St Edward’s University. She loves puppets, Kundalini Yoga, Sound Healing, Tibetan Buddhism, and all the various wisdom traditions.   

Kathleen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as Licensed Professional Counselor. In addition, she is a trained EMDR therapist and Level 3 Sensorimotor psychotherapist. Kathleen also co-facilitates trauma-sensitive training for Interventionists. She is also a certified Level 1 Kundalini Yoga Teacher and has been certified in various sound healing modalities.

Mentioned in this episode



  • Meditation & Mindfulness
  • Waking up app by Sam Harris or calm help with a daily practice of being able to access ventral a gal energy


  • Yoga Nidra 
  • Restorative Yoga

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Kathleen Murphy