Meet the Experts


Dr Stephen Porges

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland.  He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award.

Dr Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders.

He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, (Norton, 2017) and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018).

He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by more than 1400 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement.

Dr Dan Hughes

Dan Hughes is a clinical psychologist who resides in Lebanon, PA, with an office in nearby Annville. After receiving his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Ohio University he fairly quickly began specializing in the treatment of children and youth who had experienced abuse and neglect and for the most part now manifested serious psychological problems secondary to childhood trauma and attachment disorganization. Not having much success helping these children with traditional treatments, he developed an attachment-focused treatment that relied heavily on the theories and research of attachment and intersubjectivity to guide his model of treatment and parenting.

Dan resided for 30 years in Maine until moving to Lebanon. He is the author of three books including Building the Bonds of Attachment, 2nd edition, (2006), and Attachment-Focused Family Therapy (2007). He has provided training and consultations to therapists, social workers and parents throughout the US, Canada, UK, and Australia and provides regular training’s at Colby College in Maine, Annville, PA, and London, UK. He also is a visiting tutor for a graduate program in London.

He is the founder of Developmental Dyadic Psychotherapy (DDP) – an approach recognised around the world as important in the treatment of trauma for children and young people.

Dan was born in Pittsburgh and has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Dr Jon Baylin

Dr. Baylin received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1981. He has been working in the mental health field for 35 years. For the past fifteen years, while continuing his clinical practice, he has immersed himself in the study of neurobiology and in teaching mental health practitioners about the brain. He has given numerous workshops for mental health professionals on “Putting the Brain in Therapy.”

Several years ago, Dr. Baylin began a collaborative relationship with Daniel Hughes, a leader in the field of attachment-focused therapy. Their book, Brain Based Parenting, was released by Norton Press in the spring of 2012 as part of the Norton series on Interpersonal Neurobiology. Dr. Baylin has delivered keynote sessions at international conferences and has also given numerous workshops both internationally and regionally within the USA.

Professor Ed Tronick

Edward Z. Tronick is a world class researcher and teacher recognized internationally for his work on the neurobehavioral and social emotional development of infants and young children, parenting in the U.S. and other cultures, and infant-parent mental health. Over the course of his career, Dr. Tronick has co-authored and authored more than 150 scientific papers and chapters.

Dr. Tronick developed the Still-face paradigm, which has become a standard experimental paradigm for studying social emotional development in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, clinical and child psychology, and nursing. In his studies using the still-face he revolutionized our understanding of the emotional capacities and coping of infants and the effects of factors such as maternal anxiety and depression on infant social emotional development.

Dr. Tronick has carried out research in Zaire, Peru, and India on child rearing and development. In Zaire, in his study the Efe foragers, he discovered the most extensive naturally occurring system of multiple caretaking for foragers yet described. In his research on neurodevelopment he has demonstrated the derailing effects of in utero cocaine and heroine exposure and the effects of obstetric medication on infant, the parent and their relationship. His studies of very low birthweight infants with white matter disorder have found key modules of behavior that are disturbed by the lesion. Recently, he and Barry Lester published the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Assessment, a standardized instrument for assessing the neurobehavioral status of the newborn.

The goals of Dr. Tronick’s research are to understand the nature of the process of normal and abnormal developmental processed which are embedded in the moment by moment emotional and social exchanges of infants and young children and their caregivers. Further to determine the factors from malnutrition to drug exposure to parenting to affective disorders that disrupt and derail the normal developmental process. And, to develop ways to prevent and repair developmental derailment.

The research has already produced several critical translational pieces of work. The NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale has been used to identify infants who are suffering from neurobehavioral abnormalities. The Still-face paradigm has begun to be used to identify infants whose emotional and coping capacities are compromised and to identify relational disorders in infants and parents. The multiple caretaking system found among the Efe has had implications for the caring for infants in groups. As a whole the research in part has led to the development of the Touchpoints program of intervention developed by Brazelton, and to the Infant-Parent Mental Health Program for training professionals from pediatrics, PT, OT, social work, psychiatry to work with the mental health disorders of infants, children and parents and the relational disorders of children and parents.

