A 12-week online professional development program in applied neuroscience & brain health.
Next training: September 2023 (dates TBC)
Neuroscience is complex. But it shouldn't be boring, difficult or exclusive.
The Neuroscience Academy brings professional development and education in applied neuroscience and brain health to a global audience.
- Created for coaches, therapists, and mental health and wellbeing practitioners.
- Students work towards a certificate in Applied Neuroscience and Brain Health, equivalent to 34 hours of continuing professional development.
- Taught by Oxford University-educated neuroscientist, TV presenter, and author Dr Sarah McKay.
USD & monthly plans are available (scroll down to FAQs)
Are you passionate about health, well-being & helping others? So is our thriving global student community!
Introducing the Neuroscience Academy
Who is the Neuroscience Academy for?
The Neuroscience Academy is a foundational course in applied neuroscience for professionals working in the fields of human behaviour, mental health, education & wellbeing.
Neuroscience Academy alumni tend to fall under the umbrella of ‘helping professionals’ and include:
- Coaches (we offer ICF CC hours)
- Mental Health & Allied Health Practitioners
- Psychologist, Therapists & Counsellors
- Educators, Teachers & Trainers
- Leadership Development professionals
- Meditation & Mindfulness Practitioners, Neurofeedback Providers & Yoga Teachers
The Neuroscience Academy is ideal for professionals who:
- Value juicy conversation and appreciate the value of human connection, community and laughter.
- Wish to improve their neuroscience literacy and their ability to apply new knowledge to their work critically.
- Are curious about the brain’s capacity to re-wire and change but wonder, “How can I begin to understand and use neuroscience concepts in useful ways?”
- Never had the opportunity in their education or early career to study science — our course is accessible for people without a background in biology or psychology.
- Believe that health, well-being and peak performance come from embracing the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.
- Work in a crowded market and want to stand out from the rest and carve out a niche as a Neuroscience Academy graduate.
34 hours continuing professional development (CPD) + certificate.
Introduction to Health Neuroscience
We’ll take a look at the seductive allure of neuroscience. You’ll be introduced to a foundational model of the course, the Bottom-Up Outside-In Top-Down framework. We’ll discuss what neuroscience can and can’t tell us about ourselves, and you’ll learn essential tips to tease out neuro-fact from neuro-fiction.
Overview of Nervous System Anatomy
I’ll take you on a whistle-stop tour through the brain to the peripheral, autonomic and enteric (gut) nervous systems. You’ll learn a ‘handy’ way to discuss brain anatomy with clients, and we’ll discuss what the mind is and where it might be found.
Neurons, Synapses and Neural communication
In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the nuts and bolts of how neurons communicate electrically and chemically. You’ll understand how synapses function and all about neurotransmitter systems. Finally, you'll learn simple and relevant ways to communicate this information with others.
Changing Brains and Minds.
Can your thoughts really rewire your brain? Do we produce new brain cells throughout life? What are synaptogenesis, neurogenesis, and cortical reorganisation, and when, where and why do they occur? You’ll learn the second foundational model of the course, the REFIRE method.
The Cognitive Brain
You’ll receive a simple overview of the prefrontal cortex and its role in cognition (thinking). You’ll learn how the brain pays attention, makes decisions, and why it can’t multi-task. We’ll take a look at how emotions and thinking are intimately intertwined, and how to foster metacognition (thinking about thinking) in the people you work with.
The Emotional Brain
In this lesson, we’ll continue our exploration of how thinking and feeling are entwined. We’ll dig into the contemporary neuroscience of emotions. Finally you'll recieve a primer in the neurobiology of anxiety and depression.
The Neuroscience of Motivation
You’ll get clear on the neuroscience of motivation. And you’ll be introduced to another foundation model ‘The Will, the Wont and the Way’. We’ll discuss mental rehearsal or visualisation, and revise the latest research on fixed and growth mindsets.
The Neuroscience of Habit and Change
Understanding habits and facilitating change are fundamental to your work with clients. But what happens in the brain when habits are formed? If the brain is plastic, why is it so hard to break an old habit, and do we form new 'good' habits instead?
The Mind-Body Connection
Can you really change your health by changing your thoughts? We’ll discuss evidence from mind-body medicine research. We’ll take a look at the amazing power of placebo (and its ‘dark side’, the nocebo effect) and how it directly relates to the quality of the therapeutic relationship. Finally, we’ll look at psychoneuroimmunology and the neuroscience of the mind-brain-immune connection.
The Ageing Brain
We’ll consider the neuroscience of brain ageing. Is memory loss inevitable with age? You’ll get clear on what the research says about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (and the difference between the two). Learn why ageing is also about growing in experience, wisdom and judgment. You’ll discover the difference between normal memory lapses and memory problems that need to be addressed by a medical professional.
The Neuroscience of Creativity and Insight
Explore the concept of flow and how it turns everyday experiences into an opportunity for self-fulfilment and mental wellbeing. Learn how to foster creativity, and what happens in your client’s brain during insight or ‘aha’ moments.
