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MPAF Integrative Health Conference

June 9, 2017
Bon Secours Retreat Center, Marriottsville, MD

5 CEs, $165/MPA members, $250/Non-members, lunch included

Student rates are half the member or non-member rate depending on your status as an MPAGS member. MPAGS students have the opportunity to attend for free in exchange for helping with registration and monitoring duties. For information on this opportunity please email


8:30 - 9:00 amRegistration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 10:00 am Keynote Address – Awakening your Inner Pharmacy: Changing Mental Health Naturally Stephany Porter, ND, FABNO (1 CE Credit)
10:00 - 10:15 amMorning Break
10:15 am - 12:15 pmMorning Break-out Sessions (2 workshop options - 2 CE Credits)
1. Clinical Application of Mindfulness-Based Skills for Children and Teens
     Mary Alvord, Ph.D. and Erin Lewis-Morrarty, Ph.D.
2. Integrative Treatment Planning: A Role for Biofeedback and/or Neurofeedback
    Mary Esty, LCSW-C, Ph.D.
12:30 - 2:00 pmYoga and/or walking meditation and/or Lunch (Lunch will be provided)
Dress appropriately for exercise and bring your mat
2:15 - 4:15 pmAfternoon Break-out Sessions (2 workshop options - 2 CE Credits)
3. 5 Keys to Unlocking the Heart of Healing
    Bridget Hughes M.Ac., L.Ac., NBCCH
4. Incorporating Mindfulness in Your Practice - with a Focus on Trauma Management
    Akira Otani, Ed.D., ABPH

Program Descriptions

Awakening your Inner Pharmacy: Changing Mental Health Naturally – Keynote Address

Stephany Porter, ND, FABNO
9:00 am – 10:00 am
1 CE Credit

Workshop Level:  Beginner through Advanced.

There is a growing body of evidence to support epigenetics and the effect our environment, food choices, nutrient deficiencies and thoughts have on our health and well being. It is well established that the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA) and Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) have an effect on mental health. We will explore the pathways and their role in Anxiety, Depression and ADHD. Once established, we will explore the effects of diet, lifestyle, nutrients and botanical medicines on the above mentioned mental health issues.

This keynote is designed to help you:

  • Understand the importance of a healthy gastrointestinal system and the role bacteria play in our sense of well-being;
  • Review and understand the effects of stress on mental health and our inner pharmacy;
  • Learn naturopathic insights and tools to balance the GBA and HPA axis in relation to mental health.

Stephany Porter, N.D., FABNO, is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, holds a specialty in Naturopathic oncology and is the founder of The Bodhi Clinic in Ellicott City, MD. Dr. Porter is a graduate of Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA and bring seventeen years of clinical experience. She is passionate about integrative medicine, patient centered care and treating the individual. Dr. Porter has spoken at professional conferences, hospitals, non-profits and teaches a yearly three week detox class. Dr. Porter walks the talk and feels deep gratitude to be able to practice Naturopathic Medicine.

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Morning Session - Choose one of the following two breakout sessions:

10:15 am – 12:15 pm, 2 CE Credits

Clinical Application of Mindfulness-Based Skills for Children and Teens
Mary Alvord, Ph.D. & Erin Lewis-Morrarty
Workshop Level:  Intermediate. Familiarity with common childhood and adolescent disorders as well as principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy will be assumed.

Emotion regulation deficits and psychological inflexibility are considered core dysfunctions that characterize many common disorders of childhood and adolescence, including ADHD and behavioral disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, and autism spectrum disorders. Interest in adapting mindfulness-based treatments for children and adolescents has increased steadily in recent years, given the robust research base that supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based treatments for adult disorders. Mindfulness is described as a state of awareness or consciousness that is different from our default experience that involves "paying attention, in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally" (Kabat-Zinn, 2013). Proposed mechanisms of mindfulness-based treatments on psychological disorders in adulthood include increasing decentered awareness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, attentional control, psychological flexibility, and self-compassion. Considering these mechanisms of change, it follows that mindfulness-based treatments might show similar transdiagnostic efficacy if applied to childhood and adolescent disorders. Additionally, there is growing interest in teaching parents mindfulness practices as an adjunct to standard parent management training, in order to provide additional skills to help parents more effectively respond to their child's emotions and behaviors.

This pragmatic workshop will attempt an integration of what is known about the efficacy of developmental modifications of mindfulness-based treatments for children and adolescents, with experiential practice of mindfulness skills. Particular attention will be paid to both experiencing various mindfulness practices and to developing competencies in explaining and utilizing them with child and adolescent clients. Awareness of the limitations of the appropriateness of the application of mindfulness techniques across different childhood disorders will be discussed. There will be an emphasis on direct experiential practice and discussion of cases in addition to presentation of recent research on the topic.

