Touchstone Health Services celebrates the success of its 5th Childhood Trauma Conference this year. The conference was a two-day event held on May 19th & 20th, at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. The conference had over 200 individuals in attendance, including 30 Touchstone Health Services employees. Some of the attendees included Juvenile Probation Officers, Therapists and School Teachers from various agencies around Arizona. Touchstone also provided onsite self-care vendors to those in attendance throughout the conference. These self-care vendors included Doterra Oils, Bodywork by Christian and Thunderbird Chiropractic.

Touchstone was privileged to include two very special keynote speakers, one to kick off each day. Our first keynote speaker was Kevin Hines, an award-winning global speaker, bestselling author, documentary filmmaker, suicide prevention and mental health advocate. Kevin shared his powerful story of survival and his strong will to live. He talked about him being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and his survival after his attempt to take his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Kevin is one of only thirty-four individuals to survive the fall, and is the only survivor who is actively spreading the message around the globe of living mentally healthy. His mantra: “Life is a gift, that is why they call it the present. Cherish it always”, was felt and understood throughout the entire audience during his speech.

After Kevin’s keynote speech, the first breakout session offered three different speakers and topics to choose from. Heather Ford presented on the topic of “How Does Trauma Impact Foster and Adoptive Children?”. Other speakers for this breakout session included Randy Webb and Dr. Kristen Ray, discussing the topics of “Healing Power of Language” and “An Integrated Pediatric Approach to Trauma”. Once the first 90-minute breakout session had concluded, all attendees were excused for lunch. The rest of the afternoon consisted of two breakout sessions, including three presentations to choose from for each breakout. Day one of the conference’s afternoon schedule included a presentation from Touchstone’s very own Armando Peelman, Clinical Director of Case Management, and Jena McBride, Therapist and Clinical Program Manager. Armando presented on the topic of “Secondary Trauma and Self Care, while Jena covered the topic of “Nurture Play with Children: Addressing Attachment Concerns Through Art and Play”.

The second day of the Childhood Trauma Conference started off strong with keynote speaker Ana Gomez. With her background as a psychotherapist, author, lecturer, consultant, and researcher, she was able to truly portray her mission of promoting wellness and wholeness within, with others and with everything that exists. Her experience as a psychotherapist accompanying families, children, adolescents and adults in their healing journeys through the use of scientifically grounded approaches was a great insight to all of those in attendance.

After Ana’s keynote speech, the crowd dispersed for the first breakout session. This session included presentations by Dr. Jacobs, Michael Aurit, and Candy Trejo-Garcia. Their sessions included topics around attachment challenges for foster children, to engaging Hispanics in birth to five. The afternoon finished with two separate breakout sessions with three speakers for each session. Some included Touchstone’s very own Frank Saverino, Chief Clinical Officer for Touchstone Health Services. His presentation covered the topic of “Misunderstood & Mistreated”. Other topics covered included “Perfect Targets: Autism & Bullying” by Paul Carollo, and “Trauma: Refugee & Immigrants” by Noe’ Vargas.

We would like to send special thanks to the Thunderbird School of Global Management for hosting Touchstone Health Services Childhood Trauma Conference for the 4th year in a row. Also, we would like to congratulate Kim Rivera, Touchstone’s Family Support Services Supervisor, for her hard work and dedication in her second year of coordinating this event. Preparation for the 2017 Childhood Trauma Conference has already begun! Please check our website frequently for updates as time gets closer.