A Hero’s Journey – From Resistance to Acceptance. Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Embracing diversity and imparting knowledge and skills that empower people to live together in peace within multicultural communities are core values for Sofia University. In this regard, among others, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an amazing role model. On January 15th, the nation honored his courage and vision.

This post celebrates Dr. King from the perspective of the hero’s journey. Following the hero’s journey in Sofia University’s Global Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology is a staple in the core curriculum, helping students to recognize the cyclical nature of life, and to acknowledge all stages of growth and self development.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. : Social Activist and Influential Change Maker

We have no alternative but to protest. For many years we have shown an amazing patience. We have sometimes given our white brothers the feeling that we liked the way we were being treated. But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._Montgomery_arrest_1958.jpg

1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has left such a strong legacy in this country that America has set aside a day in his honor to recognize his achievements. Many people know little about his background, but his journey toward greatness was fraught with the same internal conflicts that anyone on the Hero’s Journey must confront. Cultural, social and parental influences strongly shaped King’s early childhood.

The Home Environment

Dr. King’s father was a minister, who himself was raised in a culture of ministry. King’s father grew up in a life seeped in racism and he chose a life of social activism to fight against it. His strong belief that racism, as well as a sense of racial superiority, was against God’s will shaped King Jr.’s upbringing. King Jr was clearly academically advanced, skipping both 9th and 11th grade to enroll in Morehouse College at age 15.

A Conflicted Life – Refusing the Calling

Not everything was great in King Jr.’s life.

  • At age 12, young Martin jumped from a second story window at the family home, allegedly attempting suicide when he missed being at the bedside of his grandmother when she died.
  • Despite his father’s hopes, King Jr. spent his first two years at Morehouse College unmotivated and continued questioning religion in general as well as overt religious displays.
  • Rebelling against conservative values, King Jr. played pool (considered an unseemly activity), drank beer through most of his college years, and entered into a relationship with a white woman that was more than controversial.

The Awakening, the Mentor and Crossing Over 

In Dr. King’s junior year at Morehouse, he took a Bible class and was soon spiritually awakened (despite being baptized at an early age). Finding his life path, King Jr. began to thrive.

  • In 1948, he attended the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania and thrived. He was elected student body president, earned a graduate fellowship and was chosen valedictorian of his class in 1951.
  • Finding a spiritual mentor under the guidance of Morehouse College President Benjamin E. Mays, an outspoken advocate for racial equality, King was encouraged to view Christianity as a potential force for social change.

Moving Humanity Forward – Finding the Approach & Living the Challenge

 

Rosaparks.jpgMartin Luther King Jr.’s rise to prominence began with the arrest of Rosa Parks (pictured) in December, 1955. The head of the NAACP, E.D. Nixon, chose Dr. King to lead a citywide bus boycott. With youth and strong family connections, Dr. King had strong credibility within the black community. After 382 days of intimidation, violence and refusing to board the buses, the financial losses finally made the city of Montgomery lift the law mandating segregated public transportation.

This success led civil rights leaders to create an organization that would coordinate efforts nationwide. In 1957, Dr. King, Ralph Abernathy and over 60 activists and ministers created the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

Gandhi and  JFK – Allies of Non Violence

sit-in.jpgInspired by Gandhi’s success with non-violence, in 1959 Dr. King organized a trip to India which encouraged him to increase his commitment to non-violent actions within the civil rights movement. When he returned, he became co-pastor with his father at the family church while continuing his civil rights efforts.

In 1960 at a lunch counter sit-in, Dr. King and others were arrested when they continued to sit at the counter after being refused service and told to leave. The mayor of the city of Atlanta where the sit-in took place, recognized that with Dr. King’s national notoriety, the city would suffer and so he released.everyone. But Dr. King would be imprisoned not long after that for a simple traffic violation. It was then when presidential nominee, John F Kennedy interceded, and political pressure soon got Dr. King’s release.

The Dream – Having a Vision

usmc-09611

On August 28. 1963, Dr. King gave his most recognized speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His “dream” consisted of more than a vision, but a request of a nation to honor their words.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice… But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir… Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.

What did Dr. King envision? Among many of his statements, this is the most famous.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

Revising the Vision – Tests and Enemies

Although Dr. King’s movement was becoming more popular, and had now expanded to Chicago and Los Angeles, young black leaders increasingly began to challenge his methods. Dr. King, ever vigilant, decided to expand the vision of civil rights to not only the Vietnam War but to issues of poverty. His hope was to broaden his base to include all disadvantaged and unemployed people of all races.

The Dream is Questioned – Reaching the Inner Most Cave of Doubt

No matter how brave, strong or supported we may be on our journeys, as humans we all become weary. This was no different with Dr. King. After so many years of energetic and passionate dispute and confrontations, Dr. King began to get discouraged as to whether civil rights were possible.

I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” April 3, 1968 speech

The Ordeal – A Dream Never Dies – A Hero is Reborn

mlk-by-bstangland.jpgThe day after Dr. King gave his prophetic speech about never reaching the promised land, he was shot while standing on a balcony at his hotel by James Earl Ray. Dr. King’s death left a lasting impression, as seen by riots and demonstrations across the nation, but also further into history. Since that time, he has been honored, not only with streets and schools named after him,but with a national holiday.

