Our Advisors

We are grateful for the support, advice and friendship of these creative minds.


Les Aria


Les Aria, PhD, is a pain psychologist who has been practicing for the past 16 years and treats complex medically unexplained symptoms and chronic pain with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Northern California, Sacramento, CA. He served as the Lead Pain Psychologist for Kaiser Northern California to help redesign the chronic pain workshop curriculum to incorporate modern pain science, mindfulness and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). 


Sue Carter


Dr. Sue Carter is a Distinguished University Scientist and Rudy Professor Emerita of Biology at Indiana University. A career biologist, Sue has studied the endocrinology of love and social bonds for more than three decades. She was the first person to detect and define the physiology of monogamy through her research on the prairie vole. These findings helped lay the foundation for the studies of behavioral and developmental effects of oxytocin and vasopressin in humans.  Sue served as Executive Director of the Kinsey Institute from 2014-2019.

Sue also has a long-standing concern regarding the consequences of medical manipulations for human development and parent-child interactions, including the use of “pitocin” – a synthetic version of oxytocin – to induce labor and consequences of breastfeeding for the mother and child.  Most recently she has been examining the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression.   She is also known for research on the physiological basis of social behavior, including studies that implicated oxytocin, vasopressin and hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (“stress”) axis in the traits of monogamy including pair-bond formation. 


Diana Fosha


Diana Fosha, PhD, is the developer of AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy), a healing-based, transformation-oriented model of psychotherapeutic treatment; she is Founder and Director of the AEDP Institute. For the last 20 years, Diana has been active in promoting a scientific basis for a healing-oriented, attachment-emotion- and transformation-focused trauma treatment model. Her work focuses on integrating neuroplasticity, recognition science and developmental dyadic research into experiential and transformational clinical work with patients. Her most recent work focuses on flourishing as a seamless part of the process of transforming emotional suffering.

Based in New York City, where she lives and practices, Diana has been on the faculties of the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology of NYU and St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Medical Centers (now Mount Sinai) in NYC, and of the doctoral programs in clinical psychology at the Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies and The City University of New York. Diana is the author of numerous articles on AEDP’s attachment-emotion-transformation focused experiential treatment model. 


Sid Goodman


Sid Goodman served as the founding Executive Director of Caron Renaissance and Ocean Drive and after 25 years of service has been given the title Founder Emeritus by the venerable Caron Foundation. Sid is an addiction industry entrepreneurial pioneer and a renowned clinical treatment executive with unparalleled business savvy in an ever-changing healthcare landscape, having worked for both profit and not for profit sectors. Sid brings a proven track record of transformative leadership throughout his decades of behavioral health experience with a keen sense of sustainable quality and cutting edge clinical designs. Sid’s passion and vision has emphasized an entrepreneurial vision of bring to market unique program differentiators that provide quality care, attract referents, generate good will, lessen roadblocks to access care, and continue as a progressive influence in the overall field of Behavioral Healthcare. 


David Hanscom,

M.D., Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Author

David Hanscom is an orthopedic spine surgeon whose practice focused on patients with failed back surgeries. He quit his practice in Seattle, WA to present his insights into solving chronic pain, which evolved from his own battle with it. The second edition of his book is, Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain. His website,  www.backincontrol.com, presents an action plan and his most recent program, “The DOC Journey” guides patients more clearly through the complexities of solving chronic pain. 

His latest book, Do You Really Need Spine Surgery? – Take Control with a  Surgeon’s Advice was released this Fall, 2019. It is intended for health care providers and patients alike to make a good decision about undergoing spinal surgery.


Rick Hanson


Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 28 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin and has numerous audio programs. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, and other major universities, and taught in meditation centers worldwide.

Rick has been a trustee of Saybrook University, served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and was President of the Board of FamilyWorks, a community agency. He began meditating in 1974, trained in several traditions, and leads a weekly meditation gathering in San Rafael, California.  He enjoys rock-climbing and taking a break from emails. He and his wife have two adult children.


