Reflections on “The Butterfly Effect: The Art and Performance of Social Transformation”

The Lennon King Wall, part of The Butterfly Effect event

On January 25, 2015, at Saybrook’s Spring Residential Conference for the Schools of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Clinical Psychology, and Organizational Leadership and Transformation, students and faculty put on a community-wide event, “The Butterfly Effect: The Art and Performance of Social Transformation.”

Continue Reading

Saybrook occupies a preeminent role at APA Division 32 conference


How represented is Saybrook at this month's Society for Humanistic Psychology Conference (March 26-29)?  This represented:

  • The conference is being chaired by our Provost, Carol Humphreys
  • The hospitality suite is being organized by one of our faculty, Jason Dias
  • One of the keynote speakers is Theopia Jackson, a member of our faculty

And that doesn't even mention the sessions!

Saybrook faculty and students will be everywhere, talking about some of the most relevant issues in the field.  These include:

Continue Reading

Do psychologists need a stronger code of ethics?


The world of psychology has been shocked – even scandalized – by the ongoing revelations that fully accredited and credentialed psychologists were not only complicit in creating regimens of torture for the government, but actually designed and implemented them. 

The American Psychological Association will be meeting soon to come up with its own response to these issues, but it is clear to many psychologists that the professions standards for ethical behavior and research need a drastic overhaul.

One such psychologist is Marc Pilisuk, a leading peace psychologist and professor in the Transformative Social Change program at Saybrook University.  Pilisuk is the author of "Who Benefits from Global Violence and War."

Pilisuk and two students of the program, Melissa Anderson-Hinn and Gianina Pellegrini, have recently authored a chapter on “Ethical Objectives and Values” in psychological research for the new book “Research Methods in Peace Psychology.” (Published by Springer, now in press).

“Conventional standards for ethical research are important,” Pilisuk’s chapter acknowledges.  “They fail, however, to highlight a potential for harm that may be occurring if we were to examine the broader context of each study.” 

Continue Reading

Meet the new co-chair of Saybrook's School of Clinical Psychology!


Dr. Bonnie Settlage was recently named co-chair of Saybrook's School of Clinical Psychology, allowing long-time chair Shawn Rubin (the editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology) to return to teaching.  

We're thrilled to welcome Dr. Settlage to her new position, and are pleased to introduce her here.

Could you briefly describe your professional/academic history?

I am currently serving as an adjunct faculty and the co-chair of the CP department at Saybrook.  I am a licensed clinical psychologist in California.  I received my BA in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and my MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York (graduated 2006).  In addition to Saybrook, I currently work as a clinical supervisor to clinical psychology doctoral students at the John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro, CA .  From September 2008 to July 2014, I was at the American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt.  Most recently my position was as an Associate Professor of Practice in Psychology and the director of the Psychology Program at AUC.  I also had a private practice in Cairo and served as a clinical supervisor at the African and Middle East Refugee Assistance NGO in Cairo.  Before Egypt, I was a staff psychologist at Napa State Hospital where I worked with severely mentally ill patients with forensic commitments, such as “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” and “Mentally Disordered Offender.”  I have taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and have a wide range of interests in the field.

Continue Reading

The Saybrook community continues to lead at the World Congress of Existential Therapy


Saybrook is widely recognized as perhaps the leader in Existential-Humanistic therapy.  That is going to be concretely demonstrated at the first World Congress of Existential Therapy in London, England - when barely an hour will go by without a presentation from a member of the Saybrook community.  Many of the Saybrook presenters, of course, are already recognized luminaries in the field, like Louis Hoffman, Orah Krug, Kirk Schneider, Paul Wong, Mark Yang, and Xuefu Wang - all of whom are members of the World Congress' Scientific Advisory Board.

Learn more about studying existential psychology at Saybrook University.

Of particularly interest should be the Sunday presentation:  The New Existentialists, a formal presentation from Saybrook's own Existential psychology blog, cementing its status as a venue for discussion among the leading scholars of Existential psychology.

Here's the schedule of Saybrook presenters:

Continue Reading

What does a Humanistic (R)evolution look like?