 

References

Martin Luther King Jr. Biography http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086

The Hero’s Journey http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero’s_journey.htm

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Degree Programs, Sofia Spirit

A Transpersonal Evolution and Awakening – Maria’s Story

202163-334076-1_120x150.jpgI was fortunate to teach Transpersonal Entrepreneurial Skills fall quarter, 2016. In this hybrid course, I hoped to inspire students who are not used to transpersonal studies, to personally evolve and awaken to the transpersonal in all aspects of life. Maria exemplifies such a journey, poignantly evident in two of her final class writings–the last journal entry, and the last of three “evolution” papers.

English is Maria’s second language. We decided not to edit her writing except an insignificant spellcheck. But we changed “briefing” to its intended word, “breathing.” I mention this because “briefing” is, in fact, metaphorically apropos, and we can also interpret it transpersonally.

Similarly, when Maria writes “. . . my body in the same proportion experiences the various sensations and is organized to transform* itself with the leaves that are released from trees. . . .” nicely uses structure to symbolize the process of evolution, albeit cyclical, in both self and nature (Fall, rather than the start of ending, as some poets symbolize it, is another beginning for Maria)–some words inadvertently have dual meaning, but relevantly so.

Goolrukh Vakil, Marriage & Family Therapist, PhD, MA, LMFT, MS

[*In psychotherapy, a good theory–which informs the processing of personal material in session–has structure. A structural change in the client can be symbolic of evolution and healing yet, the change remains in proportion to the client’s essence such that she can remain authentic in processing anew, life’s events].

Maria and Her Children – “The best meditation that I have had”

Dharma_Primary_School_-_Children_Meditating_2015.jpg

I asked my kids what is Meditation? They answered it with a big and sweet smile:

  • “Is when you sit in silence and fill your heart with love,”
  • “Is when you put your favorite teddy bear in your belly and starting breathing to see all the movements that he makes,”
  • “Help us to thing better”,
  • “We are behavior better after listen to maestro music and breathing very deep”

After hearing my kids voices I asked them to joy me in my silent moment.They did, with their feet firmly on the ground and keeping their back erect sitting in the floor with me with their hands in the lap, “towards the sky”. They closed their eyes and gently they started breathing.Before opening their eyes I told them to image a good feeling embracing them and what color it would be–they said in common agreement that was the rainbow, “because the rainbow is the happiness color.”

Was a very brief meditation however, my little ones understand the basic and the most important thing is to allow them to feel what they feel. This experience was the best meditation that I have had, to image the rainbow of my “jewels” with the biggest and happy faces; embracing myself was a very nice feeling.

Autumn and Me: Recycling and Transpersonal Transformation with Autumn

Autumn gives us magic in the colors of its leaves. The eyes capture the changes in color, the magic of the tones. The scent that spreads in the air and the thermal sensation that touches our surface, awakens our senses. Thus my body in the same proportion experiences the various sensations and is organized to transform itself with the leaves that are released from trees that I have not planted.

boy-713169_960_720.jpgI give myself as I walk on a dazzling carpet of leaves that fall to renew, and to my gaze nature is bound to offer me a spectacle of colors. Blue sky and brushstrokes of yellows, oranges and reds take my horizon and deep green hills there highlight the vivid hues of these raw colors. I will still hunt for the colors of autumn. This landscape that grabs, envelops and awakens my eyes represents the essence of this passage. The clear sky favors the colors that get lush. The days gradually get shorter and the nights come back to have the same duration of the days, the temperature also remodels.

The arrival of autumn is also to remember who brought it, spring and summer and understand why they change color.With the shorter days, longer nights the trees recognize the lesser amount of light they receive and restructure. The trees get ready for winter. They send less nutrients and water to the leaves. Each leaf builds a protective layer at the base of its stem to block receipt of any tree supply. The predominant green leaves by its chlorophyll, due to lack of nutrients give space for the new pigments to appear. Individually each leaf is transformed. At different times the remaining shades of green merge into yellows, reds and oranges. These are accentuated and soon, one sheet at a time in the completeness of its cycle and rhythm, comes off.

In this beautiful process of losing their leaves, the trees eliminate the toxins left by the leaves and are ready to nourish themselves during the next season. In this impressive process of metamorphosis the soil feeds on the decomposition of this rich organic material. What make this cycle of nutrition, protection, preparation, transformation to be so perfect?

 

ITP-logo_large.pngThe Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University offers courses in both clinical and non-clinical psychology at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels. Transpersonal psychologists work across disciplines and draw on insights from not only the various areas of psychology, but also the sciences of cognition, consciousness, and the paranormal; philosophy; social and cultural theory; integral health theories and practices; poetry, literature, and the arts; and, the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Degree Programs, The Transpersonal

Sophie’s Story – Saying Yes to Spirit and Becoming a Spiritual Entrepreneur

 

Sophie F.JPGSophie Skover Frabotta is an alumna who received her degree from the Sofia University Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology Global program with a specialization in Spiritual Psychology.

Through her education at Sofia, she realized that she had the gift of sacred remembrance and is devoted to sharing that with her community. Whether it is helping one remember the lost parts of their truth and one’s connection to source,  or how to release the past, embrace the future, experience joy in the moment, work towards their vision, and have healthy relationships,she believes all that she is doing is helping them access that sacred truth that sits deep within their being.

Her Background. Sophie arrived at Sofia with an undergraduate degree in psychology. She had been a practicing Life Coach for the past 6 years and running her own business, but began to feel like her practice was running a little flat. She started looking at Master’s programs, but didn’t want anything that was traditional. And that is when she found Sofia, or as she likes to say “heard the call from Sofia.”