James D. Huysman


James D. Huysman, PsyD, LCSW, CCFT is the Chief Compassion Officer at WellMed Management Group.  Dr. Huysman’s focus on mental health began in the ‘80’s as he undertook the outreach and clinical programming for addiction and dual diagnosis treatment facilities. His early interest in the emotional health led Dr, Huysman to found the Emotional Support Response Team at WellMed.

Dr. Huysman is the co-author (with Rosemary DeAngelis Laird, MD) of Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.

His current passion at WellMed is focused on returning compassion and humanity to the world of healthcare through the integration of Dr. Stephen Porges' pioneering work into clinical practice as well as coaching caregivers within the WellMed system to become better, more compassionate professionals.


Bessel van der Kolk


Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., is a psychiatrist, researcher, professor of psychiatry at Boston University, and one of the world’s leading experts on post-traumatic stress — especially when it comes to how trauma affects the brain, body, and nervous system.

He has pioneered approaches for trauma treatment that focus on calming the nervous system, increasing executive function, and grounding patients in the present. In his research, Bessel has worked with a variety of clinical approaches, including neurofeedback, EMDR, psychodrama, and yoga.
Bessel is the author of over 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications and multiple books, including the best-selling The Body Keeps the Score. He served as a past president for the International Society for Traumatic stress Studies and former co-director of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. He is a professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and president of the Trauma Research Foundation in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

Bessel’s books include Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (1984), Psychological Trauma (1987), Traumatic Stress (1996) and The Body Keeps the Score] (2014).


Ruth Lanius

M.D., Ph.D.

Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry and the director of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research unit at the University of Western Ontario.

She established the Traumatic Stress Service and the Traumatic Stress Service Workplace Program, both services that specialize in the treatment and research of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related comorbid disorders.

Ruth currently holds the Harris-Woodman Chair in Mind-Body Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests focus on studying the neurobiology of PTSD and treatment outcome research examining various pharmacological and psychotherapeutic methods.

Ruth has authored more than 100 published papers and chapters in the field of traumatic stress and is currently funded by several federal funding agencies. She regularly lectures on the topic of PTSD nationally and internationally. She has recently published a book Healing the Traumatized Self: Consciousness, Neuroscience, Treatment with Paul Frewen. 


Peter Levine


Peter Levine, PhD, is a psychologist, researcher, and former stress consultant with NASA. He specializes in working with trauma and stress-related disorders.

Peter developed Somatic Experiencing, a body-oriented approach to treating trauma which focuses on processing traumatic memory, calming the nervous system, and releasing traumatic shock from the body. The approach was inspired by Peter’s observation of trauma recovery behaviors in nature.

He is the author of several books on the treatment of trauma, including Waking the Tiger and In an Unspoken Voice.


Gabor Maté


A renowned speaker, and bestselling author, Dr. Gabor Maté is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development. The bestselling author of four books published in over twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. His book on addiction received the Hubert Evans Prize for literary non-fiction.

For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. His books include In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction; When the Body Says No; The Cost of Hidden Stress; Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder; Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. 

He is currently writing his next book, The Myth of Normal: Illness and Health in an Insane Culture. Gabor is also co-developer of a therapeutic approach, Compassionate Inquiry, now studied by hundreds of therapists, physicians, counselors, and others internationally. 


Pat Ogden

Ph. D.

Pat Ogden, PhD, is a pioneer in somatic psychology, and is both Founder and Education Director of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute®, an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic-cognitive approaches for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and attachment disturbances. She is co-founder of the Hakomi Institute, a clinician, consultant, international lecturer and trainer. Her Books include Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy (2006), and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment (2015).