The Society for Humanistic Psychology (American Psychological Association, Division 32) will have its 8th annual conference March 26-29th in Chicago, Illinois.  The theme of the conference is Humanistic (R)evolution: Innovative Relevance in a Complex World.  The theme recognizes both the complex ways our society is teetering on a precipice and calls for innovative ways and relevant practices to care for others as researchers, clinicans, and social advocates.  This year Saybrook University faculty member, Dr.

Continue Reading

Saybrook long time leader at APA


The recent news that Saybrook facultly, students, and alumni have won significant honors from the American Psychological Association's Division 32 is actually no surprise.  Saybrook has a long history of significant impact on the APA - especially Division 32.  Here's a partial look at some of Saybrook's history with the APA's division on Humanistic Psychology:


  • Lisa Vallejos (Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology Ph.D. student) served as a student representative on the Division 32 Executive Board 2013/2014. 
  • Helena Choi Soholm (Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student) was the student representative on the Executive Board 2012/2013. 
  • Abraham Lopez (Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student) has served on the Division 32 Diversity Task Force since 2012
  • Maria Tahany (Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student) has served on the Division 32 conference planning committee.
  • While a student, Xuefu Wang and his institute, the Zhi Mian Institute, received the Charlotte and Karl Buhler Award in 2013. 
  • A number of Saybrook students have won the Division 32 Sidney Jourard Student paper award.

Continue Reading

Saybrook Students and Faculty in Existential/Humanistic Psychology take honors


This past month has seen members of Saybrook’s community win numerous awards and honors, demonstrating the University’s continued dominance in the fields of Existential and Humanistic psychology.

Ed Medelowitz, a long-time member of Saybrook’s faculty, has been selected to receive the Rollo May Award of the Society for Humanistic Psychology. 

Previous Saybrook winners of this prestigious honor include faculty members Art Bohart (2007);  Kirk Schneider (2004);  and Amadeo Giorgi (2004), among others. 

Meanwhile new faculty member Paul Wong has been selected to receive the prestigious Carl Rogers Award from the Society of Humanistic Psychology (APA Division 32)..  

Continue Reading

In a time of crisis, black psychologists develop new ways to help their communities heal


The psychological impact of the recent killings of young black men by police is devastating to Americans of conscience, but particularly for many members of African-American communities around the country.  How can they cope with the added fear, stress, and sense of persecution these verdicts create?

A new coalition between the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) and the Community Healing Network (CHN) offer an answer.  It’s called “The Emotional Emancipation Circle Movement.”

According to Dr. Theopia Jackson, a professor of clinical psychology at Saybrook University in Oakland, California, and co-chair of the ABPsi’s national Education & Training Committee, the Emotional Emancipation Circle curriculum is a community focused therapeutic effort – one in which members of a community are taught how to heal one another.  Ordinary men and women in Black communities come to facilitated sessions in cities around America.  After receiving counseling and training in how to address the psychological damage caused by what the curriculum calls “the lie of black inferiority,” they leave able to lead sessions in their own communities to support its psychological health.

Continue Reading

Migraine and tension headaches can be treated with biofeedback based behavioral interventions


by Richard Sherman, PhD

About 4 of 5 of people who have tension and migraine headaches which did not start with trauma can reduce their headache frequency, intensity, and duration by an average of about 80% (with many having no remaining headache activity for at least 10 years) by using biofeedback based behavioral interventions.

“Tension” headaches originating from muscles kept too tense for too long anywhere in the head and neck -especially including the jaws. People who have muscle related pain usually cannot tell how tense their painful muscles are as well as people without muscle related pain. The inability to accurately relate actual levels of muscle tension to sensations from the muscles leads to muscles being kept tenser than necessary for longer than necessary given the task at hand. Muscles kept only five percent tenser than necessary for less than a half hour longer than necessary leads to pain which can be sustained for an entire day.

Biofeedback devices record tension in the muscles generating the pain and show those levels to the patient. The patient learns to associate actual levels of tension with sensations from the muscles so muscles are kept appropriately relaxed. Most people learn to recognize their levels of tension and to automatically keep them at appropriate levels. This eliminates or vastly reduces head area pain from this source. People who successfully learn this skill and apply it eliminate or vastly reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of their tension headaches.

Continue Reading