20th or 21st October 2021

Young Hearts & Minds Conference

Join Karen Treisman, Dan Siegel, Stephen Porges, and many more experts for this groundbreaking one-day hybrid conference in Belfast’s La Mon Hotel. This year we’ve made it even easier for you to join us either in person or online.

Young Hearts & Minds starts in:


Young Hearts & Minds 2021

The Action Trauma team is excited to bring you our first-ever hybrid event: Young Hearts & Minds Conference 2021. This is a one-day conference running on both the 20th and 21st October 2021. Choose which day works best for you to attend.

The conference will bring together a wealth of knowledge, experience, and research from some of the world’s leading experts in complex trauma and trauma recovery.

This year we will be live from La Mon Hotel & Country Club, a superb award-winning four-star hotel conveniently located 15 minutes from Belfast City Centre, La Mon is nestled in the picturesque countryside of County Down. Delegates have the option to join us in person at La Mon Hotel, or online via live stream.
Young Hearts & Minds is for everyone who has a passion for the well-being and mental health of children and young people. Take this opportunity to listen to progressive techniques and explore new methodologies on how to start the healing process and beat the long-term effects of early trauma, which can have a serious impact on a child’s development, throughout their youth, and into adulthood. The teaching and learning at the conference will help you to develop resilience under pressure, enhance your professional development, and inspire you to make a change.

Young Hearts & Minds starts in:

Play Video

Topics include

Meet the speakers / panellists

Karen Treisman

Clinical psychologist, Author

Dan Siegel

Clinical professor of psychiatry and author

Koulla Yiasouma

Commissioner - NICCY

Stephen Porges

Author of the Polyvagal Theory, Distinguished University Scientist, Professor of Psychiatry

Vivian McKinnon

Founder & Managing Director of Hydro-ease

Jade Irwin

VP, YMCA Ireland and Programme Manager, The Fostering Network

Michael Gibbs

Director of Different Tracks Global Ltd

Fiona Linehan

Interim Clinical Nurse Manager, Healthcare in Prison

Conference Schedule


Registration & Networking

Tea, coffee and welcome refreshments.


Action Trauma


Welcome to Young Hearts & Minds by one of the Action Trauma team.


Belfast Philharmonic Youth Choir

Belfast Philharmonic Virtual Youth Choir

Hear the Belfast Philharmonic Youth Choir perform 'Hope', Composed by Laura Shiels in collaboration with the Youth Choir


Koulla Yiasouma

Opening Remarks

Opening remarks from Northern Ireland's Commissioner for Children and Young People.


Fritzi Horstman: Step inside the Circle

Step Inside the Circle is a call to action: to spread the word about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). It is a call to recognize the physical, emotional and social impact ACEs have wrought upon society and to stress the importance of care (not punishment) going forward in the prison system.


Fiona Linehan

Presentation One - Making the Invisible... Visible

Fiona will be presenting on the services provided by her multi-disciplinary team offering a wide range of services to all people who live in prison in Northern Ireland. This service will help maximise health outcomes for those residing in prison.  During this presentation, Fiona will share the importance of collaboration across multiple agencies to deliver effective compassionate person-centred care.


Vivian McKinnon

Lived Experience Story - The Magic is Within You

"I truly believe that deep beneath the protective layers of ego, experience and human programming each of us has a true authentic self made up of wisdom, courage, creativity and infinite possibilities. For many of us, including myself, life’s hard knocks can really get in the way of stepping into your unlimited power of living out your purpose and from having the courage to be totally and one hundred percent your real self."

Vivian will share a ‘not too pretty’ account of how she transformed a traumatic child and adulthood into a thriving home life and business with the sole aim of helping others do the same.


Break / Networking

With tea, coffee and refreshments


Karen Treisman

Presentation Two - Behaviour is Communication

This keynote briefly explores how behaviour is communication and how it tells us a story and gives us clues about the child's inner world. We will bring to life using some poetry, some "case studies", some anecdotes, and some powerful images exploring how behaviour is communication, and how we need to learn to see the person behind the behaviour. Some suggested questions for exploring behaviour further, as well as some top tips for responding will be shared and explored. This will also give attendees a way to make sense of behaviour and of ways to communicate how behaviour is communication to others.


