I wasn’t quite sure what to expect coming to Tucson to participate at the University of Arizona’s Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference. The first day of attending the conference was however quite enlightening. The very first message I got from attending my first plenary, titled “War of the Worldviews,” was this: “When you open your mouth here to make statements of any sort, you better be able to back up what you are talking about.” Not necessarily a bad thing, since we are in the business of science and not science fiction.
Speakers were Deepak Chopra (“Primary Consciousness Versus Materialism”), physicist Leonard Mlodinow (“The Scientific Worldview”), Menas Kafatos (“What do Physics and Metaphysics Have to Say about Consciousness, Future Science, and the Emergence of Holism”), and Susan Blackmore (“War of the Worldviews”).
Chopra was of course very passionate about his message of “consciousness” while another speaker, Blackmore wanted to declare from the get go that: “Consciousness is an illusion,” while the physicist, Mlodinow took the middle of the road. Four very interesting 25 minute talks, followed by an even more interesting panel discussion, during which the speakers “were at each others’ throats,” all under the umbrella of scientific discovery and progress. It was great to see that it is okay to be passionate about your “specialty” and despite major philosophical and scientific disagreements, all can remain friends.
I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you all my experience here in New York City at Hope Lodge. I have been in New York this week taking care of my cousin Michaelene who is part of a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for stage 4 cancer patients. This experience has been deeply meaningful, at so many levels - spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally - for me. It has rekindled my passion for the work that we do - and also has reconnected me to the essence of my own calling to serve others.
Last night I facilitated a guided imagery session for residents here at Hope Lodge - all of whom have advanced stages of cancer. I scrambled all day Monday to get approval from the staff here to present last night. They were hesitant because they like to plan things way in advance and were skeptical about anyone actually attending the session with just one day's notice. I told them if one person came it would be fine - but that I wanted them to make 12 copies of the Imagery protocol handout I made. The volunteer coordinator gave me an indulgent smile - but made the copies anyway saying "Sometimes no one comes to these events..." I smiled back and said, "People will come..." I knew a few would come because I had been connecting with individuals in the kitchen and lounge and around the building - chatting and drawing angel cards for them.
The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis is an international organization of mental health and health professionals dedicated to the highest level of scientific inquiry and the conscientious application of hypnosis in the clinical setting.
America is getting grayer - but are we aging better?
In a time when we live longer lives, what does it mean to live them well?
Saybrook Mind-Body Medicine faculty member Connie Corley is a leader in the movements of "Conscious" and "Positive" aging - and says she's seen a "dramatic transformation from asking 'what's wrong?' as we grow older to 'what's possible?'." It's a change that could impact us all, for the better.
College of Mind-Body Medicine Faculty Member Pursues Research on Altruism and Service: Lisa Kelly, Ph.D.04/10/2012
What compels a person to leave the comfort of her home and travel to a foreign country, with one goal in mind … to make a difference in the lives of others. Dr. Lisa Kelly has been interested in what motivates people to transcend their own needs for comfort and safety to be of service to others. Lisa’s interest in this human potential for service was the subject of her Ph.D. dissertation on altruism, The Lived Experience of Altruism as Described by Moral Exemplars: A Descriptive Phenomenological Study (Mastain, 2007). As an interesting dichotomy, she once studied evil people and found that a person who is capable of committing unthinkable evil lacks empathy for other human beings.
Even though John’s 1970 undergraduate degree was in psychology, he never imagined he would later practice mind-body medicine. Even though he almost stayed in college an extra year to study comparative religions, he also never imagined he would later practice holistic mind-body-spirit medicine. John’s inspiration to study medicine was Albert Schweitzer, who already had doctorates in music and theology when he was driven by a sense of compassion to become a doctor serving humanity for the rest of his life.
Congratulations to my friends and colleagues, Stanley Krippner, PhD, Daniel B. Pitchford, PhD, and Jeannine Davies, PhD, on their new book, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The book was just published, in March 2012, by Greenwood Press, in their Biographies of Disease series. Stanley and Daniel are both faculty at Saybrook University, and we have held residential conference programs together, on a mind-body understanding of trauma. Jeannine is currently pursuing her doctorate at Saybrook. This book is valuable because it highlights some areas not touched by other works on PTSD. For example, it shows how post-traumatic growth can unfold, creating in the person post-traumatic strengths never present before.
David Paul, MD, PhD, a faculty member of the College of Mind-Body Medicine, has been recognized with the Season for Nonviolence Local Heroes Award. The award was given jointly to David and his wife Bonnie Paul, Ph.D., both Saybrook graduates, recognizing them for their work through the Freedom to Choose Foundation, teaching decriminogenic and life skills to women incarcerated at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California since 2004. David and Bonnie co-direct the work of this foundation. David and Bonnie will receive the awards on Sunday April 1, at a ceremony in Culver City, California.
James S. Gordon, MD, Dean of Saybrook University’s Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine, today announced the College’s Mind-Body Medicine Scholars Program. The program is a unique, one-time only opportunity for outstanding and deserving students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in mind-body medicine. The program provides multiyear scholarship assistance to new students applying and enrolling in Fall 2012 and to current MBM MS students who are eligible to apply for Fall 2012 MBM doctoral programs.
As a Chaplain Frank Munoz was an integral part of the health care team at Children’s Hospital in Orange County, California assisting children with cancer and their families manage their diagnosis. Through his work he noticed an invisible boundary between patient and families, and the health care team. Something was missing. Despite the best efforts of the group to provide the most compassionate care to the patients and their families, they were unable to reach some people and help ease their suffering. The boundary that Frank experienced fueled his desire to seek knowledge and develop skills to better serve the children and their families facing a life altering diagnosis. This inspiration led Frank to Saybrook University where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mind Body Medicine.
Frank then actively pursued funding for his education through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pursuing a grant that would complement his interests. Doctoral coursework combined with the demands of learning how to be a healthcare researcher is time consuming. The combination is a beautiful synergy that is assisting Frank in learning how to best care for people that he works with, and at the same time is allowing him to make a significant contribution to health care professionals working in similar situations.