Trager® Conference 2019 / About / Register / Panelists / BREAKOUT SESSIONS / Keynote

Breakout Session Options

We are happy to offer the following options from which you are to choose one. On Saturday of the Conference, there will be one 90-minute Breakout Session Workshop. We ask that you choose your top 3 choices. Thank you.


Expanding possibilities!

An introduction to reversing paralysis and other neurologic disorders in people and animals using Reflex/Response

This presentation is about using Reflex/Response for paralysis. Explore ways of connecting at a deeper level to change lives and break out of the common ideas of what is possible. Hear stories shared of those profound “Aha” moments when the right connection makes sudden change in clients. In addition to these interesting cases, I will also be showing the work I have done for 12 years with injured animals. See an animal go from paralyzed to walking in 9 minutes! These “clients” are slightly unusual but the approach is the same. Come explore some ways of “reaching the mind” and making new connections with the nervous system. The Reflex/Response aspect of the Trager® Approach has broad applications from paralysis to “stuck” body parts to body awareness to balance and beyond. When my son fell and became a quadriplegic, the R/R work was a gift that offered hope and a way to help. With almost no physical therapy, he hiked 8 months later needing only balance assistance. The ideas presented here can be used for aging pets, family, friends… and are not just for those treating difficult cases.

(No previous RR training is needed.)


Presented by:

Carla Montagno


TRAGER® for Daily Life (TDL) in action

(You‘ll get it this time!)

Some of you have heard about the TRAGER for Daily Life project, and some of you may know very little about it. We will help you to discover anew, refresh what you do know, and enhance your leading skills in our time together. As Practitioners, you can share the TRAGER principles with small or larger groups. Explore more deeply, or perhaps for the first time, how to help class participants (and your clients) to improve their quality of life, integrating TRAGER movement as a tool to promote balance, grace, lightness, energy, and creative play at the workplace, in stressful environments, at the computer, during domestic tasks, in times of life transition, and so much more. Learn to tailor a presentation to meet specific needs of the participants. Join us as we gather together to Discover, Refresh, and Enhance our leading skills through a question and answer period available resources including handouts, and a brief demo class so that you can see and participate in a TRAGER for Daily Life class in Action given to non-TRAGER conference participants! Expect some fun! You’ll get it this time!

Presented by:

Stephani-lila Murdoch; Linda MacConnell, Amrita Daigle; Cindy Popp-Hager;


Stephani-lila Murdoch

Stephani-lila Murdoch has been a Trager Practitioner since 1985. In addition she is a Trager Tutor, Tutor Supervisor, and Supervised Practice Leader. She has traveled internationally working as a guest therapist and/or Tutor in Namibia, Italy, Canada, Germany, Vietnam, and many cities in the US. She also volunteered extensively for one year to work with first responders, police, EMT, and families of those affected by the 9/11 attack. Stephani-lila was employed at the Gateway Institute in Bethlehem, Pa. as well as a visiting therapist at the Upledger Brain and Spinal cord Clinic in West Palm Beach, Fla. where she focused specifically on programs provided for Vietnam Veterans. Stephani-lila trained for many years with both Milton Trager, innovator of The Trager Approach, and Dr John Upledger, founder of Upledger CranioSacral Therapy and The Upledger Institute. As a Trager Practitioner, Stephani-lila uses her hands to communicate a quality of feeling to the nervous system during tablework and then guides her client to move with that feeling on their own. Her clients often report new feelings of grace and ease, heightened levels of vitality, greater mobility, and deep feelings of peace.

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Cindy Popp-Hager

Cindy Popp-Hager is a Trager Instructor and Anatomy teacher and has been part of the Trager for Daily Life development team since its inception during Trager Theory U process in Germany in 2013.


The Polyvagal Theory and Trauma - Informed Trager

Milton did not have the benefit of the language of neuroscience to communicate his vision. As Practitioners, I believe that we need to be conversant with new developments in many fields, including fascial research, neurobiology and trauma treatments. The Polyvagal Theory is the subject of numerous webinars on brain science, changing how psychotherapists all over the world work with trauma survivors. The Polyvagal Theory, developed by Stephen Porges Ph.D., is a revolutionary framework for understanding the structure and functions of the vagus nerve which serves as a primary conduit for information between the body and the brain and the regulation of the autonomic nervous system. The theory gives us a more complex view of the protective responses of the nervous system, highlighting 3 circuits: social engagement, fight or flight and freeze. This theory focuses on the vital role of building a trusting, safe relationship in order to help clients balance mobilization or shutdown and return to a state of calm. Body-based education is seen as vital to rewire old patterns. In our selfdevelopment as Trager Practitioners, we fine tune our ability to listen to our clients unconscious protective holding patterns, and GO LESS to speak gently to the nervous system. How can understanding the Polyvagal Theory deepen our intention to communicate with the “unconscious mind” through touch and movement?


