Conference Sessions

Conference Sessions

Poverty Simulation (in-person only)

This eye-opening experience is for anyone who wishes to understand more about the experience of poverty. Participants assume the roles of “families” living in poverty and confront the realities of life faced by people with low incomes trying to provide the basic necessities to survive month to month.

Sneak Peek! Overlooked and Undercounted Report

Amy Carter, MSW, MPA, CCAPal


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Get an exclusive sneak peek at the Institute’s soon-to-be released report Overlooked & Undercounted: Hoosiers Struggling to Make Ends Meet. We will talk about the self-sufficiency standard and preview data about how Hoosiers are doing economically. (Hint: It’s not great.)  When we recognize that poverty is a trauma and work to better understand and end it, we can co-create healthier communities.

Brain-Based Healing for trauma/PTSD – The Cortina Method – a Neuroscience backed model.

Michael Cortina – Trauma Resolution Expert, MSW, LCSW, LCAC


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    • What if the cause of emotional disturbance from trauma is not what we think it is?
    • What if there are myths circulating about effective treatment of trauma? 
    • What if there is a way to resolve trauma in a fraction of the time as it used to take? 

Buckle in as new insights, information, and paradigm shifting ways of thinking about all things trauma get presented!!! This session will provide participants with the prevalence and magnitude of trauma and PTS(D). There are myths regarding trauma treatment and psychological barriers that keep people from pursuing much needed services. This session will reveal those myths and unveil the psychological barriers as well as share ways to counter and overcome these barriers. In the process this raises awareness and smashes stigma! This session presents an innovative conceptual framework to understanding emotional disturbance and origin of trauma. Lastly, this session will introduce participants to a revolutionary brain-based healing methodology to actually RESOLVE trauma/PTS(D) – The Cortina Method. It’s not about coping, it’s about resolution!

Our Collective Healing: A Way Through and a Way Forward

Carol Dahlen, BSHS, CMHC, CTP-C, PsyD

The aftermath of trauma, adversity, and the epidemic have left visible and realized imprints on the well-being of individuals, families, and children. The remnants of such realities have affected our emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual selves. As a nation and community who have experienced a collective trauma, so must be the healing collective as well as individual. The acknowledgement that in this time period in which we live, we recognize that the journey of healing is more than just physical wellness, it is discovery of the human condition – in all its complexity – finding a way through and a way forward.

How Shifting from Head to Heart Can Heal the Future

Deanne Deaville

We’ve been led to believe that if we worked hard and went to college we would have a great career. That we would be a productive member of society and be happy. And we have created an identity based on this – built our life around it – yet in the last two years this story has been crumbling. In today’s world of confusion, uncertainty and divisiveness, people are looking for answers and clarity, stability and safety. Yet the news is usually faced with polarizing options. Aligning with our beliefs feels right in the moment, instinctively safe as we remain part of a tribe.

As tensions mount and instability increases along with our stress, people are also looking for meaning. People are looking for hope. People are looking for answers.

This presentation will explore how shifting the focus from logic and decisions to ways of living, ways of showing up in life, is the way to heal ourselves and our future. It will illustrate the ripple effect – how we are as individuals impacts those around us which then impacts those around them. Attendees will learn to recognize triggers that can easily hijack life and apply a simple formula for better outcomes for themselves and others.

Moving from Trauma Aware to Trauma Informed

Becky Haas

In this session participants will be able to recognize best practices for moving an organization from trauma aware to where trauma informed is the norm. There will be provided examples of trauma informed organizations as well as resources available for assessing existing organizational structure. This session will help learners consider ways to create an implementation team for change, impact policies and procedures, and create an action plan that includes staff self-care is a priority.

Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos

Danielle Hart, MAOL, CYT-220 HR

Life will always have its up and downs and this session is designed to provide participants with tools to support themselves and others during those down times. The session will include practices for finding peace through mindful body movement, meditation,and breathwork

Tools of Resilience: Behavior, Conflict, Communication, & Trauma

Leah Kyaio, M.Ed.

This learning experience provides new perspectives (and tools) related to behavior, conflict, communication, “diversity,” and resilience; how each are impacted by trauma and what tools are needed across all community experiences to support the effective development of resilience. Whether it’s education, social services, behavioral health, justice systems, or community engagement, we all need to have the tools to successfully engage and serve all people regardless of trauma or diversities. We need a full toolbox of our own as well as one with which to teach tools and strategies to our clients and charges. 

Unpacking the impact of trauma on behavior and language as well as styles of conflict management is the beginning of being able to recognize when it is the “trauma talking” and how best to respond to mitigate increased trauma, increase clear communication, and accomplish the work we are there to do. 

By exploring a new framework for diversity, equity, and inclusion, participants recognize inequities, the impact on themselves and their clients, and gain tools by which to consider opportunities as allies and advocates. Additional concepts considered include how various diversities present within the components of behavior, language, conflict, and resilience. After learning and practicing the tools, we look at real life situations and apply those tools with an expectation that everyone leaves ready to apply what they’ve learned.

The content is based on current research from various fields of psychology, brain development, learning & memory, conflict, resilience, and more. The experience is designed to engage the full adult learning process ensuring the concepts, strategies, and tools are fully integrated.

