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Early Registration: Thursday, April 25th, 7:00-8:00pm, Caretta Room

Day 1: Friday, April 26, 2019



Caretta Room


Keynote Address: Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D.

The Safe and Sound ProtocolTM: My Personal Journey from a Theoretical Dream to a Clinical Reality

Dr. Stephen PorgesStephen W. Porges, Ph.D.

Dr. Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University Bloomington and Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Emeritus Professor of Human Development at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the creator of the Polyvagal Theory, author and co-author of several books on the subject, and is the developer of the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)TM.


Featured Presentation: Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.

Safety is Treatment: The Importance of Co-Regulation Across Passive and Active Pathway Interventions

In her talk, Mona will demonstrate how physiological co-regulation sets the foundation for all work with children. When we set a solid foundation of “body-up” interventions (passive pathway interventions), we can layer in our “top-down” approaches over the solid base of the neuroception of safety. Relationships of engagement and safety set the stage for treatment across pediatric disciplines. The presentation will illustrate these concepts with a case presentation.

Mona Delahooe, PhDMona M. Delahooke, Ph.D.

Mona M. Delahooke, Ph.D. is a clinical and consulting psychologist specializing in supporting children and families. She has worked widely with multidisciplinary teams in the area of developmental, behavioral, learning, and emotional differences for 30 years. Her books, Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention: A Skills Guide for Working with Children describes a neurodevelopmental approach useful across childhood disciplines. Her latest book, Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges, applies the Polyvagal theory and concept of neuroception to treatment and support for behaviorally challenged and neurodiverse populations.


Panel 1

SSP: A Key Foundation for the Treatment of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

This panel will discuss the use of the SSP with a variety of populations such as clients with Speech and Language Processing Disorders, anxiety, attention, regulation challenges, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The presenters will draw from their personal experiences using the SSP with these clients and share case stories along with some videos to illustrate the changes in functional and social behaviors following SSP intervention.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the range of Neurodevelopmental Disorders that will benefit from SSP.
  2. Understand the effects the SSP can have on function of clients with a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders.
  3. Learn to identify the common emotional shifts following SSP.
  4. Learn to implement SSP as a tool to calm the neurological system and support co-regulation and emotional growth.
  5. Recognize the SSP as an essential building block for facilitating treatment of Speech and Language disorders.

Dillen HartleyDillen Hartley, OT

Dillen Hartley, OT graduated from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, school of Occupational Therapy in 1995 and moved to the USA in 1996. He is co-owner of Advanced Therapy Solutions, Inc, an outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy practice serving adult and pediatric clients in six locations and multiple schools. Mr. Hartley has 23 years of clinical experience and is trained in multiple treatment approaches with both adults and pediatrics. Mr. Hartley’s interests are in the areas of trauma, autism, development disorders, SPD, ADHD and learning difficulties in infants, children and adults. Mr. Hartley is a Trainer for Interactive Metronome and has served on their Clinical Advisory Board for 10 years. He and is also a Trainer for Integrated Listening Systems and is frequently asked to present his views and treatment approaches in Occupational Therapy treatment of children both nationally and internationally.

In addition, Mr. Hartley has served on several Non-Profit Boards including, The South Carolina OT Association, Greenville Tech OTA Program (5 years), and is the Founder and Chairman of the Institute for Development and Learning, a non-profit organization dedicated providing Speech Therapy, Feeding Treatment, GROW Academy and parent support programs.

Doreen Hunt, MA, OTR/L

Doreen is an Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years pediatric experience focused on Sensory Integration Dysfunction/SPD, Developmental Delays, Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She received her Master’s degree from USC with training at the Ayres Clinic. Her pediatric environments of practice have included NICU, Early Intervention, schools and private therapy clinics.

Doreen is skilled in a multitude of therapeutic interventions, is certified in the administration of Sensory Integration & Praxis Tests, and became certified as an Advanced Practitioner using Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) sound in her practice in 2009. She has been a Trainer for iLs since 2011 and has used the Safe and Sound Protocol extensively since 2016 in her private practice, Children’s Therapy of Woodinville.

Carol Garner-HoustonCarol Garner-Houston, OTR/L

With over two decades of experience, Mrs. Carol Garner-Houston’s expertise lies in pediatric and adult neurological development, where she has gained widespread recognition from both colleagues and patients. In order to fulfill her career aspirations, Mrs. Garner-Houston left her home state of Louisiana and attended Virginia Commonwealth University where she studied for her Bachelors of Science in Occupational Therapy, graduating in 1996.

Mrs. Garner-Houston was instantly drawn to the art of occupational therapy that customizes intervention to find a patient’s unique purpose regardless of physical or mental circumstances. She has since gone on to enjoy a highly successful twenty-two year career, culminating in her current four-year tenure as a neuroplastician at her private therapy center, Brain Harmony, where she is Co-Owner, Chief Medical Officer, Occupational Therapist and an Advanced Practitioner of Integrated Listening Systems (iLs). No one day is the same for Mrs. Garner-Houston, where she can be found applying brain mapping protocols and modalities that are changing IQ scores, connecting speech to adults who have never spoken, and rewiring connections to hemiplegic limbs post stroke. She can often be found in schools, client’s homes, her therapy clinics, and video conferencing with clients around the world. She prides herself on providing progressive solutions to the disorders that are plaguing our communities.

