Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) Certificate

Explore Neuroscience + Psychology + Relationship Studies
Earn a non-credit Certificate in Interpersonal Neurobiology!
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PCC IHP’s Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) certificate program explores the theory and practical working models that inform human development, attachment and trauma, and functions as a product of the relationship between the body, mind and relationships. Also called relational neuroscience, Interpersonal Neurobiology describes how the brain, body and mind are developed throughout life, and how they function and change based on the interplay of neurophysiology, in the context of relationships. Discover the scientific framework and multi-disciplinary tools to develop a healthy mind, an integrated brain, and compassionate, connected relationships! Sign up for the IPNB newsletter to learn about upcoming programming.

The Program

IPNB combines neuroscience, psychology, complexity theory, environmental influences, and relationship studies. Developed by Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Allan Schore and Dr. Lou Cozolino in the late 1990s, Interpersonal Neurobiology seeks similar neurological patterns that exist in separate science fields.

Students in this program will discover what neuroscience and relating reveal about how we learn, resolve trauma and conflict, and improve relationships. IPNB illuminates how the mind and brain develop across the lifespan. It has profound applications for professionals working in healthcare, education, leadership, parenting, organizational development, and more.

Program Outcomes

Through successful completion of the Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology certificate program, learners will be able to:

  1. Articulate and apply the core tenets and constructs of Interpersonal Neurobiology;
  2. Identify, analyze and discuss ethical issues using an IPNB framework;
  3. Describe the mechanisms and connections among cortical and subcortical structures as they relate to stress, perception, memory, attention, empathy, regulation, and integration;
  4. Develop personal, professional, and spiritual practices that enhance awareness, and promote health, and wellbeing;
  5. Apply concepts of IPNB in our nascent awareness of the effects of disrupted connection, including relational rupture, exclusion and marginalization, bias, dehumanization, toxic stress, and trauma;
  6. Apply and extend foundational principles of IPNB through reflective practices of inclusion, leadership, and community-building;
  7. Recognize and integrate consilient science of mind, embodied brain, and relationships in an emergent awareness of our human potential;
  8. Integrate and apply a holistic view of human systems as the embodied and relational flow of energy and information within and between elements, including neural and human networks.
Program Delivery and What to Expect
Weekly synchronous sessions

Weekly, Zoom-based sessions with your motivated peers, eager to explore IPNB concepts.

Each week, your instructor will lead an online discussion on a variety of topics. You will discuss the week’s content in a way that utilizes social learning and curiosity to deepen your understanding of the connections through an IPNB context.

Weekly, Zoom-based sessions with your motivated peers, during which your instructor will lead an online discussion on the week’s content. You will discuss powerful intersections in a way that utilizes social learning and curiosity, and deepen your understanding of how to apply IPNB in your work and life.

Our instructors have designed the online experience to be engaging and take advantage of social learning, including maximizing content in a virtual environment. Students report enjoying/appreciation for being able to engage with others from across the country in exploring these topics. Additionally, we utilize a flipped classroom model to ensure live discussions are meaningful and include application of the material.

Weekly asynchronous time

In between live-streamed sessions, students will engage in reading, assignments, and discussion board topics to further explore course content with each other, and help prepare for the next synchronous session.

In-person Immersion Weekend, 4 Days of Embodied Practicum

During the second term of the program, students and instructors come together for three days at the PCC CLIMB Center in Portland, OR. During these full, robust days of engaging classroom work, students both apply and deepen their IPNB content knowledge.

The in-person format allows for movement and sensory experiments, immediate peer feedback, and a transformative context. These four days at the CLIMB Center makes space for students to anchor IPNB concepts, ideas, and boundaries within their own bodies, and to learn ways of gently improving physiological systems to create a more compelling daily life.

The Investment

PCC’s IPNB program is built for busy professionals and curious lifelong learners. Our affordable, rigorous program consists of 125 CEU hours and takes only seven months to complete.


In total, the IPNB program is a total of 125 hours over 2 terms, including live online class-time, discussion boards, and in-person intensives.

  • The online IPNB classes will be held on Tuesday nights, starting at 5:30pm Pacific. The end time will vary by class, with classes lasting between 2-3 hours (ending between 7:30-8:30). A detailed schedule will be sent to participants. A draft schedule for 2021 may be downloaded for review: IPNB Schedule_DRAFT_2021
  • Students will gather for one in-person weekend at PCC’s CLIMB Center in Portland
  • These college-level classes are for adult learners and require 1-3 hours of preparation for each hour of class
  • Formerly a 6-month program, now expanded to include 2 new seminar classes: A Mind for Learning Seminar & A Leadership Seminar
  • $2,499 + $45 fee
  • You may request a special 6-month payment plan through PCC by contacting Lynne Baxter

Below are the required books for the program; you may purchase them from anywhere you choose. Note: books may change from term to term, so check with your instructor.

