Your learning continues in 2021 with our Online International Childhood Trauma Symposium

1 June – 3 June 2021

Register now!

We have been reflecting on 2020


We know 2020 was a complicated year and the start of 2021 has also had its challenges. We also know that you want to access affordable and high quality opportunities to refresh your knowledge and keep connected to each other and us.

That is why we have organised the 2021 International Childhood Trauma Online Symposium.

As part of our commitment to making professional development about trauma responsive practice as accessible as possible, we’ve maintained unbelievable value for money. You can see the price list here.

If you maintain your 2020 conference registration across to the rescheduled conference in 2022 you can attend the Online Symposium in 2021 at no additional cost.

2021 Online Symposium Program

Theme: Lessons we need to know about trauma responsive interventions

We have organised some of your all-time favourite speakers and a number of experts for the first time to join us in an innovative online symposium.

All speakers will be presenting LIVE and will be able to answer your questions.

We are using a brand new platform designed and written in Australia. It is not just Zoom – it is an interactive conference experience that allows you to meet others, network and listen and ask your questions in real time.

You will have access to concurrent sessions where you can choose who you will see, along with closing plenaries where you will hear thought provoking discussion about new and innovative ways to support individuals, families and communities who have experienced trauma.

You can view the program titles below.

Our 2021
Symposium Program

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Opening Ceremony with Dr Joe Tucci, CEO of Australian Childhood Foundation

Children and Adolescents with Complex Trauma: Restoring the Self Through Expressive Therapies

Neurobiology has proven to us that we must “come to our senses” when it comes to restoring mind and body after trauma. This is particularly true for children and adolescents with complex, chronic, or developmental trauma, experiences that result in hyperactivation, dissociation, and emotional immobilization.

This presentation explains how expressive therapies address complex trauma responses where implicit communication and action-oriented methods are essential for trauma repair and healing.

The role of expressive therapies with children and adolescents is explained through an innovative brain-wise “bottom-up” model, self-regulatory and co-regulatory functions, exploration-protection orientations, and the four key approaches for restoration of the self.

The Body’s Safety Circuit: A Polyvagal Guided Approach to Connection

The autonomic nervous system is at the heart of daily living powerfully shaping our experiences of safety and influencing our capacity for connection. Polyvagal Theory provides a guide to the autonomic circuits that underlie behaviors and beliefs and an understanding of the body to brain pathways that give birth to our personal stories of safety and survival.

In this conversation we’ll address the essential question “What does the nervous system need in this moment to find safety in connection?

Colonialism in 2021: Seeking Equality for Nations within Nations

This presentation will examine how healing and recovery for First Nations Peoples is unable to occur when discrimination is still happening and inequality still exists.

Altered States of Consciousness and Dissociation: Toward the Restoration of the Self

Four dimensions of consciousness, including time, thought, body, and emotion often become drastically altered as a result of traumatic experience, and they can be associated with distinct dissociative symptomatology. Even though such alterations in consciousness can be adaptive during the encounter of traumatic events, they can frequently lead to tremendous hardship in the aftermath of the trauma.

How we can recognize such trauma-related alterations in consciousness/dissociation, and how we can approach them therapeutically will be the focus of this lecture.

Experiential exercises involving the use of neuroscientifically-guided top-down and bottom-up approaches will be utilized to illustrate relevant concepts.

Rethinking Consciousness: Examining the Way Social Cognition Processes of the Brain Shape How People Get Along with Each Other

Evolution shows that neurons first allowed animals to develop simple forms of attention: taking in messages from the environment, prioritizing them, and responding as necessary. Then some animals evolved covert attention—a roving mental focus that can take in information apart from where the senses are pointed, like hearing sirens at a distance or recalling a memory. This presentation examines that in an effort to monitor and control this specialized attention, the brain evolved a simplified model of it—a cartoonish self-description depicting an internal essence with a capacity for knowledge and experience. In other words, consciousness. Importantly, it generated a way of empathising and orienting social behaviour.

The Developing Therapist: Going Inward - Going Deeper

In this presentation, Lou Cozolino will discuss aspects of how to develop from a therapist who does therapy ”to” clients, to doing therapy “with” clients.

Topics will include attaining a state of relaxed curiosity, shuttling between mind and body, and creating a safe inner space for your clients and yourself.

He will also address a number of current issues related to our development as therapists such as the constraints of digital media and the challenges of sustaining a focus and depth of attention in the modern world.

Beyond The Disorder-Disease Model: The Meaning of Children’s Acting Out

More and more children these days ae being diagnosed with “disorders” such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Disorder, anxiety, attachment disorders of various kinds, and so on.

In this talk Gabor Maté will show that these diagnoses do not represent disorders of the child but are normal responses to adverse developmental circumstances, including trauma and attachment loss. Healing approaches based on this perspective will be outlined.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Welcome to the Day

Understanding Post-Traumatic Play in Children: A Sign of Resilience

Children who experience trauma can sometimes access reparative capacities through a unique type of play that allows them to externalize what’s happened, and begin to manage through the curative factors inherent in play.

