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The primary organizing force of living systems is emotion.

At the crossroads of the Constructal Law (discovered by Adrian Bejan), Immediate Moment Theory (developed by Kevin Behan), Human Systems Dynamics (developed by Glenda Eoyang), and Concentric Ring Theory (from the lineage of animal trackers Tom Brown, Jr. and Jon Young), you'll find the Thermodynamics of Emotion Symposium.

We are a small, intimate conference, limited to 35 attendees, so please register early to reserve your spot.

  • Learn the physics of all life.

  • See and understand the patterns of emotions as real physical forces that shape our daily lives.

  • Influence how these patterns drive and structure our relationships and organizations.

Where this conversation takes us is wide-ranging - from medicine to technology, from the corporate world to the wildest natural ecosystems, from old-time traditional wisdom to bleeding-edge science.

our speakers

kevin behan, guest speaker


Author of Your Dog is Your Mirror, Natural Dog Training, developer of the Immediate Moment Theory of emotional flow systems, and one of the nation’s foremost experts in the rehabilitation of aggressive and problem dogs.

Jenya Chernoff

Jenya chernoff, guest speaker


An artist and photographer from Oakland, CA, Jenya Chernoff began studying Natural Dog Training in 2009 while rehabilitating an aggressive Doberman Pinscher. She approaches immediate moment theory from the perspective of dog training and animal consciousness.


Brandt Stickley, Guest Speaker

PANELIST AND KeynoteR: "Emotion is a Direction"

Brandt Stickley is an Assistant Professor in the College of Classical Chinese Medicine, National University of Natural Medicine. Due to the fantastic reception his talk received at last year's symposium, we are proud to be bringing him back for more on the mutually supportive connection between Classical Chinese Medicine and Immediate Moment Theory.


willem larsen, host

PANELIST AND KEYNOTER: "THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA: systems of emotion in daily life"

Author of the Language Hunter's Kit, co-author of 5 Rules For Accelerated Learning, founder of Language Hunters (a non-profit organization dedicated to a renaissance in how communities of practice learn together in technology, language, science, and music), and both a wildlife tracker and Search and Rescue tracker.

this year's Theme: "Living the Thermodynamics of Emotion"

In 2018, we endeavor to ask and answer these questions:

  • How do we see emotional systems as an organizing force at work, at home, in the world around us?

  • What daily routines can we establish to deepen our understanding of these systems?

  • How does observation of our own bodies and feelings help accelerate our learning?

We will rigorously explore approaches for integrating and embodying the concepts of emotional flow systems - Immediate Moment Theory, Concentric Ring Theory, Constructal Law - during and beyond the symposium.

Our goal is to give attendees the tools they need to attend the symposium in 2019 with a year's worth of experience and insight to share.

 The "Boiler Room" bar at the Kennedy School Hotel

The "Boiler Room" bar at the Kennedy School Hotel

come join us at the historic kennedy school hotel in portland, or

A Portland landmark, the Kennedy School is a former elementary school refurbished into a hotel packed with nooks and crannies and plentiful bars and meeting spaces, in a beautiful residential neighborhood in northeast Portland. A perfect location for our small conference. Hotel stay is not included in conference fee.


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Daily breakfasts and lunch provided.

October 5th, Friday, Day 1

8am - 5pm

  • BREAKFAST and registration

  • Introductions and opening

  • Kevin Behan, Keynote: TBA

  • Brand Stickley, Keynote: "Emotion is a Direction"

  • Activity: Simple Biofeedback tools for sensing flow of emotion


  • Field Trip: Constructal design in Nature

  • Panel: "The Force Paradigm", Jenya Chernoff, Willem Larsen, Brandt Stickley

  • Closing and daily retrospective

October 6th, Saturday, Day 2

8am - 5pm


  • Morning news and opening

  • Willem Larsen, Keynote: "The Princess and the Pea: Systems of Emotion in Daily Life"

  • Q & A

  • Activity: "Design by Feel"


  • Activity: Sensitive vs Sensuous

  • Activity: Using Constellations to understand emotional flow systems

  • Q & A

  • Closing and daily retrospective

October 7th, Sunday, Day 3

8am - 3pm


  • Morning news and opening

  • Open Space sessions, 1st round: "What urgent questions do we still have?"


  • Open Space sessions, 2nd round: "How/Where/When will you apply this, starting tomorrow and till next year?"

  • Closing and daily retrospective

Childcare program for parents

During the symposium, we offer childcare for children ages 5-12. Ask us for more info.



Join our online discussion group.

constructal law

A short video introduction to Adrian Bejan and Constructal Law.

Adrian Bejan's keynote at the 2017 symposium.

The official definition of Constructal Law.

A community hub for Constructal Law.

Willem Larsen interviews Adrian Bejan, Art of Tracking Radio

immediate moment theory

Kevin Behan's keynote at the 2017 symposium.

Willem Larsen's keynote at the 2017 symposium.

Willem Larsen blogs here and here on the thermodynamics of emotion.

Willem Larsen interviews Kevin Behan Pt. 1, Art of Tracking Radio

Willem Larsen interviews Kevin Behan Pt. 2, Art of Tracking Radio

Willem Larsen interviews Kevin Behan Pt. 3, Art of Tracking Radio

concentric ring theory and tracking

A wildlife-based introduction can be found at Bird

Willem Larsen's video series on Forensic Tracking and Flow System Analysis.

human systems dynamics

Visit the Human Systems Dynamics wiki.


The Thermodynamics of Emotion Symposium is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

This code of conduct applies to all Thermodynamics of Emotion Symposium spaces, both online and off. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of our staff and host.

Some Thermodynamics of Emotion Symposium spaces may have additional rules in place, which will be made clearly available to participants. Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by these rules.