Archives For: October 2012

Siren Song: The Life and Works of Dr. Stanley Krippner

Stanley Krippner


by Nadine Vaughan, Ph.D.

It is 1975. I arrive at the threshold of the rest of my life with excitement. I am about to meet the folks who make Saybrook the “go to” place for a doctorate in humanistic psychology. Then called The Humanist Psychology Institute (HPI), it is already the stuff of urban legend. I remember the comments of friends, and laugh out loud. “Really? You can write your dissertation on that?” Now I will see the faces of these courageous academicians.

I drive up to New Jersey and enter the meeting room, knowing something amazing is about to happen. It does. This is when I meet Dr. Stanley Krippner. Off in a corner, looking nothing like Freud, James, or Skinner, Stanley sports a colorful jacket of indigenous design and a smile that twinkles each time he hears a student make an outrageous claim concerning paranormal events. Tasked with educating these searching souls, Krippner’s eyes lower as he carefully chooses just the right words. Students wait; miners ready to collect the gems he produces from the recesses of his great mind. Stanley’s brow slightly furrows as he weighs the ramifications of his words; his steady voice becomes a loving friend. Although I do not yet know how, this early trek into the unknown pads my own path into the nature of consciousness and changes my life.

Fast forward to Saturday, August 4, 2012. Following weeks of excited emails proclaiming “Stanley is attending the APA conference in Orlando, and he is turning 80!”, I startle at how much time has passed since my first meeting with him 37 years ago. It feels like the blink of an eye with life-times in between. I arrange to attend, wondering what I might offer this remarkable man on this uncommon occasion. He has done so much for the world. Does the world know?  I decide to honor my mentor, my colleague, and friend with a filmed retrospective of his life and works. Nothing fancy. Heartfelt.

With Stan’s permission, I invite my filmmaking partner to the occasion. An International group of well-wishers arrive to celebrate Stan’s Birthday in style. Many travel from far places. We record interviews with Stan and other fascinating folks. Told from the perspectives of people personally touched by his efforts, the retrospective begins and ends on the night of Stan’s party. It weaves into its tapestry, archival footage and published works. I name it “Siren Song: The Life and Works of Dr. Stanley Krippner”. We would like to have it ready for Stan’s Mill Valley party this fall or an award presentation soon after. Realistically, our plan is to finalize editing by this year’s end, and make it available for purchase in 2013.  A gift from my heart, only modest production costs will be retrieved. After that, all proceeds go to Stan. Happy Birthday, Stan.


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Book Review: Post-traumatic stress disorder. Krippner & Davies



Book Review:

Krippner, S., Pitchford, D. B., & Davies, J. (2012). Post-traumatic stress disorder. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.

Reviewed by Selene Kumin Vega, Ph.D. (Psychology), 2009

Trauma is often associated with violence, either from war, personal attacks, or abuse, but it can just as easily be a result of unpredictable and seriously disruptive forces of nature (hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods, for example).  Traumatic events may be the extreme end of the spectrum of experiences of change that occur throughout our lives.  Although the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is relatively recent (it was developed in the late 1970s as veterans returned home from Vietnam, often with emotional difficulties), the phenomenon of symptoms occurring following exposure to an extremely difficult events has been described in religious texts, literature, and diaries and memoirs.

The experience of a traumatic event does not necessarily lead to post traumatic stress disorder.  Just as “stress” is a name for what we might experience in response to challenging situations outside of ourselves, the word “trauma” describes the wound or injury inflicted by an external event or situation.  How each individual responds to those events and situations determines the intensity of the trauma experienced.  As Krippner, Pitchford, and Davies emphasize,

How people experience their wounding brought on by a traumatizing event is strongly related to their person temperament, personal history (especially any prior traumas), context (the setting or environment,) and the subjective impact of the event—in other words, how they attribute meaning to what has happened. (p. 2)

The authors make the point that PTSD symptoms may be present even without what would usually be considered a traumatizing event. The continuum of distress from what we might call stress to what we understand as trauma includes responses to work-related and marital conflicts on one end, and war, violent abuse and attacks, and natural disasters on the other.  The factors involved in “predisposing, activating, and maintaining” (p. 133) the symptoms of PTSD are complex and non-linear.

Krippner, Pitchford, and Davies have written this contribution to the Biographies of Disease series to provide a foundation for understanding PTSD. Rather than a treatment manual, this is an overview, covering differential diagnosis, the wide variety of manifestations of this complex phenomenon, PTSD in children and adolescents, the neuroscience underlying the symptoms, and the varied treatments available.  The book achieves this goal, though it would have benefited from proofreading and editing.  The first few chapters were somewhat repetitive, and there were a few slips where a different name was used to refer to one of the four case history subjects. The chapter on treatment approaches is fairly comprehensive and helpful at illustrating the wide variety of healing modalities used to address PTSD, though I was surprised to find no mention of body-oriented and somatic psychotherapy techniques such as Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing. 