Clarity of Spirit.”Sofia changed my life and connected me back to who I really was. Sofia awakened me. From the very first seminar I had a lot of fear that started to unravel.  I had to dig through the depths of my soul and deal with it to a point where I was able to transmute the energy and move into a new space.

In my second year I took this class, Entrepreneurial Spirit and my world was flipped upside-down. At that point, I was thinking [my business ]Awaken was going to be a spiritual center that needed substantial funding in order to happen. In that class, I ended up creating a 50-page business plan. I worked nights, weekends, and poured my soul into this project. It was intense and challenging on deep levels. After seeking funding, and going through the process of presenting my idea and meeting with potential investors, my idea of Awaken the Spiritual Development Center began to shift.  I began to see that I already had momentum in my coaching business and could use a much smaller investment to re-brand and grow what I had already created. I felt that the class truly unlocked the spiritual entrepreneur in me, and that space of driving spiritual transformation into commerce was born.

It was probably the most difficult 10 weeks academically I’ve ever been through. It was rather like boot camp; you’re happy when it’s over; I really got stronger during that, but through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.”

team-building-1381084_960_720.jpgA Supportive Tribe. Sophie found that the faculty at Sofia was transformational in itself and that she felt safe academically and spiritually, at the same time “Most teachers carried this similar vibe of holding of space for the students to really search and express the true self. I found this experience to be so soft and kind.  I just really felt that I could just be myself and I was going to be loved, supported and encouraged no matter what.” .In addition to classes and teachers, she loved the seminars, her fellow students , and cherishes the friendships she made.

And Then This Happened.  “I had this whole experience during my master’s program. I was saying yes; yes to spirit, yes to my purpose, yes to whatever wanted to come through me, and yes to whatever I needed to do in the world. This practice opened up a funnel and all this energy began to flow, creating an improved version of my Life’s work.

A Career Worth Loving.  Sophie has had her coaching business for the past 8 years. Near the end of her master’s program she began to feel that her company was in need of an awakening, a make-over, itself. She began rebranding, and Awaken was born. Awaken, however came with a much bigger presence than her former company.  Mid-way through her re-branding she realized that she was building a lifestyle brand that focused on transformation in three areas: life coaching, meditation and crystal education.

My intention is to bring spirituality into the business world and to integrate transpersonal awareness while creating beneficial business.”

Sophie GMATP.JPGSophie describes herself as a Spiritual Entrepreneur and says, “I believe it means you believe in commerce and  want to be a profitable, abundant person. However, you have this intense amount of spirituality rushing through your veins. This makes it very important to be in tune with what you are doing, which also creates profit and can support the lifestyle you desire to live. What I’m working on in my own life is blending the two, finding the best of both worlds. I have a lot of dreams, a lot of things in this world that I want to experience, and I know it takes money to get there. I also know that I have some spiritual gifts that can help people transform their lives. So Spiritual Entrepreneur means to me that I’m blending my gifts with the ability to create financial abundance.” Sophie wrote her final paper for her MATP masters program on Being a Spiritual Entrepreneur in Modern Business Society, and defines spiritual entrepreneur below.

Spiritual Entrepreneur (n.): (a) one approaching commerce with a divine alignment first of all and innovatively identifying needs and finding solutions that create profit and make a meaningful difference in the world; (b) one pursuing morally sustainable commerce, providing the consumer with a meaningful resource, while making a profit;

(c) one creating business with an outer force and an inner force that are in balance; (d) one with a practice of opening to the divine flow, thinking outside of the box, finding a community need and fulfilling it, welcoming things already happening instead of always making things happen, and acting with inspiration as soon as the download is complete; Synonyms: Spiritual Leader, Spiritual Trailblazer, Beneficial Business Pursuer, Conscious Commerce Practitioner.

Sophie wants to experience everything. “Part of embodying the spiritual entrepreneur is being in tune with two very opposing ideas, and blending them together in a way that is innovative. I don’t feel like they’re opposing, but when I talk about it with others, sometimes I’m met with a little bit of confusion.”

Building A Life Worth Living

I think that one component that I offer clients, is that I believe in them. They may have forgotten what they are capable of, but I know it. I hold that space for them naturally and help them remember their greatness.” 

Sophie currently works with clients, teaches meditation, holds local and virtual workshops and designs and makes crystal jewelry, which she sells online. “I have this gift of hearing things that are said underneath words. I’m very word sensitive and when I work with people and I hear what they are saying, there are specific words that pop out and I can usually go deeper into what needs to heal. I then help them to release whatever is blocking them from their inner alignment and what they truly want.”

“What my true credentials are and what they will always be is that I do the inner work. I live the work; I am dedicated to the work. So the spaces that I’m able to travel to with my clients are because I’ve been there myself. I know what it looks like to be bulimic, depressed, anxious, suicidal, 70 pounds heavier, and so on. Darkness is darkness, but the light can save us all. I understand that those spaces of darkness in the soul can heal, and find it natural to go there and bring the light.”

This past summer, Rich—Sophie’s Husband—saw an amazing opportunity to take
Sophie’s healing vision and technique—using crystal jewelry—online. Coming from the corporate world, Rich knew she could reach more people on the world wide web. So they partnered up and created an online platform for her to sell her crystal jewelry and teach people about healing crystals online.

 

Awaken.JPGHer Business: Awaken. Awaken’s different healing modalities: life coaching, meditation, crystal jewelry, and crystal education, are often weaved together. Her days are spent seeing clients one on one. She also teaches local classes and workshops on meditation, crystals, and the chakras.