This workshop is designed to help you:

  • Summarize the existing evidence base for mindfulness-based treatments for children and adolescents;
  • Explain the rationale for integrating developmentally modified mindfulness exercises into treatment of children and adolescents;
  • Demonstrate ways of introducing and utilizing mindfulness in clinical practice with child and adolescent clients;
  • Recognize which child and adolescent clients are most likely to benefit from the integration of mindfulness practices into treatment.

Mary Alvord, Ph.D., is a psychologist and director of Alvord, Baker & Associates, LLC, a group practice in MD which emphasizes evidence-based treatment, research and training. With more than 35 years of clinical experience with children and teens, she integrates a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and systems approach. She is co-author of the book, Resilience Builder Program, Relaxation and Self-Regulation Techniques for Children and Teens and Relaxation and Wellness for Adults. Both CD's and digital recordings include mindfulness exercises. In addition, she has co-authored a forthcoming workbook for teens: Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens, which also includes a mindfulness activity.

Erin Lewis-Morrarty, Ph.D., is a private practitioner at Alvord, Baker & Associates. After graduating from the Clinical Science Ph.D. program at the University of Delaware, she worked as a Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Maryland, where she collaborated on developing an adaptation of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, focusing on parents as emotion coaches (PCIT-ECO). Dr. Lewis-Morrarty's research and clinical interests have always centered on the reciprocal influence of parent-child interactions on individual emotion regulation and psychological well-being. She has attended several mindfulness-based trainings and retreats in an effort to understand and integrate these tools into her life and clinical practice.

Integrative Treatment Planning: A Role for Biofeedback and/or Neurofeedback
Mary Lee Esty, LCSW-C, Ph.D.
Workshop Level:  All Levels. Effective biofeedback treatment planning is dependent upon basic understanding on of the autonomic nervous system especially in anxiety disorders.

Personal technology now gives therapists and clients alike simple access to powerful tools to enhance personal growth. From Carl Jung's fascination with skin conductance biofeedback, to the Menninger Clinic psychophysiological lab that was the US incubator demonstrating the potential of these technologies, we now have the Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Center using portable devices for heart failure. Neurofeedback is growing in use for treatment of common symptoms complexes such as ADHD, addiction, depression, panic attacks, TBI and post-tramatic stress (PTS).

This is an interactive workshop about biofeedback (BFB) and neurofeedback (NFB) application and what uses are appropriate for presenting problems. Starting with a historical view of the technological and clinical development, this field will be explored through current applications and supporting research. We will explore applications of BFB/NFB, available instruction, instrumentation, and clinical uses in treatment. There are a variety of devices, and programs for each field. For example, BFB programs can address physical problems as well as, autonomic nervous system (ANS) issues. Typical treatment areas include insomnia, pain syndromes, including migraine, anxiety, panic and cardiac problems. NFB is considered a central nervous system (CNS) application that is well documented for long-term concussion/TBO effect that include ADD, depression, PTS, violent behaviors, suicide risk, cognitive functioning, and overlooked metabolic issues. Medication reduction in NRB research with veterans with TBI/PYS has produced unexpected reduction in self-medication and prescription medication use.

Two categories of difficult-to-treat conditions requiring combining BFB & NFB. Fibromyalgia and addiction, need both interventions to address the multiple systems involved. Combining BRB aand NFB for treatment of fibromyalgia is complicated but necessary and required appropriate body therapies. Treating addiction required integration of BFB/NFB with many other therapies. But integrating BFB/NFB had produced striking results in recovery. Addiction outcome research dating back to 1988, and more recent research with crack cocaine addicts, will be presented.
A clinical history form will be given that helps identify some unusual problems such as a history of concussion, a silent contributor in my symptom complexes, but can be important in helping clients in legal procedding and identifying specialised medical care, such as a need for a specialist. A citation list will be provided for more in-depth exploration. Participants' clinical cases are invited for discussion.

This workshop is designed to help you:

  • Decide which BFB or NFB therapy might have a positive impact on mood, cognitive, social, behavioral, addiction or physiological functioning;
  • Incorporate your clients' psychophysiological profile in a referral decision for complex cases;
  • Identify where/how to search for qualified BFB and NFB practitioners;
  • Decide if you have interest in being trained as a BFB and/or NFB practitioner and incorporate some BFB/NFB therapies into your practice.

Mary Lee Esty, LCSW-C, Ph.D., is President of the Brain Wellness and Biofeedback Center (BWB), Bethesda, MD, providing biofeedback and neurofeedback treatments for post-concussion symptoms, including headache, pain syndromes, insomnia, fatigue, cognitive problems, physiological, mood disorders, ADD and post-traumatic stress. These are provided to children and adults. Her first research for TBI was done with the Kessler Rehabilitation Hospital, published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation (2001). Research treating OEF/OIF veterans appears in Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, 2012, and Military Medicine Research. Data is now being processed with OEF/OIF veterans in collaboration with the Traumatic Injury Research program in the military medical school in Bethesda (USUHS). Ongoing research with veterans and first responders continues.

