Victoria Stevens, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, speaker, researcher and educator. She is the director of the Stevens Creativity, Imagination and Leadership Training. She holds a BA with honors in philosophy, cello, and theatre from the University of Kansas, an MA and PhD in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (CGI in Los Angeles) and specialized certifications in Hypnosis and the Treatment of Victims and Perpetrators of Violent Crimes. Her psychoanalytic certification is from the Psychoanalytic Center of California, mentored by James Grotstein, and she has studied interpersonal affective neurobiology with Allan Schore for 12 years.
Her research specialty is the study of the development and inhibition of creativity in children and adults with an emphasis on the relationship between creative thinking, neurobiology, emotional development and affect regulation, trauma, the arts and cognitive processes. She currently works with programs for veterans through the Los Angeles Veterans Administration, and for foster youth who have aged out of the system. She has integrated her experience as a classically trained cellist, singer, actress, and dancer with her expertise in psychology and pedagogical theory to develop innovative pre-K – 12th-grade art education curricula and assessments, teacher training programs, and trainings for mentors who work with foster children and “at-risk” youth.
She is Adjunct Faculty in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Santa Barbara, Adjunct Faculty in Clinical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and is a founding faculty member of the California Institute of the Arts Teaching Artist Training Program. She has been a faculty member at a number of institutions: California Institute of the Arts School of Critical Studies, Mount St. Mary’s College, and the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute for Infant and Child Development, as well as Director of Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Research for the Young Musicians Foundation in Los Angeles. She provides professional development training for teachers in public and private schools across the country on the subjects of creativity, the arts, emotional regulation, imagination and metacognition as they relate to life-long learning and academic achievement for all children. She is a training analyst and faculty member of the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute and as part of an interdisciplinary team of instructors for the Anni Bergman Infant and Parent Training Program in New York, teaches seminars on the intersection of interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, psychoanalytic and other formal theories of infant and child development.
Dr. Stevens developed the full curriculum framework for an innovative new charter high school in Salinas California that integrates all art forms, media arts, and technology with core curricular subjects focused on developing creative thinking. As a member of the CREATE CALIFORNIA planning team she is working with the State Department of Education to bring the arts and creativity in all subjects to schools throughout California. She has been a peer reviewer for the Grammy Foundation Music and Science research grants since 2007.
She has been a trainer in personal growth workshops for individuals and corporations for 30 years and has given seminars, lectures, and in-services in both private and public schools across the country and in Europe – including seminars at the Tavistock Clinic in London and at Cambridge University. She has presented at numerous conferences on the subjects of creativity, imagination, arts education, and the effects of early trauma on learning including the National Conference “Keeping the Promise to Our Children” in Washington DC and the “Courageous Creativity” conference at Disneyland in California.
She has also been a featured speaker at the World Congress of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences in Prague, the Independent Schools Association of the Central States Annual Conference in Chicago, and the California Association of Private Schools Annual Conference in Long Beach. She delivered the Pat King Memorial Lecture at the National Cathedral School in Washington D.C. and has delivered papers at UCLA for the Symposium on the Intersection of the Arts and Sciences, co-sponsored by the Jonas Salk Institute, and the James Grotstein Conference on New Directions in Attachment and Child Development at UCLA.
She has published several articles, including, “Quality, Equity, and Access: A Status Report on Arts Education in California Public Schools” with Suzanne Isken, “Nothingness, No-Thing, and Nothing in the Work of Wilfred Bion and in Samuel Beckett’s Murphy” in the Psychoanalytic Review, and “Reading the Language of the Right Brain” and “The Cognitive Unconscious and the Embodied Mind” – both in the Psychologist/Psychoanalyst Newsletter of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association.
Her recent publications include “To Think without Thinking: The Implications of Combinatory Play and the Creative Process for Neuroaesthetics” in the American Journal of Play, the chapter “Bion, Klein, and Freud” in When Theories Touch: A Historical and Theoretical Integration of Psychoanalytic Thought” by Steven J. Ellman and “The Importance of Prosodic Elements in the Dyadic Relationship between Infant and Caregiver for the Development of Attachment and Affect Regulation” in The Voice and Emotions, edited by Kryzysztof Izdebski.
She has a private psychoanalytic psychotherapy practice for children, adolescents, and adults in West Los Angeles.