Alumni Messenger


Saybrook Alumna Selene Kumin Vega, Ph.D. '09 Offers Spring Workshops


Selene Kumin Vega, Ph.D. Workshops for Spring 2012:

Exploring Psyche & Soma: Creative & Healing States of Consciousness May 5-6, 2012 (*CE) location tba north of San Francisco.

Guiding the Journey: Facilitating Transformative Experiences May 7-11, 2012 (*CE) Earth Rise Retreat Center, IONS Campus, Petaluma, CA Both workshops are part of the Sacred Centers Immersion program, May 5-17, 2012.

Awakening the Body: Moving into Deep Connection July 12, 2012 (*CE) Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA Reg. & Info: (760) 942-1577.

Psychology of the Chakras Anodea Judith, Ph.D. & Selene Kumin Vega, Ph.D. August 3-10, 2012 (*CE) Stockbridge, MA Reg. & Info: Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, 800-741-7353


Alumnus Michael Mayer, PhD '77 Presented Talk on Integrating Psychotherapy and Qigong


Alumnus Michael Mayer, PhD '77 Recently Presented a Talk on a Free Online Telesummit on The Mystery of Embodiment

His talk was titled, Integrating Psychotherapy and Qigong: A Pathway to Psychospiritual Embodiment.

Alumna and Saybrook Faculty Member, Linda Riebel, PhD '81, Invites Alumni to Attend and Share about their Dissertation Process at RC Writing Workshop


The Authentic Voice: Balancing Person and Content

2-hour writing workshop, Linda Riebel

Probably to be held at the January RC, Tuesday January 17, afternoon (to be confirmed).

How does a scholar master a body of knowledge, apply research methods
that others have devised, and make interpretations in a rigorous manner
- while maintaining his or her own voice? How does one build on the
existing literature and contribute to knowledge? Defining one's topic is
part of the challenge, since one must steer between the twin hazards of
reinventing the wheel (claiming to invent too much, not knowing what's
already been done) and parroting/repeating the known (claiming too
little for one's own contribution). In this interactive workshop,
students will first be briefed on these and other issues that confront
the developing scholar, and then join in brainstorming solutions to each
other's writing challenges. Appropriate for those learning how to cite
and build on existing scholarship, and for advanced students preparing
their culminating projects, theses, or dissertations.

Saybrook graduates are warmly welcomed to attend this class (or part of it) and share the stories of how they found a topic and balanced all
these competing demands.


Alumna Thelma Freedman, Ph.D. '97, M.A. '87 Recently Passed


Thelma B. Freedman (1930-2011)

From her obituary:

Thelma B. Freedman, PhD., 81, of Beach Road, died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011....Born in Oswego, on Jan. 28, 1930, she was the daughter of Dr. Howard and Thelma Hord Beach and was raised in Oneida in her youth. Thelma graduated from Drew Academy, received her bachelors degree from State University at New Paltz , and her masters and doctorate degrees from Saybrook University. Thelma married David C. Freedman in New York City on Jan. 5, 1957, and they resided in Monroe, N.Y. for many years, returning to this area in 1987.

Dr. Freedman was a psychologist and hypnotherapist in Orange County and later in Oneida and Fayetteville. She was past president and journal editor for the International Association for Regression Research and Therapy and had a great love for cats, classical music and reading mystery novels.

From MindPowerLab:

Dr. Freedman [was] an “old-timer” in past-life therapy. She joined
APRT (now IARRT) in 1982 and served on the Board of Directors as well as the
Research committee. She has been (at various times) Assistant Editor,
Associate Editor, and Editor of the Journal, and [was] a Contributing Editor.
She was a founding member of The International Board of Regression Therapy
(IBRT) and became President after the passing of Dr. Russell Davis in 1998;
she was also Secretary/Treasurer. Thelma practiced hypnotherapy and past-life
therapy in New York State for about 30 years. When things get stale she [wrote] poetry about PLT.

Alumna Dana Klisanin, Ph.D. '03, M.A. '00 Requests Your Help in Humanizing the Internet


Anyone interested in humanizing the Internet? Please check out my recent article & send me any examples of digital altruism you find so I can include them in future work. Thanks!

Dana Klisanin, Ph.D. '03, M.A. '00

Millions of individuals are using the Internet to act on behalf of the needs of other people, animals, and the environment; however research in this area is limited. To encourage such research, this exploration involved a review of research in the area of altruism and the Internet, as well as an Internet-based search for websites that facilitate digital actions that result in benefit to other people, animals, or the environment. To differentiate this research from that of e-philanthropy, the websites selected did not require a monetary donation from the visitor. Gruber’s (1997) analysis of altruism, as a spectrum of activity, was utilized to evaluate the websites. The evaluation revealed three forms of digital altruism: “everyday digital altruism,” involving expedience, ease, moral engagement, and conformity; “creative digital altruism,” involving creativity, heightened moral engagement, and cooperation; and “co-creative digital altruism” involving creativity, moral engagement, and meta-cooperative efforts.

Organizational Systems Invites All Saybrook Alumni to Participate in its New Blog Rethinking Complexity


OS Students, Alumni, and Faculty Rethinking Complexity
By: Aimee C. Juarez

The Organizational Systems program invites all Saybrook alumni to check out its new blog, Rethinking Complexity at OS is also asking for its graduates to consider contributing a post or two that talks about the issues they’re facing as systems practitioners.

“The systems understanding that we bring to the world is much needed now,” said Dr. Nancy Southern, chair of the OS program. “Through their contributions to the blog, our students, faculty, and alumni can help others understand the systemic nature of the challenges that we encounter every day.”

If you would like to contribute a systems-related post to Rethinking Complexity, contact the OS department at:

Rethinking Complexity was launched this spring and is produced by a team of 11 OS students, alums, and faculty members. The blog now boasts hundreds of visitors per month on both its website and its Facebook page, In recent months, it has showcased guest contributions from Dr. Riane Eisler of the Center for Partnership Studies and systems practitioners from Pegasus Communications, a Massachusetts-based publisher of systems and organizational learning materials.

Regular contributor Dennis Rebelo, a Ph.D. student in the OS program who is president of University Business Consultants, said: “Being tapped to write for Rethinking Complexity has been quite a momentum-maker for me. This rich OS blog has pumped additional creative opportunities for me to bridge my Saybrook academic work and consulting work.”

For Saybrook OS alum, Bernice Moore-Valdez, who earned her Ph.D. in ’09 and is now president of ICO Consulting, Rethinking Complexity has been a way to “inspire and renew my commitment to humanistic values.” The blog’s writers “invite and provoke me to evolve my ideas and capacities so that I am better able meet the needs of our increasingly complex world,” Bernice said. OS ’11 graduate Julie Auger echoed Bernice’s sentiments and said the blog’s helped “give voice” to what she’s learned at Saybrook. “Being part of this learning community has been a great experience,” she said.

Dr. Southern welcomes OS alumni to participate as writers for the blog and to share it with their colleagues. “It’s been a great recruiting tool and provides a way to connect our learning community,” she said. “I love being able to direct our prospective students and others interested in Saybrook to the blog so they can get a real feel for the work we are doing. It is much more powerful than our marketing materials.”

To student writer Dennis Rebelo, the teamwork that goes into producing Rethinking Complexity daily demonstrates what collaborative leadership—a theory that’s studied in Saybrook’s OS program—is all about. “We are doing it daily,” Dennis said. “By celebrating our collective interest in furthering human learning, leading, and loving at work through Rethinking Complexity, we are proving to be the spark that many are connecting to the flame of humanistic research and studies, which is Saybrook.”

Visit us:
Rethinking Complexity:
Like us on Facebook:</strong>

Please Sign Up for the Alumni - Student Mentoring Program Recently Initiated at Saybrook's College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies


A Saybrook PHS Alumni-Student Mentoring Program that was proposed by the PHS Student Association and the PHS Alumni Association has been approved by the College's Dean and Associate Dean, Drs. Robert Schmitt and Dan Hocoy.

To sign up for the program as a student, contact Student Association leader, Pearlette Ramos

To sign up as an alumni mentor contact the Director of Alumni Relations and Saybrook Alumnus, Dr. George Aiken,, or 415-394-5968

Mentor Roles/Responsibilities

The role of the Alumni Mentor will include the following:
• Serve as coaches to assist students with getting un-stuck (e.g., balancing
competing interests, managing difficult relationships with professors)
• Navigating communications with faculty
• Advising/getting through the essay and dissertation phase
• Serving as a clearinghouse of information (e.g., APA writing style, editing)
• Holding the bigger-picture of the educational process
• Providing career-oriented feedback/guidance
• Helping to get dissertations published
• Complement Saybrook's internal advisement and mentorship programs

The role of the Student Mentee will include the following:
• Actively engaging with the alumni mentor
• Openly communicating with their mentor in order to seek advice, counsel, and resolution
of any known issues
• Attending all scheduled appointments with the mentor

Mentors and mentees will agree to have a minimum of 4 communications (via email, in-person, phone, Skype) during a calendar year.

Alumnus Andrew Bonnici, PhD '78 Releases New Edition of His Newsletter


Aloha to you and your family and friends,

In this newsletter I would like to wish you a blessed and joyful holiday season filled with laughter, gratitude, integrity, honesty, and love.

My teaching for the month of December is below. May it encourage and inspire you to live from the silent wisdoming and still compassion of your core Self in this Only Moment Body.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Peaceful Buddha's Enlightenment. December 25, December 20-28, December 8th

Dr. Bonnici
Shugyo Daijo-roshi


All Rights Reserved
Revised September 22, 2011
Andrew Shugyo Bonnici, Ph.D.

When you sit in meditation do not seek to empty your mind or stop your thoughts. Passing thoughts are just a natural part of being human. Compassionately accept the arising and the passage of your thoughts while resting in your visceral core Self in this Only Moment Body of everyday life.
When you sit down in meditation, know that the arising and passing of thoughts is the present weather of your mind. Sometimes the weather includes many dark drifting clouds, sometimes a few puffy clouds, and sometimes just a blue sky. Sometimes you become the clouds and at other times you see that the drifting clouds are not you. The correct posture of "true meditation" is to drop your heady awareness into your core Self and simply accept your passing thoughts as the ever changing inner weather of your mind. Fewer thoughts are not necessarily a good thing and many thoughts are not necessarily a bad thing. Unconditional acceptance of your mind's weather means before your preferences or ideas of what is good meditation or bad meditation. Just remain ever wakeful and intimate with the original stillness of your core Self and know that true meditation is the practice of ever returning and ever awakening to core Self in this Only Moment Body of enlightened life without felt attainment or gain.

Your sole purpose in just sitting in meditation is to honor the sincerity of your practice, arouse unconditional faith in the wisdoming of the process, and just breathe consciously into your body core with a gentle and intimate tenderness for each breath. Your practice is to consciously breathe in and out, while resting in your core Self one breath at a time. Practice letting your thoughts come and go like drifting clouds. If you wakefully rest in your core Self during one inhalation and one exhalation, this is called complete accomplishment of meditation without regret. If you are taken by your thoughts for a period of time and awaken to felt intimacy with core Self and breath, this is also called complete accomplishment of meditation without regret. Both are equally the true practice of meditation and the precious accomplishment of enlightened life right here and now.

Don't try to willfully concentrate, empty, or focus your mind, just feel the breath as it enters and fills your body, especially in the center of your lower abdomen. Drop your tendency to judge the weather of your mind. Express your true sincerity by continuing to just return to core Self and intimacy with breath even in the midst of passing thoughts. Gently resting in the center of your lower abdomen know that you are effortlessly being core Self in this Only Moment Body of boundless intimacy and enlightened life right here and now.

