Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) is primarily a theory and practical working model for people in the relational professions, including lawyers, litigators, mediators, judges, doctors, medical professionals, law enforcement (including hostage negotiators), clergy, educators, psychotherapists and other mental health professionals.
IPNB is a massive concept. Most simply, it describes human development and functioning as being a product of the relationship between the body, mind and relationships. Another term for it is relational neuroscience. IPNB describes how the brain and mind are shaped, or developed, and how they function based on the interplay of genes in the context of relationships. IPNB is heavily rooted in attachment theory.
Created initially by Dr. Dan Siegel, IPNB now has a wide array of support from professionals and authors with books published as part of Norton Publishing’s Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology. UCLA hosts an annual IPNB conference. Portland Community College offers an online Foundations in IPNB program that is 6 months long at climb.pcc.edu/IPNB (previously, Portland State University offered a one-year graduate credit program). IPNB is also supported by the Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology (GAINS), at MindGains.org.
Good places to start learning about IPNB are YouTube video lectures by Dr. Dan Siegel, and the Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology (2012). ICCI offers CLE/CEU formatted IPNB overview training for professionals.
The concept of “integration” for IPNB is significant, and the Integrative Client-Centered Model (ICCM) incorporates the same concept, although the ICCM is based on both a broader and more specific set of theories relevant to client counseling. Integration refers to a person’s use of all parts of the brain (more specifically the entire interconnected brain and body neural system), rather than subsets such as the fight-flight-freeze subset.
Dr. Siegel offers a set of counseling tools and approaches in his book The Mindful Therapist (2010), which are functional for any helping professional, including lawyers. The ICCM incorporates many of Siegel’s concepts, but is more specifically geared towards professionals using a client-centered approach to problem solving who are working with clients in the midst of conflict, making decisions under pressure, or involved in high conflict relationships. The ICCM also offers additional tools based on other theories and research.