She began her virtual work as a way to expand her reach and work with people all over the world. She always uses a video platform as she believes that having a face-to-face connection preserves the intimacy and connection of in-person transformational experience, so one requirement for her clients is that they have internet connection and front facing camera.

“I find that there are different ways to connect with people. Some people are more comfortable with eyes closed, in that meditative space, to do their inner work, which is where the meditative lessons come in hand. On the other hand, crystals offer this very stable, transmittable vibration due to its molecular structure. Different stones offer a variety of vibrations. I use crystals as companions for people as they go on their healing journey..”

One important component of Sophie’s work is structure. She provides structure for people going through what is an unstructured journey. “Typically I work with people from 8 to 32 weeks. The length of time depends on what they put into it, as that is what they get out of it. I offer accountability, forward movement, strategic planning and goal setting, but the most important principle is doing the inner work to heal the blockages in front of one’s desires. Simultaneously I know that people will also begin to have a spiritual awakening and the speed at which they awaken, is the speed they awaken. And there’s no rushing that.”

The entrepreneurial aspect also comes into play on the business end. Sophie describes, “there’s a business end to all this as well. Client’s are paying for a transformational experience, a seat in my office and that costs money. That’s not something that I offer for free.” She feels it is important to acknowledge her time and she balances the sharing of her gifts with financial reimbursement, which is an important aspect of being a spiritual entrepreneur.

“To me the biggest principle is that living your life’s work is a balance. And balance fluctuates…. Sometimes my practice will be more driven by spirituality and sometimes more by commerce. And both are okay.”

For Sophie, it all comes down to being in tune with your soul purpose and sharing that with the world. She encourages us to create a joyful life by accepting our true self, falling in love with who we are, and living with an open heart!

Connect with Sophie

www.AwakenLifeCoachingWPB.com       www.PalmBeachOfficiant.com

Instagram: @SophieFrabotta  & @AwakenCrystalGallery
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sophie.Skover.Frabotta

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Alumni features, Career, Degree Programs, Sofia Profiles, Sofia Spirit

The Wisdom of the Body : Somatic Based Therapy

The mind-body clash has disguised the truth that psychotherapy is physiology. When a person starts therapy, he isn’t beginning a pale conversation; he is stepping into a somatic state of relatedness” -Thomas Lewis

What is Somatic-Based Therapy?

Merriam-Webster defines somatic as “relating to, or affecting the body especially as distinguished from the psyche.” Somatic therapists believe that past traumas, emotions, and experiences can become trapped within the body and then externalized by posture, facial expressions, etc and/or internalized through muscular pain and other types of body language.

Somatic therapy is a holistic approach to healing traumas through different techniques such as dance or other body movement, breathing exercises, massage, voice work, and more. There are various forms of somatic therapies such as Core energetics, Bodynamics, Hakomi, and Bioenergetic analysis.

The father of Somatic-Based therapy is Wilhelm_Reich_in_his_mid-twenties.JPGan Austrian psychoanalyst,Wilhelm Reich, who became known for his idea of muscular armour. Muscular armour aka Segmental Armouring Theory, states that all living organisms contain a life force which Reich named as orgone energy. When the orgone energy does not flow properly through the body due to various reasons (in this context trauma), the body will internalize and/or externalize the blockages through various means. When the blockages are identified and then worked through, it enables the release of extra orgone energy or repletion depending on the needs in order to rebalance the body to a natural equilibrium.

Techniques used in Somatic-Based therapy

As mentioned earlier, somatic-based therapy utilizes different techniques in order to help the body process traumas. The needs of clients are met depending on their own preferences. For instance, dance is known to be an efficient technique to release traumas through body movements.

CIJam.jpg

Another technique is acting/drama and/or vocal exercises which would require the client to verbalize and/or exteriorize the trauma through movements and voice work. Also, different massages can be used such as energetic massages and/or physical massages. Breathing and grounding exercises can also be used along meditation, visualization, and mindfulness. Somatic-Based therapy has a wide array of tools which clients can choose from.

Somatic-Based Therapy at Sofia University:

There are multiple classes where you will be introduced to Somatic-Based Therapy and its effectiveness on yourself as well as on clients. Classes such as “Creative Expression” and “Psychotherapy Theory and Interventions” are good environments where you will be able to conduct your own somatic exploration and how to communicate with your body. You will also be introduced to the different interventions and how to use them efficiently. If you feel like this might be a good tool for you to have, come join us at Sofia University!

Faculty Connections: Manuela Mischke-Reeds, MA, MFT

843a32cc-c314-4ab4-b81a-7b0ec5ec0371.jpgManuela Mischke-Reeds, MA, MFT, is an international teacher and writer of mindfulness-based somatic psychology. She co-directs the Hakomi Institute of California and teaches in the US, Europe, and Australia. A meditation practitioner for over 25 years, Manuela lectures, consults and trains professionals in mindfulness, attachment, trauma, and movement therapy. She maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Menlo Park, CA.
Manuela frequently lectures at conferences and Universities and has been faculty for the past 15 years at JFK University, Sofia University, and The California Institute of Integral Studies in California.

