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The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange.

~G.K. Chesterton

In the News


Bureaucrats call it "emancipation," but for foster kids there’s no worse birthday


Published in the LA WEEKLY January 10, 2008

Victoria Stevens, a Los Angeles psychologist who has studied the effects of the foster-care system on younger children, explains that if a child is in a stable environment, his or her brain development is affected accordingly. In a stable setting, connections between the neurons in the brain grow at a healthy pace, allowing for higher-level mental processes — like learning abstract mathematical or scientific concepts.

"In cases of disrupted and insecure attachment, the lower brain processes become dominant and higher-order cognitive skills and social skills can become impaired," Stevens says. Many foster-care kids have trouble reading, and struggle with other basic skills, because their "attention span is hijacked by emotions."


Published in the LA WEEKLY
July 16, 2008

Victoria Stevens, a Los Angeles psychologist who has worked extensively with foster youth, agrees in principal, saying, the "race of parents, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education of the parents, single parents, et cetera, is of little or no consequence." The key is "the capacity of the caregiver to pay attention to the separate existence of the child and respond contingently with care, delight, love, respect, play, predictability and consistency."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fresno County Office of Education Arts Forum
Teacher Professional Development Workshop: The Creative Classroom in the 21st Century

Dr. Victoria Stevens will present the keynote address: The Importance of Creative Thinking, Emotional Intelligence and the Arts for Education in the 21st Century


Dear Teachers,

Please join us for this very special opportunity! Dr. Stevens is a world-renowned brain researcher and expert on creativity in the classroom. As a former classroom teacher, she will present an engaging, hands on workshop full of new ideas and teaching strategies! 4-6pm on Tuesday, November 29.

To reserve your spot, RSVP to Bob Bullwinkel, or (559) 779-8702

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Children Uniting Nations will host the 2011 “Keeping the Promise to Our Children” National Conference in Washington, DC.

The Conference is a day-long forum from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for policy makers, non-profit leaders, corporations and academics to discuss important issues impacting our youth as well as state and federal legislation being proposed to address these issues. The Conference will be held in the Congressional Auditorium at the Capitol Visitor Center and is free to attend.

Event Registration

Dr. Victoria Stevens will present: Children Uniting Nations' Academic Mentoring Program for Foster Youth
Panel 4: Foster Care Mentoring Act of 2011

Discussion will surround the recent legislation introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) (along with Senators Mark Begich [D-AK] and Tim Johnson [D-SD]) and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) to support the establishment or expansion and operation of programs using a network of public and private community entities to provide mentoring for children in foster care.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Practical Behavioral and Learning Tools for Teachers Working with Foster Children in the Classroom - DAY 2 • Hosted by Hollister School District

8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (lunch provided)
Enterprise/Union Rooms
Hollister School District Office
2690 Cienega Road, Hollister, CA

Presenter: Dr. Victoria Stevens

Join us for this day-long workshop for teachers and administrators as we learn to apply strategies that facilitate students’ mastery of emotional regulation skills in order to promote learning and academic success.

Event Flyer

To register for this free event, call: Annabelle Alvarez at (831) 630-6321
Hollister School District teachers will be reimbursed the hourly rate for attending.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

California County Superintendents Arts Initiative | CCSESA Region 2 - ARTS FORUM 2011
Hosted by Shasta County Office of Education

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Victoria Stevens
Creativity and the Transformative Power of the Arts in Closing the Achievement Gap

  • Learn the role creativity has in education for 21st Century skills
  • Expand your understanding and use of The Transformative Power of the Arts in Closing the Achievement Gap, a new school reform resource
  • Explore how to translate the ideas to support transformative, gap-closing classroom practices in the arts

Wednesday, April 18, 2011

California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA

Briefing for the California Education Leadership Initiative team
Topic: Creativity, Arts Education and STEAM

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Full day Professional Development for teachers in the Hollister School District, San Benito County, CA

Topic: Practical Behavioral/Learning Tools for Teachers working with Foster Children in the Classroom: Techniques Informed by Current Research on Trauma, the Developing Brain and Academic Achievement.

Monday & Tuesday, March 28-29, 2011

Humboldt County - Regional Arts Conference; keynote and workshop sessions

Professional development for teachers in rural schools in Humboldt County: Arts Training and Interdisciplinary Integration for Classroom Teachers. Eureka, California

Region I Arts Education Forum Keynote Session

The importance of integrated arts instruction for improving academic performance and 21st Century Skills for all students, especially underperforming youth

Region I Arts Education Forum - Afternoon Breakout Session

Culturally and personally relevant interdisciplinary arts instruction: specific tools and varied lessons for classroom teachers with limited budgets and time who are not professionally trained artists

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Interview about the arts, Closing the Achievement Gap and 21st Century Skills, with Susan Andrews for "School Days" KHSU FM (Humboldt State University public radio), Tuesday March 22nd 1:25 pm. Archived at

Thursday & Friday, March 17-18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Tales and Other Stories

Victoria Stevens will be giving a pre-concert lecture about the music focusing on James Joyce and Proust. Come and enjoy the evening!

Malibu Friends of Music

Monday & Tuesday, February 7-8, 2011

Monterey County Office of Education - Center for Media, Arts, Education and Technology

Monday, January 31, 2011

Steinhardt Graduate School of Music – New York University
Victoria Stevens, PhD - Guest lecturer for Mort Subotnick’s class

Music, Metaphor and the Embodied Mind

Dr. Stevens will discuss the concepts of the embodied mind and the cognitive unconscious as they relate to the early roots of musicality in the developing mind. Research findings from pre-natal and infancy will be presented and linked to brain lateralization, prosody, the early templates for metaphor and affective meaning-making throughout the lifespan.

December 2010 through February 2011

The Art of Listening and Reading Non-Verbal Communication: an advanced training for psychoanalytic candidates in music, dance, theatre and poetry to hone skills in perceiving and understanding the meaning of all forms of embodied non-verbal and metaphoric communication within the intersubjective dyadic relationship.

Newport Psychoanalytic Institute; Tustin, California

VIDEO - April 2010: Region V Visual & Performing Arts CCESSA Sponsored Forum with Dr. Victoria Stevens: How Arts Education Can Support Student Achievement in Our Region.

Host: Media Center for Art, Education and Technology Location: Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center, Santa Cruz, CA

READ ALL ABOUT IT! – Victoria Stevens, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and educator, instructs teachers of King City Arts Charter School on the importance of incorporating arts into everyday classroom lessons.


March 17, 2008

Art on the Brain
A presentation of Arts in the Schools

The following are links to QuickTime videos. Click here to download for free, the latest version of QuickTime Player.

Art on the Brain Part 1 of 2 (13:53)

Art on the Brain Part 2 of 2 (14:50)

In March of 2008, Dr. Stevens presented a talk for arts organizations, teachers, parents, and business leaders about the importance of arts education for all children sponsored  by the Forest Theatre Guild, Carmel-By-The-Sea in Carmel, CA. This was a prelude to her talk the next day for the Region 5 Arts Education Forum sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education entitled: "Open the Doors to Arts Education". The topic of her Keynote Address was "Creativity, Empathy, Imagination and Metacognition: What Affective Neurobiology Tells Us about the Importance of Arts Education for All Children."

©2008-11 Victoria Stevens • All rights reserved