Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

Remembering Unity, Remembering God. Understanding Sufi Practice by Dr. Robert Frager

Robert Frager, Ph.D., founded the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now Sofia University, where he directs the Master of Education program in Transformative Education. Ordained a Sufi sheikh in 1985, he is president of the Jerrahi Order of California. His books include Sufi Talks: Teachings of an American Sufi Sheikh (Quest Books, 2012), Love Is the Wine (editor), and Essential Sufism (coeditor).

Sufi Practicebob-frager-222x196

The goal of Sufism is to make us into real dervishes, real Muslims, and real human beings. These three are essentially the same. Our goal is to come closer to God, and that is the same in all religions and all mysticism. The major difference between our practice and the practices of other spiritual traditions is we follow the shariat, the rules and the ways of worship of Islam.

Every tradition has an outer form and an inner meaning. But the outer form means nothing without the inner. Jalaleddin Rumi has become the best-known mystical poet in the West. His Western readers often don’t realize that he was a devout Muslim and also a professor of Islamic law and Qur’anic studies. Rumi wrote that the outer form of Islamic prayer is of no value without inner understanding. Those who follow only the outer form of prayer, which includes frequent kneeling and touching one’s forehead to the ground, are like chickens pecking grain. And the chicken is smarter, because at least it gets something from its efforts.

Remember, these are the words of a deeply devout Muslim. He understood that the outer must be accompanied by the inner. This is our tradition. We follow the outer because we hope it guides us to greater understanding, and we keep working to understand and practice the inner as well.

Remembering God

One of the central practices of Sufism is zikrullah. Zikrullah means remembrance of God. It is remembering what our souls knew before we were born. Zikrullah also means repetition. Much of our practice involves repeating God’s Names, or Attributes. In the Holy Qur’an ninety-nine Names are mentioned, but God cannot be limited to any finite number of Attributes.

The first Attribute we repeat is la ilahe ilallah. This phrase literally means “There are no gods; there is God.” A common mistranslation is “There is no god but Allah.” This came from Christian missionaries, who believed there is no way to salvation except through their own version of religion. They thought that Muslims believed the same way and that we denied the truth of other religions, which is not true at all. In Islam there is acceptance of other prophets and scriptures. In fact we believe God sent down 124,000 prophets, one to every people.

La ilahe ilallah means Unity. Multiplicity is a delusion. There is one God, and God is Unity. This holy phrase means there are no truths, there is Truth; there are different realities, but only one Reality. There is nothing worthy of worship, except for the One who is worthy of worship. ThSudan_sufisese are only a few of the different layers of meaning of la ilahe ilallah.

The first half, la ilahe, “There are no gods,” asserts that all our conceptions of God are limited and distorted. Whatever we can imagine or say of God, God is far more than that. The second half, ilallah, tells us “There is God.” It reminds us God exists and God is beyond our experience and understanding.

In Islam we think of Allah as the most important Name of God. It is considered the “proper name” of God and, more than any other Name, it captures the essential nature of God. It is an essential part of our zikrullah.

We also repeat in zikrullah the Attribute “Hu.” This refers to God without attributes, pointing toward the essential, unnamable nature of God. It is considered by some Sufis to be a universal spiritual sound, similar to Om in the Hindu tradition.

We also chant “Hai,” which means “Life.” God is the essence of Life, and everything in creation vibrates with this Name. If anything ceased chanting “Hai,” it would immediately cease to exist. Every cell in our bodies is constantly chanting Hai. Our breath chants “Hai.” Tugrul Efendi, our head sheikh, commented that although we are all constantly chanting Hai with each breath, we are not aware of what we are doing, and so it is not worth much.

When we pray and when we practice zikrullah, we attempt to experience at least a taste of who we are meant to be. Rumi wrote that God formed human beings by putting an angel’s wings on a donkey’s tail, in hopes that the angelic part will lift the animal nature to something that is beyond both. It is an image that stays with me as a description of who we are. If we could remember the image, it would probably keep us from becoming too egotistical.

The Role of a Teacher

People often ask if we really need a spiritual teacher. Can’t we do it all ourselves? One answer is that it is very difficult to see ourselves clearly. We can see our trivial faults, for example our tendency to be a little short-tempered or the fact that we eat too much and do not exercise enough. But the deeper problems in our personalities are harder to see. Why don’t I trust more? Why can’t I keep my mind on my prayers?

There is an old Turkish Sufi saying, “You can bandage your own cut, but you can’t take out your own appendix.” The sheikh is there to help you with your appendix, with the major changes you are seeking to make in your life.

You need a spiritual teacher who has the wisdom and ability to guide others through their spiritual challenges. And the greatest challenges generally involve issues that we don’t understand clearly, so we need to trust someone to guide us through them.

Of course trust and authority can be misused. There are power-hungry teachers and naïve, passive followers. That happens in every spiritual tradition. In fact another old Sufi saying refers to this: “Counterfeit coins prove that real coins exist.”

One of the advantages of Sufism is the silsilah, or chain of teachers, of each Sufi order. This is an unbroken chain. Each teacher has been the student of a teacher of the previous generation. Good teachers do not allow their students to become teachers in turn unless the students have developed a certain degree of wisdom, self-control, and ability to guide others. Also, if a teacher begins making serious mistakes, word is likely to get back to other teachers in their order. So there are people who can try and correct that kind of problem. In other traditions, self-proclaimed gurus have done tremendous damage to their students. From our point of view, that is very dangerous.

Authority and power are always potentially dangerous. All spiritual communities are filled with imperfect members. No one here is perfect. Hari Dass Baba, a wonYanbaghi_LiKulli_Nafsinderful yoga teacher once wrote, “The ashram is designed to save you from the world. What will save you from the ashram?”

