About Dr. Rebecca Bailey

Inspirational and Innovative Psychologist

My Story

 Rebecca Bailey, PhD is a leading family psychologist and equestrian who has become a world-renowned professional teacher, speaker, author, and entrepreneur.

Rebecca is the former director of the Sonoma Police Departments Youth and family services program, was a therapist educator for programs such as Marin County’s DUI Program, and is the founder of Transitioning Families, a group of independently licensed mental health practitioners dedicated to Bailey’s innovative ideas for helping families through crisis and difficult change. She continues to work with a variety of state and national organizations such as The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and is an advisory council member of the Onsite Foundation and Brain Train America.

Dr. Bailey is actively involved in applying Dr. Stephen Porges’ research on the autonomic nervous system to her long standing work with a variety of patients recovering from life altering stressful and traumatic experiences. She believes that understanding the interaction between the nervous system and our thoughts and actions is the key to compassionately guiding families and individuals to healing and self-understanding. Along with her two colleagues, Margie McDonald and Jaycee Dugard, she has founded the Polyvagal Equine Institute

Polyvagal Equine Institute offers in-person and virtual workshops, trainings and interventions that help us get unstuck from old patterns, think flexibly, and have effective communication with compassion and kindness.

A graduate of The Wright Institute in Berkley, CA, Dr. Bailey was raised in the Boston area, but relocated to California 35 years ago. She now lives in Northern California with her loving husband and countless animals.


Rebecca has been interviewed by Diane Sawyer, Dr. Oz, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Piers Morgan and has also been a guest on CNN, Good Morning America, 20/20, Elizabeth Smart’s Lifetime Special: Smart Justice and many more. She is available as an expert commentator on a variety of mental health topics, including: abduction, resiliency, self-compassion, and appeasement (a concept that she, Dr. Stephen Porges, and Jaycee Dugard are using to replace victim blaming words regarding inescapable situations). She is also a leading expert in innovative therapies such as eco-therapy, culinary therapy and equine facilitated interventions.

Years Experience


My Books

Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know to Keep their Children Safe

Safe Kids, Smart Parents builds on Dr. Bailey’s years of experience as a family psychologist helping real families deal with real situations. From abduction to abuse, Bailey explains how parents can speak to their kids about troubling topics while building their self-esteem and teaching them how to protect themselves. A smart, comprehensive, and easy-to-read resource, Safe Kids, Smart Parents is the most important book a parent can own.

Equine Connections: Polyvagal Principles

Equine Connections: Polyvagal Principles builds on Dr. Rebecca Bailey’s decades of experience as a family psychologist helping real families deal with real situations. In this book, Dr. Bailey introduces equine-assisted therapy, The Polyvagal Theory, the populations that can be served by her approach, and a variety of exercises that incorporate The Polyvagal Theory into equine interventions. Throughout the book, the notion of “providing safe spaces” is discussed and incorporated into treatment recommendations.


Get out of your head and into your heart. Move forward with compassion and curiosity.

– Dr. Rebecca Bailey

Meet Dr. Bailey

Equine Connections: Polyvagal Principles [Book] - Live Discussion

  • Cost:Free!
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Location: Virtual
  • Facilitated By: Dr. Rebecca Bailey
  • Description: Join us for a live discussion of Dr. Bailey’s new book, Equine Connection: Polyvagal Principles. Want the opportunity to ask questions about topics in the book or Dr. Bailey’s life story? You are in luck; a portion of the discussion will be filled with questions submitted from the audience.

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The Latest from Dr. Bailey

The Reflection in the Mirror

Many years ago I had a program which was called Equine Mirrors . The logo was beautiful, it depicted a person walking  side by side with a horse, underneath was the mirror reflection. To myself and the other psychologist it depicted the serenity of the connection...

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An equine supported Polyvagal lesson

True connection between horse and rider involves a high level of communication and connection. This fact was brought home to me today while riding a super sensitive and headstrong horse. The gist of it was this particular horse has a periodic pattern of bucking when...

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Emotional Safety: Coronavirus

As we maneuver through the latest challenge of the corona virus, we are reminded that we are indeed one world and one people. Each of us are connected to each other by a common thread, and that is our vulnerability. The word vulnerability is not intended to frighten...

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Consult with Dr. Bailey

This service is not for therapy and can not be used for any sort of custody recommendation. It is intended only as support and to provide a perspective. $300 per 1 hr. 

Consult with Dr. Bailey

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