Alumni Messenger


$5 Million in Grants to Study the Healing and Restorative Power of Nature


$5 Million in Grants to Study the Healing and Restorative Power of Nature
National Open Spaces Sacred Places Awards Initiative

The TKF Foundation today announced a new $5 million grant program, the National Open Spaces Sacred Places Awards (OSSP Awards), to fund cross-disciplinary teams of designers, research social scientists and community-based organizations to create and study a series of new public green spaces designed with the specific intent to provide spiritual uplift and the opportunity for a deeper human experience through a personal connection to nature. The OSSP Awards program will be the foundation’s final grant making initiative and will effectively spend down TKF’s endowment by 2018.

The Open Spaces Sacred Places Awards Request for Proposals ( invites national partnerships of the highest caliber to apply. Universities, hospitals, research centers and cultural institutions; professionals in the field of landscape design, urban planning, and health care; and neighborhood associations, community-based and other social benefit organizations are encouraged to form collaborative teams to envision, create, study and communicate what is learned about the impact of Open Spaces Sacred Places on people living in stressful urban environments.

Funding will be enacted in two phases:

· Up to 10 planning grants will be awarded on December 15, 2011. Participation in the planning grant round is optional. Deadline for application for a planning grant is September 1, 2011.

· Open Spaces Sacred Places Awards will be announced on December 15 2012. The Open Spaces Sacred Places RFP will be issued February 12, 2010. Deadline for application for a National Open Spaces Sacred Places Award is June 30, 2012.

Contact: Christine Tanabe 410-268-1376,

New Position Open in the Torrance Center for Creativity & Talent Development, University of Georgia


A new position has just opened in the Torrance Center for Creativity & Talent Development. Please share this with individuals who may be interested. Thank you, Mark

Mark A. Runco, PhD
Torrance Professor, Creative Studies & Gifted Education
Editor, Creativity Research Journal

Assistant/Associate Research Scientist
E. Paul Torrance Center for Creativity & Talent Development
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Education and Human Development

College of Education, University of Georgia

The E. Paul Torrance Center for Creativity & Talent Development in the College of Education (COE) at The University of Georgia ( is pleased to announce a research scientist position at the Assistant/Associate level who will be the associate director of the Torrance Center beginning as soon as the position can be filled.

The Torrance Center is a unit within the College’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Education and Human Development. The associate director will be under the supervision of Dr. Bonnie Cramond, Director of the Torrance Center.

Major duties and responsibilities include:

1. Serve as the associate director of the Torrance Center
2. Support the Director in providing information and promoting the Torrance Center to various audiences and clients with an interest in creativity and talent development
3. Engage in scholarly and creative research in collaboration with COE faculty and staff as well as interdisciplinary researchers from other colleges and universities
4. Provide expertise and administrative leadership in seeking and developing grants and contracts. Obtain independent research grants and contracts as the principal or co-principal investigator
5. Manage the Torrance unit including personnel and budgets

Required qualifications
· Master’s degree
· Prior experience writing and obtaining grants and contracts
· Prior experience with budget development and management

Desired qualifications
· Ph.D. in an area related to giftedness, creativity, innovation, or talent development.
· Prior experience in the design and implementation of large-scale programs, multi-year, multi-state program development, and interdisciplinary collaboration
· Prior experience in writing and obtaining external funding
· Prior experience managing budgets and supervising staff

This is a full-time, 12-month, benefits-eligible, non-tenure earning appointment. The salary is highly competitive with excellent benefits.

Candidates should forward a letter of application, a statement of experience, and three letters of reference to:
Professor Allan Cohen (
Chair Torrance Center Search Committee
570 Aderhold Hall
The University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, 30602. T

The review of applications will begin June 15, 2011. Applications received by that date will be assured full consideration. The position will remain open until filled.

The University of Georgia is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer. Qualified candidates from all relevant areas are encouraged to apply.

PRESS RELEASE - Denita Benyshek, MA '04 - Saybrook Master's Recipient and Current Doctoral Student


June 9, 2011
Denita Benyshek, MA '04 - Saybrook Master's Recipient and Current Doctoral Student

Although Denita Benyshek recently started work on her doctoral dissertation in psychology, she is rapidly becoming an internationally recognized scholar on contemporary artists and shamanism.

Her research will be printed this year in the 12 volume Encyclopedia of Shamanism being published in Beijing, China.

Denita’s chapters, Art Audience as Shamanic Community and An Overview of Western Ideas Regarding the Artist as Shaman, will be in the second volume, Modern Artists and Shamanism. The chapters are currently being translated into Chinese.

Denita will present her research on the shamanistic art audience at the 28th International Conference for the Society for the Study of Shamanism, Healing, and Transformation.
September 3 – 5, 2011
Santa Sabina Retreat Center
San Rafael, California
(see ).

Denita will also make two presentations, A Critical Overview of Western Literature on the Artist as Shaman and Preliminary Research Report on the Contemporary Artist as Shaman: How Some Artists Fulfill Constructs Defining Shaman, at the 10th Conference of the International Society of Shamanistic Research, Shamanhood and its Art.
October 5 - 9, 2011
Ethnographic Museum
Warsaw, Poland

Denita Benyshek is a professional artist, cross-disciplinary scholar, and doctoral candidate at Saybrook University. She earned an MFA-painting, an MA-psychology, and a graduate certificate in creative studies. Her creative work includes over 70 exhibits, numerous collections, multi-media performances, theatre, choreography, and poetry. She teaches courses in psychology and humanities at the University of Phoenix and provides psychotherapy for artists and creative individuals.

Saybrook Alumnus Yannis Toussulis, PhD '95 Releases New Book on Sufism


Alumnus Yannis Toussulis' new book, Sufism and the Way of Blame: Hidden Sources of a Sacred Psychology can be found on

Dr. Yannis Toussulis, a graduate of Saybrook in 1997, has just had his first book published by Quest Books (April, 2011), Sufism and the Way of Blame: Hidden Sources of a Sacred Psychology. Stanley Krippner has written, “Dr. Toussulis sees Sufism as a ‘multiplex phenomenon,’ placing it in its proper social and historical context. But he also recognizes that the psychological aspects of Sufism need to be explored, and this section of the book contains the most innovative insights of this compelling volume. For readers who want to avoid both "New Age" and dogmatic approaches to this topic, Sufism and the Way of Blame surpasses any book on the topic currently in print. This is an authoritative volume, and one badly needed at this time.” Joining Dr. Krippner, Kabir Helminski, a well-known translator of Rumi and a Mevlevi Shaykh refers to this book as “a critical assessment of the history, context, and spiritual significance of one of the most important yet hidden traditions within Islamic mysticism.” Dr. Robert Frager, the founding president of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, refers to this book as “priceless information that has not been available previously” and “a must-read for any serious student or practitioner of Sufism.” The book is already being lauded by Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi as “the definitive study of Malamati Sufism.”

This is the first book to detail the relationship between Sufism and the controversial “way of blame” in all of its historical phases up to, and including, the present era. The way of blame originally designated a group within larger Sufism that focused on the psychology of egoism and engaged in self-critique (Arabic malam, or “blame”). Later, the term most often referred to those Sufis who incurred blame by shunning Islamic literalism and formalism. This interdisciplinary work begins by critically examining popular and scholarly conceptions about Sufism. The book then proceeds to examine the role that the way of blame (Ar. malamatiyya) played in the development of Sufism as a whole. Extensive references are made to current interpretations of Sufism and the way of blame provided by G. I Gurdjieff, J.G. Bennett, and Idries Shah, as well as by scholars such as Frithjof Schuon, Martin Lings, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Sufism and the Way of Blame incorporates the work of preceding scholars and updates their studies in the history and psychology of Sufism, through personal research done by the author in tandem with a living representative of the way of blame in Turkey today, Mehmet Selim Ozich. In its closing chapters, the book presents an up-to-date paradigm of psycho-spiritual development that is still being used today by classically oriented Sufis of the way of blame who practice a human-centered approach to spiritual transformation.

