Saybrook University


The key to civic engagement: to thine own self be true


If you need a reason to get involved in your community, there are dozens. 

Studies show that people who are civically engaged tend to be healthier and happier and feel a greater sense of purpose and connection to their community.

Communities where people are engaged tend to be more resilient, prosperous, and safe – not to mention democratic. 

So why do so few people get involved?

There is good news:  a recent article in Miller-McCune notes that some local governments have recently seen strong results from programs designed to foster civic engagement. Even so, levels of participation in civic organizations and community groups … let alone just doing good for one’s neighbors … appears to be at an all time low.  Can this trend be turned around?

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A new website for a new University


The new Saybrook University website launched this week, and with it a single sign on process for:

• The password protected side of the website
• Student Gmail.

Extension of the single sign on process to MyLearning is anticipated to be completed shortly thereafter.
The primary Saybrook URL address, has not changed. However, any URL addresses to specific pages on the old Saybrook Graduate School and LIOS websites will no longer work because the new website employs a new technology platform and the organization and presentation of website content has changed substantially.
Feel free to send feedback on the new site to

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Save the date - come celebrate with us


We’ve come a long way:  Join us at a party to honor and celebrate the new Saybrook University on Friday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m., during the Graduate College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies Residential Conference, in the main ballroom at the Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel. 

Dessert and Champagne will be served, and there will be music and dancing until 11.

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What does the Earth Friendly Food Chain mean to you?


Save the date:  Saybrook Graduate College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies adjunct faculty member Linda Riebel will be speaking at the Say Francisco Public Library about her new book The Earth Friendly Food Chain.

A look at the dangers of the industrial food system and the exciting world of healthy, sustainable food, The Earth-Friendly Food Chain describes five key decisions readers can make to protect the earth and their own health. 

The presentation is free and open to the public.

What:  Linda Riebel, discussing The Earth Friendly Food Chain
When:  Tuesday, December 15, at 6 pm.
Where:  San Francisco Public Library (main), 100 Larkin Street at Grove Street (near Civic Center BART).

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Feeback time: it's your Forum, have your say!


It’s a time of transition and expansion at Saybrook University, and the Saybrook University Forum is no exception:  by this time next month, we’ll have undertaken a redesign including a new look and new sections. 

That’s only the beginning:  we intend to just keep getting better.  Long term, expect new ways of organizing content, more frequent articles, and in-depth looks at subjects that members of the Saybrook community are passionate about.

But before we start, we’d like to get your input:  What kind of content would you like to see represented here?  What subjects would you like us to cover?  Are there any new features you’d like to see? 
How can we make the Forum better for you? 

Let us know by emailing

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Discuss "What Matters Most" with James Hollis and Donald Moss


How do we live fulfilling lives? What is most important for spiritual, mental, and physical well being? 

Begin the new year with perspectives on these vital and intriguing questions with: James Hollis, PhD, noted Jungian analyst and author, and Donald Moss, PhD, existential health psychologist and Mind-Body Medicine scholar.

Jim Hollis, Director of Saybrook University’s Jungian Studies program, will speak on themes from his latest book, What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life. Its premise: “We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add to our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being.”

Don Moss, Chair of Saybrook’s Mind-Body Medicine program and editor of Handbook of Mind Body Medicine for Primary Care, will reflect upon what matters most with the perspective of his work in psychology and integrative health.  His current book in process, Pathways to Illness, Pathways to Health, explores the relationship between losing one’s path in life and the development of illness.

Join us after the presentation and learn about our graduate programs in Jungian Studies (with residential options in San Francisco and Houston) and Mind-Body Medicine.

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The philosopher and the Nazi


Martin Heidegger is sometimes thought to be one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century – and a critical figure in the foundation of existentialism. 

He was also a Nazi.

For decades, his defenders have contended that he was a major philosopher, but only a minor Nazi – a member of the party for only a year, and an unwilling accomplice. 

But what if that isn’t true? 

Several new publications, some with new evidence, are suggesting that Heidegger was a more enthusiastic Nazi than he ever admitted, and his defenders ever knew. 

But more than Heidegger the person, they’re suggesting that Heidegger the philosopher is also suspect.

“Drawing on new evidence, the author, Emmanuel Faye, argues fascist and racist ideas are so woven into the fabric of Heidegger’s theories that they no longer deserve to be called philosophy,” Patricia Cohen writes in the New York Times.  “As a result Mr. Faye declares, Heidegger’s works and the many fields built on them need to be re-examined lest they spread sinister ideas as dangerous to modern thought as ‘the Nazi movement was to the physical existence of the exterminated peoples.”’

Intellectually speaking, those are fighting words – and the issue is one with which some Saybrook community members, as students and practitioners of existential psychology, are grappling.

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War is harder on soldiers who kill


Soldiers are no less human for wearing a uniform, and so perhaps it’s not surprising that new research shows that soldiers who kill tend to have far more difficult lives than soldiers who don’t. 

That’s the conclusion of a new report produced on Vietnam Veterans by UC San Francisco and the VA Medical center.  Even compared to other combat veterans, soldiers who killed (or think they killed) are more likely to suffer long-term from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, violent behavior, and other psychological problems. 

To Stanley Krippner, a psychology faculty member at Saybrook and co-author of the book Haunted by Combat, this isn’t a surprise:  treating traumatic situation in a “one-size fits all” kind of way will never account for the unique experiences each soldier takes back with them from battle.  However you slice it, killing someone is not like being shot at - no two experiences are the same.

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Japan and San Francisco - the existential connection


 Yes, Europe played a role, but to Kingo Matsuda America is the “origin of psychotherapy” – especially person-centered therapy.

That’s why Kingo, the Director of the Overseas Department for the Academy of Counselors Japan, was at Saybrook this month with 15 students.  Together they went through training in humanistic and existential therapy provided by leading experts on the Saybrook faculty, including Kirk Schneider and Charles Cannady. 

Since 2004 Saybrook has worked with the Academy of Counselors Japan to give its students, who will upon graduation be front line therapists and counselors in that country, a strong grounding in existential-humanistic approaches

Saybrook, Kingo says, has that expertise – although ironically person-centered approaches to therapy may be more popular in Japan than in the U.S..

“Person-centered is very popular in Japan,” says Kingo.  “However, they have never had anything like existential therapy or gestalt therapy.  So they can expand their knowledge here, and bring it back to Japan and as a counselor their insight is expanded.  They can expand their insight.”

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The advantage of unprocessed foods


Nutrition is an often overlooked component of mind-body medicine – it doesn’t have the glitz of hypnosis or the hipness of biofeedback.  But it’s basic:  what you decide to put in your body today has a major impact on your health tomorrow. 

Just ask Beverly Rubik.  A faculty member of Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine and the Director of the Institute for Frontier Science, Rubik is frequently called upon to perform evaluations of health products or regimens, and has recently completed a study on the impact of processed foods on health. 
Two words:  not good.

In a recent study of the impact of processed foods, Rubik compared fresh blood samples (taken under optimal fasting conditions) of subjects who eat processed foods (including organic) with subjects who do not (in this case, followers of the Weston A. Price diet) for at least two years.  The subjects were all healthy adults from 25 to 81 years old, matched for age. 

Using a microscopic technique known as dark-field live blood analysis, she observed that the blood cells of those on the Weston A Price diet aggregated and clotted much less than the blood cells of those on conventional modern diets, even hours after the blood samples were drawn.  

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