Robbyn Peters Bennett, LPC, CMHS

Robbyn Peters Bennett 
is a psychotherapist, educator, and child rights activist. She is an expert on the relationship between harsh discipline, child development and long-term health. She is a leader in the growing movement to end sanctioned hitting of children, corporal punishment, in the US.
Robbyn has practiced as a psychotherapist since 1998 after earning a Masters degree in Counseling Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.  Her therapeutic foundation is grounded in the depth tradition with sensitivity to dream, the unconscious, and the regenerative power of the imagination.  Robbyn studied for several years with the North Pacific Institute for Analytical Psychology in an effort to better understand the work of Carl Jung and the intersection of trauma, pathos and the soul. This investigation illuminated the importance of active imagination and other “right brain” therapeutic modalities and strengthened her devotion to caring for the soul of the world as poetically expressed by her alma mater, “animae mundi colendae gratis.”
Robbyn has always had an interest understanding and responding to the needs of those who suffer with chronic mental illness. While living in Albuquerque, NM, she served as Clinical Director of Presbyterian Hospital’s inpatient psychiatric program. During that time, she opened an outpatient psychotherapy clinic to support patients during the transition from the hospital to the community.  She also worked to develop the Parental-Child Foundations Program providing education and services supporting healthy parent-child attachment. Her devotion to supporting early attachment is based in the analytic tradition that recognizes how our ability to thrive in relationship is engineered by our earliest experiences and continues to influence our threshold for intimacy and trust well into the future.
Robbyn served as Clinical Director of Catholic Community Services’ residential treatment center for mentally ill children. She was privileged as a Child Mental Health Specialist. Her private practice consisted largely of disadvantaged children and adults suffering from the effects of poverty and early childhood trauma and neglect. She worked extensively with Child Protective Services and the Department of Families and Children providing both direct care and parenting evaluations.  In an effort to better understand the chronic distress of those who have suffered early abuse and neglect, Robbyn studied with the ChildTrauma Academy becoming a Phase II trainer in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, a neurodevelopmental lens for assessing and treating traumatized children. The neurodevelopmental model opened her eyes to the central significance of lower brain dysregulation on functioning and prognosis. She was able to recognize the need for educating parents on a neurodevelopmentally-informed parenting model that is born from and inextricably aligned with the principles of nonviolence. Robbyn then became a certified trainer in Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting.

Robbyn is devoted to ending child abuse. Toward that effort, she speaks nationally on child maltreatment and harsh discipline to raise awareness of cultural acceptance of violence against children. Her TED TALK links spanking with family violence, bullying, and child abuse. Robbyn founded, an online neurodevelopmentally informed parenting resource to educate parents and clinicians on the dangers of spanking and provide empirically-based positive parenting alternatives. She and her colleagues offer a free online parenting resource and sponsor an annual free event called the No-Spank-Challenge that includes dozens of well-known positive parenting educators and reaches over a thousand parents each year. Robbyn worked with the Oregon Post Adoption Center and 14 other local government and child advocacy organizations to host the first ever Portland “NoSpankChallenge” to offer parents brain savvy alternatives to hitting and punishing children. Robbyn is on the board of the US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, a non-profit organization that brings together individuals, groups, and organizations to create a unified voice calling for and working toward the end of all forms of physical and emotional punishment against children. She has produced several public service announcement videos on the dangers of spanking interviewing experts in the field of neuroscience and child maltreatment.
Robbyn is a mother and very blessed grandmother who lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon where she has a private psychotherapy practice.
Publications & Key Interviews

2017 Article of the Year in Child Abuse & Neglect The official journal of The International Society of the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN). This paper was chosen as Article of the Year out of the 238 manuscripts published in Child Abuse & Neglect in 2017. The criteria for the award are: a) novel nature of the paper, b) potential to advance the field, and c) high academic quality. Afifi, T.O., Ford, D., Gershoff, E., Merrick, M., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Ports, K.A., MacMillan, H.L., Holden, G.W., Taylor, C.A., Lee, S.J., & Peters Bennett, R. (2017). Spanking and adult mental health impairment: The case for the designation of spanking as an adverse childhood experience, Child Abuse & Neglect, 71, 24-31.

Spanking and adult mental health impairment: The case for the designation of spanking as an adverse childhood experience. January, 2017.

Seattle Times OPED, Parents are losing it on social media and shaming children. August, 2015.

Intervening with a Stranger, May 2015

Hosted Conferences & Campaigns
Key Lectures
  • Panel Discussion on Delinquency, Trauma, and Corporal Punishment, Institute of Child Psychology, November 2021 Check out: Radio Talk Show Interview 
  • The Art of Co-regulation…A Brain Savvy Approach for De-escalating Outbursts and Having Fewer in the Future, Shoulder to Shoulder, Portland, OR, 2018
  • Self-Regulation: Responding to Challenging Students Through the Art of Co-Regulation, Atlanta, GA Feb 2018
  • Reparenting for Resiliency, A Neurodevelopmentally Informed Parenting Approach to Understanding and Healing Dysregulation Through the Art of Co-Regulation, CAMFT, May 4-7, 2017
  • The Neurodevelopmental Roots of Empathy and Psychopathy/Treatment” Children’s Law Institute, January 2017
  • “Building Trauma-Informed Schools & Communities” ECHO Parenting, March 2016
  • “Global Scientific Summit, Academy on Violence & Abuse,” Jacksonville, Florida, November 2015
  • “School-based Mental Health Conference” Calgary, Alberta Canada October 2015
  • “20th International Summit & Training on Violence,” Institute on Violence, Abuse, & Trauma, San Diego, CA August 2015
  • “Pulling Out the Roots of Physical Child Abuse,” APA Humanistic Psychology Annual Conference, Palo Alto, CA, March 2014
  • Keynote Speaker, “Violence, A Family Tradition,” Annual Conference, Portland, ME November 2013
  • “Effects of Harsh Treatment on Child Development,” Head2Toe Annual Conference, ABQ, NM May 2013
Public Service Announcements