Saybrook Student Denita Benyshek Submits Request for Submissions to an Anthology on Myth and Theater


Dear Remarkable Friends,

I am forwarding to you a request for submissions for an anthology on myth and theatre. This is broadly defined and can include shamanism. Not only open to scholarly academic papers but also to submissions of art, poetry, etc.

You can see examples of previous articles at

Good luck!

Denita M. Benyshek
Faculty - University of Phoenix
Doctoral Candidate - Psychology, Saybrook University
MFA - Painting
MA - Psychology
academic portfolio:
7650 SE 27th ST, #503
Mercer Island, WA 98040 USA
206.701.6757 Skype
206.588.5278 Google

Saybrook Alumna Dana Klisanin, PhD '03 Requests Your Help with a Survey for Information She Will Use At This Year's APA Convention


Dear Fellow Saybrookians,

I am trying to collect information about the characteristics of people who "actively use the Internet to help other people, animals, or the environment" --- aka cyberheroes [You might be surprised that you actually do qualify for this survey, when you see the questions. I suggest you give it a try. - George Aiken - Saybrook Director of Alumni Affairs]

In an attempt to reach my target population I started a "Cause" on Facebook's "Causes" and posted a link to my questionnaire. Being a member of "Causes" is not a prerequisite to completing the survey, anyone who believes he or she fits the above definition is welcome to complete the survey. I will be presenting the results at the APA convention in August. As you know, the higher the population surveyed the more meaningful the results. Any help you can provide in spreading the word would be greatly appreciated.

Here are two links:

The first is a link directly to the survey.

The second is a link to the Cause I started (If you are already a member of Facebook or Causes and you want to check it out, it is a good way to help spread the word, but the most important thing anyone can do to help is to complete the survey---only of course if they believe they fit the description of the target population).



Saybrook Alumna Dana Klisanin, PhD '03 Presents Transformative Media's Next Evolution at Institute of Noetic Science in Sonoma County, CA


Saybrook Alumna Dana Klisanin, PhD '03 Presents Transformative Media's Next Evolution at Institute of Noetic Science in Sonoma County, CA

Institute of Noetic Sciences
July 20-24)

Dana Klisanin, PhD, is founder and executive director of the Evolutionary Guidance Media Research & Design Group. A pioneer in conscious media research, Klisanin, who earned her PhD in psychology from Saybrook University, is currently investigating digital altruism and the emergence of a new archetype: the cyberhero. She is the author of numerous articles and is a frequent presenter at conferences throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.

Video available of Saybrook Faculty Member Dr. Ruth Richards' Ahimsa Talk on Empathy


From Saybrook Executive Faculty member, Dr. Ruth Richards:

This is a talk I gave on 5-17-11 for AHIMSA:

Empathy is an essential yet often unsung human quality
--creative, connecting, powerful. We consider
its vital role for humans individually and together, for our health, our progress, our development.
And perhaps even for our species survival.

Dr. Abbe Blum did a meditation with us at the end. If you open the pdf file for the SLIDES in another window, to go through with the video, it works well.

Saybrook Alumnus Kirk Schneider, PhD '84 Presents Awakening to Awe at Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture


Awakening to Awe
Dr. Kirk J. Schneider - Saybrook PhD '84
Humanist Psychologist and author of Awakening to Awe: Personal Stories of Profound Transformation

Sunday, July 31, 2011
Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
53 Prospect Park West at 2nd St.

Dr. Schneider will offer a morning presentation for the general public and an afternoon workshop for clergy, counselors, and therapists.