In our tradition it is much more demanding to be a dervish than to be a sheikh. At one level, a sheikh is only a position, although it is a position with serious responsibilities, and hopefully the sheikh receives divine help in fulfilling these responsibilities. A dervish, by contrast, is someone who always seeks to serve and to remember God. Those are major challenges.

There is a wonderful story about Rumi and his teacher, Shems of Tabriz. The two men are sitting outside having tea. Rumi’s wonderful writings have spread throughout the Islamic world and the number of his followers has increased tremendously. A man comes galloping in on horseback. He jumps off his horse and runs to Rumi. The man bows deeply and says, “The teacher you sent to us has died. Please send us another sheikh.” Rumi laughs and says to Shems, “Aren’t you glad he asked for a sheikh? If he asked me to send them a dervish, either you or I would have had to go.”

As I mentioned earlier, a Sufi order is traditionally referred to as a silsilah, or chain. I prefer the metaphor of a pipeline. Each sheikh is a section of pipe connected to the section before it. What flows through the pipeline is the blessing and the wisdom that flow from the great saints throughout the generations of Sufi teachers, all the way back to the Prophet Muhammad. What flows through the pipeline is not the sheikh’s. It is something that flows through each sheikh. My old Sufi master, Muzaffer Efendi, used to say, “If it comes from me, don’t take what I say too seriously. What comes from me personally is not worth that much. But if it doesn’t come from me but comes through me, then you should listen.”

Mysticism

Mysticism goes back to the dawn of human history. We forget that for thousands of years human beings have experienced and been inspired by the unseen world. The unseen world is not merely what people experience after death. It is here. We get too rational about religion and spirituality. Mysticism is not rational. It is arational, actually outside or beyond reason. Rationality can only take you so far. Years ago Huston Smith wrote that the rational approach is similar to the old anti-aircraft searchlights of World War II. The beam of light could only illuminate a tiny portion of the night sky. It is a very small part of the total. The vast majority of the sky is not illuminated, no matter how bright the beam is. Similarly, Western scientists think that the only reality is what they are illuminating in their rational searchlights, and that all the rest doesn’t exist.

We forget. Most of us have far too much education, and of the wrong kind. Modern education focuses almost completely on the head. It ignores the body, the heart, and the soul. We forget that there is a whole other world filled with different energies, blessings, and wisdom. These things are real.

One of the great blessings of hajj — pilgrimage to Mecca — is seeing other people from different parts of the wTurkish_whirling_dervishes_of_Mevlevi_Order,_bowing_in_unison_during_the_Sema_ceremonyorld, from very different cultures. Many of them had minimal formal education, and when they circle the Kaaba, which is also called “the house of God,” they don’t think that is a metaphor. They are circling the actual house of God. For them God’s presence is real. They are in a powerful spiritual state. Many spend their working days on their feet, herding, hunting, etc. They cut right through the crowds of people around the Kaaba. When I was on hajj, I was a little annoyed at first. I felt they were knocking everyone out of their way, but then I realized they didn’t care. It was not personal. They were in an inspired state, and if others weren’t, they couldn’t keep up. I felt tempted to give up my degrees and fancy education if only I could have the same kind of pure, concrete faith.

It is a balancing act. On the spiritual path we should never throw our rational minds away. God gave us intelligence, and we are supposed to use it on this path. It is an absolute mistake to fail to use discrimination and good judgment. But we should not use a certain kind of limited rationality to dismiss everything that is beyond rationality.

Ram Dass once said we are the closest to God when we are the most confused, because when we are confused, our opinions and theories do not stand between us and divine reality. 

Self-Control

We do have an animal nature, and there is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with a donkey. It is a wonderful creature, as are all animals. But we are not meant to be donkeys. We were born with other capacities.

We are meant to develop as human beings, especially to come to understand and control our egos. Some Sufi teachers have recommended we train our egos the way the Arab horses were trained. In the West we have a cruel and primitive tradition of “breaking” horses, breaking their spirit to make them docile. The old Western approach to child rearing was similar, symbolized by the phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

The intelligent and compassionate way to train an animal or raise a child is through love, patience, and understanding — not through brutality and domination. Modern horse whisperers are highly effective because they understand horses. They guide horses rather than beating them. They shape a horse’s behavior by understanding how horses think and by understanding the basic patterns of equine behavior. The problem is usually the owner, not the horse. A well-known “dog whisperer” said, “I’ve never met a problem dog. I work with problem owners.”

We can work with our egos in a similarly patient and compassionate way. We can start by seeking to understand our egos. We were all self-centered as young children. It is a natural phase of human development, and ideally we grow out of it. But sometimes we don’t. Maturity and growth don’t happen automatically. It takes real effort to mature out of our basic narcissism. And, with so many things, we inevitably revert back to old patterns from time to time. Freud was absolutely right when he wrote about regression. At times we do revert to childhood patterns under pressure.

In working with our egos, we can tell ourselves it is OK to let go of some old patterns, patterns that made perfect sense when we were younger. Often we don’t need those patterns when we are older. Educating our egos is an art, and it requires consciousness and compassion.

I don’t believe in hair shirts or other kinds of extreme asceticism. Years ago one of my colleagues was the Jesuit director of novices for Silicon Valley. When he moved into the director’s office, he found several boxes in the closet. One had hair shirts, and another had whips and chains. So we arSyariah-thariqah-hakikah2e not that far from the medieval notion that we grow spiritually by physically torturing ourselves. I am convinced that this kind of asceticism is a gross distortion of healthy self-discipline, and does far more harm than good. In fact I doubt it does any good at all.

