Prior Speakers



Nancy Verrier Presenter

Nancy Verrier has a Master’s Degree in clinical psychology from John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, California. She is a psychotherapist specializing in working with adoptees, natural mothers, and adoptive families. She is the mother of adopted, biological, and step children—all adults. In addition to her clinical work, Mrs. Verrier is an internationally renown lecturer on adoption issues and separation trauma. She is the author of two books on adoption: The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child, published in 1993, and Coming Home to Self, due for publication in the fall of 2003. The Primal Wound has become a classic in adoption literature. Mrs. Verrier was awarded the Book of the Year Award from the Council for Equal Rights in Adoption in October 1993. In April 2003, Mrs. Verrier received the highest honor given by the American Adoption Congress: the Emma Valardi Humanitarian Award.


Thomas Ahern Sr. VP of Business Development

Thomas is the SVP of Business Development at Calo, an adoptee and an outspoken advocate for improvements in the continuum of care for young people experiencing the effects of early childhood trauma complicated by adoption. Mr. Ahern is a former School Psychologist with 30 years of behavioral health and education industry experience. Thomas earned his degrees from Boston University and the University of Connecticut. Mr. Ahern's experience growing up in a family of 5 adoptees coupled with his clinical insight and diverse professional knowledge make him a sought after lecturer and trainer on the local, state and national levels. He resides in Connecticut with his wife Belinda and their therapy dog Nando.


Bruce Cryer CEO Vybrato

Bruce Cryer has been called a renaissance man because of a four-decade career as a Singer, Actor, Dancer, Publisher, Author, Marketing Executive, CEO, Board member, Consultant, Mentor and Coach for Leaders in diverse fields. Bruce now brings his expertise and passion for renaissance living and working to a select group of clients each year. His diverse and fascinating background, leading successful companies and performing for large audiences, blends beautifully to create a powerful, culturally-rich, and results-driven approach with all those he chooses to work with. Music, dance, meditation and fun will definitely be involved! Bruce began as an actor/singer/dancer in New York, where his credits include performing more than 800 performances as The Boy in the world’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks. In 2016, Bruce is launching the Vybrato Group, an integrated mentoring, media and performance company designed to inspire individuals and organizations to use the fullness of their talents in the pursuit of their visions and dreams. He has attracted collaborators in the fields of art, music, dance, coaching, media, online learning, and business services, all dedicated to “raising the vibration of the planet”.


Heather Forbes, LCSW Speaker

Heather Forbes as an adoptive parent created the Beyond Consequences Institute to educate and provide resources for helping children previously diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bipolar, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, etc. The Beyond Consequences Institute provides a groundbreaking approach that has helped even the most difficult of family cases find stability and healing.


Boris Gindis, PhD Speaker

Boris Gindis, Ph.D. received his doctorate in developmental psychology at the Moscow Academic Research Institute of General and Educational Psychology and his postdoctoral training in School Psychology at the City University of New York. He is a licensed psychologist and a nationally certified bilingual (Russian/English) school psychologist. Dr. Gindis specializes in clinical work with children and research in the field of international adoption. He is the Chief Psychologist of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental Assessment and Remediation located in Nanuet, NY. The Center provides bilingual neuropsychological and psycho-educational evaluations and other services for internationally adopted children in cooperation with a network of bilingual mental health and education specialists.

Dr. Gindis is the principal instructor at the BGCenter Online School, where he teaches courses for parents of internationally adopted children and school and adoption agency professionals.

Dr. Gindis is the author of over 40 scientific articles and book chapters, has served as a guest-editor for psychology journals, and has been a keynote speaker at national and international conferences. He is a Full Professor (retired) and former Director of Bilingual Program at Touro College Graduate School of Education and Psychology.


Joseph Spinazzola, PhD Speaker

Dr. Spinazzola is the Executive Director of the Trauma Center and Vice President of Behavioral Health and Trauma Services at Justice Resource Institute. Dr. Spinazzola is a member of The Forensic Panel and holds an appointment at Boston University School of Medicine. In his 16th year with the Trauma Center, Dr. Spinazzola remains actively involved with provision of direct services to individuals and providers, serving as a clinician, clinical supervisor, senior trainer, and as Associate Director of our Research Department. Dr. Spinazzola is Director of the Complex Trauma Treatment Network, a national initiative to transform large regional and statewide systems of care, operated through our Center's Category II National Child Traumatic Stress Network site award. Additionally, he is Director of a National Action Partnership on Polyvictimization sponsored by the federal Office for Victims of Crime. Dr. Spinazzola specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of complex trauma in children and adults, and is the author of a number of publications in this area as well as on the topic of youth violence prevention. Dr. Spinazzola holds particular interest in dissociative coping adaptations in survivors of chronic maltreatment and neglect and in the role of transformative action in the recovery process.


