About Us

Plan V-TV/59: Al Vecchione on Taming The Tiger from Vermont Independent on Vimeo.

  • In Italian, Amici means “friends.” That’s at the heart of who we are, a group of people who see the importance of authentic relationships, and the role they play in promoting “good” behavior.
  • We understand that all behavior is body based and driven by internal states of arousal. These states determine how we behave when we are distressed.
  • Our body state can make us feel safe and help us relate to others, and enable us to “reach out.” Our bodies can also mobilize us into flight and fight behaviors in our own defense, even if there is no danger, and cause us to “act out.” Finally they can shut us down, make us avoidant and dissociative, and cause us to “check out.”
  • Reaching out to others results in “good” behavior, while acting out or checking out, in the wrong circumstance, can result in “bad” behavior.
  • We believe that people can learn to manage the internal body states that drive these behaviors with the body based techniques you can learn about on this website. Managing the body states that allow us to reach out to others when we are in need or distressed is the key to good behavior.
  • One of our primary objectives at Amici Associates, is to help everyone struggling with their behavior to know that they can behave as they would like to, and help them learn the skills to do so. We have made the resources available here to learn these techniques as well as the science behind them, and an extensive bibliography for each technique.
  • For more information about anything here, or for inquiries about the services and consultation we provide, please contact us.

Who We Are

Dr. Elia Vecchione

IMG_0417Dr. Elia Vecchione is the founder and clinical director of the Francis Foundation, a private non-profit that serves people with extremely challenging behavior. He is also the co-founder of the Vermont Crisis Intervention Network, the only statewide crisis service for people with developmental disabilities in the country, as well as the founder of the Francis Foundation Learning Center, a school that served children and adolescents with traumatic histories and unmanageable behavior. Dr. Vecchione currently directs clinical services of the Francis Foundation, serves as the director of Amici Associates, and provides therapy, consultation, and training to people who suffer from, or support people with, challenging behavior. In addition “Al” is a devoted son, husband to an enduring and wonderful wife, proud father of two sons and daughters, and spectacularly enamored grandfather of three grandsons. Al is fortunate enough to be living the Italian hippie dream come true in Duxbury,
Vermont, surrounded by family, friends, food, and nature.

Leo Vecchione

IMG_4620Leo Vecchione fills a variety of positions around the state of Vermont, working primarily in the area of developmental disabilities. He is the Clinical Director at Amici Associates, a small private community-based organization dedicated to supporting people with extreme behavioral needs and a history of trauma. He also is the Clinician at the Vermont Crisis Intervention Network, where people with disabilities in Vermont can go for support and consultation. In addition to those things, he consults with many agencies in Vermont, providing therapy, behavioral support, and ongoing team-based consultation. Leo also has been providing training in the areas of developmental disabilities, trauma, autism, and therapy in the state of Vermont and both nationally and internationally.
Leo first discovered this work as an infant in the home of his father, Dr. Al, and in his career and education he has focused primarily on serving people with disabilities and complicated behavioral and emotional needs. He is the proud son of two wonderful parents, brother of two hilarious siblings, father of two sweet and incredible boys, and husband of one impossibly tolerant woman.

Mike VanDenBergh

IMG_0977Mike VanDenBergh joined forces with the Vecchiones after interning with the Francis Foundation in 2009. Shortly into said internship, everyone realized that he was a long-lost member of the family, and he began working as the crisis clinician for Amici Associates while he finished his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Mike believes that everyone is doing the best that they can with the tools they have. He believes that it’s inter- and intrapersonal relationships that help people to heal, not data sheets and safety plans. He believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to live and work in the community, and that it’s everyone’s responsibility to support those who need and want help. Mike is currently the Director of Alternative Behavioral Response Training at Amici Associates, where he also engages in individual psychotherapy, local and international consultation, research, and clinical supervision. Mike also provides therapy and consultation at Upper Valley Services in Moretown, Vermont where he has also been a home care provider for a wonderful young man since 2011. In his spare time, Mike enjoys cooking and eating too much, spending time with friends and family, gardening, listening to a growing library of audiobooks, experimenting with new and exciting fermented foods, and driving his beautiful fiancée crazy with these aforementioned hobbies.

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