Presentation Descriptions and Speaker Biographies

Presentation Descriptions and Speaker Biographies

Day 1
March 18, 2019

Keynote Presentation Descriptions


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)


About Ana Gomez

coming soon!

Indigenous Wisdom Healing Historical Trauma

Dr. Anthony R. Pico, former Viejas Tribal Chairman, will engage and inform the audience with his personal story of historical trauma’s impact on his life and inspire the audience with his resilience-building journey. Understanding the intergenerational trauma, as an Indigenous man, of the genocide, colonization, and continued oppression, Dr. Pico will reflect on Native Americans resilience.

Committed for the rest of his life to raise awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences and cultural trauma, Anthony has dedicated his journey to creating healing environments and transformation with all Native Americans. Healing through Ceremony, prayer, Bird-Songs, Bird-Dances, dream medicine, language, and cultural practices, listeners will be uplifted with the power, interconnectivity, and spirituality of Indigenous Wisdom.

About former Viejas Tribal Chairman, Dr. Anthony Pico

Dr. Anthony Pico served as Chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians for 26 years in San Diego County.

He has and associate of arts degree from Grossmont College. In 2000, he received the honor of outstanding alumni. He has an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Long Island University. Anthony is proud of his military record where he served in Vietnam as an Army paratrooper as an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division, the 25th Infantry Division and the 82nd Airborne Division.

Dr. Pico now focuses on evidenced based healing modalities that integrates his peoples’ indigenous wisdom.

Workshop Descriptions


New Opportunities in Trauma Recovery: Neuroscience and the Havening Techniques®

This experiential workshop will familiarize you with an understanding of the impact of stressful events on brain functioning as well as explore new opportunities for healing and growth. You will learn how to harness the power of neuroplasticity, along with the Havening Techniques interventions, to create sustainable healing. You will be empowered to start identifying opportunities for self-healing and begin laying the foundation to develop your Resilient Brain.

About Kate Truitt

Dr. Kate Truitt is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who believes the brain holds the inherent capacity to transcend and transform the complex and beautiful relationship between nature and nurture. Utilizing her training as a neuroscience and clinical psychologist, along with her MBA in Healthcare Administration, Dr. Truitt has passionately dedicated her life to advancing the treatment of Trauma and Stress-Related Disorders. Her clinical practice, scientific studies, and trainings are specialized in the treatment of PTSD/Complex Trauma, panic disorders and anxiety, phobias, as well as other amygdala-based disorders. Her research focuses on brain health during the recovery process, treatment outcomes, and psychophysiology. Dr. Truitt consults nationwide for trauma treatment programs, leads research initiatives, and provides trainings on trauma as well as personal empowerment through her training organization, Viva Excellence. She is also CEO of her group practice, Dr. Kate Truitt & Associates, A Psychological Corporation, in Pasadena, CA where she and her team specialize in the most effective and cutting edge treatments empowering people to Live Their Excellence. For more information please visit

Growing Capacity with Embodied Resilience

This interactive and experiential workshop will teach participants to confidently implement The Resilience Toolkit, including an opportunity to practice the gently organic therapeutic tremor, an evidence-informed practice that uniquely completes the stress cycle and de-escalates trauma triggers. Grounded in theory, evidence, and a social justice context, The Toolkit utilizes carefully curated mindfulness and movement practices to promote embodied self-awareness as well as nervous system and emotional regulation. The Toolkit empowers participants with an intersectional and ecologically sensitive framework to identify their own stress responses and select appropriate regulation skills that build resilience over time, especially important in the stabilization phase of trauma healing before addressing narrative. Meant to be taught in groups, the Toolkit is community-based; and because it accesses basic human physiology, it is cross-culturally adaptive and accessible. Guidance will be provided on Toolkit implementation through case study examples.

About Nkem Ndefo

Certified as an advanced practice nurse with extensive post-graduate training in complementary health modalities and emotional therapies, Nkem Ndefo is the creator of The Resilience Toolkit and founder of Lumos Transforms, which provides innovative programs that reduce stress and build resilience for individuals, organizations, and communities throughout the US.

Connecting to the Earth – Healing through Agriculture in the Cambodian Community

This session will teach holistic healing through building connection with nature, food, plants, and Earth.

Growing and nurturing resiliency with the soil, plants and earth; Caring and connecting with our roots so that we can live a life of well-being in the face of past, present and future stress, depression and traumas.

About Laura Som

Laura Som is the Executive Director of the MAYE Center, a trauma healing center in Long Beach California. Her background is in pre-med, biochemistry and holistic healing. She believes that the true source of knowledge is that of which we’ve experienced and has used this for the last 20 years in her integrative holistic approach to wholeness. Laura lives and practices using four elements of healing including Meditation, Agriculture, Yoga and Education to address both childhood traumas during the post Khmer Rouge Genocide, wars and violence and build resiliency against existing traumas in America. As a scientist and spiritual practitioner, Laura combines both the east and the west to promote our innate ability to heal oneself: Self-Healing.