Are you emotionally intelligent? Managing emotions with Emotional IQ (Virtual Session Only)

Hope Gilchrist, LCPC

Are you emotionally intelligent? Is your emotional IQ high or low? Emotional IQ has been found to be at least as important as Academic IQ. Contemporary society has increased our exposure to trauma. Understanding our Emotional IQ is paramount because it helps us understand individual triggers, manage emotions while dealing with stress or trauma, improve communication, practicing empathy, and lessening conflict in the home, community, and work environment.

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Research, Impact on the Child, & Fostering Resilience (Virtual Session Only)

Jamie Matthews, Ed. S. Counselor Education, B.S. Public Relations

This presentation provides an overview of the original ACE study, a brain scan visually representing the impact of trauma, and the impact of toxic stress on learning as it pertains to the child’s academic growth, world-view, and behavior in the classroom. The information presented serves as a practical tool for inductee teachers and veteran teachers alike. The trauma-informed lenscauses a perspective shift from, “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”. This perspective, paired with compassionate practices that are rooted in meeting basic needs, provides a preventive and restorative approach to ACEs. Statistics reveal that high ACE scores in early elementary can increase truancy, retention, and teacher turnover. Thankfully, there is hope. Data from the original Compassionate School in Walla Walla, Washington highlights the positive impact on standardized test scores, behavior outcomes, and graduation rates. The presentation closes with a suggested model of rollout to stakeholders and practical next steps to Compassionate School implementation.

The Future is in the Heart

LaToya Ogidan, LMSW

Are we touching the heart of those we serve? Do you we truly understand the impact of our services? Do they help or hinder? Do they add more stress or decrease stress? This session will examine the challenges created by toxic stress and demonstrate how to effectively address these stressors so that we promote wellness.

ACES aren’t Fate – Beat the Score

Claude Ann Poupolos, LCSW

A discussion regarding how Trauma and toxic stress effects communities as a whole and how it effects are realized on an individual/personal level. Realizing that at the community level, we need to have some recognition that many people regardless of race, ethnicity, present socio-economic position have experienced significant trauma in their lives. They have ACES scores. Through this lens of personal experience/ACES, we go on to look at what interactions in one’s life, made the difference. What factors influenced one’s ability to become resilient? And without these factors why it would be so difficult to overcome the adversities of trauma. This presentation will draw on personal experiences using the ACES criteria to emphasize that the score does not determine one’s outcomes in life.

This presentation will address the factors that can change the trajectory of one’s life if the ACES experiences are known or unknown.

Broken Places – Film Screening

Leslee Sims, MSW, LSW

The documentary, “Broken Places” by Roger Weisberg is the story of children from three different families, who have experienced trauma and toxic stress growing up. Weisberg had filmed the subjects years back and revisits them to learn how they survived and even thrived. It is a testimony to resilience and how resilience can be fostered. This session will feature the film and most importantly a follow up discussion sharing ideas of fostering resilience in our community.

Trauma and Crisis Intervention

Jeff Vollmer, MA, LCPC

The decision to direct a patient to a hospital for inpatient psychiatric treatment is truly one of the most significant interventions a clinician can make. Some clinicians do so with woefully unrealistic expectations. Other clinicians do not fully appreciate the full spectrum of complications, barriers and even further trauma that can result from a trip to a hospital for psychiatric reasons. As we seek to protect our patients from dangers we perceive, we often set them upon a journey fraught with unanticipated risks.  Our crisis psychiatric system is an imperfect one, with shortcomings that range the gamut from frustrating and inefficient to being outright dangerous. I hope to give my audience a candid look into the sometimes opaque psychiatric inpatient treatment apparatus as it exists, within the psychiatric units themselves where treatment occurs, the emergency departments where critical placement decisions are made and the board rooms where hospital administrators make policy that impacts patient care. If we, as mental health professionals, are going to work in tandem with the inpatient psychiatric hospital system, I believe that it is incumbent upon us to look at it critically. I believe that we have an obligation to be as informed as possible about an institution so central to our field of practice, both for the sake of wise decision making and advocating for change.

The Brain Architecture Game: A Tool for Teaching about ACEs

Amanda Zelechoski, JD, PhD

The Brain Architecture Game is an interactive game experience that builds understanding of the powerful role that both positive and adverse childhood experiences have on brain development – what promotes it, what derails it, and with what consequences for society. Dr. Amanda Zelechoski has used this activity in numerous trauma workshops and trainings with participants ranging from high school students to police officers to mental health professionals. In this session, she will guide you through the activity in real time, while providing tips for you to use the activity within your own spheres of influence to promote understanding of the impact of childhood trauma.

Closing General Session: What’s Next?

Amy Carter, MSW, MPA, CCAP

Like in the West Wing, asking “What’s next?” means we’re ready for the next thing. In this case, taking what we learned and putting it into action. Want to start a coalition looking at ways to mitigate ACEs in your county? Great! Bring that idea here. Want to call your legislator, but don’t know what to say? Great! Let’s figure it out together. Don’t let the knowledge and camaraderie you’ve gained these past two days slip away. Ask, ‘What’s next?”

Register by September 15 to take advantage of our early registration discount!