2nd Australasian VIRTUAL Conference for Neuroscience, Learning and Well-being



Mr Thedy Veliz 


California USA - Neuropsychotherapy - Working with Youth and Their Families 
PhD Student in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies

Thedy Veliz is a Relational & Developmental Neuro-Therapeutic CoachSM, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), a Certified Clinical Neuropsychotherapy Practitioner, and a Certified Resilience Coach (CreC) in private practice in Los Gatos, California, USA.  Veliz is founder of People Systems, a leadership & human development consulting firm through which he works with youth, adults, families, and couples who are experiencing challenges caused by behavioral, relational and emotional dynamics.

Thedy recognizes that children’s symptoms communicate the relational dynamics of the family, and uses a family systems approach to encourage parents to become curious about what aspects of the family dynamics might be showing up as challenging behaviors in their children. Thedy uses “Relational Neuro-Narratives” as the active ingredient of his Parent Relational & Developmental Neuropsychotherapy Protocol which guides his treatment of youth by working with their parents. 

Thedy combines 15 years of corporate engineering design and finance management experience with his experience in motivational speaking, leadership development, and his most recent education and training in neuropsychotherapy, counseling psychology, human development, and resilience & life coaching to provide families with a neuropsychotherapeutic path towards wellness by focusing on the power of dyadic relationships as the medium for healing. 

Thedy specializes in working with fathers and sons, and the entire family by utilizing “neuro-therapeutic coaching” in order to assist individuals to achieve resilience through personal fulfillment and creativity while becoming social innovation catalysts. Thedy is currently working on a PhD in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. His research uses a transdisciplinary approach to understanding the role of sensitivity and creativity/giftedness on the conceptualization of children’s behavioral, emotional, and learning challenges. Thedy has a Masters in Counseling Psychology (MA) from Santa Clara University, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Notre Dame, and a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Iowa State University.




“The Ferrari Brain” - Creativity or Non-Compliance?

Developmental neurogenomics informed pedagogical interventions for challenging students



“What if the children about whom we worry most were actually those with the greatest promise? What if those youth whose lives are marked by turmoil and difficulty were plausibly heirs to the brightest, most creative futures? What if seemingly blighted and troubled childhoods could give way, under conditions of encouragement and support, to adulthoods bearing not simply normal lives and passable achievement, but deep, rich relationships and inspired accomplishment?  What if even the very real burdens of a child’s uncommon fragility could be reshaped, under responsive conditions, into the tangible advantages of human resilience? What if, in short, the apparent frailties and disarray of some young lives were redeemable – through the alchemy of nurturing families or communities and transformative care?

- W. Thomas Boyce, The Orchid and the Dandelion

Over the last few decades, research findings have been providing evidence suggesting that 15-20% of young people are more “sensitive” to the effect of their environment than the remaining 80-85%.  This sensitivity manifests itself in multiple ways including increased behavioral, emotional, and learning challenges; along with hypersexuality, risky behavior, addiction, and physical illnesses. It turns out that the neuroendocrine makeup of these youth is a result of a complicated interplay between evolution, genetics, and epigenetics that has resulted in them having what I call a “Ferrari” brain which predisposes them to becoming easily dysregulated; but also to being idealistic, creative and intelligent in very unconventional ways.


In essence, these children have brains that become easily bored, question rules and authority, and require constant stimulation.  But they are also very empathic, feel the injustice in the world, and are interested in complex social, political, and philosophical issues at a very early age.  These children require a different learning style that is more “hands on” in order to keep them engaged while providing a relationally safe environment required for the adequate balance of “here and now” neurochemicals (e.g., oxytocin, serotonin, endogenous opioids) and dopamine.


Researchers are learning that creative people can score high on both psychopathology AND psychological health as this is the nature of their “messy” unconventional minds.  Thus, how important adults in their lives see them will make a big difference into how they see themselves. These children constantly feel misunderstood by caregivers and peers; and consequences, shaming, and trying to change the way their neuroendocrine system has been evolutionarily designed would have adverse effects for these young people and those around them.  They are usually carriers of self-regulatory genetic alleles that make them susceptible to the environment “for better and for worse.” This means that a child or adolescent that is displaying a behavioral problem might not be in the right learning environment for his brain to be motivated to learn.  However, most educational systems were designed before we had an understanding of the developmental neuroendocrine differences of these children, and thus they might not be receiving a fair chance at developing their own unique talents.


This keynote presentation will provide the theory and research to help educators conceptualize “difficult” students’ challenges by using practical interventions to enhance the environmental experience needed for optimal learning by these children.  How caregivers conceptualize these children’s difference can make them or break them as many of them end up engaging in self-destructive behavior. And… how educators engage with and relate to these sensitive children and the resulting classroom dynamics has been shown to affect not only their education and future career opportunities, but also their mental and physical health.


Applied Interactive Workshop: How to “Join-in” With Non-Compliance as a Pedagogical Intervention That Would lead to Creative Expression


After being exposed to research, theories, and interventions that highlight the emotional, behavioral, social, and learning aspects of children that are “non-formulaic,” this applied interactive workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to ask questions pertaining to how the information presented in the keynote can be taken back and put into practice with students that might be showing signs of having a Ferrari Brain.