Search Google Appliance

Interpersonal Neurobiology - Program Courses


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

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

X  X 
Subtotal 13 (130)  
Brain-Savvy Practitioner series 1 (10) each

Education 3 (30)
X     X
Journey Through Change 1 (10)
Mental Health/Addictions 3 (30)

Mindfulness series 1 (10) each
Trauma series see below
Subtotal 9 (90)  
Total 22 (220)  

How to access your online courses


Course Descriptions

Core classes

COUN 507 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 507 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 507 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 507 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 507 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

COUN 507 Being a Brain-Savvy Practitioner series (1 credit/10 hours 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.

  • Fall: Being a Brain-Savvy Practitioner: Understanding Our Relational and Embodied Brains
  • Winter: Being a Brain-Savvy Practitioner: The Neurobiology of Attachment
  • Spring: Being a Brain-Savvy Practitioner: The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Our Multiple States of Mind

COUN 507 Interpersonal Neurobiology Applications: Education (variable hours; see below)
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.

  • Summer: Learning and the Brain: Introduction to the Interpersonal Neurobiology of Education (1 credit/10 hours)
  • Fall: Learning and the Brain: Developing Healthy Communities, Relationships, and Attachment in Schools (2 credits/20 hours)

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 507 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.

COUN 507 Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) and the Journey through Change: Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and Narrative Psychology (1 credit/10 hours)

The client's therapeutic process is a mythic journey – one full of struggles and challenges as they move through the change process.  This class integrates Joseph Campbell's mythic journey of the hero, William Bridges’ stages of transitions, and Norcross, DiClemente, and Prochaska's stages of change model with the latest findings of interpersonal neurobiology.  Join us to explore the universal journey of change that takes place in individual, group, and family therapy.  We also integrate storytelling and popular culture symbols as therapeutic metaphors to better understand how the brain works during the change process.


Mindfulness series

COUN 507 Strength-based Mindfulness and Interpersonal Neurobiology: Intervention Strategies and Positive Tools for Mental Health Professionals (1 credit/10 hours)
Learn how the quantum brain helps to sculpt the brain and develop the pre-frontal cortex in ways that create emotional balance and well-being. In this experiential workshop, based on Donald Altman's path-breaking book , The Joy Compass: 8 Ways to Find Lasting Happiness, Gratitude and Optimism in the Present Moment, we will explore unique awareness practices and interventions designed to go beyond simply "removing" negative symptoms. These 8 strategies are easily integrated into therapy to give clients the sustainable, strength-based approaches they want.

COUN 507 Advanced Mindfulness and Interpersonal Neurobiology: Interventions for Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and PTSD (1 credit/10 hours)
Deepen your understanding of the effects of mindfulness on the brain, its impact on anxiety and depression, and how to use mindfulness with clients. This course  explores a mindfulness narrative method, mindfulness for ADHD, and mindfulness for PTSD. Learn how mindfulness calms the limbic system and creates new brain pathways that give clients effective tools for long-term change. This draws upon the work of Peter Whybrow (American Mania), Richard Davidson (Dir. the U. of Wisconsin Center for Affective Neuroscience), Dan Siegel (Parenting from the Inside Out and The Mindful Brain), and Jeffrey Schwartz (Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain).


Trauma series

COUN 507 Interpersonal Neurobiology of Trauma (2 credits/12 hours)
We have all witnessed the ongoing devastation of childhood abuse and the psychic toll of war. Trauma impacts brain structure and development, and shapes the nervous system and neurochemical profile of the person sustaining the injury. Understanding these impacts gives us healers a firm foundation on which the compassionate healing relationship can work most effectively to relieve our traumatized clients’ symptoms by fostering brain integration. We will look at the difference for brain development between early childhood abuse and trauma sustained later in life, exploring particularly the influence of both kinds of trauma on the formation of implicit, explicit, and autobiographical memory. We will also explore how therapist mental health influences the course of treatment. The first day, we will lay the theoretical foundation, and the second day we will explore ample clinical examples as well as give students the opportunity to apply this viewpoint to their own clients in practical ways.

Secondary Trauma, Secondary Healing (6 hours; no academic credit offered)
Just as the trauma of the people we work with can be taken on and absorbed by us as practitioners; so also can the healing that occurs in the relationship. The research on the neural circuitry of resonance teaches us is that we all experience - to a greater or lesser degree - what our clients/students/partners/friends are experiencing.  How do we work with this precious capacity in a way that it informs our relationships, but does not entangle us to the depth that we are traumatized in the process?  This course explores what interpersonal neurobiology and the science behind our resonant capacity say about that.