Certificate in Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience

Do you ever feel like your clients can't get out of their own way?

If you’re an individual committed to fostering holistic wellness, promoting solution-focused approaches, and empowering your clients to reach their full potential, join the ranks of elite professionals with the one-of-a-kind continuing education curriculum in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience from ACBN.

With a Certification in Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience, you will gain the confidence to speak with authority about HOW & WHY what you teach your clients actually works.

Neuroscience feels intimidating, and perhaps you've always thought that you're not positioned to be an authority on the science behind what's happening in your client's brain. Dr. Hayley Nelson founded the Academy of Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience, and she designed this Certificate Program with one goal in mind:

To make neuroscience approachable for professionals who want to distinguish themselves from others in their field with a unique and comprehensive understanding of the latest research and innovative techniques in neuroscience, and earn a highly respected certification in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience that sets them apart as a true expert in their field.

After completion of the certificate, students will uncover a newfound sense of confidence and neuroscience knowledge, will stand out in their industry by offering something unique to their clients, gain credibility, better serve their existing clients, and be positioned to take on more clients best suited for their programs.

Meet Your Instructor

Dr. Hayley Nelson earned her PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University, is a tenured professor of Psychology in the Philadelphia area, and is an international speaker. She has over 20 years of teaching experience with students from diverse backgrounds, has several peer-reviewed research publications and previous research and faculty appointments with The National Institutes of Health, The Johns Hopkins University, and The University of Pennsylvania.

If the idea of learning about the brain and neuroscience feels overwhelming and intimidating, Dr. Hayley is the perfect instructor for you. She's a busy mom of 2 with a great sense of humor, and she prioritizes bringing some fun and compassion to a field that can feel a little "hardcore". You can expect lots of real world experiences and examples and an open, caring learning environment where there are no stupid questions. Listening to one of Dr. Hayley's discussions feels more like a conversation with a family member (a really smart family member).

By creating the Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Dr. Hayley Nelson combined her knowledge of the human mind and brain health with her passion for education, teaching, and consulting to truly make neuroscience approachable. Her students learn easy-to-swallow knowledge of how the brain works in real-life situations and are armed with an education in a subject they can use literally every single day. Not only that, they gain the power to serve their clients better and create an environment for their communities to thrive.

Dr. Hayley's Featured Contributions, Publications, and

Faculty & Research Appointments

Logos from various institutions, organizations, and publications

When you earn your Certification of Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience, here's how your coaching business will transform...

More Confidence in Coaching Practices

You don't need to have a PhD or MD to be respected or feel confident in your field. As a coach, your business will struggle if you lack the confidence in the program you offer to your clients. If you offer recommendations, advice, and resources without fully understanding the science behind WHAT your client is feeling and experiencing and WHY they are feeling and experiencing it, are you showing up for them as best you can?

By arming yourself with in-depth knowledge of the human brain (without having to go back to school to earn another degree), you can stand confidently while standing OUT in your industry, knowing that you're helping your clients achieve positive outcomes.

More Successful Client Outcomes

Bottom line: When you understand the scientific reason behind why your client is resisting change, accepting your feedback, or has destructive or maladaptive behaviors, you will have the power to pivot and better tailor your recommendations and coaching curriculum to their unique needs.

Our clients' experiences have a unique and profound impact on their brains (and vice versa), and understanding that AND leaning into it is key to achieving more successful client outcomes.

Better Marketing & Refined Clientbase

Learning about the brain is the ultimate way to perfect your marketing and new client outreach. Taking time to learn the intricacies of the brain and to better understand what your future clients are experiencing can help you fine tune your marketing message.

When you're working to attract new clients and you craft marketing messages that incorporate specific issues, struggles, or behaviors they may be experiencing (like addiction, trauma, stress, lack of motivation) and insight, answers or solutions to problems they have long been seeking, you immediately build trust and your message will resonate with the right client the first time.

With the knowledge you acquire in this certification, you'll be able to attract new clients by confidently explaining what's happening in their brain when they experience roadblocks or obstacles and provide tips, tools, and approaches to help them achieve their goals, with scientific support securely in your back pocket.

An Inside Look: Neuroplasticity

Coaches come to me A LOT wondering why their clients struggle with implementing techniques and tips to create positive and substantial change in their lives. Let's take a look at what's happening inside the brain to help you understand your client from a neurological standpoint and how you can harness the power of neuroplasticity to help them open up to change.

This brief demonstration is a quick glimpse into the certification and is a great example of the type of information you'll learn from each of the 8 modules. When you understand what's happening inside your client's brain, you can recognize why your client is struggling or resistant to change and help them pivot to achieve their desired outcomes.