Dr. Tronick received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and completed post graduate training at Harvard University. He has served on NIMH, NICHD, NIDA and NSF review panels and on the equivalent review panels for the British, Canadian, Australian, Swiss and New Zealand governments. He has been a reviewer for the McArthur Foundation and has received grants from NIMH, NICHD, NIDA and NSF and from Genzyme and Merck. Dr. Tronick has consulted for WIC and for the WHO and UNICEF. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He is also the recipient of an Award for Excellence from the Boston Institute for the Development of Parents and Infants. The Napa Infant-Parent Mental Health Program, co-founded and directed by Dr. Kristie Brandt, won the National Association of Counties Best Program for Kids Award for the Napa Infant-Mental Health Program.

Deb Dana

DEB DANA, LCSW, specializes in treating complex traumatic stress and lectures internationally on the ways Polyvagal Theory informs clinical interactions with trauma survivors. She is the coordinator of the traumatic stress research consortium in the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the developer of the Rhythm of Regulation clinical training series. Deb is the author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy (Norton, 2018) and co-editor with Stephen Porges, of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory (Norton, 2018).

Deb received her B.A. in social welfare and her M.S.W., both from the University of Southern Maine. She is trained in Internal Family Systems, Tapas Acupressure Technique, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. She completed the certificate program in traumatic stress studies at the Trauma Center.

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson (Honorary), AM

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson is a Jiman (central west Queensland) and Bundjalung (northern New South Wales) woman, with Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. Her academic contributions to the understanding of trauma related issues stemming from the violence of colonisation and the healing/recovery of Indigenous peoples from such trauma has won her the Carrick Neville Bonner Award in 2006 for her curriculum development and innovative teaching practice. In 2011 she was awarded the Fritz Redlick Memorial Award for Human Rights and Mental Health from the Harvard University program for refugee trauma.

Her book ‘Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines: The transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia’, provides context to the life stories of people who have been moved from their country in a process that has created trauma trails, and the changes that can occur in the lives of people as they make connection with each other and share their stories of healing.

Judy is a member of the Harvard Global Mental Health Scientific Research Alliance; Chair of the Australian Childhood Foundations Cultural Governance Group and the founder and Patron of We Al-li.

On the 26 January, 2019 Judy received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to the Indigenous community, to education and to mental health.

Dr Dan Siegel

Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several honorary fellowships. Dr. Siegel is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization, which offers online learning and in-person seminars that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. His psychotherapy practice includes children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families.

He serves as the Medical Director of the LifeSpan Learning Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Blue School in New York City, which has built its curriculum around Dr. Siegel’s Mindsight approach.

Dr. Siegel has published extensively for the professional audience.  He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (2nd. Ed., Guilford, 2012).  This book introduces the field of interpersonal neurobiology, and has been utilized by a number of clinical and research organizations worldwide. Dr. Siegel serves as the Founding Editor for the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which contains nearly seventy textbooks.  The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being (Norton, 2007) explores the nature of mindful awareness as a process that harnesses the social circuitry of the brain as it promotes mental, physical, and relational health. The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician’s Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration (Norton, 2010), explores the application of focusing techniques for the clinician’s own development, as well as their clients’ development of mindsight and neural integration. Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind (Norton, 2012), explores how to apply the interpersonal neurobiology approach to developing a healthy mind, an integrated brain, and empathic relationships. The New York Times bestseller Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human (Norton, 2016) offers a deep exploration of our mental lives as they emerge from the body and our relations to each other and the world around us. His New York Times bestseller Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence (Tarcher/Perigee, 2018) provides practical instruction for mastering the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence, and peace in one’s day-to-day life. Dr. Siegel’s publications for professionals and the public have been translated into over 40 forty languages.

