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Alumnus Michael Mayer, PhD '77 Presents on "Ask the Experts"

03/09/2010
Saybrook Alumnus Michael Mayer, PhD '77 co-presents with Maggie Phillips as part of her “Ask the Experts” teleseminar series on Wednesday, March 17, from 9 am – 10:30 AM Pacific time. The topic is Qigong and Bodymind Healing: An Integrated Approach for Stress and Pain. Maggie has written a recent book called Reversing Chronic Pain, which features a multi-modal approach to...

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Alumni Messenger

Saybrook Alumni and Faculty Present at the First East-West (International) Existential Psychology Conference in Nanjing

03/09/2010
Several Saybrook Community Members will be presenting at the First East-West (International) Existential Psychology Conference in Nanjing, including: Dr. Kirk Schneider, Saybrook Alumnus and Faculty Member (delivering the opening keynote); Dr. Susan Gordon, Saybrook Alumna; Dr. Ed Mendelowitz, Saybrook Faculty; and former Saybrook instructor, Dr. Ilene Serlin. See also the Beijing workshop where...

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Alumni Messenger

The Chair of the Board of Trustees Announces Appointment of Saybrook University's New President

03/09/2010
Dear Saybrook Community, I am delighted to announce that the Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the appointment of Mark Schulman, PhD, as President of Saybrook University. Mark, who will begin his term July 1, 2010, has a distinguished career and an outstanding record of accomplishment in higher education. The Board chose him from a number of excellent candidates because of his...

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For veterans, suicides and anti-depressants rise together

03/08/2010

Since 2001, there have been 2,100 suicides in the military, triple the number of troops that have died in Afghanistan and half of all US deaths in Iraq. 

In 2007, a story in the San Diego Union Tribune showed that more Marines died at Camp Pendleton from suicide, homicide, and motorcycle accidents than Marines deployed from Camp Pendleton who died in combat.  In 2008, the New York Times reported that over 1,000 suicide attempts a month were reported in veterans seen at VA facilities. 

These shocking statistics are matched by another one:  from 2002 – 2008 the number of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics prescribed to military personnel and their families has nearly doubled.  One social worker who completed two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that 90 percent of the US combatants have used psychiatric medication:  she claims she was specifically told to support the medication of the troops.  A VA psychiatrist has openly admitted that he prescribes psychiatric medicine to 98 percent of the patients he’s treated.

Is there a relationship between the vast use of anti-depressants to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the astoundingly high rates of veteran suicides? 

That’s the question asked by Bart Billings, a clinical psychologist, retired soldier, and Saybrook graduate, at Congressional hearings in late February. 

Billings, who founded and directs the world’s longest running conference on combat stress, has concerns that the US military has a de facto policy of drugging soldiers first and asking questions later. 

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Women, artists, and anonymity

03/08/2010

Recently blogger Nick Waters watched 30 different movies designed to appeal to women – “chick flicks” – to see what he could learn about modern women. 

The answer was, not much … and that’s hardly a surprise.  But what was startling, as Salon pointed out, was that he could only find 11 out of 30 movies that had actually been directed by women.  That’s right: two thirds of the movies designed to appeal to women were actually written and directed by men.

Even that makes the situation look better than it is.  According to a recent report by The Center for Study of Women and Television in Film, in 2008, women directed only nine percent of the 250 top-grossing films … and in 2007, it was only six percent.

Looking ahead, only five of the 50 biggest movies slated for 2010 have female leads – and that includes “Sex and the City,” the next “Twilight,” and an animated fairy tale. 

Clearly, women are hugely underrepresented in American film.  Even more amazing, says Steve Pritzker, a former Hollywood comedy writer who chairs Saybrook’s MA Psychology program with a specialization in Creativity Studies, is that when women have made significant contributions to film and television, they’ve been quickly forgotten.

