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The Science of Connection: 
Honoring Our Somatic Intelligence


NOVEMBER 2-4, 2018

The conference features over 80 speakers highlighting the science and practice of embodied relational psychotherapy and discussing new developments in trauma therapy, social justice, sex therapy, dance, and yoga therapies.

Conference Highlights

Along with dozens of published authors, we are hosting the west coast premiere of the exciting new documentary re-evaluating the legacy of Wilhelm Reich. Join practitioners of countless somatic traditions including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, Bioenergetics, Core Energetics, Hakomi, Focusing and more!


Facilitated by leading authors and practitioners in the field of Body Psychotherapy, this experiential conference will operationalize the neurobiology and embodied experience of relational connection through a wide variety of didactic and experiential workshops.

Attendees will broaden their understanding of the current new developments underway in the field of Body Psychotherapy. Fishbowl demonstrations and experiential activities that can be readily integrated within any clinical model will help attendees incorporate somatic interventions in their clinical work to more effectively bring coherence to client suffering in these divisive times.

Attendees will be able to:

1) Define relational connection and interpersonal resonance, its risks and protective factors;

2) Incorporate updated interpersonal neurobiology research to enhance relational therapeutic proficiency;

3) Utilize a variety of body-based interventions and verbal and nonverbal approaches to increase interoceptive awareness and somatic regulation;

4) Integrate bidirectional psychobiological bottom up and top down resources for the therapeutic resolution of emotional suffering;

5) Identify personal needs for nourishing connection, healthy boundaries, and biopsychosocial self-care.

Conference Details


November 1, 2018
9:00am-5:00pm (Thursday)


November 2-4, 2018
8:00am-6:00pm (Friday)
8:00am-8:00pm (Saturday)
9:00am-1:30pm (Sunday)


  • Members Pre-Conference: $200
    Non-Members Pre-Conf: $250
  • Members Full Conference: $400
    Non-Members Full Conf: $500
  • Members Day Pass: $250 (Friday or Saturday only)
    Non Members Day Pass: $300 (Friday or Saturday only)
  • Continuing Education Credits Fee $25.00

All registration fees include meals. Pre-Conference: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Conference: Friday: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner; Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch, and an hors-d’oeuvre reception; Sunday: Breakfast and Lunch.

On campus rooms at the Conference are SOLD OUT!

Off campus overnight accommodations are available at the Best Western Inn, Carpinteria.  Limited rooms, at a special rate, are available by requesting “USABP-Pacifica Retreat.”  Please use this online form when booking.

For sponsorship inquiries please contact USABP directly at



The Ladera Lane Campus is currently accessible only by way of Ortega Ridge Rd.  Please use the Evans Ave. exit off US 101, North and the Sheffield exit off US 101 South.


The Retreat


Now, more than ever, our field must support methodological approaches that foster the repair of disconnection. We aim through this conference to highlight both the science and practice of how embodied self-awareness promotes this capacity for connection in both our clients and ourselves. We seek to highlight relational approaches to body psychotherapy that galvanize the restorative properties of our innate vitality. Speakers will include but not be limited to topics such as embodied approaches to relational trauma, vitality, the use of movement in psychotherapeutic praxis, working with infants in clinical settings, sexual health and vitality, interpersonal neurobiology and more.  The conference will feature speakers from wide intersections of our field from Reichian analysis, bioenergetics, Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing, Focusing, and more!


Dr. Judyth O. Weaver
Lifetime Achievement Award

Judyth O. Weaver is a multifaceted teacher and counselor, incorporating extensive training in diverse areas. She holds a Ph.D. in Reichian Psychology. Judyth is the creator and founding chair of the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute Ph.D. Program in Somatic Psychology. She taught at the California Institute of Integral Studies (San Francisco, CA) for 25 years and at other graduate schools in the S.F. Bay area as well as being founding faculty at Naropa Institute, now Naropa University, (Boulder, CO) in the 1970’s, creating it’s T’ai Chi Ch’uan program. She is certified in Reichian Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, massage, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Pre- and Perinatal Therapy and as a teacher of Tai Chi Chuan, a senior teacher of the Rosen Method and Sensory Awareness. A former modern dancer, she lived in Japan 1965-1968, studying classical dance (Kabuki and Noh), tea ceremony, and other aspects of Japanese culture. She then lived and studied at Shofukuji, a traditional Rinzai Zen Buddhist monastery, under Yamada Mumon Roshi. Since 1969 she has taught and led workshops at Esalen Institute in California, Hollyhock in Canada, and other educational centers in the western world, as well as in Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico and India. Her life-long studies have been in dance, body/mind/spirit integrative practices, Buddhist practice and Taoism. Judyth now lives in Seattle, Washington, having relocated there to be closer to her grandchildren. Judyth maintains a private practice in Somatic Reclaiming, her development of body/mind/spiritual integration, which bases its work on the belief that we are all born basically whole, with what we need, but traumas, teachings, etc. confuse and deter us and that with support and awareness we can reclaim our natural inclinations and live the full lives that are our birthrights. Judyth’s private practice is in Seattle, Washington and on Cortes Island, B.C. She also travels and teaches elsewhere throughout the world.