Abbey Brod Rosen, OTR/LAbbey Brod Rosen, OTR

Abbey has worked for more than 35 years as an Occupational Therapist with adults and children. She has always had a special interest in neurological issues across the lifespan including Sensory Processing Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Attention and Postural control and praxis. She is the owner and clinical director of KidsThrive, a pediatric practice with two locations in Manhattan. Abbey was also an Instructor at NYU for 16 years teaching the course on Perception and Cognition.

As a lifelong learner, clinician and teacher – Abbey has attended and taught others continuously throughout her career. She has advanced training in Sensory Processing, NDT, Integrated Listening, Therapeutic Listening, Reflex Integration and Rhythmic Movement.


Lunchtime Conversation

Conversation between Dr. Porges and Kimberly McRae about her son’s and her family’s experience with the SSP

Kimberly McRae, Adoptive MotherKimberly McRae, Adoptive Mother

Kim is a mother who is passionate about finding ways to help her son and sharing along the way so that other brave little ones can experience the same chance at healing. Dr. Porges’ Safe and Sound Protocol created dramatic changes for her son that left her with the desire to find a way to effectively share the same hope with others. This resulted in a group being created on Facebook for parents to read about her son’s experience and eventually others sharing their own as well.


Featured Presentation: Ana do Valle

A Trauma-Informed Model for Applying the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

This talk will illustrate the transformative course of sessions for a nine-year-old who underwent birth trauma. Participants will become familiar with the SEGAN Model (Sensation, Emotions, Gesture in colors, Action, and Narrative), that when utilized in conjunction with the SSP Protocol, creates a safe trajectory for healing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The SEGAN tools allow the client to embrace critical elements of their autobiography and therefore, defragment and resource the SELF.

Ana do ValleAna do Valle, OTR, SEP

Ana is an Occupational Therapist who specializes in self regulation with infants (birth trauma), children and adults. She is a body centered therapist, certified in Sensory Integration and Neuro-Developmental Approach. She has experience working with trauma resultant from cultural fragmentation and she has studied cross-cultural perspectives of trauma with indigenous and shamanic communities in South America.

Ana has developed a program for Preventing Surgical Trauma addressing the needs of children and adults undergoing medical procedures. She has 30-years experience in the area of Physical Medicine and has worked with clients suffering from Fibromyalgia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Chronic Pain and other diagnosis related to the autonomic nervous system dysregulation.

Ana facilitates and coordinates Intensive Programs for clients from out of state or the country interested in experiencing a body mind, inter-disciplinary approach to Healing Trauma. These workshops are on the subjects of affect modulation, self-regulation and surgical trauma prevention. She combines the Sensory Integrative Approach (Sensory Integration Dysfunction) with Somatic Experiencing in healing trauma.

Ana developed a Trauma Informed overlay to Dr Stephen’s Porges Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), meant to support the clients’s capacity to heal from traumatic experiences without the common feelings of overwhelm. She organizes educational and therapeutic activities both in Germany and Brasil for families and individuals interested in learning and experiencing cross-cultural trauma healing modalities. Ana is approved to provide individual and group supervision sessions for all levels of Somatic Experiencing Practitioners.

Ana currently has a private practice in Boulder, CO. She contracts with schools in the area. She is able to provide services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.


Panel 2

SSP and Trauma Recovery

The SSP is having a powerful effect supporting the treatment and recovery of adults and children who have experienced trauma. In this presentation, practitioners will share their experiences working with an array of traumatized individuals and how they have tailored their therapeutic practices to meet the unique needs of their clients. They will also discuss the added benefits that are gained when the SSP is added to treatments.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the spectrum of trauma experiences
  2. Identify the importance of “Creating Safe Spaces”
  3. Learn strategies to support a client’s capacity to heal from traumatic experiences
  4. Explore the expanding use of SSP into the family system
  5. Understand how anxiety can be mini-traumas and how SSP can help
  6. Examine how using SSP for generational trauma can break dysfunctional behaviors
  7. Exploring how the SSP can impact the emotion/body disconnect for trauma survivors
  8. Understand the role of safety to a trauma survivor

Rebecca Bailey, PhDRebecca Bailey, PhD

Dr. Bailey is a clinical psychologist and forensic psychologist who specializes in complex case scenarios, including high-conflict divorce and experiences of extreme trauma. She is a nationally recognized expert in non-familial and familial abductions and the Founder and Director of Transitioning Families, an innovative and family-based program for therapeutic reunification and reintegration in California. Dr. Bailey is a regular consultant to and referral for the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is a regular consultant to judicial entities. She is an active member of the AFCC and a member of the International Association of the Chief of Police.

