(1.5 FREE CEUs) CALM during High School and College Years: Why Understanding Your Nervous System is the Key to Serenity (Bergen Passaic Unit Event)

Monday, 4 January 2021 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM EST

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Monday, 4 January 2021 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM EST


This event is hosted by the Bergen Passaic County Unit.

New to a Unit event? NASW-NJ has 12 volunteer-led, county-based Units that hold regional events around the state of New Jersey for members in that area. (However due to the public health emergency, Unit events will be held virtually until further notice!) These events are planned and coordinated by an appointed volunteer Chair and Co-Chair, as well as a Regional Representative from NASW-NJ’s Board of Directors. The Bergen and Passaic Counties Unit Chair is Melissa Donahue, LCSW, CST (melissa@md-counseling.com), and the Northeastern Regional Representative is Sierra Spriggs, LSW (sms2384@columbia.edu)

Unit events are a fun, informative way to grow your network near your home or workplace. These events are one of the many benefits of NASW-NJ membership, but we do invite all mental health professional to join us at this meeting. Learn more about our Units here.


CALM during High School and College Years: Why Understanding Your Nervous System is the Key to Serenity


Date: Monday, January 4th, 2021 from 7:00-9:00pm

Zoom login information will be emailed to you once you register. NASW-NJ Members will receive 1.5 clinical CEUs for completion of this program.


Description of the Program: In this program, attendees will gain a brief introduction to the neurobiology of this age group, a comprehensive understanding of what encompasses the autonomic nervous system, and tangible techniques that help keep our nervous systems in emotional homeostasis. The techniques learned, elicit calmness and co regulation within ourselves and with our clients. The presenter intertwines the teachings of the Polyvagal Theory, Deb Dana, Dan Siegel and Jeffrey Arnett. Jacqueline is passionate advocate of this age group and looks forward to enhancing your practice with these unique teachings and techniques! 


An outline of topics to be covered:

Teens + Emerging Adults and Their Neurobiology: Education from Dan Siegel + Jeffrey Arnett

•This demographic is undergoing a significant reintegration process of their brain matter. 

•Explain why from a neurobiological perspective, this population shows an increase in emotionality, risk taking behavior and less adaptive responses to stress

•Quick overview about what implications this information has for our work with this group


Autonomic Nervous System: Polyvagal Theory + Deb Dana’s work

•Introduce the autonomic nervous system with imagery and explain Polyvagal Theory 

oDiscuss how the nervous system is shaped by our experiences and is responsible for our emotional/behavioral responses

oDiscuss how the nervous system orients to others, desires to connect and works to keep us safe

oExplain the three nervous system responses: Ventral Vagal, Sympathetic & Dorsal Vagal

•Explain Co Regulation & Neuroception and how it applies to our clients

•Explore Deb Dana’s work on what it means to befriend our nervous system 


Skills to CALM our Nervous system

•Simulating the vagus nerve through “voo” breathing

•Regulating the nervous system with diaphragmatic breath work

•How to share as a clinician and name what is occurring in our own nervous system

•Ways to orient to our environment 

•CALM what this acronym means and how to apply it our everyday life


3 Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn the basic principles of the Polyvagal Theory and how to apply this knowledge to their work with teens and emerging adults


Attendees will learn ways to educate their clients about how their nervous system has been shaped and the role it plays in their daily emotional life


Equip attendees with tools that will help them CALM their nervous system during times of emotional distress. In learning these techniques, practitioners will be able to model these skills to their clients.




Presenter Bio: Jacqueline Soboti-Abbatiello is a New Jersey based LCSW and Doctoral Candidate in Social Work at Rutgers University. She identifies as a cis gender and proud Latina female.  She has passionately dedicated her career to the mental health treatment of teens and young adults and has had the true honor of holding so many “stories” over the last decade of her career. As a forever student, she “geeks out” on the field of neuroscience, understanding our nervous system and the study of attunement in the therapeutic relationship. She believes that when we can whole heartedly show up for our clients and allow them to be seen that the real magic of healing can occur and be transformative.  When she isn’t “working” you can find her adventuring with her husband or spending time with her French bulldogs, one of whom is a therapy dog!




Cancellation policy

Please let us know if you cannot attend.



Unit Chair - Melissa Donahue, LCSW, CST (melissa@md-counseling.com)

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