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Lunch and Demonstrations

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

12:30 - 1:15 Lunch or Walking Meditation with Akira Otani, Ed.D., ABPH (In case of bad weather Meditation will be held inside.)

1:15 - 2:00 Lunch or Yoga with Bana Qashu, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher and The Meeting Yogi

Lunch Options: Meditation/Lunch, Lunch/Yoga, or Lunch only

Lunch is included in your registration fee. A buffet lunch is served until 1:30. As long as you are in line by 1:30 you will be served. Please make note of any dietary restriction on your registration.

Please come dressed comfortably if you plan to participate in the Meditation or Yoga and be sure to bring a mat. Participants in these demonstrations will be required to sign an activities waiver prior to participation.

Register now!
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Afternoon Session - Choose one of the following two breakout sessions:

2:15 pm – 4:15 pm, 2 CE Credits

5 Keys to Unlocking the Heart of Healing
Bridget Hughes, M.Ac., L.Ac., NBCCH
Workshop Level:  Beginner

Attend 5 Keys to Unlocking the Heart of Healing and learn to use your heart-mind-body connection to heal. This class is a dynamic interplay of cutting-edge mind-body science interwoven with inspiring wisdom stories, fascinating case studies, and experiential exercises to equip you with the tools to unlock dormant or latent inner resources that impact mental, spiritual, and physical health.
Self-healing themes include: Cultivating a state of heart that unlocks Inner Molecules of Medicine ®, Reversing Divine Deficit Disorder ®, and using a Feeling Mantra ® to uplift the feeling tone in your heart to profoundly improve the ability of your body to heal.

Deep and lasting transformative change can be approached through the heart, the mind, or the body. An intervention in any of the three impacts all three. Bridget will share research behind some of the biophysiological blocks she encountered on her own path to psychological healing: cerebral allergies, microbes that altered optimal brain functioning, and genetic SNP's that predisposed her, and two of her ancestors who had been hospitalized for mental illness, to malnutrition states that functionally appeared to be mental illness. There will be an opportunity to brainstorm as a group how to best support, guide and help suffering patients faced with complex biophysiologic blocks to mental health in the context of a medical system that doesn't yet present an easily accessed organized approach to such challenges.
Unlocking heart-mind-body healing unlocks our fullest capacities for living playfully, powerfully, and in alignment with our sacred purpose. Heal & grow from the inside out!

This workshop is designed to help you:

  • Identify 5 ways to use the heart-mind-body connection to unlock Inner Molecules of Medicine;
  • Use a Feeling Mantra Meditation for self-healing and transformative change;
  • Identify and discuss some of the currently unsolved challenges of biophysiological blocks to psychological health.

Bridget Hughes, M.Ac., L.Ac., NBCCH is author of Unlocking the Heart of Healing (Healing Point Press, 2014). Playfully referred to as High Priestess Voodoo Goddess for her ability to help clients unleash dormant or latent inner resources for growth and healing, Bridget is an executive coach, corporate advisor, and owns two healing arts centers including Healing Point Acupuncture and Healing Arts, partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine. Whether seeking complex health solutions or quantum breakthroughs, Bridget's international clientele use foundational Unlocking the Heart of Healing principles to unlock their heart-mind-body connection for unexpected healing, peak performance, and powerful, heart-centered outcomes.

Incorporating Mindfulness in Your Practice - with a Focus on Trauma Management
Akira Otani, Ed.D., ABPH
Workshop Level:  Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced

This workshop will review the basic theories and techniques of mindfulness, i.e., the "Touch-and-Return" 4-step procedure. We will discuss the general applications of mindfulness in psychotherapy and its specific use in trauma work. Previous experience and/or knowledge in meditation, including the "third-wave CPT" (e.g., MBSR, MBCT, DBT, ACT), will be helpful but not necessary. Both didactic and experiential approaches will be used.

This workshop is designed to help you:

  • Utilize the "touch-and-return" mindfulness techniques;
  • Experience mindfulness and describe its cognitive/affective/physiological effects;
  • Explain to the client the basic procedure of the "touch-and-return" mindfulness;
  • Discuss mindfulness applications in trauma work.

Akira Otani, Ed.D., ABPH, is currently a psychologist at Spectrum Behavioral Health in Arnold, MD. Prior to joining the current practice in 2008, he served on the graduate faculty at the Johns Hopkins University and later worked as Senior Staff Psychologist at the University of Maryland Counseling Center. He spent five months from September 2016 through January 2017 in Kobe, Japan, where he studied Buddhist meditation with Theravadian and Zen monks while participating in fMRI research projects in Kyoto. He has so far meditated more than 1800 hours.

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