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interactive matrix describing relationships between human needs and safety


Upcoming Workshops

In April 2022 a series of four workshops will be presented that will provide participants with the ability to:

  • Describe the Extra-Cellular Matrix concept from biology with a focus on how safety supports psychosocial functions which in turn support human growth and development

  • Explain why communication is a core human need, not just a way of meeting our needs

Define the term “Interdependent Actualisation” as opposed to Maslow’s theory of Self-Actualisation

Apply the Matrix of Needs model to case studies with a focus on complex behavioural needs associated with traumatic experiences

Discuss the concepts of despair and hope and the healing power of listening to people affected by disabilities

Compare the concept of Interdependent Actualisation to the concept of Self-Actualisation

Summarise the concepts associated with the term “attention-seeking behaviour”

  • Demonstrate an understanding of trauma centred positive behaviour support



Attendance at the sessions held the first day is strongly encouraged but not required to attend the workshop on the second day.  


Cost:  The cost of each one-day workshop is $129 AUD, GST included

Participation in both workshops is $209 AUD, GST included


Workshop Schedule:


Day 1, Morning - The Matrix of Needs, 9:00am to 12:00pm, April 11 OR April 28, 2022

Day 1, Afternoon – Despair and Hope, 1:30pm to 4:00pm, April 11 OR April 28, 2022

Day 2, Morning – The Myth of Attention Seeking Behaviours, 9am to 12pm April 12 OR April 29, 2022

Day 2, Afternoon – Positive Human Experiences, 1:30pm to 4:00pm, April 12 OR April 29, 2022

Morning and afternoon tea is included in the workshops, lunch will be on your own.

Workshop Locations:  April 11 and 12 – Easy iCare Venue in Preston, VIC

                                       April 28 and 29 – Eastern suburb, Melb, VIC (TBD)

To register, please email and specify if you are registering for the first day, the second day, or both.  An invoice will be generated and emailed to participants with the address for the workshops as there will be no walk-in participants.  Registration must be completed by April 6, 2022.  There is a maximum of 40 participants per day.

A brief description of each workshop is below.  For more details, please feel free to download the articles published by the journal Health which are available here:

The Matrix of Needs:  Reframing Maslow’s Hierarchy  DOI: 10.4236/health.2021.135041 

Despair and Hope:  The Healing Power of Listening – DOI   10.4236/health.2021.135044

The Myth of Attention Seeking Behavior – DOI 10.4236/health.2021.1312103

Workshop Descriptions:

The Matrix of Needs:  Reframing Maslow’s Hierarchy – In this session the Matrix of Needs model will be presented, with a focus on understanding how the Extra-Cellular Matrix (ECM), which provides the structure necessary for cells to function, can be used as a way of understanding the role of safety in providing the necessary structure for human psychological, emotional, and behavioural functioning.  Drawing on research from the fields of biology, neurobiology and evolutionary psychology the presenter will review the Matrix of Needs and use case examples to illustrate the model.

Despair and Hope:  The Healing Power of Listening – Drawing on the work of David Pitonyak, Ruth Lanius, Bessel van der Kolk and others, this session will focus on applying the Matrix of Needs model specifically to individuals who have experienced significant betrayal and interpersonal trauma, and who are affected by disabilities such autism, intellectual disabilities and co-occurring disorders.  Participants are encouraged to share their own case studies which, for purposes of confidentiality, should be de-identified.


The Myth of Attention Seeking Behaviours - One of the most common reasons given for referring students to behavioral consultants is the phrase “they are only acting out for attention” or variants thereof.  Attention, however, turns out to be a poor reinforcer in and of itself.  When students seek attention, they are really seeking other things, such as safety, acknowledgement, assistance or affection.  In this workshop, the presenter will present the concept of structural behaviour analysis of antecedal conditions and how to identify what people want when the use attention-seeking behaviours.


Positive Human Experiences:  Building resilience through trauma centred positive behaviour support - Understanding the neurobiological impact of childhood trauma on people throughout their lives, not just during their childhood and adolescence has been a key component in the development of therapeutic approaches that have brought healing and hope to millions of people.  Less well studied is the impact of the opposite of ACE’s, Positive Human Experiences, or PHE’s.  Research is beginning to show that experiences which are, in many ways, the opposite of ACE’s can empower children and adults to recover from adverse events in their lives. In this session, the presenter will provide an overview of PHE’s and describe how, using the Matrix of Needs model, human service professionals can design and implement structures and strategies to address the unmet needs of people using the tools of positive behaviour support to improve their quality of life and decrease the frequency, intensity and duration of their behaviours of concern.

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