By BETTY REARDON, Founder Emeritus, International Institute on Peace Education
For those who have been striving for the realization of the human rights of women, the first week of March - the 8th day of which is International Women’s Day - is a time of in-gathering of the international women’s movements with the convening of the annual session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). This year, the 56th CSW session brings women (and a few but increasing number of men) from all over the world, some of them representing the member states that sit on the Commission, charged with advancing UN policy statements adopted over the past half century to “reaffirm…the equal rights of men and women….” in such documents as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, and Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security.
The International Network of Integrative Mental Health is a global network dedicated to promoting a whole person approach throughout mental health care. Its objectives include:
- Advance a global vision for an integrated whole person approach to mental health care via education, research, networking and advocacy by bringing together the wisdom of world healing traditions and modern science.
- Re-animate the mental health field with energy, spirit, compassion and joy.
- Create community and opportunities for nurturing personal and professional connections. We honor and respect the unique backgrounds and skills that each person brings to this work, and wish to promote meaningful relationships and connection to a global integrative mental health network.
- Promote evidence-based alternative and complementary therapies and the judicious use of modern pharmacologic approaches for the betterment of mental healthcare.
- Contribute to the emerging bio-psycho-socio-spiritual paradigm addressing mind, body, and spirit by promoting effective and safe clinical practices.
- Educate, support and inspire integrative practitioners and trainees, at all levels of their careers and in all world regions. Our philosophy is based upon blending the best practices from traditional and modern healing systems. Our focus is on safety and positive outcomes while honoring our patients’ unique needs, beliefs, wisdom, and advocacy for therapeutic choices and relationships with practitioners that empower them.
- Facilitate collaborative efforts between researchers and clinicians that extend beyond limited conventional understandings of mental healthcare as it pertains to treatment of individuals with psychological or psychiatric disorders, to a broader perspective that includes the range of psychosocial, familial, environmental, cultural and spiritual factors that impact on health, well-being, immune functioning, and physiological integrity.
Join Dr. Nancy Southern, Organizational Systems (OS) Co-Chair, to discuss Saybrook OS programs on Tuesday, March 22, 2012 from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PDT. OS programs are designed for students that want to contribute to emerging social needs for transformative, innovative, sustainable organizational and social change. Our goal is to produce graduates who become leaders in sustainable organizational changes all over the world.
Dr. Southern worked in the field of organizational development, consulting to public, corporate, and non-profit executive teams and teaching academic courses to mid-career managers. Her work is focused in facilitating transformational learning for individuals and organizations.
Saybrook faculty are dedicated to helping each student develop a personal leadership philosophy informed by humansistic values, as well as the capacity to lead within a framework of personal and professional ethics, and responsibility to their organizations and communities. To register and learn more, please RVSP HERE!
On Monday, March 19, 2012 from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PDT, join Dr. Joann McAllister, Chair of Saybrook's graduate program in Human Science, to learn how Human Science degrees can advance your career goals and create personal and professional growth. Unbound by limiting, rigid theories, Human Science applies a human-centered and interdisciplinary approach to explore the question; what does it mean to be human in the 21st century?
Each Ph.D. student in Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine is required to complete a 100 hour practicum at the culmination of the doctoral coursework. Shawn Tassone, a physician and third year Ph.D. student, coordinated a two-week trip to Brazil through Emma Bragdon, the author of Spiritism and Mental Health. Shawn’s plan was to learn about Spiritism, visit Spiritist Psychiatric Hospitals, and visit John of God, or “Medium Joao,” which the healer prefers. During the trip Shawn was able to witness how Spiritism is practiced in the mainly medication-free psychiatric hospitals in Brazil, and then sit amongst the hundreds of followers with one of the world’s most renowned healers.
The Spiritist approach to mental health highlights the presence of a spirit, or a Discarnate entity, which attaches to the suffering person. It is thought that spirits attach or connect with the suffering individual, but they can communicate with all living beings. The negative energy can also manifest as an ancestral wound from many years ago. The process of breaking free from a discarnate spirit is called a dis-obsession, and Shawn witnessed this process twice during his visit. A dis-obsession takes place around a conference table, with or without the patient, and includes 8-10 mediums. Each volunteer medium has a different gift. Some are clairvoyant; they “see” beyond the present moment. Others are “clairaudience;” they receive messages from another realm. Others practice “psychography,” the practice of writing what is communicated. During the session the mediums communicate with the spirits, who in turn work through the mediums changing how they influence the suffering person’s life. The intention is to have the spirit dissociate from the living person, so he or she can return to a life free and dis-obsessed.
