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Interpersonal Neurobiology - Faculty

Donald Altman, M.A. LPC, is a psychotherapist, award-winning writer, former Buddhist monk, and teacher. In addition to being a faculty member in the Interpersonal Neurobiology program at Portland State University, where he teaches various classes blending mindfulness and Interpersonal Neurobiology, he also trains around the country on mindfulness. A prolific writer whose career spans more than twenty-five years, Donald has authored several pioneering books on mindfulness, beginning with his 1998 Art of the Inner Meal. His book The Mindfulness Code was named as "One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2010." He has also authored 12-Weeks to Mindful Eating, Meal by Meal, Living Kindness, One-Minute Mindfulness, and The Joy Compass. His newest book, The Mindfulness Toolbox will be out in 2014. 

In addition to his books, Donald was a staff writer for an EMMY-Award winning children's television (The Magic Door, CBS Chicago), won an American Medical Writer's Association Award, co-created the first interactive comic strip on America Online, and has had articles appear in New Age Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and Independent Business Magazine, among others. Donald reaches out to the professional community by serving as the Vice President of The Center for Mindful Eating. Donald works extensively offering these tools to others through his books and classes. He teaches mindfulness and spiritual values around the country. He is dedicated to bringing these ancient practices in tune with modern living and to invite wellness into our stress-filled lives. Donald is also a member of the Burma Buddhist Association. An avid motorcyclist, he enjoys riding his motorcycle along the beautiful Oregon coast.

Bonnie Badenoch, PhD, LMFT, is an in-the-trenches therapist, supervisor, teacher, and author who has spent the last five years integrating the discoveries of neuroscience into the art of therapy and now enjoys sharing this information at conferences, with agencies, and in consultations with fellow therapists. She is also the co-founder of the Center for Brain-Wise Living, an Oregon-based nonprofit agency that promotes brain wisdom to foster a more awake and compassionate world. After receiving her PhD in comparative religions from the University of Oriental Studies and her MA in marriage and family therapy from Azusa Pacific University, she co-founded the Center for Hope and Healing (CHH) in Irvine, California in 1991, to serve families struggling with intergenerational legacies of abuse, neglect, and emotional chaos. She served as its senior clinical director/supervisor until 2008, taking particular joy in training and mentoring MFT interns. In 2003, she heard Daniel Siegel speak, became fascinated by the power of interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) to enhance therapy, and was privileged to join his ongoing study group in 2004. As a result of her growing interest in IPNB, she became one of the founders of the nonprofit organization, Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies (GAINS), a group that fosters application of IPNB in all walks of life. She is editor-in-chief of the GAINS Quarterly publication. Out of this study, combined with her 19 years of working with survivors of trauma and attachment struggles, came her book, Being a Brain-Wise Therapist: A Practical Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology, published in 2008. Therapists say that this book fills the gap between science and practice with compassion and heart. She has a gift for translating the complexities of brain science into words and examples that allow people to internalize the principles so they can use them in the counseling room.

Alissa Bagan, MS, LMHC, is a therapist and teacher who integrates the discoveries of neuroscience into her practice with her clients on a daily basis.  Alissa received her master’s degree from Seattle Pacific University (SPU) and embraces a systemic perspective in her work. Before moving to Portland, Alissa specialized as a Medical Family Therapist at the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency and Harborview Hospital in Seattle, where she worked alongside primary care physicians to provide integrated healthcare for patients.  From there, Alissa’s interest in the mind-body relationship deepened as she has been closely mentored for over 3 years by Bonnie Badenoch, therapist, teacher and author of Being a Brain-Wise Therapist: A Practical Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology. Bonnie has been part of the faculty for the Interpersonal Neurobiology Certificate series at PSU for several years in both the Brain-Savvy Practitioner series and the IPNB of Trauma series and Alissa has enjoyed sharing Bonnie’s passion for teaching. Now practicing in Vancouver, Washington at Western Psychological and Counseling Services, Alissa enjoys weaving the discoveries of neuroscience into the art of therapy and is excited to be taking over the Brain-Savvy series with Bonnie’s support and blessing. 

