8th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health ConferenceWe Can’t Wait

The Art and Science of Healing:  Every time. Every place. Every Relationship.

Course Description:

Human experiences across many cultures have always involved interactions such as touch and storytelling and activities that included imagination, play, music, dance, sports, and creation of images. Many of these activities have been used in healing practices and, according to early childhood mental health experts, are now known to be effective in shifting neurological systems involved in stress responses and attachment.  From a neurodevelopmental perspective, sensory-based experiences in early childhood play an essential role in promoting secure attachment, connection with others, empathy and self-regulation.  Research indicates that our traumatic experiences are encoded by our brain and stored as sensory memories. This demonstrates the importance of sensory-based, multi-modal, experiential approaches that include active participation in multi-sensory activities. Learning and recovery from the dysregulation of traumatic stress may require multiple repetitions of healing activities.

Therapeutic events happen outside of therapy rooms and medical offices if encouraged and taught through demonstration and education. The speakers at this 8th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health Conference will examine a wide variety of evidence-based approaches and show how, when, and why they are necessary and helpful in the recovery of young children.  Experts in psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling, occupational therapy, play therapy, expressive and healing arts will lead interactive workshops which will highlight the therapeutic role of teachers, coaches, clinical and transdiciplinary teams, parents, grandparents and caregivers.

Attendees will be able to choose from multiple breakout topics designed to explore somatic, experiential, expressive and integrative therapeutic modalities, tools and activities including dance, play, music, guided imagery, hypnosis, yoga, martial arts, mindfulness, equine activities…. and more.  All of the featured modalities are proven methods for reducing arousal, promoting healthy behaviors, encouraging creativity, promoting brain plasticity, increasing connection to self and others, and improving interpersonal relationships for children and families.

The goal of this educational activity is to provide clinical education on evidence based practices, trauma informed care, and innovative interventions that support healthy development, improve protective factors, increase resiliency, promote social and emotional competencies, strengthen relationships between children and caregivers, and support foster families and caregivers.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this activity, the participants should be able to:

  • Discuss how transdisciplinary teams can offer comprehensive services outside of the clinical setting.
  • Identify different types of expressive, sensory-based, experiential modalities that enhance calming, connection and resilience
  • Evaluate the therapeutic role of art, music, movement, mindfulness, and meditation
  • Describe a variety of equine assisted modalities available to children and families
  • Identify school and community support available for children who are not making academic or social/emotional progress at school as a result of exposure to trauma and/or toxic stress
  • Create opportunities to integrate sensory, expressive and experiential therapeutic healing approaches

Target Audience:

The target audience includes those involved in providing assessment, treatment, education, support, and advocacy for children and families. Attendees will include: psychiatrists, pediatricians, marriage family therapists, social workers, psychologists, mental health workers, substance abuse and addiction professionals, counselors and case managers, nurses, teachers, educators, mental health administrators and other healthcare and educational providers.

You will not want to miss this conference!

Click here to view preliminary agenda and speakers.

Click here to view the faculty list (updated weekly until final).

Click here to view the list of planning partners.

Kristie Brandt, CNM, MSN, DNP

Dr. Brandt is Director of the Parent-Infant & Child Institute in Napa, CA and Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics VF at U.C. Davis Medical School.  She teaches and consults around the world. She coordinates the Napa Valley Touchpoints site where her team has trained over 700 providers since 1996. She has assisted in the development…

Mark Katz, PhD

Mark Katz, Ph.D. is a clinical and consulting psychologist and author of Children Who Fail at School But Succeed at Life, and On Playing a Poor Hand Well, both published by W.W. Norton and Company. For over 30 years, Mark has served as the Director of Learning Development Services, an educational, psychological and neuropsychological center…

Renee Sievert, RN, MFT, Master Coach, Equus Master Facilitator and Panel

With over 30 years in the healthcare field, Renee specializes in consulting, teaching, and coaching in the areas of leadership and team development. She travels nationwide to design and facilitate Equus team-building workshops where participants are introduced to a unique way of assessing self-awareness, leadership presence, communication skills, and team dynamics as they interact with…