Annual Fall Play Therapy Conference

George Fox University and its NW Center for Play Therapy Studies is pleased sponsor the 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

George Fox University's NW Center for Play Therapy Studies will offer 6.0 contact hours of Continuing Education (CE) for each workshop day. The following approvals are available:
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • Association for Play Therapy (APT [provider #03-124])
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

George Fox University/NW Center for Play Therapy Studies has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4447. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. George Fox University/NW Center for Play Therapy Studies is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. George Fox University/NW Center for Play Therapy Studies is an APT Approved Provider [#03-134] and retains sole and ultimate responsibility for the quality, conduct of, and record-keeping for such programs. This program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers [Approval # 88-6411347] for six (6) continuing education contact hours.


Registration for the main conference room is full. We are offering space for the workshop by live video in an adjoining George Fox University [Portland campus] classroom at a reduced registration rate [$89 for professionals & $59 for students (original registration was $139/$109)]. Payment can not be made by credit card, and must be by check or money order, and paid on site the day of the conference. Print a brochure and attached registration form - and send in by November 11, 2015 if you would like this live video option. On site registration may be possible, but can not be guaranteed.

Space for this live video registration is limited, so early registration is recommended. Note that it is not possible to exchange original registration and fees for the live video option. For further information, contact us at 503-554-6104 or

Conference accommodation information.