Karin Bausenbach MD (in memoriam), is a developmental behavioral pediatrician affiliated with the Northwest Early Childhood Institute and Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland.  She initially studied fine arts and Navajo culture as an undergraduate. In her mid 20s she became intrigued with the medical field and developed a desire to help people. She completed her registered nurse program and worked for eight years as a medical intensive care unit nurse in Oakland, California. She wanted to have a more direct role in decision making and more in depth knowledge of medicine, and decided at age 30 to become a physician. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley, medical school at Medical College of Wisconsin, and pediatric residency at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She worked as a primary care pediatrician for seven years, and developed an intense interest in pediatric development and behavior, and its neuroscientific basis. Since 2005 she has specialized in pediatric development and behavior in her clinical practice and finds this work extremely satisfying. She also over the past four years, has been teaching classes on interpersonal neurobiology and neuroscience in the Portland community at PSU, Mt Hood Community College, and Multnomah Department of Public Health.

Maria Brignola, MCAT, BC-DMT, NCC, is nationally known as a dynamic workshop facilitator, writer, educator, and consultant who brings a level of professional excellence and creative collaboration to her work. For more than 20 years Maria has been a pioneer, educator and leader in mind-body psychotherapy, body mindfulness, and dance/movement therapy in the Pacific Northwest. As a contributing writer for many years for a national psychological journal, and having her work represented in magazines, and newspapers, Maria is recognized for her clinical expertise, understanding of healthcare resources, and pioneering approach to collaborative healthcare.

Currently, she manages the Counseling and Therapy Department at Adventist Medical Center and teaches in the graduate program at Marylhurst University—where she has been an adjunct professor for 25 years. With her extensive knowledge of strategic administration, along with working as a counselor among diverse populations including individuals with chronic mentally illness and those who are underserved, she is committed to developing a highly collaborative, integrative, and patient-centered care model. Her mission is to create positive, healing experiences for all individuals within a holistic, integrative framework.

Greg Crosby, MA, LPC, CGP, FAGPA, is a practicing therapist in adult ADD/ADHD and co-occurring disorders. He also consults and trains in managed care, community mental health, adult residential treatment, early childhood, addiction, and corrections. He has a national consulting and training practice in group therapy and Integrated CBT. He recently retired from Kaiser Permanente - Northwest Region, where he was the Clinical Group Coordinator, Mental Health, for 25 years. Crosby is on the International National Board of Certified Group Psychotherapists and is an adjunct faculty member at Marylhurst University in Human Sciences and Graduate Art Therapy and at Portland State University – both Continuing Professional Education Program and Interpersonal Neurobiology. He is a founding member of the IPNB Certificate Program faculty (since 2004) and taught the first core interpersonal neurobiology class.

Rachel H. Cunliffe, PhD, is an assistant professor in the conflict resolution program at PSU and is also a researcher and freelance writer. She received her BA and MA from Cambridge University, England, her teaching degree from Manchester University, England, her MEd in educational psychology from University of Minnesota, and her PhD from University of Arizona in special education and rehabilitation. The first six yeas of Rachel's career were in deaf education in a school where half of the children were from non-English speaking homes. At University of Arizona, she taught Teacher Research Methodology and a Literacy and Deafness course, and supervised student teacher interns. Her dissertation was the culmination of a ten-year study on the use of dialogue journals between student teachers and university supervisors during teaching internships. During her years in deaf education, she became interested in what happens to youth with disabilities when they come in contact with the criminal justice system. For several years she has taught a three-course series on restorative justice at the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. Mostly teaching online, she has developed a caring methodology for cyber classrooms.

Christine Downs, MEd, has been an instructor at Portland State University in the Graduate School of Education's Special Education Department.  For fifteen years, she has taught courses and served as cohort leader and field supervisor for graduate students becoming special educators. Also an artist and a self-described right-brained individual, Christine regularly instructed a course in classroom-based assessment, introducing teacher candidates to authentic assessment, data collection and progress monitoring for informing instructional decisions. She believes there is an art and a science to good teaching.