 

Come join the family 🙂

A bientôt! by Pierre Araman

 

Somatic Body Oriented Studies

If you would like to read about studies conducted on the effectiveness of Somatic-Based Therapy, here are some links:

The Effectiveness of Body-Oriented Psychotherapy: http://www.pacfa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/PACFA_LitReview_Body-Oriented-Psychotherapy_Final.pdf

Empirical Support for Somatic Regulation in the Treatment of Traumatized Adolescents: http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Body_Change_Score_W0001.pdf

Neuroscience in Somatic Psychotherapy: http://cellularbalance.com/Articles/Neuroscience_Somatic_Psychology_Part_III.pdf

References

Book 1: http://hakomiinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Book.png

Book 2: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rVnvlu3RL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Book 3: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/312R%2BNb6XgL._BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Energetics Institute: http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/psychotherapy-counselling/characterology/reichs-segmental-armouring-theory/

GoodTherapy.org: http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/somatic-psychotherapy

paraman

Blog writer Pierre Araman is a student in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program who enjoys sharing his growing knowledge of therapy and therapeutic technique with the wider audience.

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Degree Programs, Uncategorized

Change your thoughts and you can change your worldview – That’s CBT in Action

Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale

Is it true? Is it possible to change your thoughts for a more positive outlook on the world? Aaron Beck, father of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), certainly thought it was. He believed that people are capable of self-healing by restructuring their thoughts and changing the schemas, or cognitive concepts that created them. By altering the negative thoughts, symptoms of anxiety and depression could be safely treated. CBT is now one of the predominant therapeutic treatments  used in clinical settings to alleviate and treat cognitive distortions or false beliefs.

truth-257158_960_720.pngWhat are some examples of Cognitive Distortions, aka False Beliefs? 

Mislabeling aka Global Labeling . Mislabeling is represented as extreme, emotionally charged, negative, and irrational generalizations such as : I flunked a test therefore I will never succeed at anything/I’m a failure – They didn’t say hello to me therefore they must hate me/no one likes me
Catastrophizing – Castastrophizing is represented  by “what if” questions that magnify both positive or negative possibilities to an extreme degree  such as: Oh no, it’s raining. What if I drive my car and I begin to aquaplane? What if I walk in the rain and then I slip and hurt myself?
Polarized Thinking – Everyone and/or everything is black or white, there is no middle ground. Examples such as  X gave me chocolate, they are a good person but Y did not give me chocolate, means they are a bad person,  speak to a difficulty to see shades of grey.

Techniques used in CBT

Once the schemas or distortions are found, therapists will use some of the following techniques to help clients reshape their thinking processes.

Reattribution. Therapists begin by testing assumptions and automatic thoughts via alternative causes or events using questions such as: Have you failed all your tests? No? Hence you are not a failure.
Redefining.  By providing new thoughts that will empower the client such as: Say “I will study more” instead of “I will fail this test, therapists are able to give control back to clients.
Diversion.  Interrupting thought patterns by using activities such as social clubs, sports, work activities, are examples of techniques therapists use to reduce negative thinking. The key is to distract and help clients from ruminating about their problems..

Therapy using CBT is very structured and usually encompasses homework and/or a workbooks.

 

CBT in Action with Aaron Beck

In this video, Beck is using a technique called downward arrow to find the client’s schema. Once discovered, he begins to restructure the thoughts using redefining, reattribution, and decatastrophizing.

 

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Sofia University

Learning at Sofia University is both intellectual and experiential. One of the best strategies to understand the therapy is through self-evaluation and role play. CBT is covered in different classes such as “Critical Thinking in Clinical Psychology”, “History and Systems of Psychology”, “Psychotherapy theory and Interventions”, and more! Special thanks to Dr. Sersecion for her lecture on CBT!

If you feel ready to heal yourself in order to better heal others, come join us at Sofia University!

Come join the family 🙂
A bientot! by Pierre Araman

If you would like to learn more about CBT, here are some links to additional resources:

 

 

ARTICLE REFERENCES
Quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/normanvinc130593.html

book 1: https://www.psychotherapy.net/data/uploads/m502590c42a684.jpg

book 2: https://www.selfesteemshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/The-Anxiety-and-Worry-Workbook-The-Cognitive-Behavioral-Solution-David-Clark-Aaron-Beck-239186-200×262.jpg

book 3: http://www.bestcounselingschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/50-best-self-help-books-feeling-good.jpg

CBT techniques: http://www.counsellingconnection.com/index.php/2014/11/05/cbt-techniques-cognitive-and-behavioural/

CBT distortions: http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-cognitive-distortions/

PAraman.jpg

Blog writer Pierre Araman is a student in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program who enjoys sharing his growing knowledge of therapy and therapeutic technique with the wider audience.

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Degree Programs

What can I do with an M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology?

So what is Transpersonal Psychology?

At Sofia University, transpersonal psychology is described as the study of an individual’s highest potential for the betterment of humanity and the sustainability of the planet. An article by  Study.com  added that the focus of transpersonal psychology is to better understand human consciousness and experience using multiple disciplines as well as helping  individuals develop spiritually, emotionally and personally.

Poirier Teaching Developmental Psychology

Transpersonal psychologists work across disciplines and draw on insights from not only the various areas of psychology, but also the sciences of cognition, consciousness, and the paranormal; philosophy; social and cultural theory; integral health theories and practices; poetry, literature, and the arts; and, the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions.

What careers are available for transpersonal psychologists?

Careers in Psychology.org advises that there are a variety of jobs for Transpersonal Psychology Masters graduates, and it all depends upon their level of education and their career goals. Transpersonal psychologists often spend time in research facilities studying the effect of spirituality and holistic living on the overall health of individuals, in educational settings, and in corporate settings as well. Just a few of the positions often held by these professionals include but are not limited to the following:

Teaching Positions
Corporate Consulting
Counseling
Research Positions
Life Coaching
Art Therapy

Life-Coach-London-tscoaching

Teachers and health care workers can employ analytic thinking abilities when evaluating statistical data and use research methods when performing psychological experiments and writing scholarly articles.

Master’s degree holders with several years of experience in business and industry can obtain jobs in consulting and marketing research, while other master’s degree holders may find jobs in government, universities, or the private sector as counselors, researchers, data collectors and analysts. Today, most master’s degrees in psychology are awarded in Clinical, Counseling and Industrial/Organizational Psychology (I/O) which enjoy established occupational niches. I/O psychology focuses on the relationships of individuals to the workplace environment, organizations, and other employees.
Persons with master’s degrees in clinical, counseling, school and testing and measurement psychology often work under the direction of a doctoral psychologist. Some jobs in industry — for example, in organizational development and survey research — are held by both doctoral- and master’s-level graduates. But industry and government jobs that focus on compensation, training, data analysis and general personnel issues are often filled by those with master’s degrees in psychology.

Life coaches help clients create plans to reach their life goals, while at the same time boosting clients’ self-awareness and confidence. Prospective life coaches often receive their training through a program accredited by the International Coach Federation or through certificate or degree programs at a university. Sofia University offers both a stand alone certificate program as well as a Masters degree with a certification in Life Coaching. 

Alumni Highlights

Alumnajenny-buergermeister2-400x451, Jennifer Buergermeister graduated from the M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University. She’s an adjunct instructor at several universities, a writer for various blog sites, newspapers and magazines, Director of Programming for Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer, and the CEO and Founder of Breathe the Cure, Inc. which consults and facilitates programs for children and adults incorporating wellness such as Jennyoga and the Texas Yoga Conference. Untitled

 

Another proud Sofia alumna Lindsay Zwicker, graduated from the M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology. Lindsay is a holistic therapist. She believes that to achieve mental health we must explore and heal the connections between our mind, body and spirit. Moving through life with a feeling of dis-ease can be exhausting, and it is her goal to help individuals achieve a sense of wholeness and well-being.

Associations for Transpersonal Psychology

There are a few different reputable organizations for transpersonal psychologists, including the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, European Transpersonal Association, Eurotas. and the American Psychological Association. The associations mentioned are great resources for finding continuing education sources.  They also provide opportunities to share your knowledge as a speaker. Psychologists who have the ability to attend conferences and workshops within their industry should definitely do so. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn new trends within the industry, as well as network with like-minded professionals.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni features, Degree Programs

Growing Our Human Potential in the Workplace

By George Zimmer, ITP Honorary Doctorate Recipient and Chairman, CEO & Founder at Generation Tux and zTailors

To succeed in business and maximize innovation in the 21st century, we need to unleash the energy and potentials that lie within meaningful relationships and inspired human connectedness. While the 20th century was about products and feeding the supply chain, today’s work world is about relationships. To build productive human relationships, the essential ingredients are trust and fairness – supported by competence, authenticity, caring, compassion and kindness. We must inspire creativity, encourage risk-taking, and boost the cultivation of reciprocity in order to develop leadership for a truly conscious capitalism.

How do we create an environment of trust and fairness that fosters these qualities? In my experience, it involves several dimensions. To thrive, conscious businesses need to focus on developing our organization’s social and emotional intelligence. While skills are important to success, we must also recognize the importance of personality and attitude in a healthy work environment.

Leadership is about two things: character and competence. Creating a learning culture where people can develop their human capacities is a key to the kind of success in which innovation and creativity can flourish. Pixar is a great example of how this key leads to winning outcomes for all stakeholders.

What about when our employees mess up? Of course, we must respond to employee mistakes appropriately, especially mistakes affecting customers. At the same time, we need to be forgiving and even encouraging of missteps. Mistakes can be the fodder on which new behaviors are born.

Placing value on experimentation and the generation of new ideas can lead to breakthroughs. We need to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and teach within our organizations. As noted by Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, in his book, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration: “Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.” John Lassiter’s remake of Toy Story is just one example of risk taking that paid off.

Giving our employees the benefit of the doubt can foster trust and develop loyalty and commitment for the long haul. Our companies will thrive when our employees are met with challenge. They must also be greeted with the support and encouragement that comes when they don’t have to hide their mistakes.

Encouraging transparency makes for a work environment characterized by honesty and integrity. Enhancing personal relationships within the corporate environment enhances reciprocity and good will among employees. It also leads, according to the latest science, employees to be happier and healthier. This makes good business sense.

Developing a culture of conscious business is about supporting creativity and removing the blockade of fear. One of the myths of leadership is that the leader is certain of his or her decisions. This is a fallacy from everything I’ve observed.

The first thing to understand about decision-making is that we’re rarely certain. Most of the time we’re just making our best guess. Any leader, when they are honest, will freely admit that we reach many decisions, sometimes very important decisions, by simply making a probability call based on our experience.  We’re not certain.  But yet as the leader, we need to project confidence about the decision.

Bringing the fullness of our human potential into business and our world may serve to invite a kind of positive workplace culture that creates authentic meaning, purpose, and a better experience. Ultimately, it serves the bottom line.  While there’s ample research about the role of reciprocity and productivity in the workplace, there is less research to show the interconnectedness of the employee’s experience and the way they transmit those positive feelings into each transaction.  This benefits all of our stakeholders. Some things are just intuitive.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-2-11-32-pm

American entrepreneur and founder of Men’s Wearhouse, George Zimmer’s experience caring for his mother, who died of cancer, led him to support research into the therapeutic use of MDMA.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Systems Therapy: Change One Thing, Change Everything

By Pierre Araman

What is Systems Therapy?

