Annual Fall Play Therapy Conference

The NW Center for Play Therapy Studies is pleased sponsor its annual Fall Play Therapy Conference on November 13, 2015. For questions, contact us at 503-554-6104 or

Dr. Bonnie Badenoch

Healing Trauma with Play Therapy: An Interpersonal Neurobiology Approach

Dr. Bonnie Badenoch, PhD, LMFT

Friday, November 13, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Building on an understanding of how our brains respond to traumatic circumstances, we can create a rich play therapy environment that supports development of embodied brains that can sustain a life of resilience and meaningful relationships for people of every age. Interpersonal neurobiology tells us that within the foundation of a warm, sustaining relationship, all the ingredients for repairing upset nervous systems and finding the road toward secure attachment are present. Through play therapy interventions with all ages, we can gain understanding of the brains and minds of our clients, and can enrich our capacity to collaborate with the brain’s abundant natural healing processes. In addition, our clarity about these processes can provide us with a greater sense of stability and balance, side by side with broader compassion – both of which are secure foundations to bring into the playroom for being with trauma’s emotional intensity. In this workshop, we will engage in whole-brained learning, expanding our knowledge about how these neurobiological processes unfold, while we are also experiencing the principles to help us embody our learning.

The workshop will begin by developing a neurobiologically-based understanding of what trauma is, and then spend time with brain development in the first two years of life in traumatic and non-traumatic circumstances. Accompanied by miniatures and sand, we will explore our embodied brains – including physiology, deep systems of primary emotions and implicit memories, the autonomic nervous system, mirror neurons and resonance circuitry to gain a sense of their value for play therapy. We will delve into how trauma becomes embedded in our clients and in ourselves and what kind of experiences can unlock and heal these painful places. On this foundation, we will be able to explore the neurobiology of the change processes that are facilitated by play therapy within the safety of a warm, stable relationship – for clients of all ages.

Bonnie Badenoch, PhD, LMFT

Dr. Badenoch is an in-the-trenches therapist, supervisor, teacher, and author who has spent the last ten years integrating the discoveries of neuroscience into the art of therapy. She co-founded the nonprofit agency, Nurturing the Heart with the Brain in Mind (Portland, OR) in 2008, and was founder and former executive director of Center for Hope and Healing (Irvine, CA) for 17 years. Her work as a therapist has focused on helping trauma survivors and those with significant attachment wounds reshape their neural landscape to support a life of meaning and resilience.

Bonnie currently teaches at Portland State University in the Interpersonal Neurobiology certificate program, and speaks internationally about applying IPNB principles both personally and professionally. She takes particular joy in offering longer-term immersion trainings for therapists and others in the healthcare professions at her home in the Pacific Northwest because these experiences support personal transformation through embodiment of the principles of interpersonal neurobiology. Her conviction that wisdom about the relational brain can transform human experience for people at every age led to the publication of Being a Brain-Wise Therapist: A Practical Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology in the Norton Interpersonal Neurobiology Series in 2008 and The Brain-Savvy Therapist’s Workbook in 2011. In 2013, she and Susan Gantt co-edited and contributed to a new book, The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Group Psychotherapy and Group Process. Therapists are saying that these books fill the gap between science and practice with clarity, compassion, and heart.

Continuing Education

The NW Center for Play Therapy Studies and George Fox University will offer 6.0 contact hours of Continuing Education (CE) for each workshop day. The following approvals are available:

  • National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • Association for Play Therapy (APT [provider #03-124])
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS)


The fee is $139 per day for each workshop, with a student discount rate of $109 per day. Register online with a Visa or MasterCard, or print a brochure and attached registration form if you would like to mail a check or purchase order with your registration. Attendance is limited, so early registration is recommended.

Conference accommodation information.

For further information, contact us at 503-554-6104 or