Dance from the Heart: Creative Movement for Healing & Transformation

Dance from the Heart is a creative movement practice that helps you to reconnect with your body, heal the past, and embody changes you wish to see in your life or world. Anyone can do it; no prior dance experience needed.  Appropriate for all ages and abilities.

About Sophia Kozak

E. Sophia Kozak is the founding director of Critical Mass Dance Company, creator of Dance from the Heart, and author of the book, Dance from the Heart: Manifest your Dreams through Movement in 7 Steps. Sophia brings 10+ years of professional experience as a community organizer, healing arts practitioner, nonprofit professional and dance educator. Sophia created Dance from the Heart based on her work with healing energy and movement. She holds a B.A. from UCLA and M.A. degrees in Spiritual Psychology (Counseling) and Nonprofit Management. When not teaching, Sophia works as a career counselor at Career Transition For Dancers/The Actors Fund, helping other dance artists to reach their dreams. For more information:

El Cuerpo Sabio: Yoga para la recuperación del trauma (Sesión de la manaña;  11a – 12:30p)

El Cuerpo Sabio explorará e introducirá yoga como una práctica poderosa para reconectar con nuestros cuerpos y apoyar la recuperación después de haber pasado por un trauma. Nos referiremos a conocimientos antiguos y recientes científicos sobre cómo el yoga puede promover la autoconciencia y escuchar la sabiduría de nuestros cuerpos. La sesión introducirá aspectos de guiar movimiento informado para el trauma e incluirá una práctica de 30 minutos. No se necesita experiencia anterior de yoga.

The Wise Body: Yoga for Trauma Recovery (Afternoon Workshop Session; 1:30p – 2:45p)

The Wise Body will explore and introduce yoga as a powerful practice to reconnect to our bodies and support recovery after experiencing trauma. We will touch on ancient and recent scientific knowledge about how yoga can promote self-awareness and listening to the wisdom of our bodies. The session will introduce aspects of a guiding trauma-informed movement and include a 30-minute practice. No previous yoga experience is needed.

Sobre Viviana Vallin

Viviana Vallin es una terapeuta de salud mental que se esfuerza por incorporar prácticas holísticas, que empoderan nuestras culturas y son informadas para trabajar con el trauma. Como terapeuta, se especializa en ayudar a niños y adultos que han sobrevivido experiencias traumáticas. Viviana cree que hay una conexión esencial entre el cuerpo y la mente, y ambos son importante en nuestra recuperación. Por eso ella incorpora yoga y somáticos en sus sesiones terapéuticas, y ofrece clases privadas y grupos de Trauma Sensitive Yoga en español e inglés. La recuperación no es un proceso lineal; Lleva tiempo y es necesario cultivar apoyos externos e internos. A través de la creación de un espacio para la exploración, la autenticidad y un pequeño reto, Viviana trabaja con todos para avanzar hacia la alineación con su visión de la vida que desean para sí mismos.

Viviana tiene una maestría en consejería y una maestría en estudios de yoga de la Universidad Loyola Marymount. Completó su entrenamiento de maestra de yoga con People’s Yoga y recibió certificado como facilitadora de Trauma Center-Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY).

About Viviana Vallin

Viviana Vallin is a mental health therapist who strives to incorporate holistic, culturally empowered, trauma informed practices in all that she does. As a therapist, she specializes in supporting children and adults who have survived traumatic experiences. Viviana believes there is a strong connection between body and mind, and both play a powerful role in healing. This is why she incorporates yoga and somatics into her therapeutic sessions, and offers private and small group Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes in Spanish and English. Healing is not a linear process; it takes time and cultivating external and internal supports. Through creating a space for exploration, authenticity and a little challenge, Viviana works with everyone to move toward alignment with their vision of the life they want for themselves.

Viviana holds a Masters in Counseling and Masters in Yoga Studies from Loyola Marymount University. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training with People’s Yoga and is trained as a facilitator in Trauma Center-Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY).

Creando Capacidad con Resiliencia (Sesión de la tarde, 1:30p – 2:45p)

Este taller interactivo y experiencial les enseñará a los participantes a implementar con confianza El Kit de Resiliencia, que incluye la oportunidad de practicar el temblor terapéutico suavemente orgánico, una práctica basada en la evidencia que completa de manera única el ciclo del estrés y reduce los disparadores del trauma. Basado en la teoría, la evidencia y un contexto de justicia social, El Kit utiliza prácticas de atención y movimiento cuidadosamente curadas para promover la autoconciencia, así como el sistema nervioso y la regulación emocional. El Kit permite a los participantes con un marco interseccional y ecológicamente sensible para identificar sus propias respuestas al estrés y seleccionar las habilidades de regulación adecuadas que desarrollan la capacidad de recuperación a lo largo del tiempo, especialmente importante en la fase de estabilización de la sanación del trauma antes de abordar la narrativa. Pretende ser enseñado en grupos, El Kit se basa en la comunidad; y debido a que tiene acceso a la fisiología humana básica, es multiculturalmente adaptable y accesible. Se proporcionará orientación sobre la implementación del Kit a través de ejemplos de estudios de casos.