Perhaps the most inspiring part of the book is the last chapter, focusing on the post-traumatic strengths that may develop through the process of journeying through PTSD. The authors make the point that for a surprising number of PTSD survivors, finding their way through their difficult response to a traumatic event can lead to going beyond their former baseline normal state of being. These people find strength and meaning that had not been part of their lives before their traumatic experience.  In the process of healing, they were able to “mine the gold” of their experience and grow, returning to the world with gifts of newfound strength, compassion, courage, and resilience. 

Hardcover: 177 pages
Publisher: Greenwood (March 9, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0313386684
ISBN-13: 978-0313386688
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches

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Higher Ed Watch - a look at student loan debt

Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo


The issues around the student debt crises continue to be a focus of this column. For this installment I thought to share some of the latest information being brought to us by a new website known as,

Student loan default continues to be a key concern for many. According to Andrew Martin reporting for the New York Times one in every six student loan borrowers is now in default. Default is defined as having fallen behind at least 12 months with payments. The federal government has in place a flexible payment program that in theory is supposed to prevent the borrower from default by way of low payments. These payments are so low that they are quoted as being affordable even for those who have lost their job. I couldn’t find any way to find out as to whether this program works. However, embedded in HR 4170, The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 there is a statement about discretionary income levels and how much a person has to repay is calculated according to income that is over 150% above the poverty limit.

Robert Applebaum introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 to the US House of Representatives on March 8, 2012.  Total outstanding student loan debt in America is tipping toward $1 Trillion this year.  Since 1980 the average 4-year college tuition increased by 827%. Since 1999, student loan debt increased by 511%. We have a real problem here.

Student loan debt is the latest financial crises facing America and Americans. Many economists predict we will have another economic downturn of severe proportions if nothing is done. This is being referred to as the “student loan bubble.”

Here are some of the questions that were asked about the act:

Does HR 4170 cover private student loans? Yes.

How is discretionary income calculated? Discretionary income is defined as the borrower’s, and the borrower’s spouse’s (if applicable), adjusted gross income exceeding 150% of the poverty line applicable to the borrower’s family size as determined under section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (422 U.S.C. 9902(2).

Would the forgiven debt be treated as taxable income? No.

What happens if the student borrower is unemployed or becomes unemployed? The borrower would still qualify for enrollment in the program if they become unemployed or are unemployed. For borrowers who would owe zero dollars based on their discretionary income, the Department of Education would make a case-by- case assessment of the appropriate minimum monthly payment. This minimum monthly payment, even if calculated at zero dollars, would be applied towards debt forgiveness.

Would there be caps on the maximum amount of forgiveness available? Yes and no. Under the bill, there would be no caps on the maximum amount of forgiveness available for borrowers who are currently in repayment or in school. For new borrowers, the bill imposes a debt forgiveness cap of $45,520 as incentive to students to make sound financial decisions and to encourage colleges and universities to lower the cost of their tuition.

How would HR 4170 impact interest rates on student loans? The bill would cap interest rates on federal loans at 3.4%

Would a borrower still be eligible to enroll if his or her loans are in default? Yes. Unlike the federal government’s program of Income Based Repayment (IBR), there is no requirement for the borrower to be current on his or her loans to qualify for enrollment in the new 10/10 program.

What if a borrower already paid the equivalent of 10% of discretionary income for at least 10 years? Under the terms of this bill, those who have already paid the equivalent of at least 10% of their discretionary income over the prior 10 years totaling 120 payments would immediately qualify for forgiveness upon passage of the bill.

How are married couples incomes calculated for purposes of this plan? For married couples that file their income taxes jointly, loan payments would be calculated according to household income. Loan payments for married couples filing separately would be based on the individual borrower’s income.

As a parent who took out a Parent Plus Loan, how would this bill help the parent? The parent would be eligible to enroll in the program.

Would this bill restore bankruptcy protections for student loan debt? No. However, Rep, Hansen Clarke will be introducing a “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights” in the coming weeks which, if signed into law, would restore bankruptcy and other consumer protections for student loan debt. The “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights” would also propose a host of much-needed reforms to the student lending system.

Let’s hang on and see what ends up taking place. There is no doubt about this being a very serious issue.

Be well and take care.

Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo, PhD
To read the full bill please go to this site:

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