One reason to avoid asceticism is that the ego is so clever that we are likely to become proud. We say to ourselves, “I torture myself more than anybody else I know. I’m certainly the most spiritual and the most worthy person here.” Our egos will always appeal to our pride. We can’t educate our egos by this kind of immature behavior.

Gratitude

The great scholar and Sufi teacher Imam al Ghazzali writes about eating as an example of practicing gratitude. We take eating for granted. First of all, we have a hand with five fingers, including an opposable thumb that allows us to use utensils to bring food to our mouths easily. Do we ever reflect on what a blessing this is?

When we put a piece of food in our mouths, we grind it up with our teeth so we can digest it easily. Just as a farmer grinds grain, we grind our food. But grinding alone is not enough. If the food remained dry, we couldn’t swallow it. We would choke. God has also given us saliva, which moistens our food and begins to break it down in our mouths. We are also blessed with a working stomach, an extraordinary organ that digests all kinds of different foods.

Then the circulatory system carries the nourishment that comes from digestion to every cell of our bodies. Our circulatory system is truly extraordinary. It comes within a fraction of a millimeter of every single cell in our bodies. If it did not, those cells would die from lack of nourishment. We can also be grateful that we are healthy enough to digest our food, that we don’t have to take it in intravenously.

Al-Ghazzali also wrote that we should consider how our food gets to us. For example, the farmer plants wheat. The farmer’s work rests on hundreds of thousands of years of human agriculture. For how many centuries have farmers experimented with ways of effective farming? Agriculture does not happen automatically. Our agriculture is based on centuries of trial and error and the work of untold numbers of farmers. Unsung geniuses have figured out effective ways to plant, harvest, and prepare food. Human cultures have kept that wisdom and passed it from generation to generation. Without culture great ideas and inventions would have been forgotten. We take our culture for granted, but it is priceless. It brings us the wisdom of thousands of years and keeps the wisdom of the geniuses who are born every generation.

If the farmer puts the seed into hard clay, it will not germinate. Something has to break up the earth. We have learned to till the soil, preparing the earth to grow seed. This brings us to a whole set of other human achievements, such as the invention of metallurgy and the development of plows. Before that, early farmers learned to use digging sticks to break up the earth so seeds could germinate. Farmers today rely on sophisticated machinery, which developed as a result of the development of whole industries, from mining to electricity to the automotive industry. Then there is harvesting, grinding, and knowing how to prepare the wheat so we can digest it. We can’t eat raw wheat!

These are examples of human effort. Consider also the rain that God brings down. Without water the earth would be an arid desert. We also need the sun. Seeds will not grow in frozen earth.

When we consider what it takes for a seed of wheat to turn into a wheat plant, we see it is not a small thing at all.

Think about how grateful we should be for a piece of bread or a bowl of rice. God’s blessings are in everything we eat, and so are thousands of years of human history. Think of how many people are working today to manufacture the thousands of elements that go into the production of any kind of food.

We don’t worry about our food. We are blessed with abundance of all kinds. We take for granted the security we feel from having so much food in our homes. How many meals do we have at home? Think Roof_hafez_tombof all the food in our refrigerators and freezers, the canned foods and dry foods we have at home. Do we ever think to be grateful for the security this brings?

Most of us have never been truly hungry, except for the little bit of hunger we experience during Ramadan. We think that is a big deal, but during Ramadan we have a big breakfast before dawn and a bigger fast break after sundown. How about those who go days without eating, who worry about how they will get food for their next meal? This was the situation of many people for thousands of years. Even today many are starving, many are constantly worried about obtaining food for their next meal. Imagine the pain of parents who cannot feed their children.

We should also be grateful for our Sufi community. We have many others we care about and who care about us. Recently the dervishes in New York experienced days without power because of a major storm. Some of those without electricity moved in with those with power. Everyone gathered at their center for meals in the evenings, because the center has a gas-powered generator. The New York dervishes fed their neighbors as well, because most of the neighbors had no power. It is a tremendous blessing to be part of a generous and loving community, to have so many others we care about and who care about us. That is real wealth.

Let’s reflect in this way about how much we have to be grateful for. Some Sufi teachers have recommended that we feel gratitude with every breath. Muzaffer Efendi (God rest his soul) used to say that we can practice feeling gratitude three times with every breath — when we breathe in, between the in-breath and out-breath, and when we breathe out. With each breath we have three opportunities for feeling grateful, three opportunities for remembering God.

There are some who actually do that. It is helpful for us to know that this is possible, that a human being can attain that level of spiritual practice. We get lost in the world. We can counter that tendency through remembering la ilahe ilallah, which is to look at all that engages and attracts our attention and realize it is temporary, is not eternal. It goes in the blink of an eye. And then we can remember ilallah, there is that which is eternal, which is truly valuable, that which is beyond price, that which our hearts are all yearning for. We could use this formula to keep reminding ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with the world. Muzaffer Efendi used to comment that many Sufi teachers have said the world is bad, the world is our spiritual enemy and it distracts us from God. My Efendi would laugh and say, “That is not true . . . the world is our spiritual enemy if we put it between ourselves and God. The world does not insert itself in there. We put it in there. The world is our spiritual ally if we use it to remind ourselves of God, and if we use the world as an opportunity to serve. Then the world is an extraordinary spiritual gift.”

We are in the world to serve others and to serve all of God’s creation. Service is the practice of spirituality throughout our daily lives. Every time we speak with someone is an opportunity for service. That includes not o
nly interacting with people but with animals as well, and not only with living beings but with the earth, the air, and the water. It is part of our practice to serve all of creation. Our practice is to remember God as much as possible, in all circumstances, and to serve others, remembering God is in them. God is in everything in creation.