Dr. Bailey has been a guest and commentator on Anderson Cooper, Good Morning America,
Piers Morgan, Erin Burnett, Kyra Phillips, 20/20, Dr. Oz, Diane Sawyer and World News Tonight. Dr. Bailey is co-author of the book Safe Kids, Smart Parents (Simon & Schuster, 2013). Dr. Bailey presents widely throughout the country on a variety of topics, including the premise of creating “Protected Spaces” for survivors of traumatic crimes and the importance of active collaboration among involved systems.

Dr. Bailey is an advisor for the JAYC Foundation and is Clinical Director for their programs.

Ana do ValleAna do Valle, OTR, SEP, Anthropological Counselor

Ana is the clinical director for the Soma Healing Center in Boulder, CO. She has developed her studies in the areas of Anthroposophical Counseling, Sensory Processing, and Somatic Experiencing. Ana specializes in working with the social nervous system.  Her focus is the art of integrating sensory information in order to create embodiment,  empowerment, and coherence in our capacity to “experience” the other and ourselves.  Ana works with families by facilitating attunement and promoting deeper awareness of the power of healing through relationships. She works with birth and medical trauma, emotional regulation and trauma resulting from cultural fragmentation. She teaches and provides supervision to clinicians on the subject of trauma and healing nationally and outside the US.

For additional information regarding her work, please visit:

Kate OrtmanKate Ortman, Founder and CEO BrainTrain America

Kate Ortman is the founder of BrainTrain America (BTA), a one of a kind “brain gym” building on the concept of neuroplasticity to allow the brain to change. Her team’s approach has allowed clients to restore lost brain function, or fulfill potential they had never known. Inspired by her experiences as a mother of adopted and birth children dealing with issues ranging from concussion recovery and brain surgery to learning difficulties and attachment issues, Kate has quickly become a nationally-recognized expert in the field. In addition to improving the lives of clients at BTA, she also advises multiple companies on emerging technologies focused on strengthening the brain.

Sharon StultzSharon Stultz, M.A.Ed., Ed.S.

She serves elementary students with specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, emotional behavior disorder, ADHD, developmental delays, and social/emotional dysregulation. She is also the sole proprietor of Pathways of Learning through which she administers the Safe & Sound Protocol to individual children and adults, as well as whole families, in the US and UK since 2018.

Sharon completed her Master’s degree in Education Psychology/Learning Sciences at the University of Washington in 2014. Her Master’s thesis focused on the effects of chronic stress histories on academic outcomes for middle school students. Through her research and practical experience, she has discovered the deeper neural mechanisms that can interfere with development and learning. Her study of the HPA axis and the neural regulatory systems affected by chronic stress and trauma provide the background for her work in administering the Safe & Sound Protocol to children and adults with trauma histories. She is currently pursuing a 2nd Master’s degree in Applied Child & Adolescent Psychology: Prevention & Treatment, at the University of Washington where the SSP will be used as her capstone project.


Panel 3

The Why, What and How of using research to evaluate the SSP

Presenters will discuss the benefits of research (for community, clinic, clients), followed by the steps necessary in the development of a research protocol designed to evaluate the effects of the SSP. Steps include formulation of the research question, selecting outcome measures, and sharing/presenting data. An overview of requirements regarding ethics training and IRB will also be discussed. The presentation will conclude with the development of an example research protocol with a SSP clinician/researcher.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the benefits of evaluating the SSP within a research framework.
  2. Identify the requirements of conducting a research study.
  3. Design a research study that can be implemented within a clinic setting.

Keri HeilmanKeri Heilman, PhD

Keri J. Heilman is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Heilman received her PhD in Psychology (Behavioral Neuroscience) from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006.

Working with her advisor and now colleague, Dr. Stephen W. Porges, Dr. Heilman has focused her research on the neurophysiology underlying the expression of social behavior, specifically within the framework of the Polyvagal Theory. Many of these studies evaluate interventions designed to promote state regulation and adaptive social engagement and communication. Dr Heilman is currently collaborating on local and international research studies designed to evaluate biobehavioral characteristics of individuals who have difficulties regulating behavioral and physiological state (e.g., Prader-Willi Syndrome, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, alcoholism). She is also involved in research evaluating a Polyvagal-informed intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), on autonomic activity and behavior.

In addition to teaching regular workshops on research methods involved in the collection of cardiac data and analyses of cardiac rhythms, she also serves as a consultant and data analyst for studies incorporating heart rate variability in mother-child dyads and studies of children with fetal alcohol syndrome and adults with depression and/or anxiety.

Since 2016, Dr. Heilman has also regularly lectured during Trauma-Informed Yoga Therapy Trainings (Sundara Yoga Therapy), focusing on the neurophysiology of self-regulation, how trauma disrupts regulation, and strategies to optimize interventions and treatments based on principles of Polyvagal Theory.

She is also a research consultant for the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium at Indiana University.

Jacek KolaczJacek Kolacz, PhD

Dr. Jacek Kolacz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium (TSRC) at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. His work examines biobehavioral factors that promote risk and resilience for trauma, their effects on psychological well-being and physical health, and their influence on relationships and social interactions.

