“I have a pretty good marriage,” author Elizabeth Weil wrote late last year in the New York Times. “It could be better.”
It was the first line in an article about how she and her husband tried to improve their marriage – which they were already pretty happy with – through therapy. It didn’t work out.
“My marriage was good,” she writes, “utterly central to my existence …” until therapy. As therapy went on, things changed.
“Over the months Dan and I applied ourselves to our marriage, we struggled, we bridled, we jockeyed for position. Dan grew enraged at me; I pulled away from him,” she writes. “I learned things about myself and my relationship with Dan I had worked hard not to know.”
In the end, they decided to abandon therapy, and the idea of marriage improvement, and settle for a “good enough marriage.” Weil is now working on a memoir about marriage improvement.
Since the article was published, it’s been the subject of ongoing conversation. What happened? What does her experience say about therapy … and about marriage?
Actually very little, says Ann Bernhardt, who directs the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Saybrook’s Graduate College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies. Reading Weil’s article, she wasn’t reminded of any therapy sessions she’s seen … but she was reminded of an article she read that came out on the same day.
It was about the White House dinner crashers.
As a doctoral student in Education Law and Policy studies, there was no need for Vince Pellegrino to push any boundaries with his dissertation. He could have done something rote, conservative, and safe.
Instead, he found himself working on a qualitative, humanistic, study of symbolic language in the civil rights movement, viewed through a feminist perspective.
“Plato describes the context for learning as other people, because learning involves understanding, deeply understanding, what other people mean,” Vince says. “So I examined speeches from the civil rights era to capture the context of meanings about words used like color or gender, and the symbolic issues they raised during that time.”
Why did he do it? Why did he go so far out of his way to write a dissertation that involved qualitative research and potential political ramifications?
“It was having good faculty members push me along to do deep exploration of my topic, and at the end still love it, not hate it,” he says. “That made all the difference. I value that engaged learning, and the way it was made available to me.”
Today Vince Pellegrino is Saybrook’s Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, and he says the experience of his dissertation helps him understand the value of Saybrook’s values, and its model of education.
Dear Alumni (For the Press Release, See Link Below): This week marks an important milestone for our community. Today we distributed the attached press release making the formal announcement of our transformation into Saybrook University. We’re excited to share the word of our innovative programs and highlight our community’s accomplishments. As members of our community, you are...
Saybrook Alumnus and Faculty Member Kirk Schneider Announces Radio interviews and a Book Signing for “Awakening to Awe: Personal Stories of Profound Transformation”01/11/2010
Alumnus and Saybrook Faculty Member Kirk Schneider Announces Radio Interviews and a Book Signing for Awakening to Awe: Personal Stories of Profound Transformation (Jason Aronson, 2009) Interview with Michael Krasny, host of KQED’s Forum Thursday Feb. 4th, 10 am Kirk and several of the book’s contributors will give a talk and signing at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte...
The Saybrook community will gather together to formally celebrate the inauguration of the new Saybrook University at this week's Residential Conference.
Come join the festivities at the Bayshore Ballroom of the Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel from 7 - 10 p.m, on Friday, January 15.
Look for the balloons - along with your friends and colleagues.
Alumnus David Whitsitt, PhD '08 Publishes Illness and Meaning: A Review of Select Writings in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol 50, No.1, 108-131.
The Goddess Cycle: A Ritual of Renewal April 2010. All relevant info can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/Doclezlie?v=app_2344061033&ref=profile#/event.php?eid=171011113330&index=1 Where: Berkeley, CA, 4/6/2010 Info: firstname.lastname@example.org Press contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org In collaboration with The Fellowship of the Spiral Path: The Goddess Cycle: A Ritual...
Therapist/Teacher Training in Non-Dual Therapy w/Peter Fenner in the Bay Area, CA Peter will be in the Bay Area this January for an evening of nondual inquiry on Thurs Jan 14th (7pm) and a workshop on Sat Jan 16th (11am-5pm). Both events are sponsored by the East Bay Open Circle and are by donation. For more information visit www.eastbayopencircle.org. He will be available for one-on-one...
Special announcement from Arne Collen: PRINTMAKING & VISUAL ARTS BASED INQUIRY MAY 3-18, 2010 in FLORENCE, ITALY with Ron Pokrasso, David Hoptman, and Arne Collen SANTA REPARATA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL of ART It is with great excitement that I am able to send you this special announcement of the forthcoming two week art workshop in Florence, Italy. After having taken this workshop under the...
Greg Bogart, Ph.D, MFT, Saybrook class of 1992, has just released a new book, Dreamwork and Self-Healing: Unfolding the Symbols of the Unconscious, published by Karnac Books (London). This book explores therapeutic dreamwork, archetypal themes and complexes, symbols such as the ouroboros, king, puer, wounded healer, and cross-gender imagery. The author shows that dreamwork is a natural...