A Unique Training Experience Designed for Us

Are you a Practitioner of Color--mental health therapist, counselor, social worker, psychologist, body worker, healthcare professional, and/or teacher-- working predominantly with People of Color?  Have you been curious and seeking more training in the applications of Interpersonal Neurobiology in the therapeutic relationship? This six-day training, facilitated by Danette C. Gillespie-Otto, LCSW and Marc F. Otto, MA, RSMT/E, is designed specifically for you!

Interpersonal Neurobiology is the neuroscience of how we are hurt and how we heal within relationships.  It describes how our brains and bodies are affected by disconnection, trauma and a lack of compassionate reflection.  Through warm, attuned relationships, coupled with practical information about how the nervous system works, therapists can support clients in deep, transformative healing.  Neuroplasticity throughout life allows this kind of growth within clients and within ourselves, as practitioners.

The Interpersonal Neurobiology perspective provides a way to support People of Color in deep trauma healing, which expands their ability to heal from the daily dehumanization of racial microaggressions and other forms of systemic oppression.  In this training, we specifically address how to support clients in healing not only from their unique, individual experiences, but also from the trauma of racism.

Danette C. Gillespie-Otto, LCSW

Danette C. Gillespie-Otto, LCSW

Safety is the Intervention

The foundation of Interpersonal Neurobiology is that we must feel safe in order to heal.  Safety is the intervention.  Without safety, our nervous systems remain in an activated state to attempt to protect ourselves.  As an African-American practitioner, I have attended many clinical trainings with White professionals in which the racial microaggressions I experienced impacted my ability to learn the information being presented and was emotionally disruptive for me.  

We have designed this training for Practitioners of Color to have a nurturing, safe  environment in which to learn the powerful lens of Interpersonal Neurobiology.  Because we will only be admitting Practitioners of Color to this training, the training cannot be accredited for CEUs.  We apologize for this inconvenience, but we recognize the value in hosting a POC-safe space for this tender work together.

We also acknowledge that Marc, my husband and co-facilitator, is white, and has also been affected by the "poisoned well of racism."  Marc is a therapist and a resident expert in Interpersonal Neurobiology, having studied with Bonnie Badenoch, a preeminent researcher and practitioner of Interpersonal Neurobiology and author of “Being a Brainwise Therapist” and “The Heart of Trauma”, for the past 11 years.  He has dedicated himself to acknowledging and dismantling his own racism, works to maintain a clear, compassionate presence with our Colleagues of Color and is always open to feedback.  He also works with white people on detoxifying themselves from racism.  For more information, you can click here: www.nourishingrelationship.com/workshops. 


Training Content & Facilitators

This training will be hosted in Portland, Oregon in three sessions.  

Participants should commit to attending all three 2-day sessions.

Part I: Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology
Thursday, June 25, 2020 and Friday, June 26, 2020
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

The Embodied Brain
Attachment Theory (with Sand Tray)
How Trauma Fragments the Mind
Protectors and Adaptations
Safety is the Intervention - We Heal in Relationship
Polyvagal Theory
Right and Left Hemispheres
Inner Community
Co-Regulation vs. Self-Regulation
Window of Tolerance

Part II: Healing from the Trauma of Racism
Thursday, August 6, 2020 and Friday, August 7, 2020 

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

The Poisoned Well of Racism - Interpersonal Neurobiology
Relational Attunement Practice
Microaggression Detoxification
Exploring Cultural and Intergenerational trauma
Working with Internalized Oppression and Cultural Dislocation

Part III: Surviving White Supremacy

Thursday, October 8, 2020 and Friday, October 9, 2020 

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Retrieving the Will: The Importance of Feeling 

Boundaries Bootcamp

Advocacy for Clients of Color 

Assessment and Diagnosis for both Medical and Legal Purposes 

Insurance Billing - Single Case Agreements, Denials and Appeals 

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Disability Leave 

Addressing Workplace Discrimination

We will provide the following during the training experience:
Experiential activities, including: 

psychoeducation on Interpersonal Neurobiology and racism, 


paired sharing, 

mindfulness meditation, 

somatic activities, 

clinical consultation, 

sand tray practice and

 art activities
Light continental breakfast, lunch, snacks and tea
Training binders and completion certificates
Consistent centering of the experiences of People of Color, while also reflecting on the impact of White supremacy in our lives and the lives of our clients.


Danette C. Gillespie-Otto, LCSW

As an African-American psychotherapist, facilitator and public speaker, I offer support to individuals and groups seeking their deepest well-being. 

I obtained a Master's of Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2000, and have been a licensed clinical social worker since 2007.  I've worked in community mental health and private practice as a clinician, a clinical supervisor and a clinical director of a behavioral health clinic, in administration in non-profits, as an anti-oppression workshop facilitator, and in quality improvement, mentoring, higher education, government and research.

I am trained by the Anti-Defamation League and the National Conference of Community and Justice, and have 23 years of experience as a facilitator on issues of oppression and diversity. 

I am currently in private practice and specialize in supporting  People of Color from an attachment-based, culturally-responsive Interpersonal Neurobiology perspective.


Marc F. Otto, MA, RSMT/E

As a somatic therapist and facilitator, I offer support to people and groups who want more nourishing relationships. I earned a Master’s Degree in Somatic Psychology with an emphasis in Dance/Movement Therapy from Naropa University in 1998. From 1998 to 2013, I worked as an addictions, mental health, and creative arts therapist in various non-profit treatment agencies in Colorado and Oregon, with a focus on evidence-based practices. From 2004 to 2014, I co-facilitated a local theater program, called “Play after Play,” that offered performances and experiential education about play to families with young children. I currently run a private practice based in interpersonal neurobiology, mindfulness and embodiment, for individuals and couples.

My current focus is on the neuroscience of relationship and trauma. I bring a depth of understanding about how people get hurt in relationship and how they heal in relationship. This focus includes an experiential understanding of the interpersonal neurobiology of racism.

We welcome your questions about this experience!  Feel free to contact Danette at communioncounseling@gmail.com and/or Marc at nourishingrelationship@gmail.com.

Interpersonal Neurobiology for Practitioners of Color

Space is limited to 10 Practitioners of Color!

Treat yourself to this unique training experience designed to nurture you and support your journey of helping People of Color thrive.



Weekend 1: Thursday, June 25 and Friday, June 26, 2020;

Weekend 2: Thursday, August 6 and Friday, August 7, 2020; and


Weekend 3: Thursday, October 8 and Friday, October 9, 2020

Time: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM daily

Location: Portland, Oregon (specific address provided with registration)


$995.00 for the 6-day workshop

Early-Bird Special: $750.00 if registered by April 30, 2020--save 25%!

Payment Options:

1) You can reserve your spot at the Early Bird rate with a $200 deposit!  Full payment will be due by June 25, 2020.

2) Installment payments are available: please contact me at communioncounseling@gmail.com to set up a payment plan!

3) I can also invoice your organization, if you are participating as part of your professional development. Again, email me at communioncounseling@gmail.com  to obtain an invoice.

Register Here!

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel your registration with a full refund prior to April 30, 2020.

We will provide a 50% registration refund for cancellations between May 15 - May 31, 2020.

Because of the size of the training, we will be unable to provide a registration refund for cancellations after June 1, 2020.


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