Systems therapy aims to help each member of a group gain insight on their role as well as on the role of their peers in order to maximize the healthy functionality of the whole. Systems therapy can be utilized with families, couples, communities, or organizations so as to resolve conflicts and/or other relational issues.

The theory behind Systems Therapy is based on the idea that the environment (in this particular case family and/or community) is primordial for the psychological health and recovery of clients. Changes made to one component of the environment can affect the whole system for the better or for the worse depending on the system.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-47-38-am

A famous branch of Systems therapy is known as Family systems theory which was developed by Dr. Murray Bowen in the late 1960s. In Family systems therapy, participants are encouraged to be themselves in order for the therapist as well as other members of the family to see the cause and effect of certain behaviors. When the negative behaviors have been identified, participants can realize the impacts they may have on the system and modify the negative behaviors into healthy behaviors for the benefit of the entire family as well as for themselves.

Other forms of family therapy branching from Bowen’s Family systems theory and that you may have heard of are: Intergenerational family therapy, Structural family therapy, and Strategic family therapy. If you would like to learn more about these therapies, click on the images below.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-40-34-am

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-40-25-am

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 10.40.19 AM.png

Dr. Murray Bowen developed eight concepts which can be identified and worked on during Family therapy. The concepts are:

  • Emotional Cutoff – When a member distances themselves emotionally/physically from their family in order to reduce stress/tension.
  • Family Projection Process – When parents’ issues are transferred unto the child/children. Common issues are emotional concerns, anxiety, and relationship difficulties.
  • Nuclear Family Emotional Process – Four areas identified by Bowen where families tend to have the most difficulties: problematic behaviors, impaired functionality in children, intimate partner conflict, and emotional distance.
  • Differentiation of Self – Bowen’s core concept – The ability of a person to differentiate themselves from their family in order to achieve their life goals. A low level of differentiation means that the person has difficulties maintaining individuality and can experience emotional fusion with others. A high level of differentiation means that the person can maintain healthy emotional contacts with the group while keeping their individuality.
  • Sibling position – The belief that the youngest, middle, and oldest children have specific roles within the family system due to different factors such as discipline, expectations, etc
  • Emotional Triangle – When anxiety is introduced to a dyad, a third person is used as a resource to reduce the anxiety. It is common for emotional triangle to become unhealthy as two sides are in harmony and one in conflict. An example of an emotional triangle would be a child included in a parental dispute.
  • Societal Emotional Process – When instability is present within the emotional system of society, it can reverberate and have a negative impact on the emotional system of the family (e.g. natural catastrophe, periods of regression, etc).
  • Multigenerational Transmission Process – Bowen’s belief that individuals seek partners with the same level of differentiation which is then passed on to their children. When the level of differentiation is increased, the pattern can be broken and as a result, increase the level of differentiation of the next generations.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-46-40-amOverall, Family system therapy can be overwhelming although extremely rewarding. Once the system has been reorganized, it benefits the whole. The role of Systems therapist is to identify concepts described above and to modify the unhealthy behaviors into positive and rewarding attitudes. The process can be short or lengthily depending on the resilience of the members of the system.

If you would like to learn more about Systems therapy, here are two research papers on the effectiveness of family and relationship therapy:

 Systems Therapy at Sofia University

If Systems therapy interests you and you would like to learn more and to gain some experience within that field, Sofia University offers the unique experience of participating in group therapy with your cohort as well as covering the different theories in class. Check out our Masters in Counseling Psychology program which incorporates interactive learning through role play, giving you the tools necessary to carry you through different systems therapies such as family therapy, couple therapy, group therapy, and more!

Leave a comment

Filed under About Sofia, Academics, Degree Programs, Resources, Uncategorized

The Art and Science of Healthy Relationships

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-44-34-amBy PhD student, Michelle Pate, MA, MBA

Did you know there is a very important element to creating a healthy relationship that lasts? The people who have this in their relationship say it is what bonds them and makes their relationship grow. The ones who don’t have it either complain or get to work on improving themselves to be a good partner. Some don’t even know it exists and wonder why they get awful partners.

This element is so very necessary to our well-being, but many have been conditioned to not believe this element is necessary or obtainable in a relationship. They go through several years of continuous partnerships and are confused why it doesn’t last. Or they coexist in the relationship and spend most of their time in their separate worlds.

I was watching Oprah several years back and an amazing guest was sharing what makes relationships work. He had done several studies with couples and was showing his scientific results. Before this day, I did not know that relationships could be qualified as science! His information was so pertinent to my life that day, it permanently changed my goals and what I was looking for in a relationship. When I was learning counseling psychology in graduate school (2001-2006), I studied this man’s work in more detail to learn how to help couples have more successful relationships.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-48-05-amThis man was John Gottman, PhD. He is a psychologist, relationship expert, researcher, professor, and author who devotes his career observing couples’ interactions and writing books on his work. He now asserts that he knows on a scientific level what works for long term relationship happiness. He says he can predict in five minutes of observing a couple, with 91% accuracy, whether a couple will stay together or split up. This was a huge claim, and I had enough heartbreak, so I listened intently.

