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Trauma Institute


Join SOAR and the Beau Biden Foundation for two days of

Professional Development for Trauma Informed Practice. 


August 6th and 7th

Delaware Law School of Widener University

Wilmington, DE 

Protecting the Future With Best Practices Today



Ariana Langford

Survivor and Advocate




Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP

Psychologist and Author


Before 07.06.2019

1-Day $125

2-Day Registration $200

After 07.06.2019

2-Day Registration $250


For Students

1-Day $75

2-Day $150

includes coffee, continental breakfast, and boxed lunch

Documentation of up to 12-hours of Continuing Education will be provided

Institute Agenda


Workshop Descriptions

Tuesday - August 6th


8:00 - 9:00 -- Registration


8:30 - 9:15 -- Welcome & Opening Remarks

9:15 - 9:45 --  Keynote with Ariana Langford

Ariana Langford knows that she is one of the lucky ones.  She endured significant physical, emotional and sexual abuse through childhood and adolescence, and was further victimized by systems that were intended to protect the vulnerable.  She emerged from the wastelands of trauma and built a good life, complete with marriage, children, college education and a career.  After twenty years of pretending her past had no impact on her present, she was forced to turn and take another look.  It was then that Ariana saw the devastating impact of childhood trauma, not only on friends she knew, but many others she met.  Can a lay person make any difference?  Come hear Ariana share her message of hope and her perspective on the trauma-aware client in the day of the trauma-informed state.   

9:45 - 10:00 -- Break

10:00 - 12:00 -- Plenary with Christine A. Courtois, PhD, BPP


The Lifetime Reverberations of Incest and Child Sexual Abuse 

The characteristics and after effects of Incest and other forms of child sexual abuse have been extensively researched over the past several decades. Findings from a variety of fields of study have consistently shown how such abuse can have long-term effects across many life domains, causing considerable stress and anguish for survivors and their loved ones. Building on the survivor presentation that precedes it, this presentation will provide an overview of the wide variety of long-term effects. Also addressed will be advances in treatment oriented towards personal transformation and healing. 

1. Attendees will be able to identify three categories of long-term effects of incest and child sexual abuse 
2. Attendees will be able to identify several long-term effects of incest and child sexual abuse.
3. Attendees will be able to identify three elements of treatment for the long-term effects of incest and child sexual abuse.


Treatment of Complex PTSD -- Results of ISTSS Expert Clincian Survey on Best Practices

The New Haven Trauma Competency Group -- Cook & Newman

Clincial Practice Guideline for the Treatment of PTSD in Adults --

Brown & Courtois

Treatment of Complex Posttraumatic Self-Dysregulation

12:00 - 1:00 -- Lunch - Barrister's Club

Tuesday- August 6th


1:00 - 4:15 (break 2:30 to  2:45)

(when registering please select a first and second choice workshop)

Stop the Shooshing: Sex Education's Role as Sexual Abuse/Assault Prevention

Catherine Dukes, PhD, MSW and Isabella Weber, MP 

Sex education can be a powerful tool to prevent and respond to sexual abuse. However, many parents and providers have not had adequate access to their own sex education in   order to provide age-appropriate and comprehensive sex education for children and youth.   In this workshop, participants will learn about the Circles of Sexuality, sex education as sexual abuse prevention, elements of effective consent education, how to answer sensitive, difficult and sexuality questions (age-appropriately) and how to get started with providing shame-free comprehensive sex education to youth. 


Participants will be able to:

  •  Identify two reasons why sex education can is one effective form of sexual  abuse prevention

  •  Describe one important educational topic within 2 out of the 5 circles of sexuality

  •  Practice answering sexuality questions in a way that demonstrates being  an ask-able adult.

Healing Deep Wounds with Brave Brains: Addressing the impact of early losses

Jessica Sinarski, LPCMH

Child abuse and neglect sends little brains into chronic distress and mistrust. Unfortunately, these traumatic experiences are often coupled with the primal wounds left by foster care and pre-adoptive losses. This can lead to severe behavioral issues, poor mental health, learning difficulties, care-giver burnout and other kinds of social-emotional distress. Learn how to implement the brain-based framework that is changing outcomes for children in the world of foster care and adoption in this lively and hope-filled and workshop. Helpful for all adults involved in the lives children who have experienced early life trauma.


