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President's Message: Ideas can bring us together

01/09/2009

The Saybrook Forum represents an initiative designed specifically to enhance communication among the constituents of our community. Our dispersed environment presents several challenges to sustaining community and the spirit of this newsletter – as is the case with the several programmatic newsletters already in publication -- is to support a more cohesive and coherent Saybrook.

You will be receiving this communication on a regular basis – every other week to start. In it you will be able to read about developments at Saybrook in a variety of areas – student and alumni achievement, faculty publications, lectures, accomplishments, strategic planning development, events and public programs, etc. I also hope the newsletter will be a forum for exploration of issues and world events pertinent to graduate education in the disciplines we teach, thoughts on pressing issues in our various fields of study and research, editorials on institutional challenges and issues, creative writing, and so forth. We can make this newsletter whatever we want it to be, from a forum that publishes abstracts of (and links to) substantive essays to routine announcements of events and personnel developments -- and everything in between. It will be exciting, to be sure, to witness its evolution.

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What ambulance services can learn from coffee shops

01/09/2009

There’s good news for San Franciscans who are sick or injured – ambulance response times have increased noticeably after years of effort.

But it could have been great news.

That’s according to David Williams, a Saybrook PhD student in Organizational Systems, who is one of the nation’s leading experts in Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system. A consultant with Fitch & Associates, he works with communities to assess their emergency systems and advises them on improvements.  He is also the research and author of two of the industry’s leading studies of operational and workplace practices and helped develop the leading EMS Leadership Forum called “Pinnacle.”

While stressing that he has not independently reviewed San Francisco’s EMS system, Williams says media reports indicate there’s still room for improvement – and that a more systemic, patient-centered, approach could be the answer in SF and across the country.

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What does your Shadow know about you? And what can you learn from it?

01/08/2009

What do you hate about yourself?  What is it about your personality that makes you squirm? 

 

And what does that mean?

 

According to James Hollis, one of the America’s leading Jungian psychologists, distrusting and disliking something about yourself is a fundamental part of the human experience:  but one that we rarely understand. 

 

Hollis will be in the Bay Area on Saturday, January 17, giving a public presentation about what legendary psychologist Carl Jung called “the Shadow” – the energies, motives, and agendas in every person which operate outside of our conscious control and are sometimes contrary to our professed values.  

 

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Diagnosing in the Dark: why the DSM should see the light

01/08/2009

Homosexuality used to be a mental disorder.  Shyness still is.  So is not being shy. 

The Diagnostics and Statistical Manual - the "Bible of Mental Illness" consulted by psychiatrists - is no stranger to controversy.  What gets classified as a mental illness differs every decade, and impacts millions of lives. 

But a new kind of controversy is surrounding the newest version of the DSM - before it's even been written.  A group of prominent psychiatrists, including previous DSM authors, are saying that the new edition is being written under a cloud of secrecy - which is unscientific, inadvisable, and possibly immoral. 

Without full disclosure of who's writing what, and why, they say, everything from personal prejudice to conflicts of interest could be codified as "best practice."

"(T)his unprecedented attempt to revise DSM in secrecy indicates a failure to understand that revising a diagnostic manual—as a scientific process—benefits from the very exchange of information that is prohibited by the confidentiality agreement," wrote Dr. Robert Spitzer,  who chaired the writing of the DSM II in 1980, in a letter to his colleagues. 

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It's already spring at LIOS

01/07/2009

The first ever Saybrook/LIOS Spring Program is now scheduled to launch on March 1 of this year. 

The is the first program to integrate the resources of Saybrook with the Leadership Institute of Seattle, enhancing the traditional LIOS offerings while remaining focused on the exceptional, always evolving experiential and transformative education that has been the LIOS trademark for almost 40 years.

Program participants will be guided by LIOS’ team of seasoned faculty – all of whom are  graduates of LIOS.  This unique feature is part of the vitality of LIOS’ programs, as alumni and current students are the best resources for new students.  Emphasizing this relationship creates programs that are dynamic and responsive, and a community that is closely knit. 

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Meet Eric Fox, Saybrook's new Dean of Instruction

01/07/2009

Saybrook is pleased to announce the hiring of its first Dean of Instruction, Eric Fox. 