Coaches come to me A LOT wondering why their clients struggle with implementing techniques and tips to create positive and substantial change in their lives. Let's take a look at what's happening inside the brain to help you understand your client from a neurological standpoint and how you can harness the power of neuroplasticity to help them open up to change.

This brief demonstration is a quick glimpse into the certification and is a great example of the type of information you'll learn from each of the 8 modules. When you understand what's happening inside your client's brain, you can recognize why your client is struggling or resistant to change and help them pivot to achieve their desired outcomes.

8 Modules of

Educational Content

Understanding what's occurring in the brain is crucial to helping your clients process emotions and experiences that are complex.

These 8 modules are filled with content to help you confidently walk your clients through stress, anxiety, trauma, addiction, habit learning, and so much more. When you know the science behind human behavior, your clients will find clarity and you, the coach, will stand out as a valuable, trustworthy guide in their journey.

This certificate program was designed to meet ICF Standards for continuing education.

Module 01:

Brain Basics

In Module 01, we'll go over the basics of the nervous system, including how it functions, how neurons communicate, as well as brain structures and how they control functions within the mind and body.

Brain Basics will help us lay the framework for understanding the brain so you can better help your clients through the mental work necessary to overcome stress, trauma, addiction, breaking habits (and creating new ones), self-destructive behavior, and more.

Module 02: Neurodevelopment

In Module 02, we'll learn how the brain develops and changes over the course of one's life, and how experiences and trauma can change the way the brain develops and functions.

This module on Neurodevelopment will help you understand typical brain development as well as what can happen to the brain in both nurturing and stressful conditions to help explain what has occurred, or is occurring, in the brain of someone who has experienced trauma or has trouble processing emotions.

Module 03:

Stress & Trauma

In Module 03, we talk about how traumatic experiences and chronic stress can negatively impact our health and what we can do about it.

This module focuses on the neuroscience of stress and trauma. We will take a deep dive into the neurobiology of the stress response and anxiety disorders, with a special discussion on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD). It concludes with several options for holistic approaches to help mitigate the negative consequences of stress and trauma in one’s life.

Module 04:


In Module 04, we'll learn about another form of trauma; addiction and discuss the neurobiology of addiction science and how substance use can alter brain functioning, cognition, and behavior.

This module describes cutting edge research on the causes and consequences of substance use and behavioral addictions. Various models of addiction will be discussed including physical dependence, positive reinforcement, biopsychosocial, and epigenetics. We conclude with a description of future directions and treatment options.

Module 05:

Learning, Motivation, & Habits

In Module 05, we will gain a deeper understanding of WHY and HOW people do what they do and think the way they do.

This module is a comprehensive training on how we are motivated to learn, remember, and create new habits and drives. We build upon foundational studies and terminology in the field of Psychology to bridge the gap to neuroscience and where in the brain these functions occur and how we can improve the process. You'll learn tips and tricks for improving your learning, memory, and creating new long-lasting habits.

Module 06:

Gender, Sex & Sexuality

In Module 06, we'll discuss, from a neuroscience perspective, one of the most robust motivated behaviors, and highlight the similarities and differences across sexes and genders.

This module will explain the difference between sex and gender, and discuss how changes in hormones can induce changes in the body and brain to impact mental health as well as sexual differentiation, sexuality, and sexual orientation. This module follows a chronological analysis from fertilization through adulthood and concludes with a discussion on current research trends investigating variations in sexual orientation.

Advanced Certification: Bonus Modules

Module 07:

Mental Illness

In Module 07, the neurobiology of various psychological disorders will be discussed, including mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and schizophrenia.

This module builds upon the knowledge acquired in the first six modules to have a comprehensive training on various mental illnesses from diagnostic criteria, causes, prevalence across various demographics, and prognosis. The discussions will include anatomical and functional brain differences and what that may mean for treatment options.

Module 08:

Mental Health Treatment & Therapy Options

In Module 08, we'll go over a variety of treatment options based on neuroscience research for psychological disorders ranging from medical practices to more holistic healing approaches.

In addition to her own video lessons, Dr. Hayley also interviews a diverse group of experts to discuss their experience working with clients utilizing a myriad of techniques to help their clients overcome barriers to improve their mental health and overall well-being. Experts will explain how their techniques work and provide additional resources and ways to stay in touch. Some treatment options discussed include pharmaceutical medications, psychedelic microdosing, TMS, hypnotherapy, NLP approaches, breath and mindset work, and many more.