Dr. Kolacz’s research involves the development and application of non-invasive physiological measures including vocal acoustic features and questionnaires. He works in a variety of contexts spanning lab studies, online data collection, research in clinical care settings, and assessment of clinical trials.


Research Presentations

Four SSP Associates describe their research using the SSP with a variety of end users

Bonnie ColbyBonnie Colby, Ph.D.

Bonnie became intrigued with the nervous system through noting effects on group problem solving capacity through her decades of work on cross-cultural water and environmental conflicts. Dr. Colby has authored dozens of journal articles and eight books, provided invited testimony to the U.S. Congress and taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Bonnie also teaches meditation, offering classes for University of Arizona Campus Health, College of Medicine and Honors College and the broader Tucson community.

Bonnie focuses on sensory-based practices that assist in nervous system regulation. She is a teacher and mentor in the international non-profit organization Institute of Applied Meditation. Bonnie participates in research design exploring effects of meditation and other interventions on various aspects of wellness, serving as Faculty Advisor for the Arizona Meditation Research Interest Group.

She has been awarded the Warren Hall Medal for distinguished academic and public service contributions. Bonnie lives in Tucson with her husband, Dr. Ted Weinert.

Contact Bonnie at [email protected].

Heleen GrootenHeleen Grooten, SLP

Heleen is a speech, voice, breathing, and trauma therapist with her own practice in the Netherlands.

She is doing research in cooperation with the Kinsey/Traumatic Stress Consortium on backgrounds of functional aspects of medically unexplained voice and throat problems. She did a pilot study on the effects of SSP on voice and throat complaints.

Sonja HeinrichSonja Heinrich

Sonja Heinrich has a university degree as a teacher and has specialized in the field of learning differences since 1996, and Autism Spectrum Disorders since 2010. As a co-founder of a European training organization (Davis Lernverband), she trains professionals in the field as well as works with her own clients in private practice.

Since 2017, she has been using the SSP in her practice, mainly with autistic individuals, with great joy about the additional tool and about the opportunities it opens up for the clients.

Joanne HolmesJoanne McIntyre, OTR, MS (PSYCH), BCN, PHD candidate

Joanne moved to the United States after graduating from LaTrobe University in 1991 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. She later completed a Master’s of Science majoring in Psychology at California Southern University.

While residing in the U.S.A for 23 years, Joanne founded a therapy practice including Speech Language pathologists, Physiotherapists and Psychologists.

Joanne pursued specialty training in various clinical interventions and treatment programs that identify and address the underlying neurological causes of state regulation, learning and behavior issues versus symptomology. Her training included Advanced Integrated Listening Systems, Neurodevelopmental Treatment, Sensory Integration and Praxis, Neurofeedback including EEG brain mapping, Temporal motor processing program (IM), Heart Rate Variability training, Multi-sensory movement programs and Low Energy Neurofeedback (LENS).

Clinically she has specialized in working with: ASD, SPD, ADHD, APD, Adult Head Injury, Neurological conditions, Anxiety, Motor Balance and Coordination issues and various Learning Disabilities.

Travelling throughout Canada and the United States, Joanne worked as an instructor for Integrated Listening Systems (iLS) , a leading provider of evidence based interventions for improving behavior, communication and motor skills for ASD, ADHD, SPD, APD, Sleep issues and other Developmental and regulation concerns.

Joanne is Board Certified in Neurofeedback and has been exploring outcomes via combining Neurofeedback with Integrated Listening within her clinical practice. Joanne presented at the 2015 International Society of Neurofeedback and Research annual conference in Denver, Colorado about combining these two interventions.

Joanne returned to Australia 2015 and is Co-Director of Integrated Listening Australia.

Commencing 2016, Joanne is enrolled at La Trobe University PhD program. Investigating the Neurobehavioral underpinnings of the Integrated Listening Intervention.


Day 2: Saturday, April 27, 2019


Facebook Live: Live Chat with Dr. Porges

Dr. Stephen PorgesDr. Porges and Seth Porges will host a 45-minute session with the members of the SSP Parent’s FB Group. They’ll hear stories, answer questions, and give commentary.


Panel 4

Perfect Together: How using the SSP to augment other modalities creates powerful, lasting improvements

Since its inception, the SSP has been used by a wide range of providers to make rapid, profound improvements with a wide variety of individuals. This panel will discuss ways in which the SSP has improved or advanceded the efficacy of therapeutic modalities including iLs Focus System, iLs Pro System, Qigong, EMDR, Coherent Breathing and Prosodic Augmentation. Panelists will discuss the importance of these additional modalities to ensure lasting benefits from the SSP. Finally, these seasoned practitioners will answer your questions about how to effectively use the SSP with your current therapies and the different populations and presentations you work with.

