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One of the very best scientific predictors for how any child turns out—in terms of happiness, academic success, leadership skills, and meaningful relationships—is whether at least one adult in their life has consistently shown up for them. In an age of scheduling demands and digital distractions, showing up for your child might sound like a tall order. But as Tina Payne Bryson reassuringly explains, it doesn’t take a lot of time, energy, or money. Instead, showing up means offering a quality of presence. And it’s simple to provide once you understand the four building blocks of a child’s healthy development. Every child needs to feel the Four S’s:
• Safe: We can’t always insulate a child from injury or avoid doing something that leads to hurt feelings. But when we give a child a sense of safe harbor, she will be able to take the needed risks for growth and change.
• Seen: Truly seeing a child means we pay attention to his emotions—both positive and negative—and strive to attune to what’s happening in his mind beneath his behavior.
• Soothed: Soothing isn’t about providing a life of ease; it’s about teaching your child how to cope when life gets hard, and showing him that you’ll be there with him along the way. A soothed child knows that he’ll never have to suffer alone.
• Secure: When a child knows she can count on you, time and again, to show up—when you reliably provide safety, focus on seeing her, and soothe her in times of need, she will trust in a feeling of secure attachment. And thrive!
Based on the latest brain and attachment research, Dr. Bryson shares stories, scripts, simple strategies, illustrations, and tips for honoring the Four S’s effectively in all kinds of situations—when our kids are struggling or when they are enjoying success; when we are consoling, disciplining, or arguing with them; and even when we are apologizing for the times we don’t show up for them.
Dr. Tina Payne Bryson is the author of the Bottom Line for Baby and co-author (with Dan Siegel) of two New York Times Best Sellers—The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline—each of which has been translated into over fifty languages, as well as The Yes Brain and The Power of Showing Up. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Connection, a multidisciplinary clinical practice in Southern California. Dr. Bryson keynotes conferences and conducts workshops for parents, educators, and clinicians all over the world, and she frequently consults with schools, businesses, and other organizations. An LCSW, Tina is a graduate of Baylor University with a Ph.D. from USC. The most important part of her bio, she says, is that she’s a mom to her three boys. You can learn more about Dr. Bryson at TinaBryson.com.
Play is to the child what talk is to the adult. Play therapy is a
medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes, and self- fulfillment. Children express themselves and their needs, relive their past, and connect with others through play. The use of toys enables children to transfer anxieties, fears, fantasies, and guilt to objects rather than people. In the process, children are safe from their own feelings and reactions because play enables children to distance themselves from stressful events and experiences.
Therapeutic play is an evidence-based approach to help children with social or emotional deficits learn to communicate better, express underlying feelings they may be struggling with, change their behaviour, develop problem-solving skills, and relate to others in positive ways. It is appropriate for children undergoing or witnessing stressful events in their lives, those struggling with academic and social problems, learning disabilities, behavioural disorders, anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, or anger; as well as those with attention deficit disorders, or who are on the autism spectrum. This training is aimed at introducing therapeutic play to parents, professionals, and caregivers.
This practical workshop is designed to increase connection, while facilitating emotionally therapeutic outcomes in children (i.e., reduced stress; processing of stressful experiences; increased confidence, empathy, pro-social behaviour, self-esteem, and attention span). It is especially useful in instances where play therapy is not accessible.
Tammy Schamuhn – Registered Psychologist, Registered Play Therapist, Co-Founder of Institute of Child Psychology
Does your child or the children you work with struggle with anxiety: panic attacks, separation anxiety, stomach aches, headaches, tantrums, obsessions/compulsions, avoidance of activities, racing thoughts, or troubles with sleep?
Anxiety has many faces, and in this online course parents, caregivers, and professionals will learn about the psychological and physiological roots of anxiety, why it is on the rise in our children, and what to do to help children better manage it. This course has a holistic* and strength-based approach that focuses on what we as caretakers, parents, and professionals can do vs. stigmatizing children who are struggling. Various facets of the child’s environment will be explored that can contribute to a child’s emotional struggles.
Research and theory in the field of mental health, education, attachment, naturopathic medicine, and interpersonal
neurobiology will be explored. Attendees will be given resources and direct tools to help their child, or the children they work with, overcome this emotional obstacle. This course aims to enlighten, empower, and inspire those who take care of our children.