Sheryl Anjanette

Master NLP Business and Mindset Coach, Hypnotherapist,
& Best-Selling Author

"I've noticed such a positive shift in my business...I'm able to add so much more value for my clients!"

Sheryl earned an Advanced Certificate in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience from ACBN because she was looking for a way to stand out among her peers and add more value for her clients.

Hear what Sheryl has to say about the confidence she's gained and the parts of the program that she enjoyed the most!

Option 1. Certificate Program

  • Access to the first 6 course modules

  • Recorded lectures for each module (each module contains approx. 60-90 min of lecture content, plus additional online resources)

  • Printable Workbook for each module that contains: Lecture Slides with notes sections and Study Guide

  • Hand-picked library of resources, including open-access research articles, videos, and images

  • End of module quizzes (multiple choice and True/False) to assess comprehension of material

  • 1-on-1 Office Hour Call/ Zoom with Dr. Hayley to ask questions and dive deeper into topics (30 min)

  • Program is self-paced

  • Receive a Certification in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience from ACBN upon completion of the program.

Option 2. Advanced Certificate Program

  • Everything listed above PLUS

  • 2 additional complete modules (Modules 01-08 included)

  • Interviews and Access to Guest Experts

  • Additional individual 1-on-1 Office Hour Call/Zoom included (two 30-min calls or one 60-min call)

  • Networking and collaboration in the Advanced ACBN community - including opportunities for live “Ask Me Anything” sessions with Dr. Hayley

  • Receive an Advanced Certification in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience from ACBN upon completion of the program.

Option 3. Individualized Coaching for Advanced Certification

Everything included in the Advanced Certificate Program (Option 2 above), but the lectures will be LIVE via Zoom with Dr. Hayley and presented individually with time for Q&A and personal coaching and mentoring during each module presentation.

And that's not all...

If you join us now in the Certificate in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Programs you’ll get instant access to these amazing bonuses:

#1: Guide and lecture on how to source, read, and understand scientific research articles ($247 value)

#2. Bonus Lecture on the Gut-Brain Health Connection

($97 value)

#3. Bonus Lecture on Stress and the Brain ($147 value)

#4. Bonus ABCs of Commonly Abused Drugs resource

($47 value)

#5. Live virtual Office Hours with Dr. Hayley and networking opportunities with the ACBN community ($497 value)

#6. Discounted additional 1-on-1 office hours (up to 81% savings!)

That’s over $1,000 of bonuses included absolutely FREE!


Marc Hayford

Life Coach

Motivational Speaker

Podcaster & Author

Tasia Valenza

TEDx Speaker and Coach

Founder of Give Great Voice

EMMY Winning Voiceover Artist

Diamando Stratakos

Business Coach

NLP Master Practitioner

Founder of GOLIVE Spartan Experiences

Laura Hinds,


Principal Partner

Hindsight Consulting Group, LLC

"Dr. Hayley Nelson has a gift for taking complex neurobiological processes and making them accessible to people of different scientific starting points. My students, both post-graduate and graduate, have immensely benefited from her skill and expertise. Her humor and humanity are just added pluses!

For any clinician who wants to have a firmer understanding of the biology of the brain, how medications are actually used by the body, or how mental illness and addiction affects our brains' functioning, connecting with Dr. Hayley is a must! Your practice, your clients' outcomes, and your own knowledge base will be deeply enhanced by her instruction. 5 stars!"

Shirelle K. Flowers,


Certified Grief Counseling Specialist;

Maryland Board Approved Supervisor

"I have had the opportunity and privilege to attend several of Dr. Hayley's workshops and presentations. She is masterful in making complex scientific content about the brain relatable to everyone regardless of their educational background and experience.

As a mental health provider, I believe that helping clients build on their strengths while incorporating new coping strategies is the key to successful therapeutic outcomes and in achieving their personal goals. I have been able to utilize the knowledge I gained through Dr. Hayley's courses and seminars and apply it to my daily interactions with clients. I look forward to future collaborations with Dr. Hayley to further enhance my mental health practice."

Have questions about the Certification Programs from Dr. Hayley and
The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (ACBN)?

Want to book a 1-on-1 Office Hour consultation with Dr. Hayley?

Want to See What it's Like to Learn from Dr. Hayley?

Want to Stay in the Loop with Dr. Hayley and ACBN?

Connect directly with Dr. Hayley!

Click the blue chat bubble in the right-hand corner of the screen to get in touch with me, or connect with me on social media.

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Behavioral Neuroscience