Karen Treisman

Q & A Session


Lunch / Networking


Stephen Porges

Presentation Three - How Adversity Retunes our Nervous System: Rethinking the Long-term Impact of Trauma Through the Lens of Polyvagal Theory

Following trauma, the body’s warning system often gets stuck on high alert. Listen to Dr Stephen Porges as he shares some effective ways for “speaking” directly to an individual's nervous system. Dr Porges will present how things like tone of voice, certain gestures and music can help safety after a traumatic experience, particularly for young people.

Dr Porges will also address the question, "Do adverse events retune our nervous system and contribute to diminished wellbeing?" Dr Porges will address how to reframe the question and ask, not about the event, but focus on the individual reaction or response. Much of our society defines trauma by the event when the real critical issue is the individual’s reaction. By not accepting that, we end up saying; “If I can survive this and do well, why can’t you?” So we start blaming the survivors again. The point that we have to understand is that when a person has a reaction or response to trauma, the body interprets the traumatic event as a life threat. There’s a massive retuning of how the nervous system works, how it regulates underlying physiological systems that impact social behaviour, psychological experiences, and also on physical outcomes.


Stephen Porges

Q & A Session


Jade Irwin


Vivian McKinnon


Marie Blaney and Deirdre McLaughlin

Panel Discussion - Impact of COVID on Children and Young People

The panel will look at and discuss the impact the pandemic has had on children and young people. They will discuss methods to address the long term impact of this and what changes can be put in place across all areas to offer support and pave a road to recovery.


Break / Networking

With tea, coffee and refreshments


Michael Gibbs


Charlie McEwen

Presentation Four - Racial Trauma – Meaningful Conversations Which Lead to Long Lasting Change

During this presentation Michael will facilitiate meaningful conversations with three young people from Northern Ireland. During this time Michael will talk about "everyday traumas" that these young people face and the long term impact that this has on young people and their future. How can we bring about long lasting change for future generations?


Dan Siegel

Presentation Five - Interpersonal Neurobiology

Dr. Siegel’s mindsight approach applies the emerging principles of interpersonal neurobiology to promote compassion, kindness, resilience, and well-being in our personal lives, our relationships, and our communities. At the heart of both interpersonal neurobiology and the mindsight approach is the concept of “integration". Integration is seen as the essential mechanism of health as it promotes a flexible and adaptive way of being that is filled with vitality and creativity. The ultimate outcome of integration is harmony. The absence of integration leads to chaos and rigidity a finding that enables us to re-envision our understanding of mental disorders and how we can work together in the fields of mental health, education, and other disciplines, to create a healthier, more integrated world.


Action Trauma

Closing Remarks & Creative Item

Closing remarks by member of Action Trauma team and closing creative item.


Conference Close

Creative Arts

Belfast Philharmonic Youth Choir

The Belfast Philharmonic Youth Choir placed joint first in the Youth Choirs category in the City of Derry International Choir Festival in 2019; contributed to the Cross Border Youth Choir 2020 carol recording with Dublin Youth Choir which was played on Classic FM through Making Music, and were part of the Belfast Children’s Festival in 2021 alongside the Belfast Philharmonic Youth Chamber Choir, recording the vocals for Maiden Voyage Dance’s new piece ‘Turnabout’. Singers learn musicianship in classes as well as singing in the full choir, performing music from around the world by a diverse range of composers, and inspiring a lifelong love of music and creative expression.

Bethanie & Andrew

Bethanie Hamilton aged 15 and Andrew Montgomery aged 14 have been dancing together for a local dance school in East Belfast for quite a few years. They are not only dance partners but lifelong friends. Bethanie and Andrew dance across a broad range of disciplines including ballet, Irish dance, street, and lyrical.

Dance is not just a hobby to them but a way to express their inner feelings, desires and frustrations. Dance is naturally therapeutic due to its physical, emotional, and spiritual components. It satisfies the need for the externalization of this feeling that bubbles up inside an individual and they have no other way to express it but through movement. The movement has meaning because it is connected to emotions.

Our Exhibitors

Four reasons to attend



Develop professionally through CPD accreditation


Learn from world-renowned trauma experts


Network and make connections with other professionals.


Informative discussions on some of the topics presented


This year we’ve made it even easier for you to join us.
Choose between 20th or 21st October to join us in person at La Mon Hotel, or purchase a live-stream ticket to attend online.

Currency Conversion Guide

While all tickets will be charged in GBP, this handy conversion guide can help you with an approximation of the cost in your local currency.

The above currency converter is intended as a guide only and does not account for any foreign transaction fees or currency conversion fees applied by your bank. All tickets will be charged in GBP

Organisations who attend

Would you like to advertise in our conference guide?