Participants will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the two main operating systems in the brain.

  • Reframe trauma-related challenges in light of neuroscience and the power of     story-telling

  • Build skills for increasing calm and cooperation and reducing challenging   behavior

Preventing Intergenerational Transmission of Substance Use Disorders by Addressing Trauma  

Catherine Devaney McKay, MC, CAADC, LAMFT

The development of substance use disorder is related to several key factors including genetics, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and trauma. The prevention of ACEs in families where the Parents have SUD is critical to the prevention of intergenerational transmission of SUD. SUDs have been linked to various neuronal and behavioral impairments that have been shown to impact parents' ability to develop secure attachments with their children, increasing the risk of ACEs. The presentation will explore the cyclical connection between trauma/ACEs, SUD, and insecure attachment and will describe approaches including family therapy and psychoeducation and coaching with pregnant and parenting women in justice and SUD treatment programs to reduce ACEs and trauma for their children.

Participants will be able to:

  •  Learn the connection between ACEs, trauma, and genetics to the development to substance use disorders

  •  Learn the connection between ACEs, SUD, and insecure attachment to children born in the next generation

  •  Learn about some psychoeducational and therapeutic approaches designed to heal insecure attachment and reduce ACEs in the children of adults with SUD.

Military Sexual Assault Prevention, Response, and Treatment  

Estelle R. Murray and Kristin Salber-Black, Ph.D

The Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) promotes military readiness by eliminating sexual assault and ensuring excellence in victim advocacy and prevention efforts through the execution of SAPR policy, planning, and oversight across the DoD Community.  Within the Delaware National Guard, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) office is commited to sexual assault prevention and response. This undertaking employs the support of leaders at all levels to create a climate of confidence and trust where everyone is afforded respect and dignity, while providing an uncompromising commitment to victim assistance, a healthy culture that supports those who make the difficult decision to report a sexual assault crime when it does occur.  Part one of this two part session will focus on the services and support to victims and survivors of sexual assault and information on the reporting process, whether they file a restricted or unrestricted report.


In 2006, the Veterans Health Administration's Office of Mental Health Services established the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Support Team to conduct national monitoring of MST screening and treatment within VA, expand MST-related education and training, promote best practices in the care of Veterans who experience MST, and provide consultation and policy recommendations related to MST for consideration by OMHS. Universal screening has found that at least 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men have told their VHA healthcare provider that they experienced sexual trauma in the military. The VA has responded by offering care for MST-related conditions free of charge, and by designating an MST Coordinator at every VA medical center to implement the work of the national MST Support Team on a local level.

Participants will be able to:

  •  Understand the process and options for reporting sexual assault within the military structure, and identify services available to victims and survivors in the military.

  •  How experiencing military sexual trauma (MST) can be different from experiencing other traumas

  •  How these differences shape the impact of MST, and affect survivors' presentation in treatment, and how this knowledge can inform case conceptualization and approach to treatment

Wednesday - August 7th


9:00 - 12:15 (break from 10:30 to 10:45)

(when registering please select a first and second choice workshop)

Women and Justice System Involvement: What's Trauma Got To Do With It?

Aileen Fink, PhD and Rachel Boulden

It is widely recognized that a high percent of women who come in contact with the criminal justice system have had trauma exposure during their lifetime. These trauma experiences increase the likelihood of justice involvement including incarceration and high rates of recidivism. Adoption of a trauma informed approach can reduce the risk of re-traumatization, and promote healing and recovery for incarcerated women. This presentation will share national efforts to adopt trauma informed practice in justice settings as well as highlight efforts at Delaware's Baylor Women's Correctional Institution to implement trauma informed care.


