Full Course Description

Beyond Behaviors: Effective Neuroscience-based Tools to Transform Childhood Behaviors featuring Dr. Mona Delahooke

Program Information


  1. Determine treatment strategies/techniques based on each individual’s emotional/ sensory/motor profile and neuroception of safety in social-emotional development.
  2. Distinguish the difference between intentional misbehavior and stress responses.
  3. Integrate mind and body-based techniques for the treatment of mental health, behavioral and developmental challenges.
  4. Employ the 3-step process of personalized attunement to help children become calm and emotionally regulated.
  5. Argue the importance of a cross-disciplinary approach to supporting social-emotional development.
  6. Investigate the critical importance of the “therapeutic use of self” when working with children.


Module 1: Why Our Current Behavioral Approaches Miss the Mark & Fail our Kids

  • What really causes children to lose emotional or behavioral control?
  • Moving from a “fixed” mindset to a “Neurodevelopmental” mindset
  • Three main reasons current treatment protocols fall short
  • Reframing behaviors based on context and as “adaptations”
  • The problems with time-out, isolation, “attention-seeking behavior” and “willful disobedience”
  • Intentional mis-behavior or unintentional stress response?
  • Utilizing a developmental roadmap

Module 2: A New Way of Understanding Behavioral Problems

  • The “Developmental Iceberg”
  • 4 Causes of Behavioral Problems
  • Utilizing the polyvagal concept of “neuroception” to understand and change behaviors
  • Developing neurodevelopmentally-informed treatment plans

Module 3: Underneath & Beyond Behaviors: Learning the Language of a Child’s Nervous System

  • Two branches & Three pathways of the autonomic nervous system
  • Creating co-regulation with kids
  • The therapeutic use of self
  • The Green, Red, & Blue Pathways of a child’s nervous system

Module 4: The Six Key Processes of Social & Emotional Development & DIR Therapy

  • Assessment of processes
  • Identifying feelings of vulnerability behind mis-behaviors
  • Crossing the “Expectation” Gap
  • Using the Six Neurodevelopmental Processes in treatment
  • The DIR model of Therapy

Module 5: Nervous-System Based Techniques for Behavioral Change, Part 1

  • Six “C’s” in the developmental process
  • Practicing personalized attunement
  • “IDEA” model
  • Sensory Over-Responsive Checklist
  • Sensory Under-Responsive Checklist
  • Sensory-Craving
  • Clinical Examples
  • Tracking a Child’s Stress Load
  • Basics of Play

Module 6: Nervous-System Based Techniques for Behavioral Change, Part 2

  • Neurodiversity, Trauma, & ASD Examples
  • De-escalation strategies
  • Developing a child’s own strategies
  • Recognizing & naming autonomic states
  • Clinical examples
  • Addressing “disruptive” behaviors
  • Interpreting behaviors in neurodiverse individuals
  • Trauma & behavioral problems
  • Racism & its impacts on children
  • Analyze benefits, risks and limitations of a neuro-biologically informed treatment of behavioral disorders in children
  • Conclusions

Copyright : 11/06/2020

Oppositional Defiance or Faulty Neuroception: Disruptive Behaviors through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory

Program Information


  1. Categorize specific behaviors as they relate to each of the three basic pathways of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
  2. Utilize neuroception-informed interventions, including physiological co-regulation and interpersonal engagement, to treat oppositional behavior. 
  3. Appraise the efficacy of integrating the Polyvagal Theory into “behavior management” programs. 


Behavior Challenges:  Intentional Choice or Stress Response?

  • What the Polyvagal Theory brings to the “behavior management” table
  • The autonomic nervous system (ANS)
  • Neuroception:  How children’s brains perceive safety and stress (and what that means for behavior)
  • Is ODD a behavior disorder, or a nervous system looking for relational safety?

Clinical Strategies for Building Relational Safety and Security

  • Getting started:  Matching a given behavior to corresponding ANS pathway
  • Discerning between an intentional behavior and a stress response
  • Co-regulation, warmth and interpersonal engagement
  • How to reach the “unreachable” kids and teens
  • What about behavior contracts and incentive plans?

Copyright : 08/05/2020