Brain Health and Physical Exercise
Get clear on why the best exercise for the brain is physical exercise. We’ll discuss the relationship between exercise, mood and mental health, and we’ll take a look at how exercise promotes neuroplasticity and slows brain ageing.
Sleep and Napping
We’ll delve into sleep (and napping), circadian rhythms, and learn why they are vital to brain health and performance. Learn about the intimate interplay between neurotransmitters, sleep and mental health, and the role for sleep in promoting neuroplasticity. Finally, we consider what happens to your brain when you dream.
Nutrition and the Gut-Brain Connection.
Examine the current evidence on the best diet for brain health. We’ll also explore the research on the gut-brain-microbiome connection. And we’ll take a look at brain ‘super-foods’, and the effects of sugar, coffee, grains and alcohol on the brain—what does the research say?
Belief and Belonging.
Our brain has a fundamental need to connect and understanding this is vital to your work. We learn how friends and family impact cognitive reserve and take a look at research showing that having passion and purpose protects against brain ageing.
Stress, Mindfulness, and Meditation.
This lesson has been designed to look at the neurobiology of the stress response, and the best ways we know to buffer stress. We’ll examine what neuroscience says about meditation, and how it affects brain structure and function.
Brain Health and Mental Exercise.
What is cognitive reserve and why is building it useful? What does the research say about computer-based cognitive brain-training? Take a look at evidence why you should partner with your client to become their brain-training coach.
How does the Neuroscience Academy work?
- The live program runs over 12 weeks and includes 9 teaching weeks + 3 rest weeks.
- Lessons are delivered via a series of short pre-recorded online videos. These are simple, visual and discuss neuroscience concepts + strategies for implementation.
- Live Q&A calls take place weekly via Zoom. Calls are recorded and run for 90 minutes.
- Key to our live calls are breakout rooms where students share and connect with like-minded professionals.
- Each lesson includes a hand-picked library of resources for extended learning or catch-up.
- To gain The Neuroscience Academy Certificate of completion in Applied Neuroscience and Brain Health, students pass an online multiple-choice quiz.
I've been teaching neuroscience online since 2016. In that time, I've learned the art and science of building community, conversation and rapport in a digital environment.
Learning online isn't for everyone but gives you access to a planet of warm, wise, extraordinary humans you'd never have the opportunity to connect with otherwise.
"The creation of a caring, inclusive and community-focused environment which fosters connection through learning was also a key element of the course that was critical to the whole experience and really helped facilitate the absorption of a lot of new concepts in a very short period of time."
Georgia Southgate (2022 Bootcamp student)
Options for SELF-STUDY are available. Self-study suits people who do not wish to gain certification. Includes digital course access only but excludes live Q&A, certification/CPD, Facebook group & alumni access.
- You'll join a global community of wise, warm like-minded professionals. Time and time again, our course feedback mentions the connections and conversations as an unexpected learning highlight.
- Lifetime membership access.
- Summary notes and worksheets for every lesson. You’ll always have handy access to the most important concepts from each lesson.
- An extensive hand-picked library of resources, including open-access research papers, books, TEDx talks, articles, and interviews.
- Step-by-step guides on how to source, read, and understand scientific research articles.
- A growing library of in-depth interviews with academics and experts in gut-brain health, positive psychology in coaching, neuroscience in education, and healthy ageing.
- Private student-only Facebook group for networking and daily Q&A with Sarah.
- Access to Sarah’s brain (complete with 25 years of neuroscience education, research and teaching downloaded!), Sarah is on hand daily in the Facebook group, weekly live video Q&A, and opportunity to book Sarah for one-to-one office hours.
USD & monthly plans available (scroll down to FAQs)
b. About Sarah
That’s me! I’m neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay.
I’ve distilled nearly three decades of education, research and teaching neuroscience into creating this program.
My superpower is to make neuroscience simple, actionable, and relevant to your everyday life, and to provide coaches, therapists and health professionals with evidence-based tools and strategies to do the same in their work.
You may have noticed that too often neuroscience research is hidden behind the pay-wall of academic journals, discussed at scientific meetings for other scientists, or presented in a way that is irrelevant to our daily lives.
Or the opposite is true — people with no training in brain science, or minimal understanding of the complexities of research are jumping on the neuroscience bandwagon as ‘brain gurus’ and marketing the latest product, program, or magic-bullet solution usually based on inaccurate, outdated or even mythical neuroscience (wave 'goodbye' to the lizard brain!).
The Neuroscience Academy is designed to change all that (we separate the science from the shamanism!) and make up-to-date research from neurobiology, cognitive science and positive psychology accurate, simple and practical for you and your work.
I hold three degrees in neuroscience including a doctorate in Neuroscience from Oxford University. After five years in academia, I founded the science communications business (Think Brain) in 2008. In my spare time, I present the ABC science TV show Catalyst, write a popular neuroscience blog, speak (including at TEDx events) and in 2018 published a popular science book on women’s brain health.
© 2020 DR SARAH MCKAY