Following Up

On Thursday, January 24, 2019 we partnered with the Hatboro-Horsham School District & the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation to talk with parents about stress in young children and adolescents.

Our special guest was Matt Bellace, PhD. Earlier in the day, Dr. Bellace presented two assemblies for Keith Valley Middle School students in grades 6, 7 and 8. He also conducted workshops from student ambassadors and members of Hatboro-Horsham High School’s Link Crew. This was Dr. Bellace’s third visit to Hatboro-Horsham!

About Matt Bellace, PhD

Matt Bellace, Ph.D., has been a youth motivational speaker and stand-up comedian since 1995. Dr. Bellace has a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology (the study of the brain and behavior), is a member of the National Speakers Association and is the author of the book, A Better High. He is also a contributing author for the National Geographic Kids book series, “This or That.”  His “How to Get High Naturally” program encourages over a hundred thousand students a year worldwide to pursue natural highs and make healthy choices. Matt was a recurring comedian on truTV’s hit show, “World’s Dumbest.”

Educational Background

1998-2005, Doctor of Philosophy, Drexel University, Clinical Psychology
1996-1998, Master of Science, Bucknell University, Biology
1992-1996, Bachelor of Science, Bucknell University, Biology & Psychology
1988-1992, Montclair High School, Montclair, NJ

Matt’s educational background reads more like that of a professor than a speaker and comedian.  He has always had a passion for neuroscience.  In fact, his doctorate in clinical psychology includes a subspecialty in clinical neuropsychology, which is the study of the brain and behavior.  In graduate school, he spent two summers as an intern studying memory in primates at the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. His doctoral work also included training in the treatment of epilepsy at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia), learning disorders in a pediatric neuropsychology private practice and psychotherapy at the Drexel University- Hahnemann Campus, Student Counseling Center.  Matt completed his clinical internship working with traumatic brain and spinal cord injury patients at The Mount Sinai Medical in New York City. In 2005, Matt successfully defended his dissertation, “Activation of the Hippocampus During Emotional Learning,” which was later published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

Matt is currently lives with his wife and two children in the Princeton, NJ area. His wife, Dara, is also a clinical psychologist, specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. She maintains a private practice in Princeton.

Peer Reviewed Research Publications:

Bellace, Williams, Mohamed, Faro. 2012. An fMRI Study of the Activation of the Hippocampus by Emotional Memory, International Journal of Neuroscience, Oct 26 View Article
Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, Vol. 16, Number 8, November 2001
Journal of Andrology, Jan/Feb Supplement, 1998


Bucknell Masters Scholarship in Biology, 1996-98
Thelma Johnson Showalter Prize for Excellence in Community Affairs, 1996
John P. Dunlop Prize, Outstanding Greek Leader in Campus and Community Involvement, 1996
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health/ Division of Neuropsychology, Summer Internship, 2000 & 2001

Popular Psychology Articles:

The Teenage Brain: Stress, Coping and Natural Highs (Edutopia, 2016)

Laughter, Learning and Why Teens Are Such a Tough Crowd (Edutopia, 2016)

Visit Dr. Bellace’s website

↓View Dr. Bellace’s Powerpoint↓

Helpful Information

Now is the time to talk with our kids about drugs and alcohol.

Talk, They Hear You
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Talking About Drugs with Kids in Elementary School (ages 6-10)
“Addiction is Real”

6 Parenting Practices:  Help Reduce the Chances Your Child will Develop a Drug or Alcohol Problem
Partnership for Drugfree Kids

Conversation Tips for Every Age
Partnership for Drug-free Kids

Talk! They Hear You.
Underage drinking prevention.

Marijuana Talk Kit
Partnership for Drugfree Kids

Family Dinner Conversation Starters

Making Yourself Ready to Start the Conversation:  Guidelines for Parents & Guardians

Help Your Child to be Tobacco Free
from “Right Decisions Right Now”

How to Talk to a Child About a Parent’s Addiction
by David Sack, MD for The Huffington Post

How to Talk to Your Kids About Family Addiction
by Jaimie Seaton for the Washington Post

Dos and Don’ts: Talking to your Kids About Drugs
Drug Enforcement Agency

A reality check on kids and substance use.

Bullied Teens More Likely to Smoke, Drink and Use Drugs
Reuters Health

Teen Drug Facts

Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

As Opioid Crisis Alarms Communities, Drug Education Now Starts in Kindergarten
National Education Association

Preventing Drug Use Among Children and Adolescents
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Top 8 Reasons why Teens Try Alcohol and Drugs
from “How to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do if You Can’t,” by Dr. Neil I. Bernstein

This Study Could Unlock the Mysteries of Teen Brain Development
By Nora D. Volkow and George F. Koob; January 5, 2017

Underage Drinking
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

What to Look For:  Here are some of the warning signs.
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD)

Signs of Drug Use in a Teen Bedroom
Raleigh, NC NBC 11 News

DEA Issues List of Street Drug Names
Clinical Pain Advisor


↓Watch a past presentation by Ken Ginsburg, MD, M.S.Ed. about childhood resiliency.↓

Kim Porter, CFRS