Well before the Arab Spring and the current direct democracy movement, Clay Shirky not only argued that social media represented the “greatest increase in human expressive capability in history,” but that it would radically empower individuals at the expense of their own governments. In response, a more skeptical Evgeny Morozov cautioned that there was a flip side to this ‘good news’ story – i.e., both the internet and social media can just as readily enhance the legitimacy of authoritarian regimes (and stifle political change) than not. Well, given the dual nature that social media has, and given our incorrigible optimism here at the International Relations and Security Network, today we would like to burnish further the pro-empowerment case. In particular, we would like to look at Gene Sharp’s legendary handbook of non-violent resistance,From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, but from a social media perspective.
Marisa Iacobucci has been managing the symptoms of Fibromyalgia (FM) for 16 years. Because of her personal struggles with FM, she was hesitant to facilitate a Mind Body Skills (MBS) group for people with FM. Marisa did not want to hear about the progression of symptoms because she feared she would think to herself, “…is this the next thing I am going to get in the progression of this illness?” Participating in the Professional Training Program and Advanced Training Program from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), a core component in her master’s degree coursework, made an impact on her own FM symptoms, and that realization led her to want to help others with FM.
Marisa researched and experimented with alternative modalities and their effects because she wanted to know personally how these modalities could help her. This experimentation inspired her to share her knowledge with others and help them find new ways to cope with and lessen the symptoms of FM.
Marisa made a commitment to facilitate a Mind-Body Skills group for people with FM for her Master’s Thesis. As a facilitator and group member, Marisa knew that some of her own concerns about FM were sure to surface. The awareness of her own vulnerability, coupled by the fact that she was interested in becoming certified by the CMBM, led Marisa to enter the certification process while completing her thesis. Completing a Master’s Thesis and Certification from the CMBM was a beautiful coupling, because it included weekly supervision phone calls with a senior CMBM staff member. The supervision calls helped her manage her own feelings about FM during the process of leading a group.
As part of its mission to educate key audiences about peacebuilding and conflict management, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in February activated a virtual Global Peacebuilding Center, providing younger audiences and educators with substantial peacebuilding resources and activities.
The website––www.buildingpeace.org––is the digital arm of USIP’s onsite Global Peacebuilding Center, a public education space which extends USIP’s educational work to new audiences through multimedia exhibits and educational programs.
The new website features educational materials, a Virtual Passport experience, and many ways for young people to learn about the work of USIP and the importance of peacebuilding.
No time is more appropriate than now to build the culture of peace. No social responsibility is greater nor task more significant than that of securing peace on our planet on a sustainable foundation. Today's world with its complexities and challenges is becoming increasingly more interdependent and interconnected. The sheer magnitude of it requires all of us to work together.By Anwarul K. Chowdhury
Recognition of the human right to peace by the international community, particularly the United Nations, will surely generate the inspiration in creating the much-needed culture of peace in each one of us.
Nearly thirteen years ago in 1998, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, a group of civil society organizations launched a global campaign for the recognition by all of the human right to peace. They declared, "We are convinced that after this century with its horrible wars, barbarism and crimes against humanity and human rights, it is high time for the 'Human Right to Peace' ".
They elaborated by underscoring that "the right to live is not applied in times of war – this contradiction and the undermining of the universality of human rights must be ended by the recognition of the human right to peace". They called upon all "to prevent violence, intolerance and injustice in our countries and societies in order to overcome the cult of war and to build a Culture of Peace".
Both objectives still remain elusive, unattained – human right to peace has not yet been fully, formally and directly recognized as well as efforts needed for advancing the culture of peace remain sidelined in the UN system.
College of Mind-BodyMedicine: Dr. Julie Staples Conducts Research on Mind-Body Skills Project in Gaza02/28/2012
Conducting and reporting high quality research is an essential part of the advancement of mind body medicine in health care. Julie Staples has worked as the Research Director at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) since 1996. The rising credibility of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is due in part to high quality studies being reported in a way that the medical profession recognizes. The medical profession uses the Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of most interventions. Reporting results of CAM interventions using recognized research methods improves the validity and credibility of the studies, and opens the lines of communication with colleagues.
Julie and her colleagues at the CMBM have recently received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to conduct three Randomized Clinical Trials in Gaza. The studies aim to evaluate the efficacy of mind-body skills groups for children, adolescents and adults with posttraumatic stress disorder. Previous research in Gaza studied the effects of mind-body skills groups for approximately 500 adults and 500 children. Among these, about 17% of the adults and 26% of the children had symptoms of PTSD. Using pre- and post- test measurements, the studies demonstrated improvement in PTSD symptoms and depression in both adults and children, as well as decreased hopelessness in children and improved quality of life in adults. The new studies will further advance the data gathered in the pilot studies with a more rigorous study design.