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.


Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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:

Continue Reading

School of Mind-Body Medicine Cultural Anthropologist Spends 35 Years in Asia: Introducing David Blake Willis, PhD

David Blake Willis


David Willis began teaching at the School of Mind Body Medicine in 2010 with courses in Qualitative Methods and the Challenges of Midlife to Elderhood, following that with mentoring new graduate students.  He is currently transitioning from his role of mentoring to working with students throughout their dissertation process, from Concept to Proposal to final Dissertation. Doctoral students are sure to benefit from his diverse perspective as a Cultural Anthropologist and 37 years of mentoring students in an academic environment. 

Continue Reading

School of MBM Student Completes Research on Jaguar Medicine, A Shamanic Healing Approach: Introducing Vera Moura

Vera Moura, MD


Vera Lucia de Souza Moura, MD, is a Brazilian psychiatrist/psychoanalyst with two decades of clinical practice in Brazil prior to immigrating to the United States in the 1990’s. In the United States she worked for ten years at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and then joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, as a research instructor and, more recently, as an adjunct instructor.  She completed the Mind-Body Skills Group training of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and since 2001 has facilitated Mind-Body Skills Groups for health care professionals, health professional students, women with a history of abuse, and healthy people as well as those with chronic diseases. Over the years, Vera has studied ancient healing methods derived from indigenous cultures such as Andean (Kichwa), African, Afro-Brazilian, and Native American. She completed Michael Harner’s three year program in advanced shamanism, and served as an apprentice of a Kichwa Taita Iachak (shaman) from the Andes of Ecuador for ten years.  In September 2012 she completed her master’s degree in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University in California. In her private practice she facilitates mind-body skills groups, offers counseling in mind-body medicine and shamanic healing, as well as health and wellness coaching, to individual, clients, and groups.

Continue Reading

Walking the scientific tightrope


A new article on the Huffington Post by Saybrook President Mark Schulman looks at new studies showing the efficacy of acupuncture - and asks why there was such hostility among mainstream medicine to even conducting such experiments.

The problem, Schulman says, is that a legitimate demand for rigorous proof is often taken to the next step - hostility towards anything that doesn't fit our dominant paradigm about what is and isn't legitimate, even when experiments are conducted rigorously.

"This is a problem the scholars at Saybrook University know well," Shulman writes:

Continue Reading

Empowering marginalized women through digital storytelling


In a blog post on the website, German researcher Sigrid Kannengießer describes how digital storytelling provides a powerful way of using information and communication technologies to empower marginalized women. Digital stories are produced and distributed by digital media. In digital storytelling workshops, marginalized women and women’s rights activists develop a forum to tell their stories and share their experiences by producing short films about themselves.

Continue Reading

School of MBM Faculty Members Attend International Hypnosis Meeting in Germany: Donald Moss and Eric Willmarth

Statue of the Bremen Town Musicians


Two faculty members from Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine are attending the meeting of the International Society of Hypnosis (ISH) in Bremen, Germany, October 17-21.   Bremen is known to tourists as the site of the well-known fairy tale about the Bremen Town Musicians, made famous by the Brothers Grimm.

Continue Reading

“The Brain that Changes Itself:” Norman Doidge Attends Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis

Eric Willmarth, Norman Doidge, and Donald Moss


Neuroplasticity is the relatively new concept of the human brain, which highlights the capacity of the brain to recover after injury through organizing new functional pathways, and in part by actually growing new cells and regenerating nerves.
The attached photo shows Norman Doidge with two Saybrook University faculty members, Donald Moss and Eric Willmarth, attending the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH) meeting in Toronto, Ontario on October 13, 2012.

Continue Reading

October issue of Peace Journalist available as free download


The October, 2012 edition of The Peace Journalist is now available for free download. The Peace Journalist is a semi-annual publication of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. The Peace Journalist is dedicated to disseminating news and information for and about teachers, students, and practitioners of peace and conflict sensitive journalism. The October issue contains an article by Jake Lynch entitled, "Peace journalism works."

Continue Reading

Recent MBM Grad Addresses Compassion Fatigue: Practical Applications for Nursing Professionals. Introducing Betsy Murphy

Betsy Murphy, Alone and Teaching a Class of Seniors

Nurses are on the front line of care for the ill, wounded, and traumatized individuals and are called upon to deliver compassionate care to their clients. Empathy and compassion are essential qualities for successful healing environments, vital for both the providers and receivers of health-promoting interactions.

Betsy Murphy is a certified holistic nurse who is interested in exploring mind body methods to help preserve compassion in nurses.  Her professional and personal practice of mindfulness meditation and yoga, along with Saybrook’s training in mind-body skills, guided her in the development of a 16-hour experiential education program to alleviate compassion fatigue in nursing professionals. This education program comprised her masters’ project, and she graduated with an MS in Mind-Body Medicine in August 2012.

Continue Reading

Lessons well learnt – New guide promotes global human rights education


Amnesty International has launched a new resource in connection with the Human Rights Friendly Schools project. Adopting a whole-school approach, the Human Rights Friendly Schools project aims to empower young people and promote the active participation of all members of the school community to integrate human rights values and principles into key areas of school life. Developed by Amnesty International within the context of the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education, the Human Rights Friendly Schools project builds on and complements existing local and national initiatives undertaken in recent years.

Continue Reading

Announcing the Global Peacebuilding Center at the US Institute of Peace

The Global Peacebuilding Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a new initiative that offers a range of resources for educators – including a Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators and other lessons and activities to help bring peacebuilding themes and concepts into the classroom. When the United States Institute of Peace was created by Congress in 1984, education was at the core of its mandate. Since that time, the Institute’s education and training work has helped shape the field of professional peacebuilding, and now this work is being extended to reach younger audiences through the Global Peacebuilding Center.

Continue Reading

From Pharmaceutical Sales to Academic Mentoring and Research: Introducing MBM Director of Mentoring Devorah Curtis

MBM Director of Mentoring, Devorah Curtis, PhD



Devorah Curtis, PhD, is the Director of Mentoring for the College of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University, a unique position that aims to enrich student satisfaction and improve student retention by pairing students with a mentor from the time they start the program through graduation day. 

Continue Reading

MBM Faculty Members Attend Hypnosis Meeting in Toronto: Donald Moss and Eric Willmarth

Drs. Moss and Willmarth Accompanied by Spouses


Two faculty members from Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine will attend the annual meeting of The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH) in Toronto, October 10-14.   SCEH is a national organization of mental health and health professionals dedicated to the highest level of scientific inquiry and the conscientious application of hypnosis in the clinical setting.  

Continue Reading

Social justice resource - The Change Agent


The Change Agent provides cutting edge resources for teaching social issues, powerful student writing that inspires discussion, and many ready-to-use lesson plans, all oriented toward a multi-level audience. The Change Agent is a biannual magazine for adult educators and learners published since 1994 by the New England Literacy Resource Center at World Education. It was conceived as a tool to educate and mobilize teachers and learners to apply advocacy skills in response to impending federal funding cutbacks for adult education. Members of the Saybrook community may be interested in contributing material for publication, including articles, interviews, or lesson plan activities.

Continue Reading

Organizations Promoting Mind-Body Medicine: Introduction to the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe and its September 2012 Conference in Rzeszow, Poland

Photos at BFE Conference in Poland, September 2012


The Biofeedback Federation of Europe (BFE) is a non-profit organization sponsoring a conference in Europe once each calendar year, promoting self-regulation oriented therapies, biofeedback, neurofeedback, and related therapies.  The BFE sponsors an online journal, Psychophysiology Today, and regular webinars providing professional education in biofeedback and neurofeedback.  The website for the BFE is

Continue Reading

64-day human rights awareness campaign launched for 64th anniversary of Universal Declaration

The US Network for Human Rights (USHRN) is launching the 64 Day Campaignto raise awareness of domestic human rights issues starting 64 days before international human rights day. Each day, from October 8th leading up to December 10th, they will highlight the mission and work of 64 member and partner organizations that work tirelessly to defend human rights.

Continue Reading

World Mental Health Week and the International Network of Integrative Mental Health

The INIMH Logo


October 7-13, 2012 is World Mental Health Week.  The aim of World Mental Health Week is to educate and increase awareness about mental illness and mental health needs worldwide.  This year’s World Mental health Week is a good time to consider lending your personal and professional time and energies to promoting integrative mental health care world-wide.  Consider joining the International Network for Integrative Mental Health (INIMH).

Continue Reading