Post-trauma play is a type of gradual exposure that allows children to manage and resolve some of their thoughts and feelings by using projection and generating possibilities. Through this type of play, children experience a sense of mastery and personal control, express affect, counter condition painful memories with safety, and begin to restore feelings of power and personal control.

Clinical case examples of children’s symbolic or literal post-trauma play will be highlighted.

*Recording of this presentation will not be available after the symposium.

Polyvagal Theory, Oxytocin, the Neurobiology of Love

The talk will discuss the common evolutionary changes in the nervous system that enable the transition from asocial reptiles to social mammals.  The presentation focuses on the dependence of sociality on the emergence of a uniquely mammalian ventral vagal circuit and a uniquely mammalian neuropeptide, oxytocin.

These changes enabled mammals to reflexively down regulate threat reactions, which enabled mammals to be safe in proximity with others. The neural mechanisms provided the basis for cooperation, co-regulation, trust, and love. However, trauma and abuse disrupt these processes and re-tunes the survivor’s nervous system to have low threshold to threat cues and to be a chronic state of defense.

From Getting in Sync to Making New Sense: Reawakening the Blocked Potential for Engagement and Growth in Traumatised Children

Dan and Jon will discuss their updated brain-informed model of how DDP helps to revive the child’s potential for connecting with and learning from caring adults. Dan will describe the progression from nonverbal synchronization to reciprocal conversations to creation of coherent stories, while Jon will describe the underlying brain dynamics of these relational processes.

Trauma Responsive Principles in the Treatment of Complex Trauma in Adults: The PRISM Model

The acronym PRISM has been developed as a mnemonic for primary trauma responsive principles in the treatment of the aftereffects of complex interpersonal trauma. These effects extend beyond the symptoms of  PTSD and the application of the principles will be discussed and illustrated using case examples.

Attach here: The Role of Attachment in the Etiology and Treatment of Sexual Behavior Problems in Youth

This workshop examines how disruptions in early attachment relationships can contribute to a range of developmental and behavioral difficulties including sexual behavior problems in children and adolescents.

We will highlight the central role that addressing attachment skills and relationships can play in understanding and treating sexual behavior problems while promoting resiliency for these youth. The workshop will discuss interventions that can serve to address attachment related difficulties in our clients.

Working with Right Brain-to-Right Brain Emotional Communications within the Therapeutic Relationship: The Central Role of Mutual Regressions in Child Psychotherapy

In this presentation, Dr. Schore will discuss how the child and therapist co-construct a developing therapeutic alliance, in which in heightened affective moments of the session they simultaneously surrender into a “mutual regression,” a synchronized callosal shift from their later developing rational left brains into their early developing emotional right brains.

The social-emotional right brain is the locus of the child’s early attachment mechanisms and dysregulating autobiographical memories of relational trauma as well as the therapist’s empathic and affect regulating capacities, both fundamental components of the shared interactive therapeutic relationship. This intuitive synchronized coupling of their right brains allows for the activation of a right brain-to-right brain system of nonverbal emotional communication and interactive regulation within the emerging therapeutic alliance.

Citing recent neuroscience research, it will show that mutual regressions and right-lateralized interbrain synchronization act as core relational mechanisms that promote safety, trust, and a playful shared imagination in the child psychotherapy relationship, and thereby symptomatic relief and emotional development in psychotherapy, including trauma responsive interventions.

Stories Teach - Art Heals. Indigenous Healing Practices Involves Listening, Learning and Healing Together

In the activities of mapping trauma trails across generations, stories of resilience, growth and healing were shared, allowing the documentation of healing from trauma, through deep cultural connections which are relational and communal. Theories of healing gives direction to both Indigenous Healing Practices based on Indigenous Critical Pedagogy with an essential conversation of its ongoing development in deepening our understanding of Indigenous Healing Practices both in theory and application.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Welcome to the Day

Group Treatment for Trauma Survivors

Groups are a valuable and underutilized treatment, a powerful antidote the isolation and shame that afflict so many trauma survivors.   Different group models are most suitable for patients at different stages of recovery.

This lecture will present two group models developed at the Victims of Violence Program in the psychiatry department at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.

Frontiers of Trauma Treatment: Neurofeedback & Mind Altering Substances

Bessel will present current data on the effects of neurofeedback on PTSD and executive functioning, discuss current evidence on the effects of MDMA and Psilocybin on post traumatic stress symptomatology and examine the underlying mechanisms that account for their dramatic efficacy.

*Recording of this presentation will not be available after the symposium.