That is our goal — to be in the world and remember God. We are not monastics, and we don’t treat living in the world a s a second-rate spiritual choice. To us being in the world is a wonderfully rich, rewarding, and demanding spiritual practice.

We are different from the angels in that we have the capacity for failure. Angels are structured so that they are always in a state of remembrance; they are always seeking to carry out God’s will. We, on the other hand, can fail. And this makes our successes much more valuable. My teachers have said that a human being who is self-centered and narcissistic is lower than the animals. The animals do love in their own way.

A human being who learns to love God and serve God’s creation is said to rise higher than the angels, because that achievement is done through human effort and choice, as well as through God’s blessing. When we pray and perform zikr (remembrance) we are experiencing ourselves as the people we are meant to be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Sofia Faculty

Culture Inclusive Psychology: The Perspective in Social and Personal Relationship Study in Chinese Cultural Societies

By Sin-Ping Hsu and Kwang-kuo Hwang. Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

During a person’s lifetime, cultural traditions may operate psychologically through heuristic processing. Accumulated through time and life experiences, these cultural traditions gradually become thoughts or habits that can be used to handle problems by the majority of the people in a society, which forms a cultural mentality unique in comparison to other societies.

Thai_Earplug_5Such cultural mentalities affect how people adapt to their lives, and can be used as a method for self-healing. Since Chinese cultural societies are affected by relationalism, people tend to be very different from their Western counterparts, who take on individualistic ways in dealing with interpersonal problems.

According to Hwang (2011), if a person can use the habitus (Bourdieu, 1990) of normal action to smoothly handle life events under certain social conditions, it is unlikely that they will engage in deep reflection.

However, if habitus cannot be used to resolve a problem, the person will attempt to seek solutions from their personal stock of knowledge or social stock of knowledge. The former include schema, as proposed by Piaget (1977), while the latter are cultural traditions (Shils, 1981). In other words, some cultural traditions are instrumental to problem-solving, and provide the crucial origins for the creation of cognitive schemas. When a person encounters difficulties and a certain method from socCognitive_Schemata_Diagramial stock of knowledge is found to be effective, it may be incorporated into one’s personal stock of knowledge for future application.

In Chinese cultural societies of relationalism, the psychological stresses elicited by interpersonal incidents tend to arise from significant others. For instance, the marital tensions between a couple may not necessarily be caused by themselves, but due to the involvement of their natal families. Therefore, in dealing with interpersonal issues, one cannot overlook significant others and situational contexts. Based on their life experiences, people are accustomed to appeal to yuanfen to convert negative feelings, awkwardness, or setbacks caused by interpersonal incidents, into a type of belief that can be used to combat anxiety. Its true functional mechanism is in embodying the perspective of the mandate of Heaven (Wang, 1987Lee, 1995Yang, 2005Hsu and Hwang, 2013).

These beliefs become practical wisdom or mechanisms of psychological adaptation for handling interpersonal problems. People use yuanfen to interpret the problem, and in turn adopt suitable actions to achieve psychological adjustment. Yuanfen demonstrates that people who live in Chinese cultural societies are accustomed to taking a continuous rather than fragmented perspective toward various interpersonal issues. They believe that the formation and destruction of various relationships may connect the past, present, and future as causes and consequences on the same timeline. This is particularly true for expressive ties that satisfy personal, intrinsic needs for love, warmth, security, and sense of belonging, such as parent-child, romantic, marital, and intimate relationships (Hwang, 2012), and may produce different judgments based on whether such expressive ties are inherent or learned.

In the field of Eastern psychology, guan-xi, a similar concept but not the same as “relationship” in Western psychology, has long been an important issue. However, existing literature has tended to focus on the explicit “guan-xi as it ought to be” rather than on the implicit “guan-xi as it is.

According to Zhai (1993), in Chinese society, there are three localized concepts for interpersonal relationships: personal appeal (ren yuan), human sentiment (renqing), and human relations (renlun). These three concepts correspond, respectively, to psychology, values, and norms, in turn creating an overall framework fochinese-familyr the exploration of interpersonal relationships. This study postulates that human sentiment and human relations correspond to the explicit “guan-xi as it ought to be,” which can satisfy the expectations of Chinese social values and norms, but are also the sources of psychological disturbances.

Since personal appeal corresponds to psychology, and is related to the overall configuration of the model of interpersonal relationships, it should have the most direct impact on psychological adaptation as part of relational interaction. For example, when a person forced to accept a breakup and attribute the failure of the relationship to lack of yuanfen, the relationship has also been framed as something that does not have to be taken seriously. Since there is a lack of yuanfen, the relationship should not be fought for. This interpretation is actually beneficial for psychological adjustment in terms of achieving a positive outcome.

Read more from http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00282/full?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Psychology-w17-2016

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Resources

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

What can I do with a B.A. in Psychology?

If you’ve been yearning for a new career path or wanting to finish what you started years ago, you may find what you’re looking for through our Bachelors Completion program in Psychology.

Our unique program offers a rich and transformative learning experience through a flexible online format, which is suitable for working professionals, parents, and global students. This completion program allows you to complete your Bachelor’s degree online so you can finally start your career in the field of psychology.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 1.38.16 PM.png

Loretta Farris, one of our BAC graduates said:

I had my doubts about receiving an education on-line, but I’m pleased to say that the experience was an overall success. I was fortunate to have a kind academic advisor who provided the guidance and encouragement I needed to help me complete my capstone project. Instructors with real-world expertise in their respective fields showed me how to go beyond my expectations of learning. Perhaps most importantly, my classmates shared their experiences with love, honesty and integrity and I will always be grateful to have been a part of their journey at Sofia University.

But what can one do after graduating with a B.A. in Psychology?

165088092-56a793665f9b58b7d0ebd6ea

BA Completion graduate, Devi Prem shares her success story:

I am most grateful to the quality and flexibility that the Sofia offers. For my BA completion I have received the most wonderful support to create my own body of work “Seven Sacred Rhythms of Leadership”, a dance meditation coaching offering. I will be continuing with the Global MA in Transpersonal Psychology program, which is truly a choice of my heart.

And BAC graduate Nisha Jumn shares:

I have nothing but great things to say about Sofia. This is an amazing program which offers students the stepping stones that propels us into worlds we may never have thought of entering. I am grateful for my professors and all they had to offer. The BAC program and the knowledge I gained from it resulted in me creating, Adi Shaktee, as an oasis for healing and a platform which I intend using for my women’s movement.

Below is a list of key elements that might help you increase the chances of landing the job of your dreams.

  • Plan early. Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your career interests and options and identify the unique constellation of knowledge, skills and characteristics you need to enter the career of your choice.
  • Assess yourself. Figure out who you are and what you want from a job. Consider these questions: ‘What are the 10 traits that describe you best? What working conditions must you have? How much money do you need to make? What are your long-term goals? What skills do you have and which do you most enjoy using?’ Your answers will provide a foundation for your job search and enable you to pinpoint the opportunities best suited to you.
  • Capitalize on your connections. Think about the people you’ve met who could give you job leads—perhaps you completed an internship, participated in a service learning event or volunteered at a school. Be sure to stay in touch with your professors since local agencies may contact them looking for “good” graduates to fill a job. And don’t forget, even after you graduate, you will need references or letters of recommendation, so staying connected with faculty is a smart choice.
  • Look beyond Internet job postings. With such sites as careerbuilder.com and monster.com, Indeed.com, linkedin.com, and ideal.org, the Internet is a wonderful tool for finding jobs. Many corporations may not list their jobs there, so be sure to visit company websites that may interest you and send an email to introduce yourself.
  • Take advantage of campus services, even after you graduate. Your campus career center and alumni office are both interested in your long-term success.

Kendra Cherry wrote an article on Verywell.com (About, Inc. company) entitled “Careers Options With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology”.

In this article Kendra mentions that as an undergraduate, chances are you have done a considerable amount of research and writing, and these skills would be useful in positions as a library assistant, probation officer, business manager, case worker and many other related areas. She also points out that the biggest advantage of a bachelor’s degree in psychology is its adaptability.

Job_interview_0001

So what are the most commonly held careers for those with a bachelors degree in psychology? According to The College Majors Handbook, some of the top occupations that employ those with a bachelor’s psychology degree are:

  1. Top- and mid-level management and administration
  2. Sales
  3. Social work
  4. Other management occupations
  5. Labor-relations, personnel and training
  6. Administrative positions
  7. Real estate, business services and insurance
  8. Marketing

As you enter the job market, consider jobs that require the skills you obtained during your psychology education. These abilities include:

  • Critical thinking
  • One-on-one and small group communication
  • Effective written communication skills
  • Understanding of individual human behavior
  • Knowledge of group and organizational behavior
  • Creative thinking skills

Some students even decide to continue their education due to specific careers that require further training. Therefore, many graduates of B.A. in Psychology programs eventually go on for their Masters in Counseling Psychology to become licensed therapists, the Masters in Tranpersonal Psychology to become educators and authors, or choose our doctorate level programs to become licensed psychologists and/or researchers.

Whichever path you choose, you are sure to set a solid foundation for your career success with our Bachelors Completion program.

For more information about our B.A. in Psychology program, please contact our Admissions team at admission@sofia.edu or 1-888-98-SOFIA.

Leave a comment

Filed under About Sofia, Academics, Alumni features, Career, Career Tips, Degree Programs

What can I do with Sofia’s Double Major: Masters in Computer Science and Masters in Transpersonal Psychology?

At Sofia University, we offer both a Masters in Computer Science as well as a Double Major M.S. in Computer Science and M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology. At first glance, you might not think psychology is even remotely related to computer science, but psychology is an essential component in creating technology as people are who create the computer applications and people are also who use the applications. In order for computers to be useful, programs and applications need to be intuitive, easy to use, and aimed at resolving problems or supporting our lives.DSC07067

Have you ever been frustrated trying to figure out how to use an app on your cell phone or, conversely, loved an app because it didn’t take much time to figure out how to use it? This process is called human-computer interaction, and people who understand psychology are better at understanding how people think. This makes for bettmaxresdefaulter user experiences while using computers and technology, whether it’s a cell phone or iPad app, an Excel spreadsheet, or a complicated database.

According to psychology degree 411 there are many opportunities for a Computer Programmer with a psychology background. It might be surprising to learn that psychology graduates have opportunities in computer programming, but when the continual advances in user-friendly technology are considered, this career trahqdefaultck makes sense to a growing number of students with a psychology background.

Computer programmers develop and execute programs for an end user or group of end users, and also work to improve and broaden programs that have already been built. Programming professionals frequently help write step-by-step user guides to new programs and features. The critical thinking skills and understanding of user psychology that psychology majors can bring to this field are especially helpful.

Some of the possible outcomes of your degree:

  • Analyze users’ experiences to help make software appealing, usable, and useful
  • Help develop software for rehabilitation technology
  • Create new and better user interfaces
  • Create new styles of games for education and fun

If you find yourself drawn to the world of technology, but also desiring to learn more about human behavior and development, this double major could be the perfect blend of interests for your future career. Plus, we are located in the heart of Silicon Valley, connecting you to the plethora of opportunities in this area.