Each panelist will share information, anecdotes, and details about how the SSP has worked in conjunction with their specific modalities followed by a lively question and answer period in which the audience can gain more insight into when and how to best combine the SSP with the primary modalities of their practice.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the benefits of using the SSP with different populations and other modalities.
  2. Gain insight into how the SSP works with modalities including iLs Focus System, iLs Pro System, EMDR, Qigong, Coherent Breathing and Prosodic Augmentation.
  3. Learn strategies for successfully combining the SSP with other modalities.
  4. Become familiar with some of the measures, techniques and information that can guide decision-making regarding using the SSP.
  5. Evaluate different measurement systems and techniques and assess their appropriateness for different environments.
  6. Understand how combining the SSP with other modalities can induce longer-lasting benefits.
  7. Learn about important considerations and potential contraindications that can impact the success of the SSP.

Alex FreerAlex Freer, Owner, Executive Director, Key to Me Therapy

Alexandra Freer founded Key to Me Therapy in 2006. Located in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, Key to Me Therapy has helped more than 700 children, adolescents, and adults improve their processing using technology-based therapies including iLs’ Focus System, the Safe & Sound Protocol, and Interactive Metronome.

Alex is an Advanced Practitioner of iLs who specializes in designing individualized programs to help improve sensory issues, auditory issues, communication, attention, academic abilities, social abilities and anxiety. Prior to founding Key to Me, Alex spent more than 19 years working as an educational consultant to struggling school districts around the country. She has published several educational texts and was nominated to the Court of Honor as one of the top 100 most distinguished graduates from Georgian Court University. Alex regularly conducts information sessions and CEU courses for parents and professionals throughout the state to help caregivers better understand the role processing deficits can play in behavior, attention, anxiety, social abilities and academics. She has an adult son with Asperger’s Syndrome whose life was changed by sound therapy.

Jillian HoseyJillian Hosey, MSW, RSW

Jillian Hosey is a Registered Social Worker and Trauma Therapist in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Jillian works in private practice with children, youth, adults, and families who have experienced trauma and are experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress, and Dissociative Disorders as a result of attachment and developmental trauma, medical or birth trauma, and/or different forms of abuse and neglect. She is an EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist and EMDR Consultant in Training (CIT) under the supervision of Ana Gomez, MC, LPC. In addition to extensive and advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, Jillian values a mind-body approach to healing and incorporates other therapeutic modalities to meet clients where they are at in their healing journeys, including Ego State Therapy and Structural Dissociation Theory and Treatment, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and other Attachment-based Therapies, Play Therapy and Sand Tray, and Mindfulness.

Jillian is a founding partner of the Healing Therapist Alliance (HTA) in Toronto, a collective of holistic, integrative Psychotherapists, Wellness therapists, and Addictions Counselors in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that values a collaborative, team-based approach to healing the whole person and is grounded in neuroscience and trauma-specific, evidence informed practices. Jillian Hosey is additionally a Regional Coordinator, Facilitator, and Trainer in Training at the AGATE Institute (Ana Gomez Attachment and Trauma Education).

Samar SinghSamar Singh, M.Phil (HKU), Ph.D. (Wales)

  • Academic at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (1972-1997)
  • Set up 2 international schools in Bangalore, India
  • Audited IGCSE schools in India for about 3 years as consultant to CIE
  • Worked with several NGOs in the fields of  Governance, secondary education, and child rights in association with HGSE, IIT, PLAN Intl., IISc, Boston University etc. In India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam
  • Implemented SSP with about 60 individuals since July 2017

Parag VaidyaParag Vaidya, Advance iLs Practitioner & Qigong Therapist

Parag owns a pediatric occupational therapy practice focused on SPD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Learning Difficulties, Cerebral Palsy, and Down’s Syndrome. Along with his wife, Snehal, who is a pediatric occupational therapist, he has been treating children using a variety of approaches such as SI, NDT, Astronaut Training & iLs. He is a certified Advanced iLs Practitioner and Qigong Sensory Treatment therapist for Autism & Down’s Syndrome.

Parag has specialized in combining iLs & OT in his practice since 2015. Over the last few years, he has been extending these services to other disabilities such as learning difficulties and developmental delays. With the addition of SSP & Qigong in May 2018, he is integrating existing interventions to serve a diverse population with an aim to provide long-term sustainable benefits. In the recent past, families have reported some remarkable improvements when SSP was combined with other interventions.


Featured Presentation: Doreen Hunt, OTR

Adaptations of Implementation and When to Repeat the SSP

With more than 250 administrations of the SSP, mostly with a pediatric population who suffer from neurodevelopmental disabilities, I will share videos and stories about ways that I have adapted the 5 day protocol and the great successes I have seen.  I’ll shed light on this frequently asked question: “When should we repeat the SSP?”

Doreen Hunt, MA, OTR/L

Doreen is an Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years pediatric experience focused on Sensory Integration Dysfunction/SPD, Developmental Delays, Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She received her Master’s degree from USC with training at the Ayres Clinic. Her pediatric environments of practice have included NICU, Early Intervention, schools and private therapy clinics.

