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CAPTP Colloquium: Finding the Body of the Mind

Date: Sep 26, 2019 11:45 am


Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program

William Alanson White Institute

20 West 74th Street, Room 3A


Thursday, September 26, 2019

11:45 am to 1:00 pm

Todd Germain, LCSW, OTR

Finding the Body of the Mind: Integrating Occupational Therapy’s Theories of Mutual Regulation and Dysregulation into Psychotherapy*

Todd Germain will present a biological, relational perspective on what Donald Winnicott termed impingements on the potential space between parent and child. An important addition to the understanding of biological and relational impingements on parent-child emotional dynamics comes from the field of occupational therapy (OT), which views sensory-motor regulatory capacities as forming the basis for quality relating and engaging. From an OT perspective, impingements on relating and adaptive functioning result from compromised regulation of arousal, affect, attention, and activity level on the part of the child, the parent, and/or the child/parent “fit.” Sensory integration and sensory processing theories offer additional frameworks for understanding and communicating with parents about patterns of mutual dysregulation in the parent-child relationship. When integrated with psychodynamic formulations, these ideas from OT research and practice can provide parents with new, more effective and flexible narratives of their children’s inner lives and behavior, and of their own narratives as parents.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will obtain and introductory understanding of sensory processing theory.

  2. Participants will learn how to apply sensory processing concepts to their work with parents and children in psychotherapy.

Todd Germain (LCSW, OTR) is a graduate of CAPTP. Todd is the Director of the Parent Center at the White Institute and teaches and supervises students here as well. He has been an Adjunct Faculty member at Fordham University.

Todd is the co-author of “Lesson Planning a la Carte,” a book that helps teachers to make their lessons accessible to children and adolescents with special learning needs. He has consulted in a variety of educational settings to implement this program. He has presented to parent and school groups on a wide range of subjects including autistic spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and sensory processing disorder.

*A version of this paper was published in the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy (2018), Vol. 17 (4).