Dr. Stephen Porges
Pioneer Award

Dr. Stephen Porges’ research intersects psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology. Through his development of the Polyvagal Theory, Porges is discovering how the autonomic nervous system controls the reactions and behaviors of individuals affected by a wide-range of traumatic experiences, including sexual assault and partner violence, bullying, and the trauma associated with diagnoses and treatment of the reproductive system. Currently, Porges is developing the Kinsey Institute Sexual Trauma Research Consortium to address the life-changing affects and treatments around trauma. He is creating a team of collaborative researchers and clinicians at the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, and other partner institutions to document both the effects of trauma on people’s ability to form intimate relationships and the development of novel treatments to reverse its effects.


Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Allan Schore

Over the last two decades Dr. Schore’s interdisciplinary studies have been directed towards integrating psychological and biological models of emotional and social development across the lifespan. His contributions provide a substantial amount of research and clinical evidence which supports the proposition that the early developing, emotion-processing right brain represents the psychobiological substrate of the human unconscious described by Freud. His work has been an important catalyst in the ongoing “emotional revolution” now occurring across all clinical and scientific disciplines. Dr. Schore’s activities as a clinician-scientist span from his generating interpersonal neurobiological models of the enduring impact of early attachment trauma on brain development, to theoretical developmental psychoanalytic conceptions of the early origins of the human unconscious mind, to neuroimaging research on the neurobiology of attachment and studies of borderline personality disorder, to his biological studies of relational trauma in wild elephants, and to his practice of psychotherapy over the last 4 decades, He leads Study Groups in Developmental Affective Neuroscience & Clinical Practice in Los Angeles, Seattle-Portland-Vancouver, and Boulder, and lectures internationally. Dr. Schore is past Editor of the acclaimed Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, and a reviewer or on the editorial staff of more than 40 journals across a number of scientific and clinical disciplines. He is a member of the Society of Neuroscience, and of the American Psychological Association’s Divisions of Neuropsychology, and of Psychoanalysis. He has received a number of honors for his work, including an Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice in Trauma Psychology from the Division of Trauma Psychology and the Scientific Award from the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association, Honorary Membership by the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center Award for outstanding contributions to Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Dr. Schore has delivered a plenary address, The Paradigm Shift: The Right Brain and the Relational Unconscious, to the 2009 Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Babette Rothschld, MSW

Revolutionizing Trauma Treatment: Accurately Gauge and Modulate ANS Arousal - In Clients and Yourself 

Babette Rothschild, MSW, has been a practitioner since 1976 and a teacher and trainer since 1992. She is the author of six books, (translated into more than a dozen languages including Danish, German, French, Spanish, and Japanese) all published by WW Norton. Her newest, The Body Remembers, Volume 2: Revolutionizing Trauma Treatment; her classic bestseller, The Body Remembers, Volume 1: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment; The Body Remembers CASEBOOK: Unifying Methods and Models in the Treatment of Trauma and PTSD; Help for the Helper: The Psychophysiology of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma; 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery; and Trauma Essentials: The Go-To Guide. She is also the Series Editor of the WW Norton 8 Keys to Mental Health Series (12 titles and growing!). After living and working for 9 years in Copenhagen, Denmark she returned to her native Los Angeles. There she is writing her next books while she continues to lecture, train, and supervise professional psychotherapists worldwide. For more information, visit her website: 

Pre-Conference Workshops:

Dr. Rae Johnson

A Thousand Paper Cuts: Working with the Complex Trauma of Embodied Microaggressions

The emergence of somatic trauma models has underscored the clinical importance of recognizing and addressing the embodied imprint of trauma in the lives (and bodies) of our clients.  Increasingly, these models have broadened their scope from single incident acute trauma to the more nuanced dimensions of complex developmental and relational trauma.  Although most somatic psychotherapists now ask about a history of trauma when doing client assessments, we have yet to establish a consistent practice of inquiring about experiences of oppression, marginalization, and discrimination as forms of trauma.

In this workshop we will explore how sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression should rightly be understood as traumatic, and how to recognize the somatic impact of microaggressions – one of the most subtle yet damaging forms of oppression.  Clinical tools and strategies for working with this significant but often overlooked form of trauma will be offered, as well as practical suggestions for supporting social resilience in our clients.  Participants will learn how nonverbal communication – such as the use of space, touch, eye contact, and gesture – are used to dominate members of socially subordinated groups, and how these same body-centered tactics can be reclaimed as tools of resistance and empowerment.  Somatic dissociation and body shame as consequences of oppression will also be examined, and strategies proposed for supporting clients in the process of decolonizing their bodies.

Rae Johnson, PhD, RSMT is a queer-identified somatic psychotherapist, social worker, and scholar/researcher working at the intersection of somatics and social justice.  Key themes in Dr. Johnson’s work include the embodied experience of oppression, somatic research methods, and the poetic body.  They currently chair the doctoral program in somatic studies in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Dr. Aline LaPierre

Touch, Attachment, and the Repair of the Relational Matrix:  An Evolving Neuroscience-Informed Theory of Touch

Now that the psychological community accepts the primacy of attachment in human development and that neuroscience gives us solid evidence of the critical role of touch for normal brain maturation and regulated emotional development, the time is ripe to challenge the marginalization of touch and bodywork and reappraise their vital contributions in the repair of early relational trauma and neglect.

Our bodies tell the story of our struggles to love and be loved. How can we use the ever clearer maps of the brain, body, and processes of affective development that current neuroscience research gives us to fine tune our touch and bodywork interventions? From this perspectives, we will look at: 1) how attuned and nurturing touch can reach in to connect with the earliest pre-verbal infant states and repair interruptions in the relational/emotional matrix without creating dependency, 2) how to use touch to co-construct with clients a new map of their bodily self and identity to stabilize post-traumatic growth, 3) how to introduce clients to self-touch to support their developing capacity for self-regulation.

Dr. Aline LaPierre is the creator of NeuroAffective Touch and director of The NeuroAffective Touch Institute specializing in teaching the therapeutic use of touch to professionals in the fields of mental health, somatics, and bodywork. Aline is the co-author of the bestselling Healing Developmental Trauma: How Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship now available in twelve languages. A graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute and The New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, she is past faculty at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (2000-2010). A clinician, author, artist, consultant, speaker, and teacher, she is currently Vice-President of the United States Association of Body Psychotherapy (USABP) and maintains a private practice in West Los Angeles.

Dr. Lawrence Hedges

Clinical Management of Suicidality

The White House has declared suicide to be a national and international epidemic and mandated suicide prevention training for educational and health workers nationwide. This class is in response to mandates from California licensing boards. This intermediate to advanced course for mental health professionals begins with the awareness that our ability to predict suicide is little better than chance and that at present there are no consistently reliable treatment techniques to prevent suicide. However, in the past three decades much has been learned about the dynamics of suicide and many promising treatment approaches have been advanced that are slowly yielding empirical results.  In this class Dr. Hedges reviews the major findings about the nature of suicide, the emerging treatment processes that are promising, and the dimensions of assessment and documentation that are essential for liability management in mental health practice.

The historical advances from traditional philosophical and theological positions through the profound sociological studies of Durkheim in the 19th century and the subsequent groundbreaking psychological studies of Freud and Menninger will be reviewed. The copycat and contagion phenomena from Goethe’s Werther through Jonestown and worldwide favorite suicide sites will be elucidated along with the suicide studies of Shneidman and his many associates centering on “psychache.” A group of emerging techniques for assessment and treatment of suicidality will be reviewed along with the features in common that these treatment approaches seem to share.  Dr. Hedges will put forth his own views and a relational/developmental context. Critically, the tendencies towards blame and self blame on the part of survivors including therapists raise issues of responsibility, accurate assessment and documentation, and professional liability. Many aspects of suicide will be illustrated through literature and film.

Lawrence Hedges, Ph.D., Psy.D., ABPP is a psychologist-psychoanalyst in private practice in Orange, California, specializing in the training of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. He is director of the Listening Perspectives Study Center and the founding director of the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute in Tustin, California where he is a supervising and training psychoanalyst. He has been awarded honorary membership in the American Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Hedges is author of numerous papers and books including Cross- cultural Encounters: Bridging Worlds of Difference (2013), Listening Perspectives in Psychotherapy (1983 & 2003), Interpreting the Countertransference (1992), Strategic Emotional Involvement (1996), and Facing the Challenge of Liability in Psychotherapy: Practicing Defensively (2000 & 2007). To learn more about Dr. Hedges and his work, go to

General Information


Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus
801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

Continuing Education Credit:

This program meets qualifications  for 27 (conference and pre-conference inclusive) hours of continuing education credit for Psychologists through the California Psychological Association (PAC014) Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.

This course meets the qualifications for 27 hours (conference and pre-conference inclusive) of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

For Registered Nurses through the California Board of Registered Nurses this conference meets qualifications of 27 hours (conference and pre-conference inclusive) of continuing education credit are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177).  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

To learn more about Continuing Education Credits please visit our general information section.


To obtain a refund on your registration fee or housing, please email Full refunds for registrations and lodging will be provided up to 14 days prior to an event. Cancellations made 13-6 days prior will receive a 50% refund. There is no refund for registrations or lodging cancellations made within 5 days of your arrival or if you do not show up or leave a program or event early. The Retreat at Pacifica reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. In this instance, you will be refunded in full.

Disability Service On Campus:

It is the policy of The Retreat at Pacifica Graduate Institute to accommodate attendees with disabilities in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Please contact in advance if you have special needs or require assistance due to a disabling condition while you are attending a program. If you are accompanied by a service dog, please contact Disability Services directly (805.679.6125), as all animals visiting campus must have pre-approval. For additional information regarding Pacifica’s policies, visit

For additional information, including travel, cancellation policy, and disability services please visit our general information section.

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