Doreen is skilled in a multitude of therapeutic interventions, is certified in the administration of Sensory Integration & Praxis Tests, and became certified as an advanced associate using Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) sound in her practice in 2009. She has been a trainer for iLs since 2011 and has used the Safe and Sound Protocol extensively since 2016, in her Private Practice, Children’s Therapy of Woodinville.


Panel 5

Learning the Art of Being “Present” for SSP Administration

The SSP has provided countless opportunities to promote engagement and social skills. Learn how to administer the program in a way that increases the likelihood of eye contact, co-regulation and modification to address a variety of needs and how to seek supervisory oversight for complex situations. Panelists will relate personal experiences and a variety of applications that will help inspire a healthy environment for intervention. They will answer questions about adapting the program, using it with a variety of populations, ensuring therapist or parent compatibility for program administration as well as best practices when submitting case studies.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Practitioners will learn how to be present, focused on reading cues of the patient during SSP and knowing how to adapt the setting and activities when needed.
  2. Guidance in training parents to administer SSP at home successfully.
  3. Learning when and how to seek consultation for the SSP program.

Cindy Dawkins, OTR/LCindy Dawkins, OTR/L

Cindy is an Occupational Therapist with more than 38 years of experience working in a variety of settings including school systems, early intervention and child care centers, outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation, inpatient psychiatric, adolescent group homes for children with autism as well as in home health. She is a trainer for iLs, and she completed her Advanced Practitioner course in iLs in 2009.  She has supervised iLs programs at home and in the clinic for hundreds of children since that time. She began implementing the Safe and Sound Protocol in 2016 in the clinic and through home supervision. In addition, she has received certification training in Interactive Metronome, Handwriting Without Tears, SCERTS, DIR/Floortime approaches, administering the Sensory Integration and Praxis test (SIPT) and is receiving training for certification for MNRI (Mustagova Neuro-Sensory-Motor & Reflex Integration). She has received training as a behavior assistant and childcare director.

She has a special interest in working with families – providing resources and problem solving with families to determine effective methods of providing fun, therapeutic interventions in natural environments.

Doreen Hunt, OTR/LDoreen Hunt MA, OTR/L

Doreen is an Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years pediatric experience focused on Sensory Integration Dysfunction/SPD, Developmental Delays, Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She received her Master’s degree from USC with training at the Ayres Clinic. Her pediatric environments of practice have included NICU, Early Intervention, schools and private therapy clinics.

Doreen is skilled in a multitude of therapeutic interventions, is certified in the administration of Sensory Integration & Praxis Tests, and became certified as an advanced associate using Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) sound in her practice in 2009. She has been a trainer for iLs since 2011 and has used the Safe and Sound Protocol extensively since 2016, in her Private Practice, Children’s Therapy of Woodinville.

Dr. Ron MinsonRon Minson, M.D.

Ron B. Minson, MD earned his medical degree from UCLA School of Medicine, and he is board-certified in Psychiatry and Neurology. His general medical background includes serving as a family physician, Medical Director at The Westside Neighborhood Health Center and clinical psychiatrist in private practice. Dr. Minson served as Chief of Psychiatry for Presbyterian Medical Center and Director of Behavioral Sciences at Mercy Hospital in Denver.

In 1990, Dr. Minson learned of the effectiveness of sound therapy after witnessing the successful treatment of his daughter for severe dyslexia and depression. Dr. Minson subsequently studied several sound therapy techniques before developing Dynamic Listening Systems, which he integrated into his psychiatric practice. He has presented throughout the United States and internationally on the therapeutic application of sound. With the advent of digital technologies, Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) was launched in 2007. With the inclusion of vestibular, balance and movement activities, this portable system has proven to be an extremely effective intervention for learning, attention, developmental and behavioral issues. He currently lives in Denver, CO and serves as the Clinical Director for iLs, a multisensory intervention which is used in clinics, schools and homes throughout the world.


Lunchtime Presentation: Steve Toll

The Power of Music

Music is primal to life and expressed by each of us every day whether through dancing to a favorite tune, keeping rhythm with a pencil or remembering a special time when hearing a forgotten melody. It is central to our lives and is embedded in our culture defining how we acknowledge milestones, rites of passage and celebrations as well as providing comfort, transformation and inspiration. Music links us to our world and provides a pathway back to our Past.

Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it. This interactive presentation will explain and demonstrate how music has the power to make us feel and help connect us to others. These feelings and connections help to create an environment that is safe and in which healing can occur.

Steve TollSteve Toll, BS, QDCS

Steve Toll is a classically trained musician and composer. Steve’s interest in the amazing transformative “power of music” inspired him to research and develop a philosophy which uses music as a powerful therapeutic tool.