Would you like to exhibit live at the conference?

Frequently asked questions

Live Delegates

Your QR code can be found in your ticket confirmation email. You will need to present this QR code at the registration desk when you arrive.

See below images for an example of the QR code. You can print this out and bring it, or show us the email on your smart phone. Please have this ready to show when you arrive as it will help us keep the registration process flowing smoothly. 

Livestream Delegates

We use a platform called Whova to host our virtual conferences. Whova will have all the information you need, including the schedule and all sessions.

You can access the Whova platform in one of two ways. If you have attended a virtual conference before on the Whova platform, you simply need to log in to your account. If you have never used the Whova platform before you will need to create an account. Please see below for information on how to do either. 
Please note, although the conference is live streamed and you can watch in real time, it will take 24 hours for all live presentations to be uploaded.
– Click HERE (or visit https://whova.com/portal/webapp/yhamc_202110 in your web browser).
– Click “Sign Up Here” (see image below) and enter your username and a strong and memorable password. Please ensure you use the same email address you used to purchase your ticket.
If you have already set up a Whova account for a previous event/conference, you simply need to log in using your email address and password and you will see the Young Hearts & Minds event in your dashboard.
If you have forgotten your password, you can set up a new one using the Forgot Your Password? link. See image below.
– We recommend using either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to access the Whova platform.
– We do not recommend using Safari (Mac Users).
If you don’t have Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you can download it free using the links below:

Yes, you will receive a CPD certificate of attendance upon completion of the event. Young Hearts & Minds awards 6 CPD points.

Livestream delegate: Upon completion of a virtual event with Action Trauma,  you will receive a  certificate of attendance within 14 days. This certificate will detail the number of CPD hours that the conference covers. Based on the content you have watched – you can then proceed to make a personal record of the hours you watched. We encourage you to be honest with yourself in recording the hours you watched. This may be flagged with a membership organisation, so you must track points appropriately. The certificate will also have a ‘CPD learning tool’ on the second page. This learning tool will contain a few questions which will allow you to reflect and capture your learning outcomes from that particular event. Please note that many professional membership bodies and governing institutes require this as part of a formal CPD record and will not accept points recorded/certificates, that do not include this information.

Live/in-person delegate: You will receive a certificate within 14 days of the event via email with the relevant CPD points attached. The certificate will also have a ‘CPD learning tool’ on the second page. This learning tool will contain a few questions which will allow you to reflect and capture your learning outcomes from that particular event.  Please note that many professional membership bodies and governing institutes require this as part of a formal CPD record and will not accept points recorded/certificates, that do not include this information.

Yes, you can get an invoice for the conference and a receipt of purchase. Please email bridget@actiontrauma.com .

Whova will still be able to function through any firewall/security system that an organisation has set up. If you are working through council/healthcare portals, you may face additional problems. If this is the case, please contact your technical team for assistance in getting restrictions lifted with the firewall.

Yes. Livestream ticket holders will have access to all content for 14 days after the event.

Conferences are expensive to run. Speakers and their costs must be paid. There is also planning and promotion to pay for.  Action Trauma is committed to increasing the awareness of psychological trauma, its many causes, widespread effects, and the many ways of treating and healing it. We are a not-for-profit company and the delegate fees are struck at a rate that tries to cover operational costs. 

No, we do not offer any concessionary rates. This is because we are a not-for-profit company and the delegate fees are struck at a rate that tries to cover operational costs. 

If for any reason you need to cancel your booking, we will refund you as follows:
  1. 80% of your ticket price will be refunded if notification is received three months or more prior to the conference date.
  2. 50% of your ticket price will be refunded if notification is received after the three months and prior to one month of conference date.
  3. No refunds will be offered within one month of the conference date.

Yes – La Mon Hotel offer free on-site car parking. 

Yes, you can view full details about our privacy policy here.

We are offering an opportunity to advertise in our main conference guide. The conference guide will be A4, and there are full-page, half-page, and quarter-page sizing areas in which to populate. This is a great opportunity to reach out to a target audience, promote your work, upcoming events, and current research being done. If you are interested in advertising, you are welcome to get in touch with bridget@actiontrauma.com or see the options available here.


Livestream delegate: If any of the topics raised are causing you upset or you would like to seek guidance, please refer to our ‘Documents’ section on the homepage, which details a range of links and resources for support.

Live delegate: You are very welcome to speak to a member of the Action Trauma team at anytime.