Portland State University honors first class of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) students

On April 1, 2011, a group of 18 professionals and graduate students completed the final class required to receive the first ever Certificate of Completion in Interpersonal Neurobiology. This group showcased their work at two sessions in December and April. Participants came from wide-ranging fields: education, social work, counseling, business, criminal justice, and alternative healing. Students from as far away as England were able to access the classes both in-person and online.

Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) is a term coined by Dr. Dan Siegel that studies the way the brain grows and is influenced by personal relationships throughout the lifespan (neuroplasticity). This new field explores the potential for healing and changing by using positive and secure influences on the brain. IPNB has broad applications that are useful for parenting, physical and mental health, addictions, education, healthcare, business, and more.

Program manager Marion Sharp initiated and directs the program at PSU and was able to observe the community impact participants are making. “What struck me was the realization that each one of these students could spawn their own unique line of research and practice,” she said. “They are taking IPNB into so many new territories.”

Portland State is the only school that offers a full certificate of completion in Interpersonal Neurobiology. Classes are offered to professionals in the healthcare and human services fields for their continuing professional development, infusing leading-edge research directly into the services they deliver. The value of the program is that IPNB knowledge can be applied in every field where human relationships are involved.

Debra Pearce-McCall is a psychologist and consultant who teaches in the program. “By delving deeply into the field of IPNB through our many courses, reflections, exercises, and discussions, and integrating it into their own lives, [students] created original, significant work they will each continue while working together to become a compassionate, collaborative, and inspiring learning community.”


  • Neurons and the nine points of view: A user’s guide to the brain and the enneagram
  • Treating the adolescent brain with EMDR
  • Hypnosis, the brain, and the mind
  • Neuro-narrative technique, IPNB, EMDR: Trauma treatment for law enforcement and military
  • Traumatic brain injury for families (DVD)
  • I seek safe harbor: Navigating through the turbulent seas of trauma (trauma recovery support booklets)
  • Brain-mind relationships: A 12-week course on Interpersonal Neurobiology for mental health practitioners and service users
  • IPNB in the prison system: Steps for creating your own community forum
  • Supportive parenting books with a focus on helping the foster or adoptive child
  • Healthy workplace initiatives

Classes in Interpersonal Neurobiology are held each term at PSU, both face-to-face and online. To learn more about the program, visit the program website.

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