Dr. Siegel’s book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (Bantam, 2010), offers the general reader an in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to integrate the brain and promote well-being. He has written five parenting books, including the three New York Times bestsellers Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain (Tarcher/Penguin, 2014); The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind (Random House, 2011) and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind (Bantam, 2014), both with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child (Bantam, 2018) also with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., and Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive (Tarcher/Penguin, 2003) with Mary Hartzell, M.Ed.

Dr. Siegel’s unique ability to make complicated scientific concepts exciting and accessible has led him to be invited to address diverse local, national and international groups including mental health professionals, neuroscientists, corporate leaders, educators, parents, public administrators, healthcare providers, policy-makers, mediators, judges, and clergy. He has lectured for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Google University, and London’s Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

Ruth Lanius

Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry and the director of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research unit at the University of Western Ontario.

She established the Traumatic Stress Service and the Traumatic Stress Service Workplace Program, both services that specialize in the treatment and research of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related comorbid disorders.

Ruth currently holds the Harris-Woodman Chair in Mind-Body Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests focus on studying the neurobiology of PTSD and treatment outcome research examining various pharmacological and psychotherapeutic methods.

Ruth has authored more than 100 published papers and chapters in the field of traumatic stress and is currently funded by several federal funding agencies. She regularly lectures on the topic of PTSD nationally and internationally. She has recently published a book Healing the traumatized self: consciousness, neuroscience, treatment with Paul Frewen.

Christine A. Courtois PhD ABPP

Christine A. Courtois PhD, ABPP specializes in the treatment of trauma, particularly for adults experiencing the effects of childhood incest and other forms of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Dr. Courtois has worked with these issues for 30 years and has developed treatment approaches for complex posttraumatic and dissociative conditions for which she has received international recognition.

Dr. Courtois offers integrative and evidence-based relational treatments for clients and consultation for loved ones that involve respect, information, and hope to counter the effects of trauma and abuse. She offers individual and group treatments that use strategies and protocols, personalized to the clients’ needs.

Dr. Courtois also offers educational, consulting and support services for 
professionals involved in treating trauma and complex posttraumatic and 
dissociative conditions. Seminars, training courses, and individual and group 
consultation services on numerous trauma-related topics are offered on-site as 
well as in other locations (nationally and internationally).

Dr. Lou Cozolino (USA)

“…Learning neuroscience takes dedication. It takes work to get beyond the cocktail level of conversation and clichés. It took me ten years to feel like I had any sense of what was going on and I studied it pretty intensively. So I think we all have to be careful, but even more importantly, just because you know some neuroscience doesn’t mean you know anything more than the therapist who doesn’t. It’s really about how you use that information to upgrade the quality of the work you’re doing…. Lou Cozolino, 2016, www.psychotherapy.net

Dr. Cozolino has been a writer practitioner for over 40 years. He has diverse clinical and research interests and holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and clinical psychology. His primary focus is the synthesis of neuroscience with psychotherapy, education, management, and leadership.

He is an American psychologist and professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. He holds degrees in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, theology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA. He has conducted empirical research in schizophrenia, the long-term impact of stress, and child abuse. He is the author of eight books: The Pocket Guide to Neuroscience for Clinicians,The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, The Social Neuroscience of Education, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, The Healthy Aging Brain, Attachment-Based Teaching, The Making of a Therapist, and Why Therapy Works.

Dr. Cozolino lectures around the world on brain development, evolution, and psychotherapy and maintains and clinical and consulting practice in Los Angeles and New York. His entertaining style and practice wisdom made him a hit at the 2018 International Childhood Trauma Conference.

Dr. Gabor Mate (Canada)

Dr Gabor Maté (pronounced GAH-bor MAH-tay) is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness.

His book on addiction received the Hubert Evans Prize for literary non-fiction. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. His books include In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction; When the Body Says No; The Cost of Hidden Stress; Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder; and (with Gordon Neufeld) Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. To learn more, join his e-news here: https://www.drgabormate.com.