Introducing Connie S. Corley, MSW, MA, PH.D.
Connie Corley has engaged in the field of gerontology for 35 years of her professional career. During that time, she has participated in developing the innovative cultural concepts of Positive Aging and Conscious Aging.
The word "gerontology" conjures up an array of thoughts and images about aging, and not all of those images are inspiring. The Positive Aging and Conscious Aging movements seek to give new meaning to the aging process. The Positive Aging movement was inspired by positive psychology. It aims to give purpose to one’s later life through a variety of directions, such as being active in communities and building meaningful relationships.
Conscious Aging, a parallel movement, inspires the aging process with an element of spirituality. The Conscious Aging perspective can benefit persons approaching the end of their lives, and their loved ones as well. Through the discussion of spirituality and aging, Conscious Aging teaches loved ones to be more fully present with their aging family member or friend during some of the difficult times. The deepened relationships that unfold through communication about what it means spiritually to move through life, allow for growth for everyone involved.
People have a full range of experiences as they age. One perspective promoted by Ram Dass is that aging allows us to stop identifying with the ego and the physical body. By letting go of physical constraints, conscious aging allows us to get back to our true essence. Instead of aging limiting us to roles, conscious aging connects us with our souls.
Dr. Shawn Tassone, a PhD student in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook, has a great post in Psychology Today on the benefits of meditation ... and how to get there from here.
"I worked on meditation for seven weeks and found the process an evolution similar to the progress through a religious paradigm," he writes. "As I grew up Catholic, I think the comparisons are rich and can help you see that meditation is a process and can be taken as slowly as you desire."
Take a look: The Seven Stages of a Lay Meditator
Over 30 years ago as a 19 year old girl I told my husband that someday I wanted to get a PhD in Psychoneuroimmunology. When I heard Saybrook was starting a program in Mind-Body Medicine I was the first to apply. I am a Doctoral student in the Mind-Body Medicine PhD-Health Systems Track. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Utah specializing in work with individuals, adolescents, and couples, using a variety of methodologies.
My tagline is “FEEL GREAT-LOVE LIFE” which is what I strive for in my own life and what I help my clients to accomplish.
I received my Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Walla Walla College in 1996. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I have a private practice from which I have done Coaching, Counseling and Consulting, to corporations since 1999. I have the advanced postgraduate “Master Personal and Executive Coach” certification through the College of Executive Coaching. I have advanced training in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Addictions, Crisis Intervention, Family Systems, Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy, and Personal and Executive Coaching and Mind-Body Medicine.
I have worked as a consultant, trainer, facilitator and coach for corporations such as: Hitachi, Oracle, VeriSign, Agile, Amdahl, RIM, and many others. I develop curriculum and provide assessments and training for groups of Coaches and high level Executives. I have worked successfully with multi-national corporations, helping to create optimal corporate cultures and facilitate relationships between global teams.
I have recently relocated to Midway, Utah where I enjoy hiking, riding my beautiful Azteca horse and spending time with my adult children and many friends.
I use my Mind-Body Medicine training both with my therapy clients as well as in my corporate training. I also have many varied and interesting experiences outside of work in which I am able to utilize my training and education in Mind-Body Medicine. I find that I have a whole box full of skills and tools that I can pull out as needed. Mostly I find that I have gained a confidence and knowledge that allows me to jump in when needed and helps others sense they can trust and count on me.
Andrea is a native of Chile who migrated to the United States in 1992. She worked for the Marine Corps as a Recreation Specialist for the past 14 years. Her experience includes Trauma Sensitive Yoga, tai chi, meditation, and martial arts. She has been featured in several publications including the National Journal, the U.S. Medicine - The Voice of Federal Medicine and FIGHT magazine for her work on PTSD and TBI. While at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, she developed the first of its kind program for the Marine Corps Life Enhancing Activities Program (LEAP). This comprehensive program provided fitness, recreation, and other complementary and alternative modalities to Marines and sailors diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI. Andrea also developed a partnership with Camp Lejeune Deployment Health to provide support activities to hundreds of Combat Stress and TBI patients including yoga, relaxation and breathing techniques, meditation and martial arts. She also provided fitness, recreational and leisure activities support to the Back on Track Program; a two-week program from the Naval Hospital that focuses on patients with PTSD, the Outpatient Crisis Prevention Program and the Warrior Recovery After Concussion Program.