Tania Johnson, R. Psychologist, R. Play Therapist, and Co-Founder: Institute of Child Psychology
Join experts on trauma, juvenile justice and positive parenting in an engaging discussion on the influence that early childhood trauma has on various long-term outcomes including delinquency, compromised mental health, drug/alcohol abuse, and long-term compromised physical health. Better understand the underlying biological mechanisms driving these outcomes, and how punitive and harsh parenting can exacerbate these issues. Learn how trauma-informed, neurodevelopmentally informed parenting can help children with a trauma history feel and function better. We will help clinicians and parents see their child and themselves through a neurosequential lens that helps us stay grounded in what is important and how best to respond.
Robbyn Peters Bennett, Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, Yolanda Renteria, and Dr. George Davis
We inherit so much from our parents—sometimes, physical attributes and basic temperament, but also their beliefs, behavior patterns and habits. This work, often paired with rage and ancestral work, can be intense, as our parental/caregiver wounds often lead to deep self-criticism, imposter syndrome, rage outbursts, toxic relationships and a suitcase of other childhood stuff that is too painful to unpack alone. I can help guide you into meeting, honoring and walking the healing path of the parent wound.
Dr. Mullan believes that un-learning and embodiment is an essential component in addressing the profound effects of systemic inequities and intergenerational trauma on people’s mental health. Through her Collective Group Healing work and Decolonizing Therapy practice, she creates safe spaces for people and organizations to heal, and guides people from all walks of life to unpack the oppression that has been unconsciously passed down—intrapsychically and socially—and continues to live on in our bodies today. Dr. Mullan helps people return Home to themselves.
As a vital element of her current practice, Dr. Mullan believes it’s essential for mental health professionals to question the relatability of the mental health industrial complex—ultimately, to reassess their education and “whom they are serving?” To further advance this work, Dr. Mullan founded Decolonizing Therapy, LLC in 2019, and since, has built a significant social media platform, including 140,000 Instagram followers, and growing. Dr. Mullan earned a Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D) in Clinical Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies; a Master’s degree (M.A.) in Counseling & Community Agencies from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education; and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Psychology & Elementary Education from New Jersey City University.
When working with adults who experienced childhood adversity, abuse, and neglect, one thing has always stood out: patterns of early boundary violations. The effects of abuse and boundary violations in childhood are complex and heterogeneous, but some common complicating factors are a lack of a secure attachment, poor boundaries at home and a lack of communication. Blaming either parent or child, creates a very difficult dynamic and complicates the healing process.
This has inspired Dr. Jeyarajan to focus on how to help children learn about their boundaries early on, and facilitate communications between parent and child. Workshop participants will learn the complex interplay between attachment, boundaries, empathy and consent.
Participants will learn how to teach children to assert their boundaries from a young age, ultimately leading to chronic abuse prevention and early disclosure when faced with interpersonal trauma.
Dr. Gaiathry Jeyarajan – Psychiatrist
This three hour lecture will include lecture, experiential exercises, discussion, and Q and A with the live audience. Throughout this session we will explore the importance of connection in children, as well as the power of play. There will be discussion on the importance of meeting children’s emotions, and taking care of your own as parents & caregivers. Also provided will be tools on how to set limits while maintaining connection with the child.
Dr. Lawrence J. Cohen – Licensed Psychologist, Author, & Consultant
In this wonderful workshop, based on the book “Hunt, Gather, Parent” Doucleff discusses parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop – it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.
Maya parents are masters at raising cooperative children. Without resorting to bribes, threats, or chore charts, Maya parents rear loyal helpers by including kids in household tasks from the time they can walk. Inuit parents have developed a remarkably effective approach for teaching children emotional intelligence. When kids cry, hit, or act out, Inuit parents respond with a calm, gentle demeanor that teaches children how to settle themselves down and think before acting. Hadzabe parents are world experts on raising confident, self-driven kids with a simple tool that protects children from stress and anxiety, so common now among American kids.
Not only does Doucleff live with families and observe their techniques firsthand, she also applies them with her own daughter, with striking results. She learns to discipline without yelling. She talks to psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists and explains how these strategies can impact children’s mental health and development. Filled with practical takeaways that parents can implement immediately, Doucleff helps us rethink the ways we relate to our children, and reveals a universal parenting paradigm adapted for American families.
Dr. Michaleen Doucleff – Award-winning Journalist, Best-selling Author, & Global Health Correspondant
How do you know if you’re doing this parenting thing right?
When your preschooler throws a tantrum, when your tween receives a crushing text message from her friend, when your teenager starts to act out in rebellion, what do you do? You worry your reaction is just going to make everything worse and drive a wedge between you and your child. And then your mother will call to say, “I told you so.” Typical parenting advice doesn’t help, either. Your child’s behavior is still a problem, and you are still sinking in self-doubt. But you are not alone, and there is a way for you to rebuild a healthy relationship with your child.
