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Interpersonal Neurobiology - Program Courses


  Credits (Hrs) Fall Winter Spring Summer
Core Intro to IPNB 3 (30) X      
Ethics and IPNB  1 (10)   X

IPNB of Difference and Diversity 2 (20)
The Science of IPNB 3 (30)     X  
Integrative Seminar 4 (40)

X  X 
Subtotal 13 (130)  
(choose two)
Brain-Savvy Practitioner I, II, III, IV 1 (10) each
Confiict Resolution, Restorative Justice, and Criminal Justice 3 (30)  
Mental Health/Addictions 3 (30)     X  
Education 3 (30)       X
Electives (Mindfulness I, II, III) 3 (30) X X
Subtotal 9 (90)  
Total 22 (220)  

*An additional Applications course can be taken as an elective. Workshops are available which can be combined for elective credit.

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Course Descriptions

Core classes

COUN 510 Ethics and Interpersonal Neurobiology (1 credit/10 hours)
What pragmatic guidelines does the interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) lens provide in dealing with the daily ethical dilemmas of your profession? As an emerging interdisciplinary field, interpersonal neurobiology has applications in healthcare, education, mediation, and more. In any arena where human relationships are the medium for healing, change, or learning, IPNB is relevant. What are the ethical underpinnings of this integrative model of mind/brain/relating? How does IPNB guide us through the growing field of “neuroethics” and concerns about the use of neuroscience information?

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss the ethical issues in the interpersonal neurobiology field in the historical context of relational ethics.
  • Communicate three global issues/concerns in the field of neuroethics and discuss the IPNB perspective on them.
  • Develop a method for applying an IPNB framework to your profession’s ethical concerns and your own ethical decision making.

COUN 510 Integrative Seminar I, II (Total 4 credits/40 hours; 2 credits/20 hours each)
In this course, participants demonstrate mastery of the information presented in the interpersonal neurobiology certificate program. They develop a topic or research question relevant to their specific arena of practice. This project allows them to demonstrate their understanding, integration, and application of the knowledge from the interpersonal neurobiology program of study and adds to the knowledge base in interpersonal neurobiology and their particular arena of practice.

The class is a collaborative seminar and uses a combination of online discussion, independent research, chat meetings, or other methods, to support each participant in their integrative project. This project is expected to be of graduate-level quality, whether taken for credit or as a continuing education program. It is expected to make a contribution to the field of study. The work in this seminar should clearly demonstrate the mission, vision, and learning objectives of the program, and demonstrate mastery of the information presented in the interpersonal neurobiology certificate program.

Participants may not take this course until all other IPNB courses are completed.

COUN 510 Interpersonal Neurobiology of Difference and Diversity (2 credits/20 hours)
This course deepens participants' understanding of the interpersonal processes of othering and discrimination. The goal is to identify and implement strategies which infuse IPNB into practices which support inclusion and various types of diversity. We explore concepts of stereotyping, enmification, prejudice and micro-aggression and also develop transformative practices experientially. Through a combination of reading, discussion, role play, and classroom activity coupled with online reflection, participants from a variety of fields will enhance their emerging theories of occupationally specific practice.

Participants will be able to:

  • Discuss concepts relevant to othering including: dehumanization, enmification, privilege, stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination 
  • Connect IPNB concepts such as empathy, mirroring, left and right brain, memory, trauma with opportunities to transform othering
  • Explore the personal and social implications of untransformed othering
  • Describe psychological processes of othering
  • Deconstruct cultural messages with respect to enmification of the other
  • Recognize and reflect on their own behaviors and thoughts which contribute to dehumanizing the other
  • Continue to cultivate strategies for transformation

COUN 510 Introduction to Interpersonal Neurobiology (3 credits/30 hours)
This course covers the foundations of the new field of interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB). It explores the interpersonal neurobiological root connections to evidence-based practices in many fields. It assists the practitioner to better understand why a practice works and to more effectively deliver the best practice tailored to fit each individual. The course examines the neurobiology of empathy, interpersonal relationships, reflective listening, attachment, learning styles and change, emotional regulation, and storytelling. It includes lectures and exercises that illustrate how the interpersonal neurobiological framework expands ways to adapt best practices into practical and creative evidence-based applications.

  • A comprehensive course for both advanced and beginning professionals
  • Relevant in educational, agency, community, and clinical settings
  • Concepts that can be used to better understand how to adapt a best practice

Participants will be able to:

  • Delineate key functions of the brain and to show the interrelationship of the interpersonal world and the brain
  • Describe the history of neuroscience and development of interpersonal neurobiology
  • Examine the field of interpersonal neurobiology and describe the impact and implications for health, education, parenting, mental health/addiction, parenting and relationships, and the early childhood education field
  • Discuss the ethical issues in the interpersonal neurobiology field
  • Develop practical applications for their professions

COUN 510 The Science of Interpersonal Neurobiology (3 credits/30 hours)
IPNB represents an integration of various strands of theory and research crossing several disciplines. It is critical that those who use it can understand, integrate, and critique the supporting science. This class focuses on the multiple sciences that contribute to IPNB in theory, practice, and research. The course material covered in the Introduction to Interpersonal Neurobiology is partially reviewed and seen from differing perspectives. The goal is to ground participants in the relevant specifics of neuroscience, interpersonal neurobiology, and supporting clinical considerations. The course focuses on a holistic perspective of IPNB with particular attention to stress and the subcortical structures, and the relationship to higher-order processing in the brain and whole body in general.