Lessons we Need to Know About Treating Highly Dissociative Individuals: The Finding Solid Ground Program

The TOP DD Network Study found that a web-based educational program for dissociative individuals called the Finding Solid Ground program showed promising results. Dr. Brand will present an overview of the Finding Solid Ground program and its model for enhancing dissociative individuals’ ability to 1) understand, accept, and manage their emotions and trauma-based symptoms; and 2) gradually improve their ability to maintain their safety while enhancing self-compassion.

David Grand and Roby Abeles

An Introduction to Brainspotting as an Intervention to Support Traumatised Individuals

The Positive Effects of Repairing Interactive Discord for Development and Relationships

Claude Bernard said “the primary task of the organism is to maintain the constancy of the milieu internal. successful regulation is the condition of a free and independent existence.” what he did not see was that the task was dyadic – that the human organism is a component of a dyadic “constancy” system with another human organism.

This dyadic perspective integrates a dyadic psycho-biologic view of human development. Humans as open biological systems must actively gain/acquire resources – energy and information – from the environment and regulate utilization of energy and information in order to maintain and sustain homeostasis of bodily systems and functions such as temperature, metabolism, circulation, immune, brain, and to grow and develop psycho-biologic systems.

Critically, successful/unsuccessful regulation of energetic and informational resources has consequences for the infant’s experience/emotions and ways of being, such as relationally connected, exploratory, curious and flexible.

Childhood Trauma, Complex Trauma and the New Diagnosis of Complex PTSD

In January 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally accepted the diagnosis of complex PTSD (CPTSD). This presentation will review the criteria for the diagnosis, the research supporting it and implications for treatment.

Healing Connections and Cultivating Growth Through Grief

In this presentation we will explore the deep experience of healing—of becoming whole—through relationships that connect us to our inner life and to our interwoven relational worlds with other people and with nature. Trauma and loss can present us with the pain of disconnection—and how we come to resolve these states can make the difference between ongoing despair and or growth.

We’ll dive into how the process of grief involves the sensing the fullness of our vulnerabilities while also finding meaning in loss as we grow and deepen our gratitude for this journey of life.

Our commitment to supporting you

You know we are committed to making the knowledge about neuroscience, trauma and healing accessible to as many professionals as possible in Australia. 

Our conferences have been world class and always affordable. We make our own training affordable and available nationally (Australian Childhood Foundation Training Calendar). 

So we have one set price for the 2021 Online Symposium – $440 (Early Bird rate can be viewed here) GST Inclusive for all three days. For this price, you will be able to have access to all of the recordings for a period of three months after the conference as well.

Did you register for the 2020 conference?

Last year, we appreciated your loyalty

We received so many early bird registrations for the 2020 conference. Many of you have maintained your registration despite the need to delay. In response to your loyalty over 2020, we offered you additional benefits including:

  • Free access to the complete video package from our 2014, 2016, 2018 conferences 

Free access to the 10 webinars we had held over 2020 with key international researchers, practitioners and authors including Dan Siegal, Dan Hughes and John Baylin, Christine Courtois, Judy Atkinson, Deb Dana and Gabor Mate

We have another special deal for you!

Your early bird registration will now transition to the 2022 Conference starting on 31 July 2022 at the Melbourne Convention Centre at no further cost. 

In return for maintaining your registration into 2022 you will receive:

  • FREE ACCESS to the 2021 Online Symposium on 1-3 June 2021 and the recordings available until 30 June 2022 
  • Continuing free access to recordings of our previous conferences and webinars held in 2020
  • 12 months free membership of our new ONLINE LEARNING COMMUNITY which will launch at the Symposium in June.

This is a total of over $700 in additional value if you maintain registration.

If you have already registered and maintained your registration, you will receive an email from us explaining how everything will work or you can contact us below.


Dr. Roby Abeles (USA)

View Bio

Professor Judy Atkinson

View Bio

Dr Jon Baylin

View Bio

Professor Cindy Blackstock PhD

View Bio

Bethany Brand Ph.D.

View Bio

Sue Carter

View Bio

Dr. Marylene Cloitre (USA)

View Bio

Christine A. Courtois PhD ABPP

View Bio

Dr. Lou Cozolino (USA)

View Bio

Kevin Creeden

View Bio

Deb Dana

View Bio

Eliana Gil (USA)

View Bio

Dr. David Grand (USA)

View Bio

Michael Graziano

View Bio

Judith Herman

View Bio

Dr Dan Hughes

View Bio

Ruth Lanius

View Bio

Dr Cathy Malchiodi (USA)

View Bio

Dr. Gabor Mate (Canada)

View Bio

Dr Stephen Porges

View Bio

Dr. Allan Schore (USA)

View Bio

Dr Dan Siegel

View Bio

Ed Tronick

View Bio

Bessel van der Kolk (MD)

View Bio

Contact Us

Conference Organisers
ICMS Pty Ltd
PO Box 170
Hawthorn VIC 3122
P: (03) 9810 0200

Organised with ICMS Pty Ltd