With judgemental stares, off-hand comments, and outright intervention, our society shames parents, who are simply trying their best to raise children. In bearing that burden, parents pass the shame on to their own children. It’s time to stop shaming each other. As you find your own parenting voice let’s work together to #endparentshaming and to turn to each other for support in this difficult journey of raising beautiful, complicated children.
Mercedes Samudio – EMDR-trained Licensed Psychotherapist, Speaker, & Bestselling Author
The response was so overwhelmingly positive the last time we had Dr. Neufeld give a one-hour keynote on this topic, we invited him back but this time gave him more time to share. According to Dr. Neufeld, the science of attachment has revealed that certain roles were never meant to function properly outside the context of a working attachment. This includes being a parent, teacher or spouse. Unfortunately, this understanding seems to be having some difficulty entering mainstream consciousness. But the science of attachment goes one step further – that there needs to be some kind of matching or synchronization of attachment on both sides for the relationship to truly work. Hence the metaphor of a dance! The dance of attachment is the oldest human dance – primal, primordial and primeval. It is also the most important dance to master in life. The problem however, is that like in any dance, learning the steps alone is not in itself sufficient to capture the spirit of the dance. The good news is that the attachment instincts are in every one of us, even if we no longer have the culture that can bring those instincts to the fore. What Dr. Neufeld will help us do is bring us closer to those natural instincts, for the benefit of all involved, including ourselves as well as our loved ones and our students.
Dr. Gordon Neufeld – Developmental Psychologist, International Speaker, Best-selling Author
Speaking to our children about current civil rights movements and the historical atrocities in our country can be overwhelming. This workshop teaches parents and educators how to talk to children in a way that is developmentally appropriate, and explains why we need to talk to children about the core concepts behind systemic discrimination and significant social movements. Specific topics include residential schools, colonialism, and Black Lives Matter.
Aynsley Graham – Independent Behaviour Consultant
Amanda MacDonald – Child & Youth Care Counsellor in Residential Facilities
To deal with life’s challenges and find happiness along the way, we need inner strengths like grit and gratitude, compassion and self-worth. To develop these psychological resources, we must install experiences of them into the nervous system.
But the brain has a negativity bias that makes it like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones. As a result, useful experiences of psychological strengths usually wash through us like water through a sieve, while frustration, anxiety, and anger are quickly internalized. This flattens the results of both formal interventions such as psychotherapy and informal efforts to heal and grow.
In this experiential presentation, we’ll explore evidence-based ways to beat the negativity bias and turn passing experiences into lasting inner strengths hardwired into the brain. You’ll learn the HEAL methods of positive neuroplasticity for developing any psychological resource. Then we’ll apply these tools to developing greater calm, contentment, and confidence.
Learning is the strength of strengths, the one we draw upon to grow the rest of them. When we know how to foster our own social-emotional learning with the tools of positive neuroplasticity, then we have a remarkable power to steepen our own growth curve each day. Then both adults and children can meet the challenges of life with an inner core of resilient well-being.
Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and New York Times best-selling author. His six books have been published in 30 languages and include Neurodharma, Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Just One Thing, Buddha’s Brain, and Mother Nurture – with over a million copies in English alone. His free newsletters have 220,000 subscribers and his online programs have scholarships available for those with financial needs. He’s lectured at NASA, Google, Oxford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. An expert on positive neuroplasticity, his work has been featured on the CBS, NPR, the BBC, and other major media. He began meditating in 1974 and is the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. He and his wife live in northern California and have two adult children. He loves wilderness and taking a break from emails.
At what age do children understand gender? Would you like to understand how gender and sexual orientation develop, and the various terms currently being used by youth to describe their identities? Would you like to learn how to talk to kids about gender and sexual orientation? Maybe you have a child struggling to understand their own gender and/or sexuality and you want to understand what is going on for them.
2SLGBTQIA+, QTBIPOC, Two Spirit, non-binary, transgender, cisgender, queer, intersex, lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, demisexual, asexual, aromantic, questioning… Identity can be a lot to sort out for kids and teens, and it can be challenging for the adults in their lives to know how to best support them through their exploration. There are a lot of fears and misunderstandings. By educating ourselves, we can help create an environment that will support them to develop resilience and a positive self-concept.
