Early Childhood Mental Health Conference to Take Place in San Diego

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Art, dance, play, music, hypnosis, yoga, martial arts and petting horses.

What do they have in common?

They are all healing practices that play an essential role in helping children to establish a secure attachment and connection with others and to develop empathy and self-regulation, the ability to calm themselves down when they’re upset and cheer themselves up when they’re down.

These and many other experiential approaches will be the focus of the 8th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health Conference, sponsored by the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the County Health and Human Services Agency.

The conference will take place Sept. 14-16, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley. To register visit, or call (888) 229-6263 or 858-534-3940 or email

At the three-day conference, experts in psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling, occupational therapy, play therapy, expressive and healing arts will lead interactive workshops which will highlight the therapeutic role of teachers, coaches, clinical and transdisciplinary teams, parents, grandparents and caregivers.

Human experiences across many cultures have always involved interactions such as touch and storytelling and activities that included imagination, play, music, dance, sports, and creation of images. Many of these activities have been used in healing practices and, according to early childhood mental health experts, are now known to be effective in shifting neurological systems involved in stress responses and attachment.

“The goal of this educational activity is to provide clinical education on evidence-based practices, trauma-informed care and innovative interventions,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of County Behavioral Health Services. “These interventions support healthy development, increase resiliency, promote social and emotional competencies, strengthen relationships between children and caregivers, and support foster families and caregivers.”

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact