Faculty Profile: Willson Williams

Photograph of WillsonWilliams
Willson Williams

I began my association with Saybrook in 2006.. Since that time, I have worked with learners as instructor for research coursework, served on essay committees as reader and Chair, and served on and chaired thesis/project and dissertation committees. I currently serve as Chair of the School of Psychology & Interdisciplinary Inquiry (PII) as well as the Director of the Psychology degree program in the School of PII. In addition, I also serve as the Director of the Saybrook Institutional Review Board. Until retiring in 2012, I served for 27 years as a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Graduate College of Union Institute & University, being named Professor Emerita by the Board of Trustees in 2011. In addition to being a licensed clinical psychologist (current in New Mexico and Hawaii), my true academic interests lie in creativity studies, the intersections of wellness and meditative practice, theory-building and systems theory, and the creative and visual arts. My various other identities include being a creative thinker, an artist, a follower of the Dharma, a mentor and intellectual midwife, a loyal friend, an interested and amused student of life, a muse, a writer, and a sister traveler on the journey. I currently work with students interested in a variety of disciplines; regardless of their primary field, what excites me about learners' work is the interdisciplinarity and genuine passion that enlivens their doctoral studies. When I want to dance in the unself-conscious flow of life, I work at my jeweler's bench as a metalsmith. In addition, I am currently involved in studying, reflecting upon, and practicing the Tibetan Dharma (Nyingma tradition)."

Curriculum Vitae

Degrees, Discipline, Year, Institution

1984 Ph.D. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, Counseling Psychology

Dissertation: Sex-Role Orientation: A Cross-Cultural Study of Sex-Role Strain

Submitted by the Department of Counselor Education for the Popejoy Prize of Excellence (for best dissertation written in a three-year period)

1978 M.Ed. University of North Texas, Denton, Counseling

1973 B.S. University of North Texas, Denton, Psychology

Current Projects and Professional Activities

Current Professional Licenses and Certifications
1994 Licensed Psychologist, State of Hawaii (#521)
1988 Licensed Psychologist, State of New Mexico (#404)


Scholarship of Discovery
In progress The Lotus, the Quantum, and the Unicorn. A non-fiction book exploring the interrelationship among 1) myth, story, and archetype; 2) Buddhist philosophy; and 3) quantum theory

In progress Deconstructing Dick: Jane’s Manifesto for the 21st Century Woman, an edited compilation of essays concerning male-female relationships, based on the principles of collaboration and co-creativity

2010 Commentary on “Gestalt Pedagogy – Creativity in Teaching” by Ansel L. Woldt, Gestalt Review, 13(2)

1996    Edited The Psychobiographic Approach to Psychotherapy: A Psychological Study of the Power Structure of Psychotherapy by Herzel Yerushalmi (1998, Psychosocial Press)

1984    Edited The Suicide Syndrome: Origins, Manifestations, and Alleviation of Human Self-Destructiveness by Larry Morton Gernsbacher (1985, Human Sciences Press)

Professional Development
Regularly attend the annual “Creativity and Madness: Psychological Studies of Art and Artists” conferences

2011 “30th International Human Science Research Conference: Intertwining Body-Self-World,” conference held at St. Catherine’s, Oxford University, UK

2010 “Third Annual Conference on Buddhism & Psychology: The Art of Counseling,” conference/retreat

2001 - 2007 “International Conference on Science and Consciousness,” conference on the topic of “Consciousness Exploring Itself”


Interdisciplinary Scholarship

2004 to Present   Student of Tibetan Buddhism (Nyingma School), practicing under the guidance of the Dzogchen masters Kunzang Pema Namgyal, the ninth Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche (Bhutan); and Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoche, Abbot of Katog Mardo Tashi Choling monastery (Tibet)

2008 “Death and Dying from the Buddhist Perspective,” teaching presented by Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoche

2008 “The Lamp of Essential Points of Practice, teaching presented by Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoche

2007 “The Prajna Paramita,” teaching presented by Anam Thubten Rinpoche

2007 “Integrating Meditation and Life,” teaching presented by Anam Thubten Rinpoche

2007 Meditation retreat and related teachings and instruction, presented by Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoche

2007 P’howa teaching and instructions, presented by Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoche

2006 “The Prajna Paramita,” teaching presented by Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoche

2006 “Buddha Nature,” teaching retreat with the Venerable Lopon Phurba Dorji

2005 “The Seven Chapters of Supplication to Guru Rinpoche,” teaching on this Terma of Guru Padmasambhava entitled Sol Deb Lui Duen Ma, presented by Kunzang Pema Namgyal


2005 “A Lamp to Dispel Darkness,” teaching on this text by Mipham Jampal Dorje presented by Khenpo Sonam Tobgyal Rinpoche, of the Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple (Toronto)


2005 “The Longchen Nyingthig,” teaching retreat with the Venerable Lopon Phurba Dorji

2005 “Ngundro Teachings,” teaching with the Venerable Lopon Phurba Dorji

2004 “Vajrakilaya: The Razor of Life Force,” teaching on this Terma of Padma Lingpa presented by Kunzang Pema Namgyal

2004 “Atisha’s Seven-Point Mind Training,” teaching with the Venerable Khandro Rinpoche, a teacher in both the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and head of the Samten Tse Retreat Centre of Mindrolling Monastery (Mussoorie, Uttaranchal, India)


2004 “The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva,” teaching with Tibetan Dzogchen master the Venerable Khenpo Sonam Tobgyal Rinpoche of the Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple (Toronto)


2003 Sesshin under the direction of Sensei Musai Walter

2003 Rohatsu under the direction of Abbot Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi

2001 – 2004 Student of Zen Buddhism and a zazen practitioner in the tradition of Taizan Maezuni Roshi, practicing under the guidance of Sensei Musai Walter, the priest at Prajna Zendo in Lamy, New Mexico

1995 Private metal-smithing instruction, Ms. Holly Stultz, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Scholarship of Engagement, Service, and Social Action
Community Service
2011 -- Present    Board of Directors, New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; 2012-2014 Recording Secretary

2005 – 2007 Sangha member, Yeshe Khorlo Nyingma Buddhist Meditation Center (Crestone, Colorado)

2003 – 2005 Member, Advisory Council, “A Room of Her Own” Foundation

2002 – 2004 Sangha member, Prajna Zendo (Lamy, New Mexico)

Recent Consultative Services
2012 Organizational Consultant for the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio

2010 Organizational Consultant for the University of Toledo, Office of the President

Research Expertise

Research Expertise Rating Guide:

  1. studied in a class or have read intensively on my own
  2. special training in the form of a workshop or equivalent
  3. taught a class in, or supervised research using this method (research practicum, on a dissertation or master's committee
  4. used in research myself
  5. published or presented at conferences my research using this method

Methods Traditionally Considered As Quantitative (But Need Not Be)

Laboratory Research
Field Experiments 3
Randomized Controlled Clinical
Quasi-experimental methods 4
Correlational Methods 4

Methods That Could Use Quantitative Or Qualitative Methods

Action Research 3
Survey Research 3
Interview Research 3
Observational Research 3
Epidemiological Research
Ethnography 3
Focus Groups 3
Self-Observational Methods 3
Narrative Methods 3
Feminist Methods 4
Content Analysis 3
Discovery-Oriented (psychotherapy) 3
Events paradigm (psychotherapy) 3
Archival Research 3
Case History Methods 3
Appreciative Inquiry 3
Multiple Case Depth Research 3
Hermeneutic Single Case Efficacy Design 3
Longitudinal research 3
Cross-sectional research 3

Methods Primarily Associated With Qualitative Research (But May Also Use Quantitative)

Ethnoautobiographical research 3
Hermeneutics 3
Grounded Theory 3
Phenomenology 3
Heuristic Research 3

Types of Analysis

Simple Parametric Statistics (t-test, etc.) 4
Confidence intervals 4
Analysis of Variance (including MANOVA) 4
Analysis of Covariance 3
Regression (including multiple regression) 4
Discriminant Function Analysis 3
Structural Equation Modeling/Path Analysis
Causal Modeling
Cluster Analysis
Survival Analysis
Nonparametrics 4
Bayesian Analysis
Meta-analysis and effect sizes 3
Factor Analysis
Time series analysis
Multidimensional scaling