For more information about this program or to visit our campus and attend a class, please contact our admissions office at admissions@sofia.edu, or 1-888-98-SOFIA.

Leave a comment

Filed under About Sofia, Academics, Career, Career Tips, Degree Programs

What are the differences between a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology and a Psy.D in Clinical Psychology?

According to Psychology Career center.org, psychology careers are a highly regulated industry. Earning a degree, especially a doctorate, is very important to ones upward mobility and success. In fact, most research and teaching positions at major universities or government organizations require a doctorate degree.bb_vocalfry_free

Before deciding on which degree is the best fit for you, it may be helpful to know the differences in career potentials for both degrees.

Our Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology program is a non-clinical, research-focused degree, whereas our Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology is a clinical, applied-psychology program that is designed to lead graduates towards licensure as a clinical psychologist.

Below you’ll find additional information on common careers and employment areas pursued by individuals who obtain a doctorate degree in psychology and those who obtain a doctorate degree in clinical psychology.

Careers in Transpersonal Psychology

Some of the most common areas where graduates with a doctorate degree in Transpersonal Psychology may work include: government, business, research, and education. They may also become authors, coaches, speakers, and facilitators of workshops and public programs.

Alumna Julie Gohman, graduated from the Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology program at Sofia University and became a professorjulie.cropped-276x300 of psychology and author of 10 Sacred Questions for Every Woman.

Julie writes about women’s development, motherhood, spirituality, and the art of self-inquiry. Most of what Julie does, in both her personal and professional life, is dedicated to human growth and development, teaching and learning, and understanding the complex dimensions of human behavior. It’s her goal to be mindful and present, to be loving and kind, and to live with wisdom and grace. Julie also believes in the power of gratitude as a game-changer for everything in her life.

Untitled

Alumna Bertita Graebner also graduated from the Ph.D in Transpersonal Psychology program at Sofia. Bertita takes an approach that draws from the whole person and integrates principles from Transpersonal Psychology, Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, Solution-based Therapy, Somatics, and Cognitive Behavioral Psychology. Bertita has faith in the coaching process to transform individuals and to create enduring change. She believes in the power of meaning-making to enable transformation and shift towards what is next. She also supports women between the ages of 45 and 85 in transition.

Untitled

Dr. Rosie Kuhn, is another graduate from the Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology program at Sofia. She is the author of the popular ‘Self-Empowerment 101’ and founder of The Paradigm Shifts Coaching Group in Silicon Valley, is the preeminent Thought Leader in the field of transformational coaching, coach training and leadership development. Rosie specializes in identifying and transforming belief systems that hold people back in business and in life. She empowers individuals, executives and organizations to fearlessly embrace transformation and realize previously untapped potential.

Careers in Clinical Psychology

According to My Graduate School.com, graduates of applied or clinical psychology programs often become mental healthcare practitioners who diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders through the use of therapy. However, they may also work within the field of academia for research purposes as well.

“This is a very broad category that includes any occupation in which the psychologist interacts with clients for the purpose of assessment, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of mental health issues (in most careers as a clinical psychologist), or to help clients deal with challenges of daily living (in most careers as a counseling psychologist).”

756054

Many graduates of clinical psychology programs go on to work in private practice, hospital settings and clinics, or with businesses as a practitioner, administrator, or both. Some specialize in Forensic psychology and work closely with courts and juries. While others may go onto work in government agencies, correctional facilities, or as school psychologists.

SarahNeustadter

Alumna, Dr. Sarah Neustadter is a Clinical & Transpersonal Psychologist, with her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Sofia University.

Her clinical experience as a psychologist includes working with the severely mentally ill population with bipolar and schizophrenia, crisis-management, suicide prevention, and additionally, in the Los Angeles public school system with at-risk teenagers dealing with all kinds of modern-day adolescent issues.

“My work integrates my “no-nonsense” New York ethic and sense of responsibility with a humanistic approach to psychology, incorporating psychodynamic depth-work, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, alternative modalities of healing such as meditation, mindfulness, shamanism, and other mind-body practices”

 

MeghanFraleyAlumna Meghan Fraley also graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Sofia University. She is now a licensed psychologist in California and works at the Sofia Counseling Center. She is also actively engaged in grassroots organizing work addressing economic and social justice issues with the Raise the Wage South Bay & Peninsula Coalition, Politically Inspired Action, and the ACLU of Northern California

“Overall, my passion is to help people feel more connected to themselves and the people and world around them. My approach to therapy is warm, compassionate, and empowering. I support individuals in overcoming the obstacles that prevent them from living freely, authentically, and joyfully. My clinical specialties include: depression, anxiety, life transitions, spiritual/existential concerns, and women’s issues”.

 

markformanAlumnus Mark Forman, Ph.D. is also a graduate of the Psy.D. program at Sofia and is now a licensed clinical psychologist with fifteen years experience working with individuals, couples, teens, and families. Mark has found success as the Clinical Director of Life Design Centre and Lead Trainer of the Certified Integral Psychotherapist (CIT) Training Program. He currently teaches courses in Integral Theory at Sofia.

 

No matter what path you decide on, both degrees provide the opportunity to work in administrative roles within universities, public or government institutions, or in businesses.

For more information about careers and salaries for individuals with degrees in psychology, read The 25 Most Lucrative Careers in Psychology.

To learn more about our doctoral programs, please contact our admissions team at admissions@sofia.edu.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni features, Career, Degree Programs

When a New Life is Calling You – How Will You Respond?