Gottman stated the evidence showed that a couple’s FRIENDSHIP is the biggest indicator in knowing whether they would be together years into the future. This is so blatantly obvious; I don’t know how I had missed it. I thought about the qualities I had in my close friendships and was determined to look for a relationship that had elements of friendship in them. It was tough for me, because I had seen a lot of dysfunctional relationships in my family. I was conditioned to believe I didn’t need a man, and it wasn’t possible to have a best friend in a partner. So with this knowledge from Gottman, I started to deepen my understanding and beliefs of what a good friend is and become this kind of person myself.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-50-30-am

My list of friendship qualities I started to consider in a mate:

  • Do we genuinely LIKE each other?
  • Do we like spending time together?
  • Do we have things in common we like to do together?
  • Are we comfortable with each other?
  • Do we listen to each other?
  • Do we share funny stories and laugh with each other?
  • Can we relax and have fun with each other?
  • Do we simply like being together even when we aren’t doing anything?
  • When a conflict comes up, do we work together to find a solution?
  • Do we make up and reconcile after we have an argument?
  • Do we admire each other?

Good friends speak well of each other. The couples who make it long term speak highly of their partner. They are positive about the future of the relationship. They have many great things they admire about their partner. Their friendship is a bond of mutual affection and a refuge from the world.

When you think about your relationship, how deep is your friendship? Do you notice areas where you could learn more about your partner and contribute to their life? How can you learn more about them so you can support their dreams? How can you be a better FRIEND to your partner?

To read more about creating a deeper friendship with your mate, I recommend you read John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (I find it valuable even if you aren’t married). He has outlined many qualities of friendship and bonding that we can pursue to make our relationships even more satisfying and fun.

Taking your relationship to a deeper level simply by being more interested in your partner’s life is greatly nurturing to both of you. Friendship keeps you interested in the other person. Friendship helps a new relationship flourish. Friendship keeps long term relationships vital and alive. With friendship, there is always something new to learn about each other because we are deeply interested our loved one’s life.

To create more goodness in your relationship and to learn more about John Gottman and his work, please visit https://www.gottman.com/couples/.

You can also participate in helping couples achieve greater happiness in their relationships through Gottman’s Training Institute:

Core Clinical Training

Join the 60,000+ clinicians around the world that have trained in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and use our proven assessment techniques and interventions in their work with couples. Click here for more information.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Students Speak, Uncategorized

What is Psychodynamic Therapy?

By Pierre Araman

Psychodynamic theory is a school of depth psychology encompassing the theories and ideas of famous psychologists and psychiatrists such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Erik Erikson.

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on accessing information hidden in the unconscious and utilizing different techniques to reduce psychic tensions. Principally, psychodynamic therapists concentrate on clients’ past relationships as well as the therapeutic alliance (the relationship between the client and the therapist) so as to uncover unresolved conflicts.

One theory is that childhood traumas can negatively impact present relationships and can lead people to develop unhealthy defense mechanisms, which are unconscious systems developed by a person’s ego to protect themselves against anxiety. Some of the most common defense mechanisms are denial (refusal to admit external reality/events), rationalization (inaccurate reasons to explain behavior), and projection (projecting personal negative traits onto others). By working through the defenses and restructuring the core of the psychopathology, psychodynamic therapists help clients cultivate better self-understanding and develop more accurate views of reality.

Techniques Used in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic therapists use different tools to access a client’s unconscious such as free association, transference / counter-transference, dreams interpretations, and insights from the client and the therapist.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-2-32-06-pm

  • Free associations are spontaneous and unconscious mental connections made by the brain. They are usually insightful and help therapists determine unconscious views of clients. In other words, the therapist says a word and the client says whatever comes to mind without thinking.
  • Transference and counter-transference refer to negative and/or positive personality traits that are projected onto the therapist by the client and vice versa. For example, a client might say that the therapist reminds them of a parent or a persecutor. Another example would be a therapist referring a client to a colleague because the client reminds them of their child or they are being triggered in some way.
  • Dream analysis speaks for itself. Some themes are recurrent while other require deeper personal interpretation/analysis by the client and/or therapist. Different interpretative tools can be used such as intuition/insights, mythology, metaphor, etc.
  • The therapeutic alliance is one of the most important interventions of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Therapists focus on their relationship with the client to determine the impact it may have on therapy. Some questions considered by a therapist might be: “Would the client be ready to hear this at this time? Does the client feel safe? Is there enough trust to inquire about a certain topic? etc.”
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy also has its own diagnostic manual called the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM). Besides sharing a similar name with the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM), the DSM describes observable symptoms and the PDM outlines subjective experiences.

For more information on this particular form of psychotherapy, here is a preview from a book by Richard F. Summers & Jacques P. Barber (2010) named “Psychodynamic Therapy: A Guide to Evidence-Based Practice, as well as other resources.

Psychodynamic Therapy has been found through research to be effective. A study conducted by Jonathan Shedler (2010) called “The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy” states that clients “maintain therapeutic gains and appear to continue to improve after treatment ends”.

Psychodynamic therapy and Clinical Programs at Sofia University

Psychodynamic therapy is explored and practiced in different classes such as “History and Systems of Psychology”, “Psychotherapy Theory and Interventions”, “Clinical Practicum”, and more. We are currently covering this theory in my “Transpersonal Theory & Literature” class as well as practicing the different interventions through role playing with other students. Whether you are interested in the PsyD, PhD, or Master’s program; you will have access to in-depth experiences and knowledge of the theory at Sofia University.

Leave a comment

Filed under About Sofia, Academics, Degree Programs, Sofia Spirit, Students Speak, Uncategorized