Sobre Ana Rosa Najera

Ana Rosa Najera es una trabajadora social clínica con licencia bilingüe, facilitadora certificada de El Kit de Resiliencia, Green Belt Nia Instructor y proveedora certificada de TRE. Con casi 20 años de experiencia trabajando en salud mental, Ana Rosa se especializa en bienestar infantil, preparación escolar y salud integral.

Day 2
March 19, 2019

Keynote Presentation Descriptions


The Impact of Neurofeedback on Trauma & Addiction

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG Biofeedback, is a training modality for the brain. It is a training rather than a treatment. EEG (Electroencephalogram) is another name for the brain wave recordings, and in this context, biofeedback refers to the process by which one learns to change brainwaves and hence enhance control of one’s own brain states.

Addiction, stress, trauma, and PTSD will be examined at this presentation with an emphasis on the fundamentals of physiology and neurobiological dysregulation. The practical application of Neurofeedback training and its positive impacts on a person’s daily life will be highlighted.

About Carol Kelson

Specializing in trauma, Dr. Kelson is a licensed marriage family therapist with a Ph. D. in clinical psychology.  She incorporates EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EFT, and Neurofeedback in her practice.  Dr. Kelson has extensive experience in neurofeedback and has researched how EEG Biofeedback/Neurofeedback impacts veterans with PTSD symptoms.  Due to the positive impact of her neurofeedback research with homeless veterans, Dr. Kelson started a neurofeedback clinic at The Salvation Army Bell Shelter in Bell, California in 2013.  The success of the neurofeedback clinic at Bell Shelter led her to start a neurofeedback clinic in 2015 at The Salvation Army Haven, a homeless shelter exclusively for veterans, and Del Amo Hospital in Torrance, a behavioral health hospital which specializes in Trauma and Eating Disorders.  In 2016, she was asked by the non-profit, BOOST NOW, to help supervise a pilot neurofeedback clinic at the LAFH homeless shelter.  In addition, to supervising neurofeedback work at homeless shelters and Del Amo Hospital, Dr. Kelson has also supervised neurofeedback work at various IOP, rehabilitation and trauma clinics.

Having heard so many stories from veterans and active duty military, those who are homeless and those suffering from severe trauma, Dr. Kelson is most inspired by the strength and beauty of the human will and the individual pursuit of working to heal and grow.  She abides by the philosophy that it is not one’s life circumstances and experiences that make the person, but rather how one responds to those circumstances and experiences. Dr. Kelson is inspired by those who daily overcome and grow from their life events.  Dr. Kelson believes in the power of collaboration and the synergistic energy of working together to accomplish great things.


Film – Wrestling Ghosts



My journey to Radical Resilience: How I Crushed my Biggest ACE and Through Self-directed Neuroplasticity, Using EFT Meridian Tapping

In October of 2007, Victor used a then, little-known modality called Emotional Freedom Techniques, or “EFT meridian tapping” to collapse a major ACE that had haunted his life for 45 years in less than one hour. This workshop will share his learning, explain the science of how and why EFT can work to quickly and gently heal trauma and recover resilience. Participants will get instruction and practice in EFT that they put to use can use right away, in their self-help work or professional practice.

About Victor Lewis

Victor Lee Lewis, M.A., is the Founder and Director of the Radical Resilience Institute, and Radical Resilience Coaching and Consulting.  He is a nationally-recognized diversity, inclusion, and social justice educator, with more than 30 years experience in the field. Since 2009 Victor has also worked with passion as a coach-practitioner and trainer in EFT meridian tapping, with a specialty in the use and teaching of gentle approaches to trauma resolution. He believes that trauma wisdom is on the cutting-edge of the evolution of our species.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) – Concurrente presentación en Español


About Melinda Utal

Melinda Utal ha tenido una práctica privada en Los Ángeles durante 17 años como hipnoterapeuta y practicante de tapping de EFT (la Tecnica de Libertad Emocional). Se especializa en ayudar a personas creativas de diferentes culturas que sufrieron traumas emocionales. También es escritora y antropóloga y a ella le interesan las historias de la gente. Melinda tiene dos hijos adultos de un matrimonio anterior y está comprometida para casarse con un hombre maravilloso llamado Brian.

Gut Health

Renaldo Wilson will be speaking about the gut and its connection the the brain. He will focus on how gut health affects mental wellness.

About Renaldo Wilson

Renaldo Wilson is a health educator for Kaiser Permanente, facilitating classes in weight management, prediabetes, smoking cessation, heart health and advance care directives. He has 15 years experience in the health field, practicing as an exercise physiologist, Ayurvedic specialist, Tai Chi instructor and holistic health practitioner. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Los Angeles, CA.