Live_a_Life_Worthy_of_the_Calling

How I Came to Sofia University

Kimberly Anne ChristensenKimberly Anne Christensen, 4th year – PhD in Transpersonal Psychology

Many students come to this school because it is a CALLING! We have been directed through signs or spiritual messengers to come here. This is not a NORMAL school.(Smiles). Clearly, there is something very special about this school which attracts people that believe or recognize in another level of consciousness. Coming to this school is a sure sign that you are seeking a non-traditional approach that recognizes something within you that is crying out for expression and can transform not just yourself, but send ripples of transformation outward to all who come in contact with you.

IT WASN’T JUST A DREAM…...

1864411974_fa6b7b02f9_zI woke up one morning in April 2012 after a dream in which I saw myself in San Francisco and I didn’t know why. I was hundreds of miles away in Yreka, CA, wondering what I would be doing in this 3rd phase of life. I had no job or source of income, but knew I was supposed to get my doctorate. Two weeks later, in a guided meditation on my life purpose, I imagined myself standing on a beach and saw on a huge banner laying on the sand displaying the words TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY. I was shocked. I never seen words in my meditations and had no knowledge of this field of psychology.

When I looked it up on Google with a keyword search of San Francisco, I found a school that seemed to fit the bill – the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology actually existed and offered doctorate degrees! FYI. Once I made this connection, I was consistently sent messages and photos and signs that I was to move my life to San Francisco Bay Area. The synchronicity was evident!

RESPONDING TO THE CALL

hqdefaultOriginally from Southern California, this was a big move for me. I had never lived in the Bay Area before and I didn’t know anyone. But I kept moving forward. I applied to the school and made an appointment to visit and learn whether I had what it took to be part of the doctoral program.

That appointment in July changed everything and convinced me this was the right place for me. There were 3-4 Admissions counselors who all greeted me by name and they were some of the most caring people I had ever met. They were eager to show me the campus and point out the growth that was coming.

The school had recently been renamed Sofia University, and they completely believed in the future of the school.

Then I met with the kindest woman named Genie Palmer for my interview. She embodied my understanding of transpersonal and also made me feel SAFE. She told me how my dreams would fit in with the school and the program of my choice and clarified all the details.

When my interview was over, the admissions staff offered to drive me back to my hotel so I wouldn’t have to endure another 1 hour or more trip on the bus! My security needs were met, and the financial aid office assured me everything would be okay.

I never got housing squared away until I got here, and my financial aid check was not ready since I applied late, but to my surprise, some very generous and kind students took me in for free!

This is the nature of the school — THE HUMAN TOUCH. Kindness. Mercy. Generosity. These are qualities that ripple throughout the staff and faculty of this school.

THE RESULT

6660064659_5bd12b756a_bFast forward four years and it’s 2016. I have passed my proposal and am ready to conduct my research on the use of guided imagery in science to raise academic test scores for 3rd grade students (I was a former educator). I now also work at the school, beginning in the Dissertation office with Dr. Carol Haefner, and now with the Marketing and Communications department to help promote and share our special and unique gifts with others across the world.

I love Sofia University.  I am happy I heeded the call. I know getting my doctorate here is helping me fulfill my dream of opening up a charter school that provides the same kind of caring, compassion and transpersonal practices that Sofia/ITP has shared for 40 years.

Learn more about the residential Transpersonal Psychology doctorate program

Leave a comment

Filed under About Sofia, Academics, Career, Degree Programs, Sofia Profiles, Sofia Spirit, Students Speak

Transformative Tech Lab at Sofia University Bridges Psychology and Engineering to Create Conscious and Impactful Technology

The Transformative Technology Lab (TTL) and Sofia University are creating an impact factory for the development and commercialization of scalable technologies to increase human well-being.

According to co-founders Dr. Jeffery A. Martin and Nichol Bradford, the lab incorporates an open-community approach toward research and development services, training, and go-to-market evaluations in the Transformative Technology space. Academically, the lab conducts and publishes research in the area of Transformative Technology, advises Sofia University on the curriculum for their Transformative Technology degree programs, and mentors and supervises graduate students.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 4.15.39 PM

For the wider Transformative Technology community, the lab hosts open ‘maker’ type events, Meetups, workshops, industry conferences, as well as other public and private events.

“The future of education is no longer isolated,” says Sofia University President Liz Li, Ph.D. Sofia University and the Transformative Technology Lab take the core disciplines of psychology, computer science, and business and combine them in a practical cross-discipline, team-based structure, with real world applications.”

“Our programs are graduating students with Masters Degrees in Computer Science and minors in Psychology, and Masters and PhD Degrees in Psychology with a focus on Computer Science,” says Dr. Li. “Students are able to blend technology, science, business and the school’s 40 years of leadership in humanistic and transpersonal psychology to create substantial real-world impact. Our ‘whole-person’ approach to education allows them to better understand the people around them and, in-turn, become leaders of more productive organizations.”

The lab has also attracted advisors and mentors who work at its major Silicon Valley neighbors such as: Google, Founders Fund, Twitter, Mayfield Fund, Palo Alto Neuroscience, Spire and Heartmath.

Its academic advisors and collaborators span the world and all areas related to Transformative Technology, and include researchers from: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, UCSF, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, Rochester Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Washington, University of Arizona, NYU, King’s University College (Canada), Institute of Psychiatry/Kings College London (U.K.), Duke-NUS (Singapore), and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (China).