Participants will be able to:

  •  Increase awareness of the connection between trauma exposure and justice system involvement and the impact on social, emotional and behavioral functioning

  •  Understand how to apply trauma informed care principles with women under correctional supervision and for the staff who serve them

  •  Highlight trauma informed care efforts at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution

Integrating the Whole Person in Recovery: Adjunctive Therapies and Holistic Approaches to Promote Healing for Survivors

Jeannine Cicco Barker, Psy.D., ATR-BC; Caroline Grace Ashurst, M.Ac., Dipl.Ac.; and April Elliot, Ed.S, C-IAYT, E-RYT

Trauma impacts every aspect of a person's being: emotionally, physically, spiritually,cognitively, and relationally. Thus, a holistic approach to trauma recovery and healing is often necessary for survivors. However, traditional psychotherapy has limitations with regard to the integration of the whole person in treatment. As such, other therapeutic modalities may need to be considered and incorporated to promote healing and recovery for survivors. In this workshop, clinicians who specialize in adjunctive therapies and treatments will provide an overview of options and discuss what they provide in treatment, either in addition to or beyond traditional psychotherapy. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, art therapy, and trauma-sensitive yoga will be presented by trauma-informed clinicians and specialists in each of these areas.


Participants will be able to:

  •  Learn how Five Element Acupuncture goes to the root, and gives breath and movement to a person's constitution through the many tools it engenders in the treatment room. Utilizing the Chinese Five Elements as a structure for promoting wellness on the body-mind-spirit allows for autonomy and agency to arise. Its gentle approach stimulates a renewed relationship with self, empowerment, and the remembrance that we are -already- whole. Many of the tools of applying Five Element theory to healing are very accessible and have an incredible restorative capacity, whether in the context of acupuncture treatment or any other sphere of healing.

  •   Identify 2 ways in which art therapy promotes healing and recovery for trauma survivors.

  •  Understand what trauma-informed yoga is and how it can enhance trauma recovery.

Becoming Mom: The impact of past trauma on birth, pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Megan Ellow, LCSW 

Pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period are filled with uncertainty and challenges for most people. Survivors of trauma, however, experience additional struggles when they become pregnant. Trauma can impact physical and mental health of mom and baby, attachment and bonding, and feeding choices. Women with trauma histories are also at greater risk of developing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). This workshop will explore the ways providers can support pregnant persons with a trauma history in their journey to parenthood 

Participants will be able to:

  • Understand the impact of trauma on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding

  • Learn ways to support pregnant persons with a trauma history and empower them in their birth choices 

  • Learn how to screen pregnant women for PMADs (Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders) and evidenced based treatments for PMADs.

Interviewing & Counseling: Preparing the Trauma Survivor for Trial 

Kimberly Carpenter, Susan Bair Purcell, Esq.; Islanda L. FInamore, Esq.; Andrew C. Dalton, Esq.; Rick DiLiberto, Esq.; and Victoria R. Witherell, Esq.

For some survivors, criminal and civil cases may arise out of the events of their trauma. Some are asked to identify and testify against their attackers in the criminal setting, then pursue protective orders in the civil setting. Some may take it a step further to file civil lawsuits against their attackers to bring the issue to light and seek compensation for their physical and mental injuries. This breakout session will teach attorneys how to communicate with both adult and child survivors in a trauma informed way to guide them through the process and prepare them to testify at   hearing and trials. CLE Pending.

Participiants will be able to:

  • Learn how to ask questions in a trauma informed way to identify facts and other information that may be relevant to the case.

  • Identify issues that may be raised upon cross examination of a survivor, and how to   prepare that witness for testimony at a hearing or trial.

  • Address issues unique to trauma victims that may arise ahead of a stressful event, such as a hearing or trial.

12:00 - 1:00 -- Lunch - Barrister's Club

Wednesday - August 7th


1:15 - 4:30 (break 2:45 - 3:00)

(when registering please select a first and second choice workshop)

Getting from Trauma Aware to Trauma Informed: A Four Stage Developmental Framework Model

Marilyn Sielbold, MSCC; Nancy McGee; and Sharon Merriman-Nai, MCC; Debra Berke, PhD; Kristen Doughty, EdD, MSN, RN

Becoming truly trauma-informed doesn't happen overnight! A Four Stage model supports a paradigm shift in developing knowledge, attitudes and skills over time.  Participants in this workshop will learn through case studies and examples, of how each of the developmental steps - trauma aware, trauma sensitive, and trauma responsive – depend upon competency building through learning, and how Delaware institutions of higher education have been supporting this process of learning to becoming "trauma-informed".


