Mind-Body Medicine


Kirwan Rockefeller on Imagery: Don't Dismiss the First Thoughts that Come to Your Mind as Silly or Impossible.

Nurture those Seedlings


Kirwan Rockefeller, Ph.D., WIA/TAA Academic Advisor at the University of California, Irvine Extension, is the author of “Visualize Confidence: How to Use Guided Imagery to Overcome Self-Doubt,” and is the co-editor of “Psychology, Spirituality and Healthcare,” Volume 2 of the 3-volume series, “Whole Person Healthcare.”  Dr. Rockefeller will be providing a series of blogs on utilizing the imagination for personal transformation.

As Oprah says, "Even the wildest dreams have to start someplace.  Allow yourself the time and space to let your mind wander and your imagination fly.  You must be a believer before you can be an achiever."  

Continue Reading

Saybrook Instructor Elena Gillespie, PhD, Publishes The Anatomy of Death, a Book on Transpersonal Experiences of Death and Dying

Dr. Elena Gillespie


Dr. Elena Gillespie, researcher and faculty member with Saybrook University, has trained with a psychic-shaman in Michigan for many years, and is a certified Medium in the Spiritualist Church, in addition to being a Reiki master since 1988.  She had a private practice in Michigan, focusing primarily on working with patients with cancer, and in palliative care, when some of those patients were close to transition into death.  Dr. Gillespie’s dissertation was a phenomenological-hermeneutic analysis of her transpersonal experiences with these subjects.  Her book is based on her dissertation called The Anatomy of Death: Notes From a Healer’s Casebook.  

Continue Reading

Kirwan Rockefeller, in Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine, on Learning to Quiet the Inner Critic

The Wicked Witch of the West


Blog # 2 on the Power of the Creative Imagination.  

Learn to quiet the Inner Critic.  Yes, you know that inner voice very well – that nagging voice that tells you you’re not enough, you’re too old, too young, too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, you're male or you're female, or plain and simple "Who do you think you are?!"  You can’t ______ ...."   

The Inner Critic usually develops in our childhood, originally as a protective mechanism.   The I.C. starts out wanting to make sure we look both ways before crossing the street, or not touching a hot stove.   And, let me be absolutely clear about this:  I'm not blaming Mom or Dad.   The I.C. can come from anyplace; being horrible at kickball on the playground, feeling vulnerable, scared, frightened, or not up to snuff according to society, organized religion, or any authority figure that terrorize our tender minds.  Sadly, at some point the I.C. spirals out of control and we give up.  Kaput. A wet blanket smothers the fire in our bellies.  And as we believe the I.C. is telling us the truth, we sink further into the bottom of an ice cream container at 2 AM.   

Continue Reading

Saybrook Instructor Dr. Lynne Shaner Publishes Article on Meditation in Journal of Humanistic Psychology

Dr. Lynne Shaner


When she began to think about what to research for her dissertation, Lynne Shaner, PhD, wanted to study human transformation.  According to her dissertation chair the topic was too big and too vague. Still, it was a starting point. As she continued to think about what she felt mattered most to her, in terms of integrative practices and human transformation, she kept coming back to the topic of meditation. “It is such a foundational technique, and it is so transformative. I am a long-term meditator myself, so I know this personally. I also figured that not only was the topic important, but that there would be a lot of research that I could sift through and build upon,” said Dr. Shaner recently, as she discussed the recent publication of ”Calm Abiding: the Lived Experience of the Practice of Long-Term Meditation.”  It was published online in July by the Journal of Humanistic Psychology..

Continue Reading

Saybrook Instructor Dr. Donna Rockwell Addresses Conference, “Mindfulness and Compassion: The Art and Science of Contemplative Practice”

Donna Rockwell, PsyD


Mindfulness and Compassion: The Art and Science of Contemplative Practice, a conference held at San Francisco State University from June 3-7, 2015, brought together leading scholars, contemplative teachers, and neuroscientists to discuss the intersection of science and Buddhism, and the role of compassion in wellness.

Donna Rockwell, PsyD, Saybrook adjunct faculty member, and co-teacher (with John A. Patterson, MD) of Mindfulness, Meditation and Health in the School of Mind-Body Medicine, and Mindfulness and Spirituality in Clinical Practice in the School of Clinical Psychology attended the conference, presenting her research findings on the role mindfulness training can play in the education of clinical psychologists. Her presentation: If I Only Had the Nerve: Mindfulness and Courage in Psychotherapy: Implications and Applications, was featured in the session: Engagement with Mindfulness Interventions.

Continue Reading

Kirwan Rockefeller, in Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine, Introduces the Power of the Creative Imagination

:  "Do you believe you can or you can't   Every action begins first with an imag


“Visualize Confidence: How to Use Guided Imagery to Overcome Self-Doubt”

Kirwan Rockefeller, Ph.D., WIA/TAA Academic Advisor at the University of California, Irvine Extension, is the author of “Visualize Confidence: How to Use Guided Imagery to Overcome Self-Doubt,” and is the co-editor of “Psychology, Spirituality and Healthcare,” Volume 2 of the 3-volume series, “Whole Person Healthcare.”  He is the former editor of The California Psychologist (2007-2012).  Dr. Rockefeller received his PhD from Saybrook University (where he is adjunct faculty); his M.P.A. from the University of Washington, and his B.A. from the University of Richmond, Virginia. He has a Level I Certification from the Academy of Guided Imagery.   www.kirwanrockefellerphd.com   Dr. Rockefeller will be providing a series of blogs on utilizing the imagination for personal transformation.

Perhaps you’ve heard the old phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  Have you ever remodeled a room?  Planned a vacation?  Have you ever applied for a new job, asked the boss for a raise, prepared to make a speech in public, or worried about a difficult conversation in the future?  Any activity that requires you to plan ahead all begins with a picture in your mind, or an image.  

Continue Reading

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 Francisco

Tamami Shirai


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. 

Continue Reading

Saybrook’s Jim Cahill on Training Attention For Performance and Wellness

Jim Cahill

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.

Continue Reading

Saybrook University Researcher and Instructor, Luann Fortune, Presents Qualitative Research on Medicalized Aging

Luann Fortune, PhD, Saybrook University


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.

Continue Reading

Erik Peper and Stephen Porges Propose a Physiological Basis for Paralysis as Reaction to Date Rape

Erik Peper (left) and Stephen Porges


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.

Continue Reading