Presented by:

Kathryn Hansman-Spice, MS, LMT, TRAGER Instructor

First presenting at the USTA Conference in 1986 a powerpoint highlighting TRAGER and Mind-Body Medicine, Kathryn has specialized in integrating the the latest developments in brain science to understand the power of the TRAGER Approach. Her Level V class, called TRAGER Rewires the Brain, explores how Milton’s Trager principles are affirmed by neuroscience concepts. In her extensive study through NICABM conferences and webinars she recognized that TRAGER offers the foundation of body-based education that is now considered a pioneering approach in treatment of trauma survivors. She has completed Level I of Pat Ogden’s acclaimed Sensori-Motor Psychotherapy, which emphasizes the importance of safely bringing clients into their bodies and teaching them to track sensations.


The Trager Approach and Clinical Strategies

This lecture and demonstration will introduce the utilization of Trager in a multitude of advanced clinical treatment applications, utilizing table work and Mentastics. Hone your ability to work with conditions such as (insert a few examples) and more.


Presented by:

Dr Michael Hillenbrand

Dr Michael Hillenbrand has been practicing Trager since 1994. He has studied and teaches advanced manual and movement therapies, and has worked in a diverse array of clinical settings.


Hook Up, Mindfulness and Freedom:

the Spiritual Essence of Trager

What a great gift our relationship with Dr. Trager is. Deepening our understanding and carrying on the principles that Dr. Trager established for us has never been more important. Dr. Trager gave profound priority to the practice of “hook up”. In this workshop we will engage in group discussion and practice. We will explore the principles and components of “hook up” and their relationship with mindfulness. Both require us to be fully grounded in the here and now, in the present moment. As we explore their interconnectedness, we will tap into how they can deepen our Trager practice. We will practice Mentastics® and Trager® touch as well as basic mindfulness practices such as traditional breathing, sitting and walking meditation. We will have ample time for group discussion and sharing. The intention here is for us, as a collective body, to deepen our experience and relationship to “hook up”.


Presented by:

David Dimmack

David Dimmack discovered Trager and Buddhism in 1989. David is an ordained elder lay dharma teacher by zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and has a black belt in Akido. He has been a certified Trager practitioner for more than 25 years.


Case Study: Foot Drop

Using Reflex Response and Mentastics to Improve Foot Drop

Causes of foot drop; anatomy and innervation of foot and videos of client throughout course of care; before and after; movement explorations and reflex response to improve use of foot and gait observation; Q and A.

Foot drop is an uncommon condition of persons who are affected with stroke and at times, hip surgery, in the case of Eric, my client. Eric agreed to allow me to document his progress in exchange for free sessions. In this class we will be observing gait and discussing corrective Mentastics® that work well with foot drop. We will also be practicing reflex response on each other for legs and feet to help restore normal lift of the toes and foot.

We will review the anatomy of this condition briefly. We will see before and after photos and videos to allow you to follow the progress of this client and you will leave the class with enhanced observation skills and the use of Mentastics for foot drop and other gait issues your clients may present


Presented by:

Judith Fasone

Judy is a Trager® Practitioner, Mentastics® Teacher, Introductory Workshop leader, Supervised Practice and tutor. Judy has over 30 years of experience promoting wellness and empowering others to improve their quality of life in her role as an advanced holistic nurse and 20 years as a Trager practitioner. Her classes are fun, inspiring, and you will leave with a renewed sense of yourself and greater confidence in your work.


The Importance of Research for Trager Practitioners

Currently, there is limited research that has been published on the Trager Approach. This workshop will begin with a presentation on research literacy to aid Trager Practitioners in understanding how to read the research literature and look up research. We will also spend some time talking about case studies, as they are the way to begin to get Trager work into the medical literature. We will discuss what goes into a case study and possible questionnaires that may be useful to track client progress. An introduction to research literacy will help Trager practitioners begin to understand what research is. A number of potential questionnaires will be discussed as a means to quantify client changes. How to write a case study (also called case report) will be covered.

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Presented by:

Ross H. Pastel, Ph.D.

Ross Pastel, Ph.D. is a semi-retired neuroscientist who currently teaches research literacy at the Potomac Massage Training Institute