Participants will be able to:                                             

  • Leave this workshop with ideas and resources to help staff and organizations develop Trauma-informed competencies over time. 

  • Explain the Developmental Model for becoming Trauma-informed.    

  • Identify the paradigm shift in knowledge, skills and attitudes as they develop through 4 stages.                                                                         

  • Evaluate resources that can be helpful in each of the four stages.

"The Tale" Film Viewing and Panel Discussion

Stephen DiJulio, PhD, Valerie Marek, LCSW, CADC, Ariana Langford, and Patricia Dailey Lewis, Esq.

Jennifer Fox is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker and professor in her 40s when her mother, Nettie, calls her in alarm after discovering an essay she wrote when she was 13. The essay is about a "relationship" Jennifer had when she was 13 which she dismisses as upsetting her mother because her boyfriend was "older".

After re-reading the essay Jennifer begins to do research on that period in her life. She imagines herself as being older and sophisticated but is surprised at how small and childlike she appears in photos from that time. Jennifer's relationship began one summer when she went to an intensive horse training camp with three other girls. She lived with the beautiful and enigmatic Mrs. G, who also had Jenny and the girls run with professional coach Bill Allens, who was in his 40s. After the summer ends Mrs. G and Bill reveal to Jenny they are lovers.

After the camp, Jenny keeps her horse with Mrs. G and continues to see her and Bill on the weekends. Eventually it transitions into Jenny spending time with Bill alone. He begins sexually grooming her, eventually raping her repeatedly, telling her that they are "making love".

When Jennifer's partner finds letters written to her by Bill, he says that she was raped, but she refuses to see it that way, proclaiming that she is not a victim. However she slowly begins to question whether her recollections are accurate and eventually realizes despite her protests she had been exhibiting symptoms of being sexually abused for years.

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify ways in which psychological dissociation can be adaptive or maladaptive over the course of a survivor's life span

  • Identify the effects of child sexual abuse on the secondary victims (spouses, partners or parents)

  • Learn the use of confrontation as a tool in recovery


Caroline Grace Ashurst

M.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Caroline is the founder of Restorative Harmony Acupuncture in Philadelphia, PA. Caroline is passionate about Women's health from pre-conception to postpartum and beyond, and is committed to helping facilitate support, empowerment, and transformation for her community of clients through her acupuncture practice, holistic hormonal health coaching, and placenta encapsulation services. In addition to Caroline's private acupuncture practice in Philadelphia, she is a certified Acu-Detox Specialist (NADA) and was the Developer + Program Director of a group-based detox acupuncture program at Bowling Green Brandywine, a drug and alcohol detox facility in Kennett Square, PA. Caroline also co-facilitates yoga + acupuncture workshops at yoga studios throughout Philadelphia and offers acupuncture on transformative detox yoga retreats. Ms. Ashurst shares her passion for education and community as a (former) adjunct instructor in the Acupuncture department at the WON Institute of Graduate Studies and a curator for healing arts workshops at creative arts festivals in the Mid-Atlantic.

Debra Berke


Debra is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She also holds a Ph.D. in Family Studies from the University of Delaware. Dr. Berke is Professor and Director of Psychology Programs at Wilmington University.  Prior to joining the Wilmington University faculty in 2009, she taught family studies and women’s studies at Messiah College for 15 years. She also directed the Gender Studies Project at Messiah College. Dr. Berke has been a consultant for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the State of Delaware. She has led multiple trainings in trauma-informed approaches for organizations such as Jobs for Delaware Graduates, Ministry of Caring, and Summer Collab as well as Wilmington University faculty. She has held leadership positions in the National Council on Family Relations including Chair of the Family Policy Section, Chair of the Education and Enrichment Section and on the Board of Directors. She has also served as the President of the Family Science Association. Dr. Berke is a Certified Family Life Educator.