Along with his wife, Linda, they formed Prescription Music, a company with a mission to educate the public about the power of music. Steve Toll has been a keynote speaker and trainer for the National Alzheimer’s Association, agencies and companies throughout the United States. Currently, Steve is the National Director of Music and Special Programs for ComForCare Senior Services, LLC (



Featured Presentation: Catherine Lidov, MSW, LCSW

Trauma and the Treatment Relationship

Traumatic experiences reorganize the nervous system, creating persistent defensive states that impair the individual’s capacity for social engagement and dyadic regulation. This impaired capacity impacts the therapeutic relationship just as it does other relationships. Even greater challenge occurs when relational trauma transforms the signals of social engagement into cues of danger. Taking a wide range of therapeutic modalities into account, we will explore how the SSP can facilitate treatment both by shifting autonomic tone and by creating an opening that makes it possible for our relationally damaged clients to use the therapeutic relationship to greater benefit.

Catherine LidovCatherine Lidov, MSW, LCSW

Catherine Lidov, MSW, LCSW, provides individual psychotherapy for people of all ages, with a primary focus on EMDR therapy and the treatment of complex trauma, in Durham, North Carolina. Her approach as a therapist has evolved over nearly 30 years of working with individuals with complex trauma and now integrates EMDR therapy, somatic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ego-state work, psychodynamic theory, play therapy (with children), and creative process. She provides individual and group consultation to EMDR therapists and trauma therapists generally, and she provides advanced trainings in EMDR therapy and trauma for trauma-focused psychotherapists nationally.

Currently in private practice, she has also worked in secondary education, school counseling, community mental health, and the arts. Catherine has been an Associate with Integrated Listening Systems since 2015, integrating both the Total Focus programs and the SSP with her psychotherapy practice.


Panel 6

Applying SSP to Mental Health Care

This panel will explore the application of the SSP to mental health treatment, including different forms of psychotherapy and medication management. Panel members will present case examples as the basis for discussion. Since mental health diagnoses are present in patients treated for other issues, we hope to invite the exploration of mental health implications for using the SSP with patients who are being treated in other modalities.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to discuss:

  1. Considerations in the utilization of SSP with different mental health populations.
  2. Pros/cons of different ways of administering SSP in psychotherapy.
  3. Use of SSP as an adjunct to medication management.
  4. Mental health implications for patients being treated for non-mental health diagnoses.

Laura BackLaura Bach, MSN, PMHNP-BC, EdM

Laura Bach is a native of New York City. She studied at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California Berkeley, Harvard University, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master’s degree in Education, Master’s degree in Nursing, and a post-Master’s Certificate as a Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Her practice cares for teens, adults, and elders, specializing in trauma, anger, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder issues in addition to anxiety, depression, bereavement, bipolar and personality disorders.

Rachel Lewis-MarlowRachel Lewis-Marlow, MAS, EdS, LPC, LMBT

Rachel Lewis-Marlow is a somatically integrative psychotherapist, dually licensed in counseling and therapeutic massage and bodywork, and is the Co-Founder of the Embodied Recovery Institute which provides training to eating disorders professionals in a trauma-informed, relationally oriented and somatically integrated model of eating disorders treatment.

She is a Certified Advanced Practitioner in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and has advanced training and 25+ years experience in diverse somatic therapies including Craniosacral Therapy, Energetic Osteopathy, Oncology massage and Aromatherapy. Rachel began providing somatically integrative psychotherapy to eating disorders patients at the residential, PHP and
IOP levels of care.

Currently in private practice in Chapel Hill, NC, Rachel works with people healing from trauma, eating disorders, and dissociative disorders. She has extensive experience as a teacher and
presenter, focusing on accessing the body’s unique capacity to give voice to the subconscious and to lay the foundation for healing and maintaining psychological and physical health.

Catherine LidovCatherine Lidov, MSW, LCSW

Catherine Lidov, MSW, LCSW, provides individual psychotherapy for people of all ages, with a primary focus on EMDR therapy and the treatment of complex trauma, in Durham, North Carolina. Her approach as a therapist has evolved over nearly 30 years of working with individuals with complex trauma and now integrates EMDR therapy, somatic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ego-state work, psychodynamic theory, play therapy (with children), and creative process. She provides individual and group consultation to EMDR therapists and trauma therapists generally, and she provides advanced trainings in EMDR therapy and trauma for trauma-focused psychotherapists nationally.

Currently in private practice, she has also worked in secondary education, school counseling, community mental health, and the arts. Catherine has been an Associate with Integrated Listening Systems since 2015, integrating both the Total Focus programs and the SSP with her psychotherapy practice.

Laura WeisbergLaura Weisberg, Ph.D., Child and Family Clinical Psychologist, Eating Disorders Specialist

Laura J. Weisberg, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center, and a Clinical Psychologist at the Duke Center for Eating Disorders. From 2008-2012, she was Clinical Director of the Duke Center for Eating Disorders as well as Training Director (2001-2012). From 1987-2002, she was a Clinical Associate in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an Instructor in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She served as Director and Developer of the Eating Disorders Program at Westwood Lodge Hospital from 1989-1999.

Dr. Weisberg received her doctorate from the University of Maryland-College Park, and her Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Her current interests center on change processes in psychotherapy, relational and somatically oriented psychotherapies, and the interface between eating disorders and trauma.


Case Study Presentations

Three SSP Associates from diverse practices will share a case study outlining their and their client’s experience

Bita NourianiBita Nouriani, MS, LMFT

Bita Nouriani is a Clinical Research Manager at the Center on Stress and Health, in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at Stanford University School of Medicine. Bita has worked with the Director of the center, Dr. David Spiegel, since 1991. She has collaborated with Dr. Spiegel in design and implementation of the psychophysiological research laboratory and has managed the following research projects: Effects of Hypnosis on Mind Body interactions (visual, auditory, and somatosensory evoked potentials and hormones in high and low hypnotizables); Effects of Psychosocial Treatment on Quality of Sleep (women with metastatic breast cancer); Stress, Diurnal Cortisol, and Breast Cancer Survival; Sleep, Circadian, Hormonal Dysregulation, and Breast Cancer Survival; and Impact of Affect Reactivity and Regulation on Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions. Under Dr. Spiegel’s supervision she has received training in conducting supportive expressive group therapy, assessment of hypnotizability and inducing trance states, and working with traumatized individuals experiencing symptoms of PTSD and Dissociative Disorders.

Bita received her clinical license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 2002, and has been providing individual, couples and family therapy in her private practice since. She has an eclectic psychotherapeutic approach, driven by client needs, using psychodynamic theory, hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, EMDR, combination of EMDR with somatic methods to transform and repair trauma held in implicit memory (Sandra Paulsen, Ph.D.), ego-state work, and interpersonal psychotherapy. She been an Associate with Integrated Listening Systems since 2013, integrating both the Total Focus programs and the SSP with her psychotherapy practice. She works with cliental with variety of issues such as relationship challenges with couples and families, chronic illness, ethnicity/cultural issues, and those who have experienced various traumas (e.g. single, developmental, and different forms of abuse and neglect) resulting in symptoms of PTSD and Dissociative Disorders.

Bita received her B.A. in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University and her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from San Jose State University. Her clinical internships were at Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara, CA, providing individual, couples, and family psychotherapy in the out-patient clinic; and the Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford, co-leading support groups for chronically ill populations utilizing the Supportive Expressive Group Therapy model, and providing crisis counseling to adult women survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Rosemarie Mann, RN

Rosie Mann is a registered nurse and owner of Forged in Fire, an organization that supports children with challenging behaviors and their families, as well as the professionals working with them. She is trained in the state of Pennsylvania as a Family Peer support specialist and employed as an Outreach Assistant with the Pennsylvania Alliance for Families. She provides direct family peer support, recently adding the SSP as an option for children and families.

She holds certification as a clinical trauma professional and as a trainer of the Neurosequential Model of Education with the Child Trauma Academy. She trains educators and other child serving professionals about early childhood trauma and neurodevelopmental interventions.

As a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Health Care Work Group, Trauma-informed Care subcommittee she developed a trauma-informed parenting program, Healing Homes. She has also been a member of the Pennsylvania State Leadership and Management Team advocating for awareness and intervention for children that have experienced toxic stress. She has also testified before the Pennsylvania State Senate Education Committee on the need for more individualized and cost effective approaches for students with complex needs. Her efforts to support children has also included membership on the Pennsylvania Citizen Review Panel for Child Protection where she presented on the prevalence and impact of childhood trauma.

She homeschools three sons. All three boys were adopted and have special needs. Ian and Jacob have Down Syndrome and Na’eem has a traumatic brain injury, PTSD-preverbal inter-relational, reactive attachment disorder, and intractable seizures.

Laura PicheLaura Piché, LPC, SEP

Laura Piché is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Somatic Experiencing<sup>®</sup> Practitioner specializing in sensory processing skills as it relates to trauma in children, adolescents and adults. She is trained in Play Therapy, Child and Adolescent Counseling, Somatic Experiencing<sup>®</sup> HeartMath, Stephen Porges’s Safe & Sound Protocol and the iLs Focus System.

She began her training in the healing arts when working for the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (SETI) in 2007 where she was responsible for the leadership, design and management of all-new and existing specialized programs and professional presentations that support the Institutes growth and mission. She also coordinated and assisted the Somatic Experiencing® trainings in Colorado. Laura joined the Soma Healing Center’s therapeutic team in 2016. She assists the Mosaic of Healing workshop and provides online and group mentorship to professionals integrating the SEGAN model into their practice.

Laura is on staff at the Spanish Clinic in Denver, CO serving a culturally diverse population addressing generational trauma, complex trauma, chronic stress, and anger management.


Final Questions and Commentary

This is the time to ask your lingering questions, share your thoughts, and make suggestions. Help us chart the course for continued learning and growth!


Socialize in Solaria

Why rush out? Continue the conversation and make plans to stay in touch.


Drinks & Treats in Solaria

Swing by to savor drinks and dessert, and bring your libations to the bonfire on the beach!


Safe & Sound Bonfire of the Beach

Enjoy both the end of the Gathering and the day with a sunset bonfire. All are welcome!

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