Image is not available

Thank you to all who supported and attended!

Thank you to all who supported and attended!

Thank you to all who supported and attended!

The 2022 Profectum Spring Conference

The 2022 Profectum Spring Conference

The 2022 Profectum Spring Conference

May 15 & May 22, 2022

May 15 and May 22, 2022

May 15 and May 22, 2022


Supporting Relational Synchrony: The Central Role of Regulation of Arousal, Sensation, Motion and Emotion in the Development of Agency and the Sense of Self

We all have children who are puzzling whether you are a parent or a clinician. These children present with behaviors and feelings that are complex and confusing. What we observe in behavior alone is only the “tip of the causal iceberg.” Underneath these behavioral patterns are layers of contributing challenges, not readily discernible to the naked eye. This cutting-edge conference shed light and insight on these hidden factors, sharpening powers of assessment, formulation and treatment.
Presenters and panelists brought body-brain systems, sensory and emotion regulation, motor planning, agency and sense of self into a clinically meaningful whole. Challenges in these areas lead to behavioral dysregulation, fear and anxiety, and mood and arousal changes that interfere with being able to form ideas, take perspective, inhibit, exercise judgment, act with agency or even know who you are.


Recordings from May 15 and May 22 are available for viewing until Monday, June 6, 2022.

 CEs are only available to registrants who attend the live online event.

This conference addressed the foundational underpinnings of relationships and behaviors that define neurodivergent development, including the range of diagnostic categories from autism to trauma and to help the clinician design personalized approaches that promote respectful, non-ableist supports.

Attendees learned …

→ How body-brain signaling processes influence how children feel and act and how to apply these concepts to tailored treatment and parenting approaches
→ How to support developmental capacities and build on individual differences that contribute to being intentional and relational, having agency, a sense of self
→ How and why Individual differences matter and how biosensor technology can help to measure what we cannot discern clinically to improve therapeutic interventions
→ How to apply the DIR approach to children with complex with neurodevelopmental differences, illustrated through cases with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and dysregulation of arousal
→ How the DIR® Model is grounded in bioscientific research

Continuing Education

CEs for Psychologists, NY Social Workers & NY Creative Art Therapists approved.

CEs for Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapist Assistants approved.


Profectum is committed to removing barriers to access for our conferences and making DIR training and education available to everyone. We were pleased to offer scholarship funds to those who needed financial assistance to attend this conference.



Sunday, May 15, 2022 | 11:00 am to 5:40 pm EDT

The Role of the Brain-Body Feedback Loop and its Impact on Development and Relationships

Mona Delahooke, PhD

A new understanding of the Body-Brain connection opens up new vistas in how we understand, treat and parent neurodivergent individuals whose social and emotional development face challenges.

When the body sends signals to the brain, it directs us to respond in a way that keeps our body budget in balance—in scientific language, to maintain homeostasis. We often overlook that it’s the information flowing to the brain from children’s bodies that influences how they feel and what they do. Paying heed to these body-up signals helps us to customize our treatment techniques and parenting tools to each individual’s unique physiology and allows us to better understand how they feel in body and in mind. We use this cross disciplinary information to customize an approach for each child that is respectful of their body’s natural inclinations, visual and movement patterns, and adaptive responses. This approach is a stark contrast to the prevailing treatment models that view behaviors as a target, rather than a valuable signal of a child’s internal world and coping strategies.

Harnessing the Readiness Potential of your Child Through the Identification of Personalized Targets for Treatment: Aiding Therapies with Three Contemporary Revolutions

Elizabeth B. Torres, PhD

Recent research advances in developmental neuroscience have revealed the plurality of paths that a nascent nervous system could take preceding a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder. It has become clear that while disorders on a spectrum serve the purpose of facilitating clinical classification, their heterogeneity poses a challenge when treatments are designed under a one-size-fits-all model. A case in point is autism spectrum disorders, allowed by the latest DSM-5 criteria to be comorbid with ADHD and other disorders involving sensory issues. These disorders are also now diagnosed at younger ages, with a push for early detection allowing early intervention. However, there is no concrete model that tailors focused treatment on readiness potential or learning preferences that prepare the child for schooling years. Clinicians across the board are asking for new tools to facilitate their continuous attempts to personalize treatments while helping them accelerate the child’s gains. In this talk, Dr Torres will present new tools that to effectively use wearable sensors unobtrusively during clinical practices. These tools help mitigate stress and enhance the dyadic interaction that takes place during the therapy. She will do so within the model of Precision (personalized) Medicine adapted to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders on a spectrum. This new model combines knowledge from multiple layers of research and clinical practices, spanning from clinical inventories to digital biomarkers, to omics. The goal being to bring a personalized approach to the identification of targets for treatments that dynamically shift and adapt as the child ages.