Participants will be able to:

  • Clearly and succinctly describe the brain mechanisms and relationships among various cortical and subcortical structures
  • Summarize relevant topics in cell biology
  • Understand how our survival instincts and the effects of daily stress can interfere with the function of the interpersonal brain and the clinical implications of such
  • Discuss the relevance of self-regulatory techniques as an underlying foundation on which to overlay the area of IPNB
  • Identify the clinical and research aspects of brain imaging (fMRI, PET, etc) and discuss how they inform diagnosis and treatment
  • Describe what constitutes good research
  • Discuss the challenges and objections to IPNB
  • Identify current and emerging research, and identify a personal research agenda for the future of the contributing sciences and the clinical applications of IPNB

Applications classes

Being a Brain-Savvy Practitioner I, II, III, IV (1/10 each)
For everyone who works with or around people, the new neuroscience provides a transformative perspective on how we understand one another, how we relate in small and large groups, and how we can be part of creating a more awake and compassionate world.  Interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) developed by Daniel J. Siegel, UCLA, focuses on how we shape each other’s brains through the quality of our relationships. Move from understanding how early attachment patterns shape the brain and mind, to practical ways to apply IPNB in your work and personal life, to a deepened personal understanding and experience of your internal world and the way it shapes your external experience.  All the classes foster application, providing a useful toolkit for home and office.

COUN 510 Interpersonal Neurobiology Applications: Education (Core class: 3 credit/30 hours)
Teachers have long recognized the importance of their relationships with students for the success of the learning process. With the findings from neuroscience and from the transdisciplinary field of interpersonal neurobiology, there are exciting new possibilities for the improvement of teaching practice, student success, as well as educational administration and policy.

This course explores both research and practice, with a primary focus on K-12 education – although some material addresses early childhood education, Higher Ed and adult education. Topics include special education, inclusion, talented and gifted, mentorship and service learning, and the role and effects of art, music and PE on the brain and the learning process. There will be an opportunity to develop an action research project that can be implemented next school year.

COUN 510 Interpersonal Neurobiology Applications: Mental Health and Addictions (3 credits/30 hours)

This class explores how interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) can be used as a framework to reflect on and enhance therapeutic bonding, empathy, memory, and attachment. There is practice in utilizing IPNB in therapy through matching learning styles to therapeutic intervention, facilitating growth, and navigating setbacks in therapy. The addition of the interpersonal neurobiology framework enhances the understanding of the dynamics of addiction and mental health problems, and examines how individual, family, and group therapy can hinder or enhance the therapeutic process.

Special attention is given to:

  • the deep limbic system, mirror neurons, and the orbitofrontal lobe
  • coherence and life-history narratives
  • defense mechanisms and brain functions
  • the interplay of stress on addiction and mental health problems
  • the role of mindsight in the therapy process

The class is a combination of lecture, video, discussion, and exercises, and includes continued discussion and learning online to better integrate this new material into your practice.

Interpersonal Neurobiology of Conflict Resolution, Restorative Justice, and Criminal Justice (3/30)
Justice exists within a social milieu, inextricably entwined with the quality of relationships among individuals and groups which comprise that context. The multidisciplinary study of interpersonal neurobiology explores the effect of our individual physiological responses on one another and on our collective lives. Study and explore the implications of the neuroscience of relationships in the fields of conflict resolution, restorative justice, and criminal justice. Address conflict and criminal behavior, restorative processes, and how to build peace and justice within our personal relationships to transform our professional peace building and healing practices with the people we serve.


Mindfulness I, II, III (1/10cr each, 3/30cr total)

  • Fall: Strength-based Mindfulness and IPNB: Interventions and Positive Strategies for Mental Health Professionals (6 hrs)
  • Winter: Advanced Mindfulness and Interpersonal Neurobiology: Interventions for Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and PTSD (6 hrs)
  • Spring: Mindfulness for Professionals: Enhance Your Work and Increase Your IPNB Perspective (12 hrs)

Other Workshops and classes (topics vary):

  • IPNB of Trauma
  • Secondary Trauma
  • IPNB of Anger and Rage
  • Treating Clients in the Criminal Justice System
  • The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Social Systems
  • Resonance and Alignment: Connecting to Your Clients through Authentic, Mindful Marketing