In this experiential workshop, Jenny will help you understand the empirical “why” and the practical “how” on ways to support the development of essential social and emotional skills in children (and adults). Jenny shares the latest research on how children develop social and emotional skills from toddlerhood to emerging adulthood. She provides an overview and clarifies the nuances between emotion regulation, emotional intelligence, and social and emotional learning (SEL) – the three buzz terms we often hear interchangeably these days.
Jenny shares the framework on social and emotional learning and debunks developmental and learning myths in this area. She discusses ways to better understand how your child, student, or client is doing in intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. She offers practical tips and demonstrates how you can leverage the power of everyday conversations to build better adult-child relationships and psychological well-being.
Dr. Jenny Woo – Harvard Trained Educator, TedX Speaker, Founder/CEO of Mind Brain Parenting
Participants will receive a whole-picture view of crucial pieces to the treatment of mental health. This large-scale view of treatment focuses down into tangible and practical skills to be used in support of one’s mental health. First, participants will understand how to recognize the root causes of mental health issues, from anxiety and stress to depression and trauma. Naturopathic medical protocols for supporting these pathways are outlined. Building on this, they will receive concrete models and tools for establishing proper sleep, exercise and diet specifically tailored to support mental wellness. On this foundation, the program delves into models for working with the emotional aspects of mental health- working with emotions, thoughts, behaviours, reactions and spirit, using practical and applicable psychotherapeutic techniques.
Dr. Christina Bjorndal – Naturopathic Doctor, Speaker, Author
With all the information available from a variety of sources, it’s so hard to know how exactly to support your teens. Teens are already faced with so much pressure, so when they feel the weight to make good decisions online and in person it can feel extremely overwhelming.
Should you make every interaction a teachable moment? Are you supposed to praise the effort and not the result, or is it the other way around? Can you compliment your teen or is that wrong now? Should you let them struggle or will that mess them up for life?
This is not a workshop that will tell you what you’re doing wrong and what to do instead. Besides, that expert opinion will likely change. This conversation is about you, your teen, and your home.
You will leave understanding why teens behave, think, and feel the way they do. You will leave with foundational knowledge about executive functioning, one of the primary building blocks to making good decisions and regulating emotions. You will learn how to motivate them and teach the skills they need to move toward feeling good about themselves. Isn’t that what we all want? Ultimately, you will learn how to help both you and your teen make more informed decisions when faced with new challenges and when things change again
Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart – Pediatric Psychologist, Parent Coach
The changes, stress, grief, and trauma associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and other events have impacted everyone at school, although in different ways. High stress for youth, families, and educators is common. While vaccines and treatment options have improved health outcomes, the virus has continued to bring layers of change, uncertainty, illness, and death. School faculty, community partners, and caregivers have been navigating these stressful shifts for a long time already and will be tending to youth and adult stress responses well into the future too.
In this session, Ms. Jen will help educators reflect on how recent events are continuing to impact themselves and others in their school communities. This will be accomplished through use of a creative activity that can be replicated in the classroom with various age groups. Next, Jen will summarize research related to posstraumatic growth and teach participants what they can do to foster recovery and posttraumatic growth in their learning environments (both now and later).
Come to this session to learn how every educator can help soothe stress responses at school in trauma-informed ways. Leave with practical ideas for youth in grades PreK-12+ that will help everyone take good care of themselves and others in safe, relational, and meaningful ways.
Jennifer Alexander – Trauma-Informed Educator, Author, Trainer, and Consultant
In this lecture will look at how to stay engaged on the often frustrating and unpredictable “family dance floor” while at the same time watching from the calm and loving “parental balcony”. The presentation will culminate in a learning simple and moving visualization that puts your hands back on your parenting emotional driving wheel and opens up a whole new range of responses that connect you to your kids.
Step One: Simplify your environment
Step Two: Simplify food and mealtimes
Step Three: Simplify your family’s schedule
Step Four: Simplify the amount of information and involvement about the adult world
Kim John Payne, M.Ed, Founding Director of The Center for Social Sustainability, Author, International Speaker
As chronic physical and mental health conditions and destructive behaviors are on the rise, we need to shift the way we parent our children to address these concerns. Based on the latest science, Dr. Saeed uncovers how our children’s brains, bodies, and behaviors are being hijacked and presents real-life, actionable steps parents can take to help their children make better decisions, build resilience, and heal and prevent acute and chronic conditions at any age, including addressing our children’s mental health
Dr Madiha Saeed, MD, will provide practical tools and strategies to help your family improve overall health—healing and preventing chronic conditions in all ages. Learn all about the foundations of good health including the power of positivity, healing foods, the microbiome, stress management, environmental toxins, the importance of sleep, detoxification and so much more! The basics of functional medicine for children all in one worskhop!