Rachel Boulden

Rachel is currently the Treatment Administrator at Delores J. Baylor Women's Correctional Institution (DJBWCI), the only female prison in the State of Delaware. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the correctional programs and recreational services, and facilitates coordination between the Treatment Services, Medical, Mental Health, and Re-Entry units. Prior to her transition to the female facility in 2017, Rachel worked with male offenders at Howard R. Young Correctional Institution conducting risk assessments and providing counseling services. She has been the American Correctional Association Compliance Manager at both facilities and led each site through their initial accreditation. Rachel is certified by the Department of Justice as a certified Prison Rape Elimination Act auditor and is an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Psychology at Wilmington University. Rachel completed her graduate education in Forensic Psychology through Argosy University and thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to empower the women incarcerated at DJBWCI.

Andrew C. Dalton


Andrew is an attorney at Dalton & Associates, P.A., in Wilmington, Delaware where he has represented plaintiffs in medical malpractice, civil rights, and sexual abuse litigation since 2012. Prior to joining Dalton & Associates, Mr. Dalton was an Assistant Deputy Attorney General in the Misdemeanor Trial Unit under Attorney General Beau Biden.  Dalton & Associates has been a local and national leader in sex abuse litigation, representing survivors in matters including: The Delaware Child Protection Act, the Dr. Earl Bradley cases, and the Larry Nassar cases involving Michigan State, the IOC, and USA Gymnastics.  Currently Mr. Dalton represents dozens of Plaintiffs against disgraced pedophile pediatrician Dr. Johnnie "Jack" Barto.  Mr. Dalton is a graduate of Villanova Law School, and currently serves on the Wilmington Friends School Alumni Board.  He was recently named a Super Lawyers Magazine Rising Star for 2019.

Rick DiLiberto​


Rick is a litigation partner in the Wilmington, Delaware law firm of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP where he has been co-chairman of the government relations committee,  chairman of the paralegal committee, the personal injury litigation section, and the continuing legal education committee.  Before joining the law firm in 1987, he was law clerk to Judge Vincent A. Bifferato of the Del. Superior Court.  He is believed to be the youngest member of the Del. Bar to win a jury verdict in excess of $1 million, which he accomplished in 1990 at age 28.  He regularly represents families whose loved ones have been injured or killed by another's negligence. In 2012, he was one of the Young, Conaway lawyers who represented hundreds of Sussex County, Del. children sexually abused by their pediatrician. He helped achieve a historic $123 million class action resolution for the victims. He is a past-President of the Del. Trial Lawyers Association (DTLA); was one of two Del. state delegates to the Amer. Assoc. for Justice; and currently is DTLA's New Castle County Member at Large.

Jeannine Cicco Barker 

Psy.D., ATR-BC (she/her)

Jeannine is a licensed clinical psychologist and a board certified art therapist. She holds a bachelor's degree in fine art from the University of Pennsylvania, a master's degree in art therapy from Drexel University, and master's and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Widener University. Dr. Cicco Barker is a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania's Counseling and Psychological Services, where she leads the Eating Concerns Team and is a member of the STTOP Team (Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention Team). She specializes in the treatment of eating concerns and body image, complex trauma, sexual assault, issues facing students with marginalized identities, and first generation low income student concerns. Dr. Cicco Barker has been working with survivors of trauma and sexual assault for over 10 years and has presented both locally and nationally. She also works with the immigrant community, providing psychological assessment for asylees and others seeking documentation. She proudly serves on the board of directors of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, a farmed animal sanctuary located in High Falls, New York. 

Kimberly Carpenter

Kimberly is the Center Coordinator and Forensic Interviewer for the Children's Advocacy Center of Delaware.  She has been with the CAC for 9 years and has interviewed over 2,500 children. She finds her job extremely rewarding and loves to interview children. 

