Break Out Sessions

Download agenda and details.


Panel Discussion           9:30am-10:30am   (King/Mott Room)

Trauma Informed Care from Multiple Perspectives: Participants, Peers, Providers, and Payors  

We are all stakeholders and have a role in creating and sustaining trauma-informed environments. This panel will discuss all the views that need to be considered as we move forward as one large community in our efforts to embrace, experience, and fund a Trauma Informed landscape.


Sheila Hall-Prioleau, MS, CPS, FPS

Program Director, Creating Increased Connections

Laura DiRiggi, MSW

Director of Integrated Clinical Consultation Services, DBHIDS and CBH

Mike Usino, MHS

Director, Hope House Crisis Residence and New Perspectives Crisis Services

Sean White, CPS

Peer Specialist, Team Arrive

Keynote Speaker          10:45am-12:30pm (King/Mott Room)

What’s the Big Deal about Trauma?     

Presenter:          Sandra L. Bloom, MD

Sometimes it seems as if “trauma” is everywhere. Certainly social service delivery systems now are supposed to become “trauma-informed” but is this just another fad? Why is it such a big deal and what does it really mean? In this keynote, Dr. Sandra Bloom, one of the pioneers of the field and the founder of the Sanctuary Model, will endeavor to explain just why this is such a critical issue and how important it is that helpers become not only trauma-informed but go even further and become “trauma responsive”.

Workshops A                Trauma in Action                      1:30pm-2:30pm

Creating Trauma Informed Spaces and Places  (Mott Room)

Presenter:  Leah Forrest, Clinical Director of Environmental Design, RHD

One of the fundamental ingredients for coping with trauma is a feeling of safety.  But making a space feel safe is not the only thing that can be done to establish a place that is conducive to healing.  This colorful and lively presentation will show examples and ideas of many aspects to consider when creating cultures and environments that promote recovery, stability, and health.

Peer Support in Trauma-Informed Care  (Malala Room)

Presenters:  Jose Cruz, Divisional CPS Coordinator, RHD – Philadelphia Behavioral Health and Housing Division

Greg Martin, Regional Director, RHD – Philadelphia Behavioral Health and Housing Division

There is extraordinary power in peer support services to improve the experience and outcomes of people seeking and using behavioral health services. Certified Peer Specialists work to promote wellness, reduce stigma, increase access to care, enhance life skills, provide education, and walk side-by-side with individuals as they build or rebuild meaningful lives in their communities.  This session will focus on a peer’s role their impact on service delivery and trauma informed care. Presenters will also address the unique needs of the peer in the work setting as it relates to trauma.

The Need for Anti-Racism Efforts in Trauma Informed Care     (King Room)

Presenters:       Mary Thornton-Bowmer, DNP, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, Family Nurse Practitioner

Diana Hartley-Kim, MSW, LSW, Operations Director

Kathleen Metzker, MPH, Director of Integrative Health and Mind Body Services

The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services/FPCN began implementing the Sanctuary Model in 2012. As we embarked on becoming trauma informed, we explored the role of power and privilege and we learned it is essential to name and address the impact Racism plays in this complex system. This discussion will include the history of this evolution at 11th Street, where we are now, where we are going and our individual and collective responsibility to bring this to the forefront of our efforts towards change and growth.

“SMART” (Sensory Motor Affect Regulation Training) Program  (Annex)

Presenters:       Debra Abrams, MCAT BC/DMT Unit Director, RHD Stepping Stones Partial Hospital Program

Alex Ruch, MPH, CHES, Outcomes Analyst, Philadelphia Behavioral Health & Housing Division

Sandra Holloway MA R-DMT LPC LBS

The “SMART” model is an evidence supported and trauma informed approach that uses sensory and motor activities in a specially designed space or, in mobile interventions to help children become more regulated and have an increased ability to tolerate daily stressors without losing control. The “SMART” program at RHD’s Stepping Stones has implemented the “SMART” model along with a specially designed sensory room. This model utilizes an array of therapeutic equipment, such as weighted blankets, balance boards, fitness balls, large cushions, and spinning boards to increase regulation, facilitate attachment-building and allow for embodied processing of traumatic experiences.  Participants will learn about healing the effects of trauma through sensory and motor activities, how to implement the “SMART model” in diverse settings, designing an evaluation to generate meaningful outcomes and learn sensory and motor activities through interactive practice.

Men of Understanding  (Fishman Room)

Presenter: Kassim Butler, Certified Peer Specialist and CEO of Men of Understanding

Come see the moving, award winning documentary “Men of Understanding” with a follow up question and answer period with filmmaker, Kassim Butler.

Workshops B                2:45pm – 3:45pm

The Value of Art Therapy in Trauma Informed Treatment   (Fishman Room)

Presenter: Sara Kodish-Eskind, MA Therapist, RHD Womanspace Philadelphia

Participants will explore the rationale for and the benefits of integrating Art Therapy into trauma informed treatment programming. Discussion will include connections between processing trauma and Art Therapy interventions. This breakout session will include an experiential art making process, no art making experience is needed to participate.

Trauma-Informed Yoga  (Maya Room)

Presenter: Elyse Hibbs, LSW, RYT, Therapist, RHD Womanspace Philadelphia

This session will focus on learning the effectiveness and evidence for yoga as a trauma treatment modality. Participants will be able to experience yoga poses, breath work, and meditation exercises to use with clients and for their personal self-care.

Animal Assisted Therapy for Trauma Survivors  (Mott Room)

Presenter: Paula Kielich, Pals for Life

Trauma can cause challenges that often include difficulty with self-regulation, grounding, social interactions, relationships, and self-confidence. Animals have been increasingly recognized as a valuable support system for social and emotional growth and healing.  Learn more about Animal Assisted therapy and meet some of Pals for Life’s very special animal friends!

Music Therapy and Trauma: Finding a way to express when words are failing (Annex)

Presenter: Seamus O’Connor, MA, MS, MT-BC

Therapeutic Liaison RHD-Lower Merion Counseling and Mobile Services

This workshop will integrate creative approaches to trauma informed care. Participants will be presented with case examples of music therapy as the modality of choice in addressing significant trauma. Participants will be offered the opportunity to be a part of the creative music process in order to understand the benefits from a person centered approach to care.

Considering Trauma-Informed Care Through an Occupational Therapy Lens (Fishman Room)

Presenters:   Julia Huntington, MS, OTR/L

Nuriya Neumann, MS, OTR/L

Sarah Blaise, OTS

Megan Sharp, OTS

Contributor: Lydia Navarro-Walker, OTD, OTR/L, CLA

Occupational therapy (OT) is a client-centered, holistic profession that considers an individual’s past experiences, present circumstances, and plans for the future when designing interventions and goals. This interactive breakout session will explore principles of OT and trauma informed care (TIC), challenging participants to reframe their thinking about behaviors that may be difficult or confusing. This moves the caregiver’s perspective from what’s wrong with you? toward what happened to you? and ultimately, what’s right with you?– placing emphasis on a strength-based, trauma-sensitive approach to care. Participants will discuss and practice ways to use OT strategies and TIC principles to support clients through meaningful participation in daily routines and valued activities.

Download agenda and details.