Receive A Free Meditation Manual with Body Training Photos

Postdoc and Student/Predoc Positions Open at the New England Complex Systems Institute


Postdoc and Student/Predoc Positions

The New England Complex Systems Institute has funding for postdoctoral and predoctoral research stipends and scholarships starting immediately.

Candidates should be interested in contributing to new research topics in our understanding of:

Socio-economic systems relevant to:

The economic crisis,
Conflicts and ethnic violence,
Social networks and media,
International development
Fundamental mathematical advances, such as:

Fundamentals of complex systems
Multiscale representations
Network representations

We are looking for individuals who are willing to expand their research beyond their current areas of research, i.e. PhD work, and who want to apply their quantitative skills especially to the study of complex economic and social systems.

Candidates should have outstanding training in physics, mathematics or computer science / modeling. We are also interested in individuals with very high caliber writing skills, dedicated to thoughtful communication of science.

Applications for both postdoctoral and student researcher positions should be submitted through:

New England Complex Systems Institute
238 Main Street Suite 319
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: 617-547-4100
Fax: 617-661-7711

Faculty Member Ruth Richards Shares Excerpt from New Book



I am so pleased. This excerpt from a book I'm doing just came out officially today from This is what we do at SAYBROOK! ...and I love the comments already there. See below. (There is even an audio version!) Let me share this as a HAPPY HOLIDAYS greeting. May we all see further and more clearly, and find (and help share) the beauty and promise in life.
Thanks for being there.


Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D.
Graduate College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies
Saybrook University, San Francisco, CA, USA
McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School
P.O. Box 7137 Berkeley, CA 94707-0137
Ph (510) 558-8606

Everyday Creativityby Ruth Richards

[Listen to Audio!]

I’m rather good at maps. I’m also good at using a GPS device. But I forgot the maps and here we were, late afternoon, last day of vacation, my daughter my cousin and I, driving along a two-lane highway in midstate Oregon. No other car in sight, and the sun had just gone down. Where was that charming little village? It was supposed to be right along this river. We drove on, farther and farther into the unknown, river always at left as our guide. We kept passing farms and fields and scattered houses and now a few lights were coming out. In my head, I was doing a litany of self-criticism: Why didn’t we start earlier, leave more time, have lunch sooner, save dessert for the little town, bring the map, and on and on and on, a list of all we did wrong -- reliving it as if that could help us now. My cousin and I were both impatient and stressed. My daughter, at least, was happy in the back seat, text messaging a friend. I pull up on the shoulder of the road to think.

Just then -- WOW! Amazing! A new scene had appeared. A new slide projected on a screen. Where did it come from?

Look! LOOK! I insisted. Even my daughter looked up. Right there, out of nowhere: a magical misty landscape. Fields moving off to infinity in muted purples and pastels, fuzzy in the haze, with clusters of tall lush tress, darkening and receding in the dusk. I turned the car engine off. All was silent in the hot summer air. Beside us a plum-colored river barely moved between a border of trees, its dark lazy water reflecting the last light of day.

How breathtaking! This landscape had cast a spell. We sat in the silence of an indrawn breath. Where had it been? If I had seen even a trace of this beauty while driving along, not a neuron had registered it, no mental bell had rung so that the conscious mind could stop and take a look. I had missed it all. We had all missed it.

We miss a lot, almost everything, in fact, in our world. Our task-focused filters take care of that, selecting only what we need. We need to get to work. Have some lunch. Find that report. Water the garden. Go out on a date. We see what we need to see, often for purposes of survival -- or survival of the species. Gregory Bateson, speaking of beauty, said aesthetic judgment is selection of a fact. We create the sight even as we become conscious of it. We do not simply see it. In our daily lives, who or what is doing the selecting? And why? Is this predetermined? Can we -- in the here and now – make a change? Can we see further? Can we see better? Can we even better our world?

Opening our vision is a first step in Everyday Creativity.

--Ruth Richards, in Everyday Creativity

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