Dr Torres will show different comorbidities common with autism that have known genetic origins and will suggest ways to utilize existing resources to help treatments while identifying preferences based on newly characterized learning modes. This talk will augment your knowledge with the potential to enhance child-therapist interactions towards faster and more effective ways to learn together.


Harnessing the Readiness Potential of your Child Through the Identification of Personalized Targets for Treatment: Aiding Therapies with Three Contemporary Revolutions | Panel Discussion


Elizabeth B. Torres, PhD with Profectum Faculty Panelists: Carrie Alvarado, PhD, OTR; Mona Delahooke, PhD; Gilbert Foley, EdD, IMH-E; Cindy Harrison, MSc Reg CASLPO; Anie Knipping; Connie Lillas, PhD, MFT, RN; Serena Wieder, PhD

Sensation, Separation and Self: Pathways and Hurdles for Neurodivergent Development

Gilbert Foley, EdD, IMH-E and Serena Wieder, PhD

Separation is a lifespan process and the pathway to selfhood and agency. The road is peppered with body-brain challenges for neurotypical children-fears of loss, being left alone, bodily injury, aggression itself. For neurodivergent children including the range of  diagnostic categories from autism to trauma, these and more fundamental “tests” related to regulation of physiological arousal, sensation, anxiety and emotions; movement and communication and relating itself complicate the journey.

DIR®, with roots in psychodynamic, attachment-separation and cognitive theories, offers practitioners a unique, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, bio-developmental, play and relationship-based approach to tackle these roadblocks.  Learn how DIR® therapeutically addresses the complexity, puts the pieces together and promotes development by coaching parents while respecting each child’s individual differences and uniqueness providing non-ableist intervention that advance the emergence of self and agency.

When Emotion Regulation Collapses: Disorders of Severe Mood Dysregulation and Bipolar Patterns in Children

Ira Glovinsky, PhD

Pediatric bipolar disorder is highly complex and involves multiple body symptoms. Although still controversial, the diagnosis is consistent with a trend to understand children, adolescents and adults more dimensionally and find parallels between the manifest behavior and the underlying genetic, biological, social-cognitive and emotional contributions.

In this session, a historical perspective will examine the factors that led to the conceptualization of bipolar disorder as “madness”, the link between mania and depression (manic-depressive) and the current conceptualization of bipolar disorder. The contemporary multi-dimensional model of bipolar that accounts for genetics, molecular and cellular structures, physiology and environmental factors, will be highlighted, including the important role of the autonomic and endocrine systems in understanding the disorder. These transacting component parts of the disorder will be humanized through the lens of my experience parenting a child with bipolar disorder.

Sunday, May 22, 2022 | 11:00 am to 4:15 pm EDT

Regulation of Arousal as the Foundation for Organizing Individual Profiles

 Tal Baz, MS, OTR/L and Connie Lillas, PhD, MFT, RN

Exploring the Individual Profile of any child presents a challenge for caretakers, since any child’s profile is neither simple nor static, but rather multi-faceted as well as subtly fluctuating and evolving throughout development. Moreover, a child’s profile is not independent of how others perceive and respond to it, at any given moment and over time.

A unifying principle for this presentation will be the concept of arousal as the foundation for organizing the individual profile. The phenomenon of arousal will be further elaborated and discussed as a distributed property across autonomic reactivity, sensory reactivity, emotional reactivity, and motor reactivity.

In this presentation we will explore the unique, complex, and uneven regulatory profiles of two different boys and the ways we can make sense of their making sense of their world. These two cases illustrate two different stress response patterns; One child who fluctuates between moments of shut down and moments of seeking high positive affect, accompanied by giddiness and motor disorganization, and another with intense hypervigilance and controlling behaviors, with spikes into aggression.

Approaches for scaffolding self and co-regulation of arousal will be described and methodologies to compliment the individual differences will be emphasized.

A team of disciplines spanning neurology, mental health, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy will then relate to the cases and expand on the discussion.

Regulation of Arousal as the Foundation for Organizing Individual Differences | Panel Discussion


Discussion with Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR/L
Moderated by Gilbert Foley, EdD, IMH-E
Profectum Faculty Panel: Tal Baz, MS, OTR/L; Cortney Grove, MA, CCC-SLP; Connie Lillas, PhD, MFT, RN; Traci Swink, MD; Serena Wieder, PhD