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Workshop: When Words and Actions Clash

Understanding Behavior As Communication

Have you noticed any changes in behaviors or attitudes with the youth in your life since COVID-19? Local youth counselor and social worker Benjamin Newman and Youth Coordinator Ashley Hill partner to explore the language and neuroscience of human behavior to help us all respond in ways that work and move our relationships forward with the youth in our lives.

A multi-part series for parents, caregivers, or those working with youth, participants will learn ways to identify and understand behaviors in new ways. Shifting our perspective can help us understand and use behavior as a starting point to improve communications, and can help our youth learn healthy coping and problem solving habits. Join us on:

September 17th, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
September 24th, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Please register here for each week of this series!

This series is a training series that will explore the latest discoveries in brain science to help us understand how and why we all respond differently to stress. Understanding stress in our lives and how that impacts and influences us and our behaviors can help us to respond effectively to our own needs and the needs of others. As we learn to recognize when we are experiencing stress in our bodies and engage in stress-motivated behaviors and how that translates and informs behavior, this workshop will help us begin to reshape behavior from a one-dimensional physical context and into a form of physical and non-verbal communication.

This workshop series will provide all participants with simple, straightforward approaches to navigating behaviors that we all struggle with, and will provide age-appropriate materials for youth and adults that can help us navigate any situations we may find ourselves in, particularly those where communication is challenging and behaviors can be or quickly become frustrating and overwhelming.


1. Review how previous experiences, specifically traumatic ones, impact everyone’s ability to respond in a healthy way to stress.

2. Gain more understanding about how stress informs human behaviors and actions or inactions.

3. Learn specific tools and approaches to both strengthen relationships with others and find ways to reach out when you’re noticing stress building up in your life or in the lives of others.

4. Learn healthy, easy-to-use techniques for self-care and personal stress reduction that will translate to and inform many aspects of your life and your relationships.


Benjamin Newman, LICSW, graduated from UVM in the early ‘90s and didn’t know what to do for a job, let alone a career. He decided to work in schools as a 1:1 aide because he thought it would be fun. He had no idea how challenged and inspired he would be by the students he ended up working with. He went on to pursue a Masters in Social Work in his hometown of New York City. Upon graduating from there, an absurd confluence of events brought him back to Vermont.

Ben spent seven years as the clinician for the New School of Montpelier, the last four there as its clinical director. In that role, he worked directly with students who struggled with severe emotional and physiological dysregulation. He also supervised teachers and staff and conferred with parents about ways to help young people alleviate their suffering and become more successful in all realms of their lives.

He has spent the last decade in private practice, providing therapy to people of all ages and consulting with schools and families on issues related to kids’ behavioral and emotional challenges.

Ben currently collaborates with a clinical team that has developed and keeps refining a therapeutic model called Strategic Self-Regulation Therapy. The model uses the latest discoveries and understandings of developmental psychology, attachment theory, trauma, motivation, physiological regulation, mindfulness, and neurobiology to provide a relatively simple way to help people of all ages reduce their distress and understand and change their behavior.