George M. Rapier III

MD, Chairman & CEO

George M. Rapier III, M.D., is Chairman and CEO of WellMed Medical Management, Inc., a health care company specializing in care for older adults. Dr. Rapier is a Dallas native who earned his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Dr. Rapier founded WellMed in 1990 with two clinics in San Antonio, Texas, where WellMed remains headquartered. Today, WellMed impacts the health of more than 900,000 Medicare patients through 325+ owned and operated clinics, 13,950 affiliated clinics and more than 25,000 physicians and other providers in Texas and Florida. In 2011, Dr. Rapier spearheaded WellMed’s partnership with Optum™, one of the nation’s largest health and wellness companies, to further expand its health care delivery system in existing and new markets.

Dr. Rapier has received numerous honors over the years as a business leader, medical professional and philanthropist. In 2009, he was named Physician Entrepreneur of the Year by Modern Physician. That same year he was inducted into the Mexican American/Hispanic Physicians Hall of Fame “for his contributions to the medical community and for his incredible community involvement.”


Chris Rutgers

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

Chris is an award-winning social entrepreneur who has founded and developed several successful regional and national nonprofit organizations and initiatives focused on supporting underserved populations, including The Trauma Foundation, Outdoor Outreach and Transforming Youth Outdoors. Chris has been nationally recognized as an expert on philanthropy and social impact. He actively works as a consultant supporting several government agencies, foundations, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

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Marilyn Sanders

M.D., Professor of Pediatrics

Marilyn practices neonatal/perinatal medicine at Connecticut Children’s Hospital and is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

She is particularly interested in supporting families of sick infants and children. Marilyn often lectures on infant attachment, maternal mental health concerns and principles of trauma-informed care. She completed a post-graduate program in infant/parent mental health. In addition, Marilyn has a longstanding interest in palliative care and ethical issues in medicine. She sits on the Connecticut Children’s Ethics Committee and is available for consultation to health care providers and families when concerns arise.

Marilyn established and directs the Connecticut Perinatal Quality Collaborative, a statewide organization dedicated to improving care for pregnant women, mothers and their infants. She is also a widely published author of studies in the field of pediatric medicine.


Daniel Siegel


Daniel J. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry.  He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.

Dan is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several honorary fellowships. Dan is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization, which offers online learning and in-person seminars that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. His psychotherapy practice includes children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. He serves as the Medical Director of the LifeSpan Learning Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Blue School in New York City, which has built its curriculum around Dr. Siegel’s Mindsight approach.


George S. Thompson


George S. Thompson is a child psychiatrist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at both the University of Kansas and University of Missouri-Kansas City Schools of Medicine. He specializes in attachment-focused residential treatment of traumatized youth and assists healthcare organizations to build emotionally safe, curious, coherent, and collaborative cultures.

George is treasurer of the board of the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute. He led the organizational change process by which KidsTLC, Inc. became a certified DDP organization. At UMKC, he directed the medical communications course and conducted research on how medical professionalism is modeled and learned, and how the climate of professionalism promotes (or detracts from) learning professionalism. He teaches tools for personal transformation through the Avatar® course.

George and Marilyn Sanders are the authors of Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child: Systems of Care for Strengthening Kids, Families and Communities, which will be published by Norton in July 2021.

Avatar® is a registered trademark of Star’s Edge, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ed Tronick


Ed Tronick is a developmental and clinical psychologist. He is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is director of the Child Development Unit, a research associate in Newborn Medicine, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, an associate professor at both the Graduate School of Education and the School of Public Health at Harvard. He is a member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, a past member of the Boston Process of Change Group and a Founder and faculty member of the Touchpoints program. 

With Kristie Brandt, Dorothy Richardson and Marilyn Davillier, Ed has created an Infant-Parent Mental Health Post Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has developed the Newborn Behavioral Assessment Scale and the Touchpoints Project with T.B. Brazelton. With Barry Lester he developed the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Assessment Scale. He is currently working on developing norms for the neurobehavior of clinically healthy newborns and collaborating with Rosario Montirosso in Milan on a multi-NICU examination of developmental caretaking and its effects on preterm infants.

He has published more than 200 scientific articles and 4 books, several hundred photographs and has appeared on national radio and television programs. His research is funded by NICHD and NSF.