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Welcome to my website!
As a pediatrician and neonatologist, I work with babies, infants, children, adolescents, and families in hospital and outpatient settings. Most of my patients and their families faced health challenges early in life and, for many, achieving optimal health and well-being is an ongoing struggle. They often experienced early trauma because of their health needs.
My goal as a physician is to support babies, children, and their families to build secure relationships, to prevent disruptions in these relationships, and to repair unavoidable disruptions when they occur.
The science supporting the role of our sense of safety and security in our health and well-being is robust. On this site, you will find information about my own clinical, educational, and scholarly work as well as other resources helpful in understanding the science of early relationships. If you are interested in bringing this to your organization, please inquire about a consultation or lecture.
Marilyn R. Sanders
Dive into my scholarly work including published articles, recorded lectures, book reviews or learn about my own co-authored book, Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child.
Accolades for Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child...
"[Sanders and Thompson] skillfully employ PVT to elucidate the biological underpinnings of emotion regulation in attachment relationships, showing how vagal tone supports social connections essential for a feeling of safety needed to cope with childhood adversity. The authors buttress their conceptual framework with scholarly research and clinical examples. Most importantly, they infuse their writing and practice with the key ingredient for healing that transcends the remarkable vagus nerve’s contribution: a compassionate spirit."
-Jon G. Allen, Ph.D., Clinical Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Voluntary Faculty
“As babies, our biological expectation is that our caregivers are sensitive and attuned. In proximity to caring adults, we are open-faced, calm, engaged increasingly in a dance that communicates our pleasure in our caregivers. Without the physical and emotional proximity of a responsive caregiver, we are distressed and signal our struggle to engage others. If successful, we return to our state of calm and content.”
-Marilyn Sanders, MD
Upcoming & Recent Events
See the Educator page for more upcoming and recorded lectures.
December 9, 2021, 1:45pm EST
Together with Whole Being Films based in the UK, Dr. Sanders will read excerpts from and speak about her book Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child on December 9, 2021.
PVI Book Discussion
November 18, 2021 | 7-8:30 EST
Please join Polyvagal authors Stephen Porges, Deb Dana, Marilyn Sanders, and George Thompson to discuss their recently published books on a live Zoom call. The discussion will include general ideas on the future of Polyvagal Theory as well as perspectives on how PVT can be embedded into clinical care. There is no charge for this event.
Live Online Course
Jan. 6/13/20, 22 | 2pm EST
In this 3-part live online course Promoting Safety and Security for Children and Families in Unsettled Times through Our Birth Journey, Dr. Sanders will introduce a developmental framework embedded in attachment theory and an understanding of the PVT that builds strong therapeutic alliances between professional providers, children, and their families.