  • Siegel, D. (2012) Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Carter, R. (2019) The Human Brain Book, New edition. New York: Penguin Random House.
    Badenoch, B. (2008) Being a Brain-Wise Therapist: A Practical Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Cozolino, L. (2014) The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, Second Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Part VII: Chapters 22-25
  • Menakem, Resmaa (2017) My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies. Las Vegas, NV: Central Recovery Press.

Recommended textbooks include:

  • Neuroanatomy Coloring Book- published by Anatomy Academy
  • Cozolino, L. (2013) The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment & Learning in the Classroom. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
  • Jana, Tiffany & Baran, Michael (2017) Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Lesondak, D. (2017). Fascia: What it is and why it Matters. United Kingdom: Handspring Publishing.
    Narvaez, D. (2016) Embodied Morality: Protectionism, Engagement, and Imagination. SpringerLink.
    Porges, S. W. (2017) The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
IPNB Classes Included & Instructors
  1. Introduction to Interpersonal Neurobiology (20 CEU hours)* – Casey Sims
  2. IPNB Navigation & Integration (6 CEU hours) – Maureen Lowell
  3. Science of Interpersonal Neurobiology (25 CEU hours)* – Earnest KimBum Sang Kim
  4. A Mind for Learning Seminar (3 CEU hours)* – Maureen LowellBum Sang Kim
  5. IPNB of Attachment & Trauma (20 CEU hours)* – Alissa Bagan
  6. Bridging Relational Neuroscience Across Difference (20 CEU hours)* – Mari Alexander, Vanessa Timmons
  7. Embodied Systems & Mindful Resilience (12 CEU hours)* – Ryan Hofer
  8. Leadership Seminar (3 CEU hours)* – Emily Somervell
  9. IPNB of Connection and Community (6 CEU hours)* – Maureen Lowell

* Includes part of “Ethics from an IPNB Perspective”; 6 CEU hours of ethics are woven throughout the IPNB certificate program

Who should apply to this program?

IPNB offers insight valuable to multiple professions working closely with people whose work may be informed by Attachment Theory, or other interpersonal theory and practice. Healthcare professionals will find IPNB particularly interesting, as will:

  • Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychotherapists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Addiction Counselors (CADCs, QMHPs, LEPs, etc.)
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Nutritional Therapists
  • Allopathic Professionals
  • Chiropractors
  • Acupuncturists
  • Naturopaths
  • Teachers/educators/coaches
  • Lawyers
  • Clergy
  • Occupational Therapists
Is this program transferable or a credit program?

The Interpersonal Neurobiology Program curriculum is a continuing education unit (CEU) program. It is a noncredit, does not offer a degree, and is not transferable to another school. It does, however, provide high quality knowledge and skills that can be applied towards many professions and health careers.

What will students learn in this program?

PCC’s IPNB program draws from a diverse field of experts, theorists, researchers and practitioners and equips participants to apply an interdisciplinary framework by:

  • Providing an inclusive “map” that help us define what impediments are keeping clients from living their most flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized and stable lives;
  • Improving relationships and interpersonal communication by teaching neural integration, the foundation for increased well-being and great connection;
  • Creating enhanced learning environments by helping trainers and educators learn new techniques for reaching students despite past traumas;
  • Building strong, coherent teams in business.

After the program, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate and apply the core tenets and different constructs of IPNB;
  • Identify, discuss, and find resolution in the ethical issues of the IPNB field;
  • Connect and convey to others an understanding of multiple branches of science (Anthropology, Biology, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Mathematics, Mental Health, Physics, Sociology, Systems Theory, to name a few), weaving commonality within the IPNB experience;
  • Demonstrate the structure and key functions of the brain, and show the relationship of the interpersonal world and the brain;
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of brain imaging technologies (fMRI, PET, etc), and discuss how they inform diagnosis and treatment;
  • Articulate how our survival instincts, self-regulatory techniques, and the effects of daily stress can impact the function of the brain and the clinical implications of such;
  • Assimilate the major strands that underpin the therapeutic process of IPNB (e.g., Attachment theory; Trauma, whether impacting the individual, family or society, overwhelming one’s ability to adapt; Changing aspects of the structure of the brain and ultimately altering the mind; Regulation of emotion, attention, memory and behavior);
  • Build attentional skills and self-regulatory techniques through practical experiential practices for stress management and the reduction of anxiety, pain and depression;
  • Describe psychological processes of othering; recognize and reflect on their own behaviors and thoughts which contribute to dehumanizing the other, and cultivate strategies for transformation;
  • Apply foundational principles of IPNB to community-building practices, including education, organizational development, team cultivation, parenting and relationships, mental health/addiction, and individual or small group relationships.

The mission of this program is to:

  • Communicate the value of IPNB and implications for health and wellness, education, mental health/addiction, parenting and relationships, early childhood education and other fields.
  • Promote integration of research findings on the brain/body and relationships to create healthier minds and a healthier world.
  • Prepare professionals with foundational knowledge and practice of IPNB to continuously critique, extend and amplify the knowledge base of the field.
  • Provide high quality education in IPNB to people who work at the intersection of brain/body, relationships, and mind.
Can I qualify for financial aid? Do you offer payment plans?