Pritzker feels this issue personally.  A writer for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, he was at the forefront of creating a program meant to chronicle the experiences of being a woman working in a man’s industry.  “That was the point, that was the premise,” he remembers.  “And the majority of episodes were written by men.  It’s something that didn’t even occur to us at the time.  We just didn’t think about it.”

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How marriage survives an environmental awakening

03/08/2010

Let's face it, some of us are just more environmentally conscious than others. 

 

Politically, we know how to handle that:  we propose policies at the appropriate levels of government, take a vote, and either set them or don’t. 

 

But what about romantically? 

 

According to a recent articlein the New York Times, marriage counselors are seeing a rise in the number of couples who are on the verge of divorce because one partner thinks the other isn’t “green” enough.

 

“Ms. Cobb chides (her husband) for running the water too long while he shaves or showers,” the Times writes, “and she finds it ‘depressing,’ she tells him, that he continues to buy a steady stream of items online when her aim is for them to lead a less materialistic life.”  He says she’s entered her “high priestess phase” – and points out that these issues weren’t on her radar when they married.

 

It’s not just couples – it’s parents and children, brothers and sisters, and most definitely friends, who are feeling the strain between those who aren’t environmentally conscious enough and those whose awareness has perhaps been raised too much.

 

“In households across the country,” according to the Times, “green lines are being drawn.”

 

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Additional scholarship and work opportunities for students

03/08/2010

Two potential opportunities for scholarship funds and employment for interested students are available. 

First, the Jenzabar Foundation is currently accepting applications and organizational nominations for Student Leadership Awards.  These awards are to be given to ten campus student groups or individual students leading significant service efforts consistent with the Jenzabar mission:  "to recognize and support the good works and humanitarian efforts of student leaders serving others across the global community." 

The service must make an impact in serving others beyond the institution.  The activity should also be a model that can either be repeated in other areas or that inspires others to form their own service model.  Collaborative service among students is a plus.

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Doctors discover the power of touch

03/08/2010

It sounds amazing when we first hear about it.  Students who receive a supporting touch  from a teacher on the back or arm are nearly twice as likely to volunteer in class;  a kind touch from a doctor leaves people with the impression that their visit has lasted twice as long;  a massage from a loved on can not only ease pain but also sooth depression. 

It goes on.  According to an article in the New York Times on the power of touch, high fives can actually enhance performance – and the  professional basketball teams that score most tend to the be teams that touch most. 

But it’s real.  It’s also not a surprise to scholars of complementary medicine, like Don Moss, who chairs the degree program of Saybrook’s Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine.

In mind-body medicine, the idea that people respond well to contact with human beings is basic … something we all experience on a daily basis.  It’s also been shown for some time by research – but too often ignored since it doesn’t fit in to the “medical model” of clinical practice.

“Touch is the tactile dimension of love, and love and connectedness are key needs for human beings to thrive and actualize their potential,” Moss says.  “Since the early work of psychologist Harry Harlow, who showed that monkeys raised with artificial mothers wrapped in soft fabric thrived much more than monkeys raised with wire cage mothers, psychology has slowly discovered the value of touch for human beings.”

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Saybrook to participate in this month's Psychotherapy Networker Conference

03/08/2010

Saybrook University and the Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine are pleased to announce that they will participate as sponsors in the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, hosted by the publication Psychotherapy Networker, from March 25 - 28 in Washington D.C..

Held on the theme of “When times say pull back, we say break through,” the symposium will feature speakers including Dan Goleman San Siegel, Tara Brach, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Natalie Goldberg.  Jim Gordon, the Dean of Saybrook’s Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine, will present twice:  one morning workshop entitled “A Mind-Body Approach for Traumatized Vets,” and an all day workshop entitled “Heal – and Celebrate – Thyself.” 

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Save the date: Saybrook to hold open house on March 18

03/08/2010

Faculty and staff from all of Saybrook University’s graduate colleges will be on hand to describe programs, answer questions, and make connections at the San Francisco office of Saybrook University, 747 Front Street, on March 18 from 5:30 - 8 p.m..

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