Dr. Madiha Saeed – Family Physician, Bestselling Author
Have you been delaying talking to your children about the birds and the bees? Perhaps you are feeling nervous about saying the wrong thing, embarrassed at thinking about some of your child’s questions, or perhaps you actually just have no idea what to say!
While there are many things that worry us as caregivers, talking to children and adolescents about relationships, sex, and consent is commonly rated as pretty stressful. Unfortunately, without having safe and knowledgeable adults to answer some of their big questions, kids will have to find other ways of accessing the information. This can lead to shame, stigmas, and a variety of misinformation. By educating yourself and being available for conversation, you are not only ensuring that your child has access to relevant information but you are also ensuring that you get a chance to discuss morals and values with them to help them make lifelong, healthy, and empowering decisions for themselves.
Samantha Dover – Registered Psychologist, Institute of Child Psychology Instructor
In this session, Understanding Deeply Feeling Kids, clinical psychologist (PhD) Dr. Becky Kennedy will help you better understand your child who can be intense, reactive, help-rejecting, and explosive. These kids are commonly misunderstood and given labels like “difficult,” “dramatic,” and “oppositional” which only reinforce unproductive, invalidating cycles with caregivers. Dr. Becky will share a new framework to understand these kids coupled with new strategies that give DFKs what they need to build regulation and resilience and to feel loveable and good inside. Her breakthrough approach has helped thousands of families say, “For the first time, I understand my child, I know what I need to do, and I feel hopeful about my child and our family.”
This session will be foundational while reviewing key frameworks, ideas, and strategies. Dr. Becky will talk through a number of real-world scenarios including common problematic scenarios like big emotional blow-ups, managing sibling dynamics when you have one or more deeply feeling children, how to honor DFKs without letting them “take over” the household, and how to gain better control over your own triggers.
Dr. Becky Kennedy – Clinical Psychologist, Podcaster, Social Media Content Creator, Founder of Good Inside
Dr. William R. Stixrud – Clinical Neuropsychologist, founder of The Stixrud Group
Has your child, or a child you know, been impacted by their parent’s separation. Maybe this child is struggling with confusion, grief, anger, or anxiety, and you just want to know the best way to help them make it through.
Divorce and parental separation is becoming more common and each child responds differently. In this online course parents, caregivers, family mediators and mental health professionals will learn about helping children cope with divorce/separation.
If you want to know how to navigate the many landmines that comes with this transition, how to help your child heal, and to move forward with resiliency, then please join us!
Tammy Schamuhn – Registered Psychologist
Are you starting to get nervous about the arrival of your new baby? While surrogacy/adoption/pregnancy brings about tremendous levels of excitement and happiness, it is also normal to feel a bit worried and scared over how your life is about to adjust.
It has long been said that raising a child takes a village and yet we live in a society that tends to emphasize independence and the drive to “have it all”. This often leads to new parents or caregivers feeling lost, burnt out, fatigued, and alone when they are truly doing some of the most important work in the world. This workshop was designed to help empower our new parents and caregivers by talking to them about what is happening to their physical, psychological, and social states after baby comes home. We will discuss topics such as perinatal mood disorders, relationship stress, and practical concerns when caring for a newborn. We will also review tips on how to care for yourself, how to adjust to new roles within your relationships, and how to re-establish your sense of identity as a parent. Healthy caregivers set the stage for healthy children and we look forward to having you join us as we learn how to promote health and happiness for our newest role models.
Samantha Dover – Registered Psychologist, Institute of Child Psychology Instructor
Has your child or a child you are supporting experienced physical or sexual abuse? Exposed to the foster care system? Suffered through a tragic event? Experienced neglect? Witnessed or experienced violence? Endured extreme bullying? Or been impacted by a high-conflict divorce?
Trauma can significantly impact a child, and those caring for them are often left with questions about how to best help. Children with trauma can present significant challenges, and they often display patterns of behaviour that can strain the relationship between the child and those caring for them.
During this course we will explore the impact of trauma on neurological development and how this presents in children’s behaviours. The impact on the attachment system will also be examined, as will the role of relationship in healing and growth. Strategies to support children following experiences of trauma will be presented, giving attendees concrete ways in which they can support the children in their lives and care for themselves. This course aims to offer practical information to caregivers and professionals on why certain behaviours may be present, and how they can support their children in moving towards growth and healing.
Morgan Bissegger, Registered Psychologist, Childhood Trauma Specialist