Dr. Dan Hughes Speaker

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 many books including Building the Bonds of Attachment, 2nd edition, (2006), and Attachment-Focused Family Therapy Workbook (2011). He has provided training and consultations to therapists, social workers and parents throughout the US, Canada, UK, and Australia and provides regular trainings at Colby College in Maine, Annville, PA, and London, UK. He also is a visiting tutor for a graduate program in London.

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


Dr. Arthur Becker Weidman Speaker

Arthur Becker-Weidman, Ph.D. received his MSW from the University of Maryland at Baltimore and his Ph.D. from the University of Marylands Institute for Child Study. He has achieved Diplomate Status in Child Psychology and Forensic Psychology from the American Board of Psychological Specialties. He is a Registered Clinician with the Association for the Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children.

Dr. Becker-Weidman has been treating the families of adoptive and foster children for over two decades. As Director of the Center For Family Development he consults with Departments of Social Services, Residential Treatment Centers, and Mental Health Clinics throughout the US, Canada, Singapore, and Internationally. Dr. Becker-Weidmans work has focused on the evaluation and treatment of adopted and foster children and their families, Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Alcohol Related Neurological Dysfunction (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FAS). He provides training and workshops to parents and professionals across the U.S. and internationally. He has consulted with the Canadian government in Ontario and with the government of Singapore. The results of an empirical study demonstrating the effectiveness of the approach he practices, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, can be found in several other publications in professional peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Becker-Weidman is on the Board of Directors of the Association for the Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children, serves as a Vice-President for Clinical Issues, serves on the Research Committee and Training Committee, and chairs the Registration Committee. He is an adjunct Clinical Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Becker-Weidman is on the Board of the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute and is a Certified Therapist, Consultant, and Trainer of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy.

Dr. Becker-Weidman has published over a dozen papers in peer-reviewed professional journals and has presented at numerous international, regional, and local professional meetings. He also has two DVDs to his credit, Principles of Attachment Parenting, (2006) and Assessing Children with Complex Trauma and Attachment Disorder, (2008). He is the co-editor of the book, Creating Capacity for Attachment, published by Wood N Barnes in 2005, second printing 2008. He is finishing work with Deborah Shell on a book about Attachment-Facilitating Parenting that is expected to be published in 2010.

Dr. Becker-Weidman lives with his family in Williamsville, NY. He has three children, the youngest of whom as adopted from China fourteen years ago.


Dr. Lark Patterson Speaker

Lark Eshleman Patterson, Ph.D. is a child and adolescent psychotherapist who is an expert in working with children who have experienced early emotional trauma, attachment difficulties, neglect and abuse. She became a Certified School Psychologist in Pennsylvania in 1994, is Board Certified in Domestic Violence by the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, and has had successful careers as an elementary school principal and as a childrens librarian.

Dr. Eshleman is the founder of the Institute for Children and Families (ICF) which functioned in West Chester and Lancaster, PA, from 2000 to 2010. ICF was a leading treatment center for children who suffer from the lasting effects of early trauma, and from serious and destructive breaks in the bonding and attachment process between child and parent. The Center was also the site of several research projects and proved itself to be extraordinarily successful in providing efficacious, innovative and highly successful treatment for children and their families in this underserved population of adoption, foster care, and childhood trauma. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the international organization ATTACh (Association for the Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children).

Dr. Eshleman is trained and highly practiced in therapeutic practices of Theraplay, EMDR, EEG Biofeedback (Neurofeedback), Attachment and Narrative Therapy, Trauma Art Narrative Therapy (TANT), family and individual psychotherapy, and school psychology for children with significant trauma and attachment issues.

Her work has brought her into therapeutic contact with children and families who have suffered the emotional, psychological and neurologically damaging effects of war and other forms of organized violence. In 1997 she was instrumental in working with Rotary International, and the Rotary Club of Lancaster, PA to develop a treatment and professional training center in Croatia after the Balkan war. From 1997 through 2000 she volunteered more than 10 months at the center. She worked on a New Orleans/Houston base project called Welcome Home in which children returning to New Orleans schools were screened and referred for on-site programs to help them deal with the extreme stresses in their lives due to Hurricanes Katrina & Rita, and on trauma-relief teams for other natural and man-made emergencies. Recently she returned to Singapore to teach her program to professionals who will be addressing the trauma of children orphaned in natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in China in 2008.

Her publications include, Healing Emotional Trauma: Treating the Wounded Child, 3rd ed. (2009), a community-based response program for children who have been affected by war and organized violence; a video, RAD: Solving the Puzzle (2001), which received a national award in the science and medicine division of the Telly Awards. Larks book, Becoming a Family: Promoting Healthy Attachments with Your Adopted Child (Taylor Publishing Company) was published in December of 2003 to excellent reviews, and was updated and re-published in paperback in 2005. She has been a contributor to family and professional magazines and journals, and was recently highlighted in the 3rd edition of the 2009 textbook The Development of Children published by Worth Publishers. The text is used at many colleges and universities across the United States to teach child development. Its authors are Cynthia Lightfoot, Michael Cole and Sheila R. Cole.