11am-12:45pm – Nurturing the Sense of Awe in our Day-to-Day World: In Childrearing, Teaching, Work, and the Moral and Ethical Arena *** FREE***

How can we draw on the power of awe – our sense of adventure toward living – so that we transform our entire day-to-day world and culture? Dr. Kirk Schneider will share ways to inspire awe in the areas of childrearing, teaching, work, and in our moral and ethical decisionmaking. He will explore the relevance of such existential-spiritual thinkers as Ernest Becker (with his educational curriculum in “Beyond Alienation“), Paul Tillich (with his discussion of “listening love”) and Martin Buber (with his notion of the “I-Thou” relationship). Ample time will be provided for discussion.

12:45-1:15 -- LUNCH

1:15-2:30— Rediscovering Awe: A Meditation on the Humility, Wonder, and Adventure, of Living ***$15***

Therapists, counselors, clergy and those in training are invited to enhance their ability to be more fully present to and thus deepen their bond with a diverse range of clients by drawing on the insights of humanist psychology. Guided by his book “Awakening to Awe: Personal Stories of Profound Transformation” (2009), humanist psychologist Dr. Kirk Schneider will offer in depth exercises, having people work in pairs and together, as they explore the “lenses” of awe – of transience, unknowingness, surprise, vastness, intricacy, sentiment, and solitude – to deepen their sense of awe toward all being.

To RSVP, please email

To pay for the afternoon workshop, please visit using keyword “Schneider.”

For directions, visit

For more information on Kirk Schneider’s work go to

Saybrook Alumna Myrna Araneta, PhD '09 Presents Exploring the Ancient Designs of Labyrinths and Mazes at PATHWAY TO TRANSFORMATION Conference


Exploring the Ancient Designs of Labyrinths and Mazes

By Saybrook Alumna Myrna Araneta, Ph.D. '09

PATHWAY TO TRANSFORMATION - A Healing Journey for Women Leaders, Managers and Entrepreneurs Ready to Thrive and Prosper NOW!

Sunday, July 24, 9:30 - 4:30pm
Oakland, CA

Advance Registration Required. For more information, please see:

Join us in this transformative experience—journeying through labyrinths or mazes, using meditation, journaling and expressive arts.

Benefits: Equip yourself with tools for self-healing and transformation.
Identify tangible networks that can support and inspire you to strategically activate
your plan so you can thrive and prosper in your personal and professional life NOW.

We bring you the experience of using the meditative power of the Mazes and Labyrinths that were used in ancient times to gain a deeper understanding of human spirituality, restore balance, heal, confront inner fears, calm the mind, make choices, center the body and help create a journey for transformation.

During this one-day workshop, you will explore the use of various labyrinths and mazes templates in a meditative journey into your inner feelings, perceptions and creative imagination. Guided by intentions such as forgiveness, gratitude, harmony and prosperity, you'll be supported by the power of colors, arts and journaling through your exploration. Treat yourself with this empowering experience to learn a self-guided process that you can also use "back home" for healing and spiritual guidance as you start or continue your personal change and transformative growth journey.

All participants will also receive a copy of Dr. Araneta's book,
Inspiring Lives: Personal Stories of Sustained Transformation

$199 early bird registration NOW until June 1
$255- from June 2 – July 15
$299 – from July 16 –July 23

Myrna R.H. Araneta, M.A., Ph.D. - Author of Inspiring Lives: Personal Stories of Sustained Transformation. Facilitator of Integrated Life Redesign workshops & Organization Assessments & Redesign. An organizational systems psychologist and OD practitioner with a total of 25 years of corporate leadership, consulting, coaching, teaching experience.

Harriet Tubman Wright, M.S., M.A. – Founding Director, The Wright Resort & Certified Money, Marketing and Soul Coach, empowers you to enrich your life, using holistic health practices, expressive arts and sacred ritual to facilitate optimal spiritual and financial well-being.