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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."

December 10, 2013

Two sessions for the Anni Bergman Infant-Parent Training Program:
The Intersection of Psychoanalytic Theories of Infant Development with Interpersonal Neurobiology.

For graduates of IPTAR (The Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research) and the New York Freudian Society, New York, NY.

November 22 - December 5, 2013

Current Events Accelerated Learning Dive Excursion in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Co-Trainer with Lindon Crow – we will be using your feedback we develop a set of personalized processes just for you and your "now" life situations before your departure. There's no limit to the type of material that could be covered. Because this accelerated learning course is limited to a small group, each participant will have the opportunity for more in-depth interactions with trainers, as well as private one-on-one consultations to ensure clarity and completion before arriving back home from your adventure in learning about yourself.

August 12-25, 2013

CTL Academy, Abuja, Nigeria
Professional Development, Interdisciplinary Curriculum and Research

CTL Academy Abuja offers an American standards-based curriculum delivered from a global perspective. CTL Academy attracts families seeking rigorous academics, a whole child philosophy, and a warm and nurturing environment for their children. Our comprehensive program is designed to produce students with their own unique balance of Global Citizen, Servant Leader, and Passionate Scholar.

CTL Academy Curriculum:

  • Reflects a clearly articulated progression of standards and benchmarks in each discipline from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12.
  • Focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom and in the world outside.
  • Provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills through embracing and transcending traditional school subjects.
  • Is well-resourced and delivered by competent, experienced, and caring teachers
  • Provides maximum growth for individual students by emphasizing problem-solving, inquiry, discovery, and self-direction as well as creative and critical thinking.
  • Monitors student achievement of standards and benchmarks on individual student level and schoolwide.

CTL Academy defines "international education" according to the following criteria:

  • Developing citizens of the world in relation to culture, language and learning to live together
  • Building and reinforcing students' sense of identity and cultural awareness
  • Fostering students' recognition and development of universal human values
  • Stimulating curiosity and inquiry in order to foster a spirit of discovery and enjoyment of learning
  • Equipping students with the skills to learn and acquire knowledge, individually or collaboratively, and to apply these skills and knowledge accordingly across a broad range of areas
  • Providing international content while responding to local requirements and interests
  • Encouraging diversity and flexibility in teaching methods
  • Providing appropriate forms of assessment and international benchmarking

July 15-28, 2013

Millennium Charter High School, Monterey, CA
Professional Development for All Teaching Staff

Mission and Vision

The best employers the world over will be looking for the most competent, most creative, and most innovative people on the face of the earth and will be willing to pay them top dollar for their service…. Beyond [strong skills in English, mathematics, technology, and science], candidates will have to be comfortable with ideas and abstractions, good at both analysis and synthesis, creative and innovative, self-disciplined and well organized, able to learn quickly and work well as a member of a team and have the flexibility to adapt quickly to frequent changes in the labor market as the shifts in the economy become ever faster and more dramatic.

– The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, 2007, cited in Darling-Hammond, 2010.

The Millennium Charter High School is an innovative new school designed for 9th-12th grade students with the goal of facilitating the development of the kinds of skills, mastery of knowledge and ways of thinking that will enable them to emerge upon graduation as informed, educated citizens, leaders inside and outside of their community and prepared to succeed in the global economy of the 21st century.

The learning environment and curriculum are based on learning in the arts and technology, which are integrated and incorporated into learning in all other curricular areas. In all, the curriculum developed by Dr. Victoria Stevens focuses on the development of skills and knowledge in five main curricular areas all of which are considered core subjects and all of which intersect:

  1. Math
  2. Science
  3. Language Arts including Creative Writing
  4. Social Science
  5. The Arts (dance, music, media, theatre, visual arts)
  6. Technology
  7. Life Skills
  8. Physical Education

All subjects in the five (1-5 above) curricular areas will have their own focus and sequence as well as intersecting in terms of thematic content and interdisciplinary cross-connections and are all taught through inquiry and project-based learning.

In addition all five areas are linked by common larger goals and outcomes that are considered to be essential for success in a rapidly changing world. These are often called 21st Century Skills and include those listed in the above quotation at the opening of this paper. These skills include: creative thinking, imagination, mental play, critical thinking, learning how to learn, self-reflection, empathy, collaborative teamwork, analogical and metaphorical thinking, patience, emotional self-regulation and self-motivation.

To prepare students for success, Millennium Charter High School emphasizes inquiry-based and project-based learning, which allows students to delve deeply into course material, develop critical and creative thinking skills, work collaboratively and develop mastery in their own unique areas of interest. Millennium Charter High School recognizes that each student possesses his or her own unique ways of learning and has different levels of skill, areas of giftedness and unique life-goals. Millennium Charter High School is committed to developing different types of literacy in all students: aesthetic, informational, intellectual, emotional, social, and ethical, all of which are essential to an educational process having the aim of providing students with a sense of personal purpose and the life-long learning skills for success in college, in any area of work, and for citizenship, locally and globally.

Los Angeles Unified School District:

January 2013 - Gompers Middle School & Fremont High School

February 5, 2013 - Markham Middle School, LAUSD

February 13, 2013 - Academy for Multilingual Arts and Sciences (AMAS), South Region High #12

March 12, 2013 - Gompers Middle School

March 19, 2013 - Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School

May 4, 2013 - Los Angeles Unified School District

R.S.V.P. to Sandra Hill Williams at (323) 994-0500 or via email

CUN Mentors who complete this required training will recieve a certificate of completion by Victoria Stevens, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Certified Trainer.



Reserve Now – Space is Limited | Download Registration Form | Email or Call: (714) 505-9080

Listening to Non-Verbal Communication: The Music, Dance and Poetry of Language

Instructor: Victoria Stevens, Ph.D.

Dates: 3 Saturdays, February 23, March 2 and March 9, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Cost: $180, 9 CE/CEUS (Must attend all sessions for CE/CEUS)

Location: The office of Victoria Stevens, Ph.D.

10845 Lindbrook Drive #206 Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood Village near UCLA)

Course Description:

This class will cover major ideas of creativity as they relate to the work of psychotherapy, including ideas from affective neurobiology and interactive regulation. There will be a focus on all modalities of non-verbal communication through the body and voice as well as the poetry of the unconscious as it reveals itself through everyday language. Actual ear-training and musical improvisation, theatre and dance improvisation and examples from visual art, poetry and literature will also be utilized. This information and these experiences will be related to current or past cases of the participants,

Course Objectives:

1. Participants will learn basic theories of creativity as they relate to psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic work with patients of all ages

2. Participants will be able to have their own creative thinking enhanced as well as that of their patients

3. Participants will learn to “read” non-verbal modalities of communication through basic experiences in all art forms.

4. Participants will be able to apply this information to their own work to expand their listening and interpretation skills

Victoria Stevens, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, an IPA certified psychoanalyst and musician. She is on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts School of Critical Studies, the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, The Santa Barbara Graduate Institute for Infant and Child Development and the Anni Bergman Infant-Parent Training Program at IPTAR in New York. Her research area is applying psychoanalytic, neurobiological and aesthetic developmental theories to art education curricula pre-K-12th grade in schools nationally and internationally, with a special emphasis on foster and at-risk youth.

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."

©2008-13 Victoria Stevens • All rights reserved