Christine A. Courtois


Christine is a board certified Counseling Psychologist, recently retired from private practice in Washington, DC, and is now a consultant/trainer on topics on trauma psychology and treatment. She co-founded and then served as Clinical and Training Director of The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program, in Washington, DC for 16 years. Dr. Courtois was chair of the recently released Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of PTSD in Adults for the American Psychological Association (APA) and for guidelines on the treatment of complex trauma for several professional organizations. She has published a number of books (four of them co-edited or co-authored with Dr. Julian Ford) and numerous book chapters and articles on trauma-related topics. 

Dr. Courtois is past president of APA Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) and past founding Associate Editor of the Division's journal, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. She served two terms on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). She has received the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Professional Practice, the ISTSS Sarah Haley Award for Clinical Excellence, and most recently the American Board of Professional Psychology 2016 Distinguished Service Award to the Profession of Psychology.

Stephen C. DiJulio


Stephen is a Licensed Psychologist in Wilmington, DE. He received his Doctorate in Psychology from the clinical program at the University of Delaware in 1983. He has a certificate in Loss and Trauma Studies from Widener University and has presented on Trauma in the Tri-State area. He is a past President of the Delaware Psychological Association and is the current president of Behavioral Health Associates of Delaware, a private practice group. He is also the Clinical Director for Survivors of Abuse in Recovery, Inc. (SOAR), a nonprofit that specializes in helping people overcome sexual trauma.

Catherine Dukes

Ph.D., MSW​

Catherine is the VP of Education and Training for Planned Parenthood of Delaware's Sexuality Education Training Institute since 2006.  Since that time, she has led her department in winning three national Planned Parenthood education awards.  Catherine holds a PhD in Human Sexuality and a Masters in Social Work.   She has had lesson plans published in the curricula "Teaching Safer Sex" and "Sex Ed in the Digital Age" and the soon-to-be-published "Sexual Orientation" curriculum  Catherine is a regular speaker at national conferences and was the co-chair of the 2013 National Sex Ed Conference.

Catherine Dukes

Ph.D., MSW​

Catherine is the COO of Partners in Health and Wellbeing.  As part of her work she is also a psychotherapist providing individual, couples and sex therapy.  From 2006 – 2019, Dr. Dukes was the VP of Education and Training for Planned Parenthood of Delaware’s Sexuality Education Training Institute.  In that time, she led her department in winning four national Planned Parenthood education awards.  Dr. Dukes holds a PhD in Human Sexuality and a Masters in Social Work.   She has had lesson plans published in the curricula “Teaching Safer Sex” and “Sex Ed in the Digital Age” and the soon-to-be-published “Sexual Orientation” curriculum   Dr. Dukes is a regular speaker at national conferences and was the co-chair of the 2013 National Sex Ed Conference.

April Elliot

Ed.S, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500 

Megan Ellow


Megan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Wilmington. She specializes in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and is a member and volunteer with Postpartum Support International. Her work focuses on postpartum depression and anxiety, birth trauma, infertility and pregnancy loss. She also co-facilitates Birth Trauma Workshops in the Wilmington area. Prior to entering private practice, Megan spent the past 10 years working in mental health in the greater Philadelphia area.

Islanda L. Finamore


Islanda is a Deputy Attorney General with the Delaware Department of Justice. She is the unit head for the Child Protection Unit, representing the Division of Family Service in Dependency/Neglect, Termination of Parental Rights and Substantiation cases. In 2017 she was selected by the Delaware Business Times as a 40 under 40 honoree. She is a graduate of the Delaware Law School of Widener University and is currently a member of the Greater Wilmington Boys and Girls Clubs Board.

Patricia Dailey Lewis


is the Executive Director of the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. The   Foundation currently works with organizations throughout the US to protect children and confront abuse, working to insure child protection and the protection of vulnerable adults in organizations and communities. A practicing attorney for 34 years, Mrs. Lewis was previously Deputy Attorney General with the Delaware Department of Justice, until her retirement on November 30, 2015, she served as the Director of the Family Division, and has worked primarily in the field of family and child advocacy, domestic violence and the protection of vulnerable adults and the elderly for more than 30 years. She has served on numerous commissions and committees handling child abuse, domestic violence, vulnerable victims and elder abuse. Mrs. Lewis has litigated cases in every level of the Delaware Courts, in every county, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Delaware, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and the United States

Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She is also a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Mrs. Lewis has spoken and trained professionals at several national and international conferences on child protection, child abuse, abuse of the vulnerable, domestic violence, institutional abuse and failure to report abuse. She currently serves on the Boards of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, Darkness to Light, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Delaware and the Victims Advisory Council. She continues to work at the state and national level on legislative issues concerning 

protection of children, the vulnerable victims of violence.  Mrs. Lewis serves as an Adjunct Professor at Delaware Law School of Widener University, teaching for the past 30 years, Family Law, Child Abuse and Neglect, and Interviewing and Counseling. She also serves as a supervising attorney and faculty for foreign law students in the SJD (Doctor of the Science of Law) program. Mrs. Lewis is married to Lawrence W. Lewis, Esquire and they have one daughter, 

Kathleen, an attorney in Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                                             

Sharon Merriman-Nai


Sharon is an associate scientist at the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Health Studies. She serves as project director and researcher on a number of health related initiatives, including suicide prevention, HIV prevention, and substance use prevention. She is also the director of the Center's school-based surveys. As a former mental health counselor and consultant, she has worked extensively with youth and adults who experienced trauma. Sharon also serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect. 

Estelle R. Murray 


Estelle became the Joint Force Headquarters Sexual Assault Response Coordinator in March 2010 after serving as Cemetery Administrator for the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery. As Joint Force Headquarters Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Estelle ensures that all assigned units and personnel are fully trained in the prevention, reporting and resources surrounding sexual assault prevention and response. As the Joint Force Headquarters Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, she provides oversight for the State program. Over the past 9 years while assigned, She provided guidance and education to all levels of command and subordinate units to ensure that program objectives were met. She coordinated with local, state and Federal agencies to provide uniformed training, resources and support for survivors of sexual assault. As Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Risk Resilience and Suicide Prevention Coordinator she continues services as a member of the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware (SAND) where she previously served as Chair, along with other Federal, State, Local, public and private agencies that work together collaboratively to raise awareness of sexual assault in all its forms throughout the State of Delaware. This committee also works closely with the Governor's office to stay current with emerging trends and offers feedback.

Estelle currently serves in the Delaware Air National Guard as the Officer in Charge of the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Operations Flight.

She received an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in 1998, Bachelor Degree in Behavioral Science in 2000 and a Masters Degree in Business Administration in 2002. She is currently credentialed through National Organiztion for Victim Assistance through the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advoce Certification Program at Level III.

Laurel Silber


Laurel is a clinical psychologist in private practice with children and their families in Bryn Mawr, PA., is also faculty with the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia and adjunct with Widener University's Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology. She teaches courses on child psychotherapy and supervises clinical work. Her publications have been in the area of the importance of play in childhood and working clinically with the intergenerational transmission of trauma with children and adolescents. She has given many workshops on these subjects and is happy to be returning to Delaware.

Victoria R. Witherell 


April is a nationally certified school psychologist and internationally certified yoga therapist. She serves as a Director for Bodywise Foundation, a non-profit offering trauma-informed yoga, professional trainings, and international aid to facilitate healing trauma. In addition, April leads trauma-informed yoga teacher trainings, professional development for schools, and runs a private practice offering body-centered therapies to support trauma recovery.

Aileen Fink


Aileen is the Director for Trauma Informed Care at the Delaware Children's Department.  In this role, she chairs the Department-wide Trauma Informed Steering Committee, provides consultation on trauma informed care throughout the Department, and has provided trauma informed care training both within the Children's Department as well as to external partners.  She has experience implementing trauma-specific treatment interventions with youth and their families, managing a trauma-focused grant, and supervising clinicians providing trauma-specific treatment. In addition to her work at the Children's Department, Dr. Fink maintains a private clinical practice, is an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware and serves as a reviewer for Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology and the Office of Justice Programs Online Database.

Nancy McGee


Nancy came to Delaware in 1984 after working in wilderness camps and experiential education programs on the East Coast. She has been working in the human services field ever since. She has a strong background in working with family systems and individuals (teens and adults) who have co-occurring disorders. She currently serves as the coordinator for the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware (SAND).

