Janna Kipness

How I work


I am versed in many therapeutic healing theories and techniques from which I draw. Some of these include: psychodynamics, sand tray, cognitive behavioral therapy, Emotional Field Therapy tapping and attachment theory. Much of what I practice and value comes from:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness

Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT teaches us basic emotional skills we should have learned as children but were never taught; such as how to be with our feelings, how to handle distressing feelings and simply how to know what we are feeling. Using Mindfulness concepts and practices, we learn how to remain in the present moment, aware of thoughts, but not attaching to them, aware of our emotions, but not acting on them. We cannot change what we do not see. Mindful awareness allows us to catch our experiences and behaviors, then make healthy choices about what we want to do. In his book, The Mindful Brain, Daniel Siegel MD says that “Studies have shown that specific applications of mindful awareness improve the capacity to regulate emotion, to combat emotional dysfunction, to improve patterns of thinking, and to reduce negative mindsets.” These benefits are the same goals of DBT skills and are exactly why I teach them to clients. DBT’s Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance skills can also replace harmful or addictive behaviors and obsessive negative thinking. I am certified in DBT by Behavioral Tech, Marsha Linehan’s organization, and have been teaching DBT skills individually and in groups since 2003.


Brainspotting is a technique that evolved out of EMDR which facilitates the release of trauma from the nervous system. Any time we cannot fight or flee, have to freeze and endure, the nervous system stores the unreleased energy in a trauma reservoir. Using the language of the nervous system, our bodies’ felt sense, brainspotting allows for the release of stored trauma.  We are all naturally equipped to discharge trauma energy with the right support. Brainspotting activates this natural, inherent resource to discharge trauma from both the brain and body. It provides an avenue for deep emotional processing without need of talking or remembering.

In addition to holding trauma, we also store energy from our negative beliefs, such as, “No one will ever love me.” Working with the body’s felt sense of that belief releases the belief cognitively (in our thoughts) and viscerally (in the body). Once the nervous system releases, we feel increases in creativity, adaptability and flexibility and in neutrality rather than distress. Brainspotting is particularly useful for relief from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), phobias, anxiety and panic, and in creating internal resources for feeling more peaceful, balanced and stable. I am trained through the highest level offered by Robert Weisz, PhD.  For more info on Brainspotting click here. The new evolution of Brainspotting developed by Dr. Weisz is to work with the felt sense and release without actually needing to find an external brain spot. I am also trained in this technique.

 Interpersonal Neurobiology

Interpersonal Neurobiology is the thrilling new science of what happens in the brain as we experience relationships. “Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB), a term coined by Dr. Dan Siegel, studies the way the brain grows and is influenced by personal relationships. Recent studies have discovered that brain growth occurs throughout the lifespan. IPNB explores the potential for healing trauma by using positive and secure influences on the brain. Conditions once thought to be permanent now have the bright potential for healing and growth. IPNB has broad applications that are useful for parenting, mental health, addictions, education, health care, business professionals, and more.” (Portland State University IPNB website).  I have trained with Bonnie Badenoch, who studied under Dr. Siegel and teaches at INPB Portland State University. I highly recommend Dr. Daniel Siegel’s  books.  In both Brainspotting and in psychotherapy, the attunement of the therapist to the client is an essential part of the healing process because of how the brain experiences a new, positive relationship or simply responds to the therapist’s attunement in the moment. When clients understand how the brain responds and where behavior originates, it can liberate them from shame and self blame and help to organize experiences that may have been pre-verbal (implicit) and overwhelming.

Treating Love, Relationship and Sex Addictions

For two of my four years at Life Healing Center I ran the sexual integrity group and attended training for certification for sex addiction (CSAT). The CSAT training was developed by Patrick Carnes, who created a program to help sex addicts and their families. While facilitating healing with clients who suffer from a variety of addictions, I discovered that I am more interested in treating the underlying trauma behind addictions than continuing with the CSAT model. However, for addicts, changing behavior is a critical part of healing (see DBT). Love and relationship addiction, or obsession, is as endemic to our society as materialism. We seek to fill the unmet needs of childhood or get the love we did not get from parents, through romantic relationships. By working on family of origin relationships and trauma and by building a stronger relationship to the self, we are able to meet our own needs and choose relationships more wisely. I am particularly interested in supporting the partners and spouses of sex addicts to heal from shock, betrayal and trauma, and in working with couples to rebuild trust and create truly healthy relationship, perhaps for the first time.