It’s a headline guaranteed to make any romantic smile: “Love, but not lust, inspires creativity.”
That’s the conclusion of a new study reported in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
In it, researchers asked 60 university students to imagine either casual sex with someone they were attracted to but not in love with, or a long walk with their beloved partner, and then put them through a small battery of tests that required logical thinking, and additional tests that required creative thinking.
Sure enough, the students who were primed with romantic feelings did better on the creative tasks.
Sadly for the romantics, Steve Pritzker, who co-chairs Saybrook’s Creativity Studies program, says this research doesn’t really make a case that love is a stimulant to creativity.
“It’s pretty interesting stuff,” he acknowledges. “But are a group of university students really a sufficient sample to make that conclusion?” Additionally, he notes, no baseline tests were taken to measure creative skills before the experiment: it’s possible that one group was simply more creative that the other, even when they weren’t thinking about long romantic walks.
“And,” Pritzker adds, “how do we know that the extent of their romantic musings really did stop at long romantic walks? That nothing else happened in their minds? Are we at least a little suspicious?”
That question gets at the heart of the matter for Pritzker: it’s very difficult to separate “love” from “lust” sometimes.
Throughout his long career – as a private practitioner working with Jim Bugental; as the editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology; as a faculty member at Saybrook, and at UCLA – Tom Greening has striven to live up to the charge of humanistic psychology: to enhance people’s ability to experience freedom and meaning in their lives.
That’s a mission he’s even applied to the “mentally ill” – a term he has come to distrust as both a bad metaphor and as a means of tuning out the idea that we should even be concerned about the need mental patients have to experience freedom and meaning.
This month that work was recognized as Tom Greening was chosen to receive the 2009 Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties – an award named after the pioneering author (and Rollo May Award winner) who championed the idea that “mental illness” is a contradiction in terms.
We know times are tough when eight New Jersey cities, famous for their independence, are looking to consolidate services and share resources. In fact, all along the East Coast, cities, towns, and villages that have been independent for hundreds of years are staring down the barrel of the financial crisis and asking if more efficient use of government resources can save them.
Which is a great question – but it’s also one that they could have asked years ago, when real estate prices where high, resources were plentiful, and there were no financial crises limiting their options.
That’s a head slapping fact for their residents, but it’s also a problem that anyone who’s worked in organizations is familiar with: they only prepare for the next crisis after it’s already hit.
Can we do better? Is there a way that organizations can look at ways to improve themselves before there’s a crisis?
“Yes, and that’s good leadership and good management practice,” says Gloria Burgess, a prominent business consultant and member of the LIOS faculty. “But having said that, not many companies do it.”
There were two reasons for psychology faculty member Benina Gould to attend the Dalai Lama’s Mind-Life Conference early this month. The personal reason is that she’s a practicing Buddhist.
The professional reason was that the conference’s theme, “Emerging World Citizens,” dovetails almost perfectly with Gould’s own research on how to educate people to become global citizens.
Gould is one of the few researchers examining how Muslim youth perceive their own choices, and has recently conducted surveys of the internet use of Muslim youth, and how it impacts their attitudes and perceptions, in Indonesia, Pakistan, and the United States.
Too often, Gould says, we try to shape children to the outcomes we want (whether “ a successful career” or “not to support terrorists”) without consulting them as part of the process – so she says she was thrilled to find a strong community consensus at the Mind-Life Conference to do just that.
“There’s a feeling, even in America, that young people really have not done well with all the competition and the testing, that suicide rates have gone up, that there’s all kinds of problems with prescription drugs and that alcoholism has increased dramatically,” Gould says. “So I was very pleased to see contemplative education being looked to as an alternative, training teachers about doing mind-body work with young people, and taking a much more holistic approach.”
Those hoping to improve outcomes for kids have their work cut out for them, though, as two themes at the conference made clear.
This month Don Moss, Chair of Saybrook University’s Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine, was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA).
The editor of Biofeedback Magazine and a globally recognized expert in mind-body techniques, Moss operates two Michigan-based clinics providing psychological services and mind-body therapies, and lectures and trains on mind-body healing around the world. He now joins an elite group of healthcare professionals who are charged to maintain and uphold the standards and values of the oldest and most renowned certifying body for the clinical practice of biofeedback – and the only biofeedback institute recognized worldwide.
“One of the major challenges for integrative health is that consumers face very uneven quality in the alternative therapies available in their communities,” Moss said. “Biofeedback is no exception. Many individuals give up on seeking help for their headache, anxiety or other problem, because a professional has provided ineffective biofeedback services, sometimes just a relaxation tape and an opportunity to use a biofeedback instrument without any therapeutic education and guidance. BCIA certification provides a gold standard for consumers, assuring them that their biofeedback therapist has a core of knowledge and skills sufficient for quality care.”
Alumnus Roland Carlstedt, PhD '01 Publishes Handbook on Integrative Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine10/27/2009
Alumnus Roland Carlstedt, PhD '01 Publishes Handbook of Integrative Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine: Perspectives, Practices and Research Dr. Carlstedt also contributed three chapters, and Saybrook Alumna Dr. Denise Fortino authored chapter 11. This handbook is a comprehensive work, with 31 chapters, and 73 contributors and research groups, from 15 countries. "This...
Alumnus Richard Oelberger Published Qualitative Kabbalah: The Value of Living a Spiritual System Available at Amazon According to Richard, Qualitative kabbalah is dedicated to the incorporation of health and healing, spiritual psychology, and the practical aspects of the mythical study of kabbalah. It offers a comparative perspective on the utilization of spiritual techniques and applications...
The University of New Mexico Press has published, Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon, by Saybrook alumnus Stephan Beyer, PhD '05 A fascinating first-hand account of initiation into the magic and mysteries of ayahuasca—one of the most potent shamanistic hallucinogens on the planet. "It is scholarly and quite compellingly written. Treated as an...
East Coasting with Alison and Ed: Saybrook's Board of Trustees Chair and the VP of Institutional Advancement Connect with Right Coast Alumni10/22/2009
Saybrook University Board Chair, Alison Bonds Shapiro, and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Ed Patuto, recently completed a trip to five East Coast cites: Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; New York; and Norwalk and Westport, Connecticut. The goal of this trip was to connect with alumni in the area and to promote Saybrook’s new College of Mind Body Medicine. In...
Alumnus Larry Honig, PhD '07 Works on Proposal to Study the Quantitative and Qualitative Effects of Meditation and Neurofeedback10/21/2009
Alumnus Larry Honig, PhD ’07 completed his Post-Doctoral Residency in Counseling and Consulting Services in Tucson, AZ, and received his Psychology License in April of ‘09. Larry is developing a private practice in psychotherapy and Low Energy Neurofeedback (LENS); works part-time at Sierra Tucson doing psychological and neuropsychological testing; and does LENS at Mindworks...