Eric comes to Saybrook from Western Michigan University, where he was an Assistant Professor of Psychology and founded the university's Language, Cognition, and Instructional Technology lab.  He has a PhD in Learning & Instructional Technology from Arizona State University, and both his research and his teaching have focused on the use of technology as a pedagogical tool. 

"My role at Saybrook is to work with administration, faculty, and students to create the best learning environment that we can," Eric says. "Making sure that faculty are involved in the decision making process and are comfortable with the way we're designing and expanding programs, and that students are satisfied with the way everything works."

An eLearning and Web Design Consultant for nine years, he has a decade of experience developing and supporting technology-based teaching in higher education.  He says was Saybrook's history as a leader with distance learning and technology supported education that first interested him in the position.

"Saybrook's history of doing distance and graduate education in innovative ways was very appealing to me," Eric says.  "And this is a very exciting time to be part of it  Saybrook has a really great vision, some positive new programs, and very interesting initiatives coming into play.  The opportunity for me to apply some of my training and work to help keep Saybrook a leader in the field is very exciting."

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Can Humanistic approaches solve a crisis in geriatric care?

01/07/2009

As millions of older Americans watch their retirement savings get wiped out by the financial crisis, medical experts are warning that the system of geriatric health care is in a crisis all its own - one that money can't solve. 

Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and Associate Professor of Public Heath at Harvard, told the New York Times this week that the number of geriatricians has declined significantly over the last 20 years, while the number of Americans 65 and older is on track to double in the next 20. 

The Washington post called this a crisis, noting that seniors make up just 12 percent of the population, but account for 34 percent of all prescriptions and 38 percent of all emergency medical service responses. 

Even if we had the money to spend, experts agree, the system of care we've set up - too few doctors who can spend too little time with patients whose conditions are often complicated - won't adequately care for them.  We need to do better.

A Humanistic approach to health care, which some practitioners have been applying to small groups, may offer a better approach - and that care is often community-based, focusing on patients' human needs as much as their medical needs.

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Saybrook to honor founder of Psychologists for Social Action

01/07/2009

This year Saybrook is proud to award an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Dr. Ethel Tobach, a significant figure in politically engaged psychology and the study of human beings. 

 

A Distinguished Consulting Faculty member at Saybrook, Dr. Tobach is curator emerita of the American Museum of Natural History and has made major contributions to the study of genetics and comparative and evolutionary psychology during her distinguished 50 year career as a researcher.  She has been a leader in psychology activist groups seeking constructive public policies, nuclear disarmament, and peace-building - and she was a founder of Psychologists for Social Action (PSA). 

 

The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters is awarded annually to individuals who have made substantial contributions to the unique mission and purposes of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center. The degree recognizes outstanding contributions to humanistic psychology or human science, and acknowledges general outstanding contributions to the arts and sciences, which are related to the unique mission and purposes of Saybrook. The honorary degrees also recognize outstanding contributions made directly to Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center. 

 

Dr. Tobach will receive the reward on Monday, Jan. 19, at the Westin Ballroom of the Westin San Francisco International Airport.

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Big changes, constant values:

12/31/2008

The community is invited to a discussion of how we sustain Saybrook's humanistic core

Saybrook’s made great strides in the 21st century:  creating new programs, completing the most successful fund-raising campaign in its history, and accomplishing key goals as it moves towards the creation of a full university structure. 

But as Saybrook grows in new ways, old questions become more relevant:  what is the place of Humanistic thought in the 21st century?  How does it apply to disciplines outside of psychology?  In what way can Saybrook best articulate and pursue these principles? 

All members of the Saybrook community are invited to a community-wide discussion of these issues to be held at this January’s Residential Conference in San Francisco, on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 7:15 - 9 p.m..

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Experts in the psychology of politics and the life of Martin Buber win 2009 Rollo May Award

12/31/2008
The exclusive award, given every two years, honors scholars whose life work demonstrates faith in human possibility

This year Saybrook will honor the author of a seminal study on the psychological underpinnings of political beliefs, as well as the world’s foremost authority on Jewish philosopher Martin Buber. Every two years Saybrook, in collaboration with the Rollo May Committee, presents the Rollo May Award for Humanistic Service, recognizing distinguished individuals whose life’s work demonstrates faith in human possibility.

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