Andrea has been a guest speaker to numerous conferences around the country on behalf of these programs including the 19th Annual Conference on Trauma presented by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and The Justice Resource Institute (JRI); the Marine Corps Combat Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference 2008; the Semper Fit, Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) meeting for the Athletic Business Conference 2008; the University of North Carolina Social Workers Alumni Symposium on Complex Trauma in Adults and Children; the Yoga Training/Seminar conducted by The Trauma Center at JRI; t he Marine Corps Meeting at the National Institute on Recreation Inclusion, San Antonio, TX; the Yoga Training/Seminar at the Kripalu Center, MA, November, 2009.
Body and mind integrative healing traditions have been the cornerstone of Kari Allen’s work for over a decade. As a substance abuse counselor, she integrated expressive mediation practices into programs of recovery, in both prison and hospital settings. She taught her clients practical self-care living practices that are important components of sustained mental health and substance abuse recovery; meditation, gentle yoga, imagery & visualization and ecstatic dance practices are all part of her repertoire to assist with relief, relaxation, and the development of self awareness for healing. Kari also gently nudges the spiritual doors by inviting clients into deepening rituals and ceremony’s that are consistent with their expressed preferences.
Kari has worked in a number of community based clinical settings and offered individual, group and family services. As the owner of Sacred Bliss Mind-Body Methods, LLC, Kari uses the ancient practice of group gathering to build a sense of communal support, and personalizes experiences by offering individual sessions, that are designed to assist with the embodiment and lived experience of mind-body methods as a regular part of one’s day-to-day living. Today, Kari blends coaching and counseling skills to offer Mind-Body Methods training in private, family and group sessions at Healing Pathways Medical Clinic, in West Sacramento, California. In addition, she offers sessions in private homes and in-nature; in outdoor settings, near the homes of her clients, to guide them in integrating the mind-body methods into their personal lifestyle.
Recently The Biscayne Institutes of Health & Living, founded and directed by Saybrook faculty member Marie DiCowden, was named one of 16 best practices for community integration of individuals with brain injury out of 253 surveyed world wide by the Univeristy of Toronto for an upcomming publication.
I am presently living in Coconut Grove, Florida with my husband Kurt and two Black and White American short-haired cats named Oscar and Felix. Coconut Grove is a village in Miami that was settled by Bahamians and white settlers in the 1800s and became an artist colony in the 1940s – 1960s. My background is in Theater in performance, directing and writing. I have worked with my husband in professional film and video production and studio design, as well as computer software engineering. I went back to school and received both a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Administration with a specialization in Homeland Security Policy and Coordination (emphasizing emergency preparedness). For my MPA thesis, I focused on how the community is the actual first-responders. I found a resonance with working with people first as a director, then in organizational behavior in business school and finally in the importance of the community around us.
Saybrook first caught my eye in 2003 and I have keenly watched its development. After I graduated with my MPA in 2008, I decided to apply to Saybrook. To me, Saybrook was where I wanted to attain the jewel of my academic crown, a PhD. It is important to be a part of an institution that is comprised of such stellar human beings, which is the essence of humanistic psychology and life. At the first residential conference (RC), I had a chance to be amongst strangers and landed running. I say this because it is this exhilaration that I still get many RCs later. I especially like the structure of the RC because it establishes a foundation on which all learning is based at Saybook. In fact, it was at a Summer RC that I first learned Kundalini yoga and have continued my practice of it along with my husband. We are looking forward to becoming certified Kundalini instructors, so RCs can be both illuminating and motivational in encouraging one to continue practices learned at a RC.
One of my favorite aspects of Saybrook's MBM program is the close affiliation with the Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM). The CMBM conferences were what initially inspired me to enroll at Saybrook for a more intensive learning experience in the field of Mind Body Medicine.
It was also after I attended a CMBM conference called Food as Medicine (FAM) that I was inspired to start a non-profit that is now my full-time job. The non-profit, SuperFood Drive, was founded in early 2009 to help get healthier foods into food banks to ensure that all people have access to nutritious meals. Since its inception, SuperFood Drive has been tremendously successful in leading the movement towards nutrition banking instead of just (processed) food banking. We started by focusing on educating the general public about why it is important to donate nutritious non-perishables during food drives (for example, black beans instead of refried in lard, fruit canned in its own juice instead of syrup, and whole grain pasta instead of mac n cheese). We are now working collaboratively with Feeding America and other national organizations, including government programs, to create a holistic implementation model that can be used to turn all food banks across the country into nutrition banks.