This program is not qualified under Federal Financial Aid. PCC offers special, interest-free payment plans for this program. For the 7-month certificate program, students can take advantage of a special 6-month payment plan through PCC. The plan is typically $25 to set up, 20% the first month, and equal payments for the remaining 5 months. To set up the plan, please contact Lynne Baxter. Note: due to FERPA, Lynne can only respond to PCC email addresses.

What is “live-streamed, online”?

The live-streamed classes for this program are delivered through Zoom. This allows students to participate in real-time virtual lectures every Tuesday. While students are encouraged to attend all live lectures, recordings of each session are available for students who cannot attend the live lecture or want to review what was presented.

What does a Certificate in IPNB mean?

Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a non-credit Certificate in Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology from Portland Community College.

The Certificate reflects the total hours earned in continuing education units (CEUs).

Why does this matter? Oregon non-credit certificates are approved on a case-by-case basis. A non-credit certificate’s rigor is determined by the college, following national education and industry training benchmarks. The state’s approval criteria are designed to maintain the integrity of the certificates. As a graduate of Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology, you can be confident that appropriate oversight and review has assured our program’s quality and applicability.

Do I have to be online during the live Tuesday class?

You want to be present during live lectures. Class is dynamic and your interaction with the instructor and your classmates will make the learning far more meaningful. We expect participants from many time zones and know that life will preclude live participation for some sessions. Therefore, we record each live session for participants to view later. This also allows participants access to review topics/discussions at any time.

Also, in between the live-streamed classes, participants will be required to engage in discussion boards with each other and the instructor.

Are there any prerequisites to the Interpersonal Neurobiology program?

There are no formal prerequisites for participating in this program; it is open to participants of all backgrounds. The only two program requirements are an ability and desire to engage in college-level courses and access/use of a computer and the internet.

Will I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs)? How many?

Yes, all participants will be awarded CEUs for program completion. The Foundations of IPNB program awards a total of 125 CEU hours.

How is the program structured? Is there any compulsory on campus requirement?

Most of the program is delivered online, with classes on Tuesday evenings at 5:30 Pacific time. All courses are designed to be interactive and user friendly. The program will be taught using the “flipped classroom.” That means you will come prepared to each online class having reviewed the basic concepts of the session. Class time will be used to ensure understanding and to apply what you’ve learned in real-life scenarios. In this model, the instructor serves as the facilitator of learning and takes you beyond the advance reading or other assignment.

Classes are live-streamed and students engage these live, interactive discussions each Tuesday at 5:30 PST. Each live session is recorded for those who are not able to attend live and/or for participants to review topics taught. Better learning occurs in the live instructional time, so you are encouraged to make every effort to attend each class session. In between the live streamed classes, participants will engage in discussion boards with each other and the instructor.

We include one “In person, onsite, intensive” during the program. This is scheduled as a four-day weekend held in Portland, Oregon (Thursday-Sunday). Because IPNB involves embodiment work, several instructors incorporate special teachings, group process and integration, and skill development during this in-person time. There will also be an opportunity to dissect a brain, allowing participants to see some of the areas and connections they have been studying.

I don’t have any qualifications specifically referencing Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB). Is the program suitable for me?

No former IPNB background is required. The Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) program is designed to give healthcare professionals, counselors, teachers, clergy, business leaders, and other professionals a high quality, skills-based IPNB education they can apply to supporting clients, students, peers and others. It is suitable for anyone interested in college-level education around the IPNB framework.

Once the Foundations program is launched, we anticipate developing more advanced courses for program graduates.

Do I need special software or equipment to participate in this program?

All participants will need a computer with high speed internet and a headset with microphone (there are call in options for using your phone if necessary) to participate in the live classes. The program is delivered through web-based software so it can be accessed from anywhere.

Prior to the first class, participants will receive detailed instructions and tutorials for using the software. In the meantime, you can learn more here. Students are highly encouraged to access both D2L and Collaborate several days prior to the first class. If there are any questions about either program, you will have time to connect with PCC for answers and not take instructional time due to technical issues that could be managed in advance.

Can I earn college credit through this program?

College credit is not available at this time. We are investigating partnerships to award college credit for future IPNB participation.

Is this program eligible for FAFSA funds/financial aid/scholarships?

Because the program is a non-credit college program (not a for-credit degree or certificate), no scholarships or financial aid are available. Upon registration, a student can make arrangements for payments through the Student Accounts Office, or view other payment options here.

Upcoming Courses


Register Now

Find the CRN of your course from the class schedule. Then, register:

  • Online: If this is your first time taking a class at PCC, create an account. If you are a returning student, log on to MyPCC and click “Register for classes,” found in your Term-to-Term Checklist, under “Register”.
  • Phone: Call 971-722-8888, option 2.

Need help? Get detailed information on how to register.

Questions? Contact Amy Evans.