Saybrook University student Monisha Rios tells us about her experiences as a U.S. veteran, concerns with the mental health industry, and how Saybrook has helped her.
Tell us about what life was life before Saybrook:
The foundation for my work was laid by my personal experiences in seeking services from the VA. It all began in 1998. I was freshly discharged from the Army and fully equipped with advice from one of my drill sergeants. She told me to go straight to the VA for counseling as soon as I got out, since going to mental health on active duty was certain death for your career. I did as instructed but was turned away because, according to the staff member I spoke with, despite my having been sexually harassed and assaulted multiple times, I had not been penetrably raped, so therefore I did not “deserve” to ask for help. To make matters worse, they told me I was not eligible for any care because I was discharged before 24 months, even though my service was honorable. The Army told me I was a veteran deserving of care, why was the VA disagreeing? The only way I could get care at that point was if I had been medically discharged or attained a disability rating. Since I had been conveniently denied a medical board evaluation prior to discharge there was only one choice. On I went through the ridiculous claims process.
A new chapter awaits. Saybrook University is about to undergo a transformation that embraces our humanistic legacy with a bold vision for the future. Working with our Marketing Department at TCS Education System (TCS Ed System), we collaborated on a new visual identity that embraces our core mission, values, and personality. Starting this month, we will begin a gradual rollout of this new visual identity on our current website, Student Gateway, and other materials, culminating with the launch of a new website in Spring 2016.
Saybrook University faculty members Ruth Richards and Steven Pritzker were keynote speakers at the New Zealand Creativity Challenge on April 17-19, showcasing creativity across multiple fields in Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. The theme of the conference was “Creativity Crosses Boundaries,” and was sponsored by The Learning Connexion, a school of creativity and art in Wellington led by Jonathan and Alice Wilson Milne. Almost 300 participants attended the conference.
Saybrook University Doctoral Candidate Tamami Shirai Presents Research on Meditation with a Cardio-Pulmonary Population at the "Mindfulness & Compassion/Art & Science of Con-templative Practice" Conference in San Francisco06/09/2015
Tamami Shirai is a doctoral candidate in the School of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University. On June 5, 2015, Ms. Shirai presented her research on the use of meditation with a cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation population at the conference “Mindfulness & Compassion - The Art & Science of Contemplative Practice” at San Francisco State University.
Tamami Shirai has been providing a meditation class in the Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center (CPR) at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla since 2013. Over 178 patients have joined her class in the past 24 months. For her conference presentation, Tamami reviewed her archived monthly reports and presented results from an appreciative inquiry study, highlighting patients' descriptions of their "lived experiences" of meditation, based on their experiences in the cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Saybrook’s MBM MS student Jim Cahill is the creator of a therapy that combines mindfulness and biofeedback to multiple issues, ranging from chronic pain to stress. Jim’s work is featured in the June edition of the CrossFit Journal in an article on using mindfulness to improve fitness training results, minimize pain, and improve overall health and wellness.
Robert Schley, Saybrook’s Conference Director, confirms that contracts have now been signed with the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa in Monterey, California, for the residential conferences starting in January 2017 through August 2019. All of Saybrook’s residential conferences, along with the annual graduation ceremony, will then take place at the Hyatt. The conferences will continue to be held at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters each year, in August and January, and will also include the Residential Orientations for new students.
Saybrook University Researcher and Instructor, Luann Fortune, Presents Qualitative Research on Medicalized Aging05/21/2015
Saybrook’s Luann Fortune, PhD will present her latest research study at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists (ICNAP) on May 22, 2015 at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario. In this phenomenological study, Dr. Fortune explored how one family member with care-taking responsibilities for her elders contributed to a system and cycle of medicalized aging.
In the United States, the aged population will double by year 2050 challenging social and economic structures by the need to care for this generation in their last years. While medical advances provide technical solutions to extend life, the medicalization of aging is increasingly criticized as defying the natural process and as dehumanizing the last stage of the live cycle.
Paralysis Can Be a Natural Reaction to Date
Stigma is often associated with inaction during a crisis. Those who freeze in the face of a life-threatening situation often experience feelings of shame and guilt, and they often feel that they are constantly being judged for their inaction. While others may confidently assert that they would have been more “heroic” in that situation, there is a far greater chance that their bodies would have reacted in exactly the same way, freezing as an innate part of self-preservation.
The authors of an article published in the journal Biofeedback describe date rape as a prime example of this type of freeze response. In an article titled “When Not Saying NO Does Not Mean Yes: Psychophysiological Factors Involved in Date Rape,” Stephen Porges and Erik Peper explain how immobilization is a natural neurobiological response to being attacked.
Saybrook University faculty and students led a crisis management workshop at the City Hall of Renton, Washington for city officials and residents on April 29-May 1, 2015. The project was designed as a community outreach project and led to a Certificate in Crisis Management. Saybrook faculty Nancy Southern and Gary Metcalf taught the workshop, along with Dr. Ian Mitroff, Senior Investigator at the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley.
Frank Munoz, Saybrook PhD Student in Mind-Body Medicine, Studies Effects of Spiritual Care and Mind-Body Interventions on Gene Expression05/18/2015
Frank Munoz is a PhD student in the School of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University. Frank has worked for the last 12 years as a clinical chaplain in a hospital setting with a clinical specialty is palliative care chaplaincy. He also has a background in Army and Air Force chaplaincy. In 2010 Frank received a grant from the National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute to train as a healthcare researcher. The grant provided funds to pay for a doctorate degree as part of research training, which inspired him to choose enrollment in Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine. Frank was drawn to the Mind-Body Medicine PhD program due to its innovative and creative spirit.
As a clinical chaplain, Frank works with patients and families in emotional and spiritual distress. This felt distress is usually rooted in the physical and emotional pain of a terminal illness. In his pursuit of higher education, Frank sought to learn various techniques that would help support human beings overwhelmed with the burden of a life-threatening diagnosis. In his pursuit of knowledge, skills, and understanding, Frank was particularly drawn to research studies showing that meditation, hypnosis, and guided imagery can alter gene expression.
Saybrook PhD Student Provides a Testimony to Destiny: “You Don’t Choose Saybrook, Saybrook Chooses You”05/17/2015
Natasha Pantti-Dulberg wasn’t sure the timing was right to pursue a PhD degree, but after seeing countless “signs,” she could no longer ignore her apparent destiny. Natasha reported that she wasn’t initially drawn to Saybrook University. That all changed when she attended the Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s Advanced Training Program in San Antonio, Texas, and met the Chair of Saybrook’s Mind-Body Medicine program, Dr. Donald Moss, when they participated in the same small group.
Natasha concluded that it was inevitable that she become a Saybrook PhD student in the Integrative Mental Health specialization, because it seemed to provide exactly the curriculum and credentials she was seeking to support her confidence in herself as a competent integrative mental healthcare provider in the currently shifting healthcare world. Although she was initially unsure of her decision to enroll, due to her already busy life working full-time with two small children at home, all hesitant feelings were quickly assuaged when she was introduced to her cohort at that first conference. She knew this group of “movers and shakers” was special; she sensed their uncommon drive to passionately commit to health and service. This cohort was “her tribe,” and so began a powerful and transformative journey for Natasha.