Joyce Shaffer, PhD, RN Diploma '61

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Joyce Shaffer, PhD, RN Diploma '61

Name: Joyce Shaffer, PhD, RN
Class Year: 1961
Degree, Major: RN Diploma graduate, Jefferson School of Nursing; PhD in Psychology from Hofstra University

What is your current professional position?

  • University of Washington, Clinical Associate Professor, Seattle WA
  • Harborview Medical Center, Court Evaluator, Seattle WA
  • Psychologist in Private Practice, Bellevue WA
  • Ideal Aging, LLC, Managing Member, Bellevue WA

In your current position, what are your responsibilities/duties?

  • As a Clinical Associate Professor for UW, I teach healthcare professionals forensic and neuroplasticity topics.
  • As a Psychologist & Nurse, I provide expert testimony in the Harborview Court for Involuntary Treatment.
  • In my private practice as a psychologist I specialize in CBT and enhancing brain power.
  • Through Ideal Aging, LLC, I am a speaker and author of several books.

What are your current accreditations, memberships or affiliations in your field?

  • Washington State Nurses’ Association (WSNA) approved me as a provider of contact hours for nurses on neuroplasticity in healthcare. I’ve taught this and other brain topics at Harborview Medical Center and nationally.
  • TJUH Diploma Nurses’ Alumni Association has been instrumental under the leadership of Aileen Ishuin MacMillan in helping me bring this exciting neuroscience to Jefferson nurses for continuing nursing education for three consecutive years. The latest was entitled: “Cocoa & Other Brain Foods: Eat to Increase Brain Power.”
  • Washington State Psychological Association (WSPA) has published several articles I’ve written on how to enhance brain power. I’ve been a member of WSPA since moving to Washington in 1980. Presentations include a 3-hour workshop entitled “Positive Psychology and Neuroplasticity in Clinical Practice.”
  • American Psychological Association (APA) – except when out of the country, I’ve been a member of APA.
  • International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) – it’s my privilege to be a founding member of IPPA. At each World Congress I’ve been accepted to present on neuroplasticity.

Are there any publications or other awards/recognitions you would like to share?


Friedrich, W.N., Lovejoy, M.C., Shaffer, J., Shurtleff, D.B., & Beilke, R.L. (1991) Cognitive abilities and achievement status of children with myelomeningocele: A contemporary sample. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 16, 423-428.
Friedrich, W. & Shaffer, J. (1986). Adolescent Psychosocial Adjustment. In D.B. Shurtleff (Ed.), Myelodysplasias and exstrophies: Significance, prevention, and treatment (pp. 411-420). New York: Grune & Stratton.
Friedrich, W. & Shaffer, J. (1986). Family Adjustments and Contributions. In D.B. Shurtleff (Ed.), Myelodysplasias and exstrophies: Significance, prevention, and treatment (pp. 399-410). New York: Grune & Stratton.
Shaffer, J (2012). Brain Power 2020. eBook on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
Shaffer, J (2012). Cocoa & Other Brain Foods. eBook on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
Shaffer, J (2013) Combining Neuroplasticity & Positive Psychology in Clinical Practice to Increase Positive Development across the Lifespan.     Poster presentation at the Third World Congress on Positive Psychology.
Shaffer, J (2012) Neuroplasticity and Positive Psychology in Clinical Practice: A Review for Combined Benefits. Psychology. Vol.3, No.12A,   1110-1115 Published Online December 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/psych) DOI:10.4236/psych.2012.312A164
Shaffer, J (1978). Information Processing in Good and Poor Readers. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. NY: Hofstra University.
Shaffer, J (2009). Ideal Aging™: 5 Steps to Keep Your Brain Fit. Bellevue, WA: Ideal Press.
Shaffer, J (2007). Ideal Aging™: 7 Steps to Keep Your Brain Fit. Bellevue, WA: Ideal Press.
Shaffer, J (2009). Is Happiness a New Social Responsibility? www.RotaryeClubOne.org/programs.htm
Shaffer, J (2005). Secrets inside Bones, Brains & Beauty®. Osteoporosis Updates.
Shaffer, J (2004). Stress Power with Relaxation Conditioning (CD). Bellevue, WA: Ideal Press.
Shaffer, J (2010). Use Positive Psychology to Drive Brain Plasticity in a Positive Direction. Washington Psychologist, Volume 65, Issue 2.
Shaffer, J (2009). Use Positive Psychology to Drive Brain Plasticity in a Positive Direction. Poster presentation at the First World Congress on Positive Psychology in Philadelphia.
Shaffer, J. & Friedrich, W. (1986). Young Adult Psychosocial Adjustment. In D.B. Shurtleff (Ed.), Myelodysplasias and exstrophies: Significance, prevention, and treatment (pp. 359-372). New York: Grune & Stratton.
Shaffer J., Friedrich, W.N., Shurtleff, D.B., et al. (1985) Cognitive and achievement status of children with meningomyelocele. Pediatric Psychology, 10(3):325-336.
Shaffer, J., Wolfe, L., Friedrich, W., Shurtleff, H., Shurtleff, D., & Fay, G. (1986). Developmental expectations: Intelligence and fine motor skills. In D.B. Shurtleff (Ed.), Myelodysplasias and exstrophies: Significance, prevention, and treatment (pp. 359-372). New York: Grune & Stratton.

What are your career accomplishments that you would like to highlight?

We are privileged to appreciate the gains reported in human intelligence across this past century AND to see the human lifespan extend beyond what had been anticipated. Still, the increase in the aged with the ages has included a raft of lifestyle illnesses that could take us down like a house of cards. As healthcare providers we can empower people to use non-pharmacological, evidence-based interventions that can enhance neuroplasticity while also strengthening trends to increase overall wellbeing.

The marriage of neuroplastic gains and positive psychology can maximize human potential at any age with dignity, health and happiness in ways that can simultaneously improve our collective economic welfare while promoting vigorous longevity. That has been my primary focus and passion.

If you could give any advice to a current student in your program or a recent graduate what would it be?

Follow your passion. Let your service also serve you. Seek always to enhance your intelligence. Thomas Jefferson University provided an educational foundation that contributed significantly to my gifted and varied life and career experiences. I am very grateful for this.


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