Prior to her work at PSU, Christine was a special education teacher. For fourteen years she taught students from eight to eighteen years of age in a variety of settings: a state psychiatric hospital, an alternative school for students with behavioral challenges, a residential treatment center, as well as typical suburban middle & elementary schools. 

Christine has been involved in Parker Palmer’s Courage to Teach and Courage to Lead programs, and recently completed curriculum training for K-12 students through Mindful Schools in Oakland, California. Passionate about supporting teacher candidates to prevent burnout, Christine has incorporated elements of these programs in her work at PSU. She has also been involved in Remida Portland, a burgeoning local emulation of Reggio Emilia philosophy, fostering intelligent moderation in the next generation.  Her work with this group has involved co-creating and facilitating teacher training experiences for early childhood teachers, utilizing natural and re-purposed man-made materials in art creation.

A mindfulness meditation practitioner in the tradition of author, peace advocate, environmentalist and Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, Christine was a teacher-volunteer for the children’s education program at Blue Cliff Monastery in New York later this summer. Christine attended Southern Illinois University as an art student, and completed her bachelor’s degree in art therapy at Trenton State College, now called The College of New Jersey.  She completed her master's degree in special education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Drew Laurence, MS ED, Added Endorsement: Handicapped Learner, has been a special education teacher since 1998. He began his teaching career working with blind and visually impaired students in his hometown of New York City. After moving to Portland, he taught in schools and classes for children with social-emotional challenges where he found his calling and discovered that his relationship-driven pedagogy was well suited to a population that was underserved.

Soon after, Drew became a Teacher on Special Assignment supporting students, staff and families through the IEP process, developing and sharing his expertise in behavior and classroom systems, meanwhile realizing the importance of social justice and equity.

Drew currently works as a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) coach with Portland Public Schools where his passions for relationship/community-building, social justice, and equity come to fruition as he coaches school teams and classroom teachers to develop safe and positive environments for all students. His 30 plus years of mindfulness practice led quite naturally to the study of Interpersonal Neurobiology. He is deeply interested in applying the insights of neuroscience to the day-to-day realities of the classroom.

Mary Meador, MD, is a Board Certified Family Physician and practiced primary care for over twelve years.  In 2002, she began to limit her practice to mental health therapy, a natural transition that grew out of recognizing the inseparable connection between our physical and mental health. She is enthusiastically committed to teaching interpersonal neurobiology to others as a way to deepen understanding of themselves and the world around them.  

Drawing on the field on Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mary teaches people to understand their inner lives with more clarity, as well as how to enhance relationships with others.  This work, with practice, actually changes the physical structure of our brain, allowing us to see the internal workings of our own minds and get off the autopilot of ingrained behaviors and habitual responses. She began teaching in PSU’s IPNB program in 2015 and is on the board of the Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies (GAINS).

She is also a Certified Imago Workshop Presenter and enjoys using this theory as one way of viewing our relational world. Mary’s interest in Imago Relationship Therapy grew out of her desire to teach relationship skills, allowing for more centered and intentional ways of interacting with oneself and with others.  She became certified as an Imago Relationship Therapist in 2005 and as an Imago Workshop Presenter in 2011.

Debra Pearce-McCall, PhD, integrates and applies information about the mind, relationships, and neuroscience in her work as a clinician, consultant, and educator.  She has embraced a systemic, interdisciplinary perspective for over 30 years, through experiences as a clinician, supervisor, executive, and consultant in a range of settings, including nonprofit agencies, group practices, and corporations. Dr. Pearce-McCall has taught a variety of classes as an adjunct professor at PSU over the past decade and has been instrumental in the development of the IPNB program. She is a charter member and board member of GAINS (Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies) and an editor for their Quarterly. A licensed psychologist and licensed relationship therapist, she maintains a private consulting and clinical practice in Portland, Oregon, working with adults and organizations.