Valerie C. Marek


Valerie is a founder and the Executive Director of Survivors of Abuse in Recovery, Inc. (SOAR), a nonprofit organization in Delaware dedicated to providing mental health recovery services to victims of sex crimes and their loved ones. She has served on the Delaware Victims' Rights Task Force, the Sex Offender Management Board, the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware, and was formerly an advisor to Delaware's Victims Compensation Assistance Program.  Valerie has worked as an Adjunct field instructor for Widener University, Bryn Mawr College, Wilmington University, Delaware State University and West Chester University. Valerie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and has a private psychotherapy practice in Wilmington.

Catherine Devaney McKay


Catherine has been working as a therapist, supervisor, and behavioral health leader in Delaware since 1977. She has extensive experience treating individuals and families with serious mental health and substance use disorders and designing programs to meet their needs. Since 1986, Cathy has been the President and CEO of Connections Community Support Programs, Inc., one of the largest not-for-profits in Delaware, providing primary care, mental health, substance abuse and sex offender treatment to more than 40,000 Delawareans, including all of the individuals who are incarcerated in Delaware's unified correctional system. Cathy has a Master's degree in mental health counseling from the University of Delaware and a Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Philadelphia Child and Family Training Center. She is a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and is licensed as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist in Delaware.

Kristin Salber-Black


Kristin is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Coordinator at the Wilmington VA Medical Center. In this role she assists MST survivors in accessing care, monitors the facility's response to MST, and provides training to VA staff and community providers. Clinically, she specializes in treating PTSD and mood disorders among survivors of MST, combat trauma, and childhood sexual abuse through the use of evidence-based psychotherapies including Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Problem Solving Therapy, and CBT for depression, insomnia, and chronic pain. As a member of the Wilmington VA's Psychology Training Committee, she provides training and clinical supervision to predoctoral psychology interns and practicum students.

Dr. Salber-Black holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Villanova University and master's and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Drexel University. She completed her predoctoral internship at the Syracuse VA, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Primary Care Mental Health Integration at the Philadelphia VA.

Marilyn Siebold


Marilyn is an adjunct professor of Psychology at Wilmington University. She teaches Trauma-informed Approaches courses for undergraduates and recently developed and led  a 9 week long train the trainer learning experience for Delaware Health and Social Services trainers who will train 1000 + state employees in 2018.

Jessica Sinarski


Jessica is the clinical supervisor, consultant, author and educator. She is an innovative leader, connecting neuroscience with practice to improve adult-child relationships and reduce the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Since 2005, Jessica has trained thousands of parents and professionals across the country. She has created a framework based on the concepts introduced in her children's book, Riley the Brave (available in English and Spanish), that is helping parents, schools and community professionals incorporate trauma-sensitive practices. Compelled by her work with foster families in the South Bronx of New York, Jessica became a Certified Adoption Therapist in 2008 through Hunter College School of Social Work and began an adoption therapy program at Cardinal McCloskey Community Services. She earned a master's degree from Boston College in Counseling Psychology following a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Taylor University. Locally, Jessica maintains a private practice and leads the clinical team at A Better Chance for Our Children.

Victoria R. Witherell, Esquire is a Deputy Attorney General with the Delaware Department of Justice.  During her 24 year tenure in that position, she has served in many capacities, both as a criminal prosecutor and as an attorney for the Division of Services for Children, Youth and Families.  Victoria is an administrator and faculty of Child First (Delaware), a program that trains first responders and promotes the multi-disciplinary team approach to child physical and sexual abuse cases.  She is also a trained facilitator for Stewards of Children: Darkness to Light program which seeks to make the public aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and to promote best practices for prevention.  Victoria has also conducted training on a variety of civil and criminal issues for other attorneys and routinely trains social workers who deal with dependent, neglected and abused children. Victoria earned her J.D from Widener University School of Law in 1994.


The Trauma Institute will be held in building

#6 - The Main Law Building 

(view the Campus Map here)

The Plenary will be in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom

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