Meet Dr Liz!

Liz Charles MD

Liz began her career as a family doctor in South West England. While exploring various therapeutic modalities in her own healing process, she became fascinated in the neuroscience relating to the impact of trauma. Her introduction to polyvagal theory, and subsequently Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), had a profound effect on her. This continues to inspire and inform her therapeutic work. 

Liz is an experienced SSP provider and Unyte Endorsed Mentor for SSP. She specialises in delivering SSP to adult clients struggling with the effects of complex trauma and chronic illness.

Liz and friends

Dr Liz with Ruth Lanius and Betsy Polatin – Belfast 2022


Liz is honoured to work in collaboration with leading researchers in the trauma world including:

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, USA 
Author of Polyvagal Theory & Creator of SSP

Ruth Lanius MD, PhD

Psychiatry Professor and Director of the Clinical Research Program for PTSD, Western University of Canada

Betsy Polatin MFA, SEP

Alexander Technique Professor at Boston University College of Fine Arts, USA

Author of Humanual

Liz is on the Clinical Advisory Board for Unyte-iLs & a consistent contributor to their SSP training materials since 2019.

‘Liz Charles is a physician in the UK who is using the Safe and Sound Protocol with adults with a variety of clinical histories. She is a generous and compassionate person and is especially committed to using SSP with adults who have a trauma history. She has a deep understanding of trauma that provides her with the insights to support the courage of her clients and has been very successful in adapting the SSP to give good outcomes with trauma survivors.’

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D.

Dr Liz's Background

Liz qualified as a medical doctor at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London and afterwards became a full-time partner in General Practice in South-West England. She gained an in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology, and clinical skills and then enjoyed being able to provide medical care to people of all ages.

Liz has a significant history of sustained trauma in childhood and as an adult. Fortunately, she had the benefit of intensive and extensive support from three wonderfully kind and generous somatic, holistic and talk therapists. Their skilled relational approach was highly effective and essential to her deep healing and transformation.

Reading about the Polyvagal Theory by Dr Stephen Porges gave her the opportunity to have a better understanding of the human survival responses, particularly the immobilising shutdown response, She was excited and relieved to finally make sense of the wide-reaching effects of trauma that she had experienced personally and also witnessed in others. Under the watchful eye of her sensitively attuned therapist, she subsequently experienced SSP for herself and the effects were profound and life changing.
She continues to have a keen interest in neuroscience relating to the impact of trauma on the body-brain connection, and therapeutic modalities that use and apply this understanding for improved physical, emotional and mental health.

She feels privileged to now be able to integrate all she has learned from these many and varied experiences to support others using her Sensitive Approach: Client at the Core™.

Dr Liz lives by the coast in Southwest England and enjoys walking on the beaches and cliff tops with her dog, Tilly, an important part of her daily self-care. She experiences great comfort and joy from the love and support of her two precious daughters and her special close friends.


Looking for Professional Guidance?

Liz offers professional guidance to new & experienced SSP Providers.
Fill out the form on the contact page for one-off or on-going support.

Dr Liz's Polyvagal-informed journey


Liz first read about the work of Dr Stephen Porges and was thrilled to finally have a detailed and logical explanation about the human autonomic responses to different levels of threat in the environment. She was relieved to at last have a scientific framework to make sense of the deep impact that trauma can have on the body-brain connection.


As Medical and Scientific Advisor for Thrive Approach, she integrated Polyvagal Theory into their training programmes for educational professionals supporting children and young people’s social and emotional development. She wrote Neuroscience Guides for Childhood and for Adolescence to support the training and delivered seminars to trainers.
Liz attended a Masterclass by Dr Porges in London where he talked about the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) intervention he had created and which would soon be released commercially.


She completed the SSP training programme delivered by Integrated Learning Systems (iLs) and became one of the first SSP providers in the UK.


In April 2019 she attended the first SSP Gathering in Florida, USA. where she met Dr Stephen Porges and his wife, neurobiologist Dr Sue Carter. Following this, she was invited to attend a workshop they were both giving in London as their guest. During further conversation, Dr Porges invited her to write new training material (manual and video) for SSP providers, based on her experience of delivering SSP and understanding of the supporting neuroscience. She was honoured to do this in collaboration with Karen Onderko at iLs. Later in 2019 Dr Porges invited Liz to join him at conferences in Ireland and London which was an invaluable time of learning for her as she accompanied and shadowed him. It was in London that she also met Dr Ruth Lanius who became a valued colleague.


In 2020, during the pandemic, Dr Liz started delivering SSP online with the support of Dr Porges. She continued to contribute to training for Unyte-iLs which included a remote delivery training webinar and guidelines and regular Q&A sessions.


Dr Liz became a founder member of the Clinical Advisory Board for Unyte-iLs. This role includes contributing to clinical guidelines, protocols, and best practices for the SSP community.

Dr Porges introduced Liz to Betsy Polatin which started as a collaboration in relation to Parkinson’s Disease work and has since developed into broader discussions.

Dr Liz was Consultant for Indiana University to offer clinical guidance to therapists at Spencer Psychology for their work with Dr Jacek Kolacz in a study to collect data about the impact of SSP on clients with a trauma diagnosis.

Dr Liz with Dr Stephen Porges – Florida 2022

At the Polyvagal Institute Summit, a video presentation showed Liz’s work with Dennis Schmidt, who has a trauma history and Parkinson’s Disease. ‘Story of Change: Creative Connection in the Time of COVID’

Dr Liz was a Guest on Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Podcast in Australia with Joanne McIntyre, discussing SSP and Trauma- Listening and Connection Skills for Remote Delivery
Click below to listen to the SSP Podcast.


The Belfast Trauma Summit gave Dr Liz the opportunity to meet in-person again with many colleagues including Dr Ruth Lanius and Betsy Polatin.

Attending in-person the Polyvagal Institute Gathering and Unyte Summit in Florida will give Dr Liz the opportunity to meet Dr Stephen Porges and Dr Sue Carter along with many colleagues in PVI and Unyte.

Dr Liz created a new website for the Sensitive Approach: Client at the Core™ in order to share it with a wider audience in her Training and Mentoring Programme.



Discussion with Dr Porges and Dr Jacek Kolacz about SSP and Parkinson’s Disease research which includes Liz’s work delivering SSP to clients with Parkinson’s Disease and other research happening in Europe.
Individual delivery of SSP to adult clients worldwide with complex trauma, chronic illnesses such as Parkinsons and Long Covid as well as to well-known professionals in the field.

Continuing to contribute to ongoing developments to support effective delivery of SSP around the world as a member of the Clinical Advisory Board for Unyte-iLs. She gives regular Q&A sessions for Unyte and offers 1:1 professional guidance in her private practice. She is constantly developing material to share in her Training and Mentoring Programme.