More Impactful Engineers and CEOs

Sofia’s Masters Degree programs in Computer Science and Business Administration, in conjunction with its well-regarded Psychology programs, are teaching students, especially engineers, to be more mindful, effective and impactful.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 1.49.19 PM

Graduates enter the workforce with both a cutting-edge education and as well-rounded leaders. Unlike other MS and MBA programs, especially those online, students don’t just pass one course at a time in isolation, because lab’s research and integration into Sofia’s curriculum helps them combine disciplines in a way that is unimaginable at other top universities.

Mentorship-based Incubator

TTL and Willow Group co-founder Nichol Bradford expects the program will also enhance the university’s growing reputation as an incubator for entrepreneurs. “Transformative Technology is the next big thing and there is a quickly growing pool of entrepreneurs in the Valley who are looking to build companies that tackle the opportunities it creates. The TTL-Sofia partnership will support this trend,” says Bradford.

Sofia University is more than just academically invested in the idea. An incubator started by the school, Incubator C-Space, has already become well known in Silicon Valley. Dr. Li says the university has also established a practice of investing in start-ups from students. She says the university is more likely than ever to continue that practice with the launch of the TTL.

“TTL’s research will help students evolve from a resume-driven post-graduate experience to an entrepreneurial one where one of the top reasons for failure – team failure – is academically economized,” says Dr. Li. “That could launch an exciting new era in higher education.”

In October 2016, TTL will host the Transformative Technology Conference from October 6-9th at Sofia University, 1069 E. Meadow Circle in Palo Alto, CA. This the only conference focused on learning, sharing, and connecting in order to drive serious research and development, commercialization, and awareness of Transformative Technology.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/from-isolation-to-tech-impact-factory–a-combo-psych-and-tech-lab-helps-sofia-university-educate-more-impactful-engineers-taking-psychology-and-engineering-from-adversaries-to-allies-300149192.html

Leave a comment

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

What can I do with my Masters in Counseling Psychology?

According to MastersinPsychologyguide.com those who graduate with a Masters in Counseling Psychology may find employment in an array of different settings, from working in their own private practice to assessing mental disorders out in social care settings. They may specialize in subcategories such as health psychology, transpersonal psychology, or learning disabilities, which could also influence their chances of finding employment in a certain specialty area.

Many of our counseling psychology program students focus their interest in the following areas of this unique helping profession:

Private Practice Counselor or Therapist (LPCC/LMFT)

The primary role of a counselor or therapist is woman-and-man-on-couch-near-therapistto assess, diagnose, and treat client mental and emotional disorders. Most counselors and therapists desire to work in a private practice so they can set their own hours while working with as many or as few patients as they prefer.

5ZpcswRkRx6kcEu1TwG4_181d2b9.jpg

Alumna Crystal Stokes  is a great example of a graduate of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program who also works in private practice. Crystal is a Consciousness Coach at Crystal Stokes Coaching. She combines eastern and western approaches towards psychotherapy, in conjunction with functional fitness, holistic nutrition, consciousness, and mindfulness.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Some counselors and therapists specialize in helping individuals and families who struggle with addiction. These therapists may work with groups or individuals as part of an outpatient program, or within a hospital setting. Sometimes additional certification is required to serve this population.

Rehabilitation Counselor

While some addiction therapists work in hospitals, others work in rehabilitation facilities. holly-daniels-outreach-sober-college

Alumna Holly Daniels, is another example of a Sofia graduate who has become a successful licensed marriage and family therapist. Holly works as a substance abuse and rehabilitation counselor and also serves as a meditation teacher, mental health advocate, and most recently as the Clinical Outreach Director at Sober College.

In her role as Clinical Outreach Director at Sober College, Holly is able to integrate her complex clinical expertise with her passions for connecting people and spreading the word that the path of recovery, health and wholeness can be both exciting and fulfilling.

Geriatric Counseling Therapist

With more and more people living well into their 80’s and 90’s, there is a growing need for counselors who can work with the elderly, especially those who suffer from mental illnesses as a result of the aging process.

Learning Disabilities Specialist

Some counselors work in elementary or high schools to provide support to students with learning disabilities. These counselors and therapists may also help diagnose disorders suchspeechkid as ADD and Autism, which can affect a student’s ability to learn.

Child Mental Health Specialist

Those who enjoy working with children may wish to specialize in child development and work as a child counselor or therapist. Becoming a child mental health specialist is a way to help children work through problems at school and at home, and to diagnose mental health issues early enough in life to make a difference.

Adult Mental Health Counselor

While some mental health counselors choose to work with children, others specialize in adult mental disorders. This generalized position is usually available in hospital settings or a private clinic.

Below are more job options for MFT’s or LPCC licensed professionals.

Adult_Male_ART_T

Schools

MFT’s work at all levels of the school system – from treating families with troubled elementary school students to counseling parents on how to understand and cope with an out-of-control teenager.

Social Service Agencies

MFT’s are hired to work for government, non-profit, and for-profit agencies that provide social services to children, youth, families, seniors, and communities. Sometimes, marriage and family therapists are hired to take on administration roles, such as supervising other counselors and social service staff.

Medical Centers

From conducting psychosocial assessments to making resource referrals for patients in need of outpatient assistance, therapists also work at a medical centers and collaborate with other team members to ensure patients receive and maintain adequate treatment. They may provide both clinical and therapeutic services to patients on an individual basis and/or within a group setting.

In addition, there are other career opportunities for MFT’s that help counselors obtain success and professional growth such as:

Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. 

Marriage and family therapists are hired by nursing homes and residential care facilities to diagnose and treat mental and emotional issues related to married couples and families. Oftentimes, therapists provide counseling related to coping with a spouse’s or family member’s illness.

Legal and Correctional Systems

MFT’s also help families and couples in legal crisis, and with those who are working through issues in the correctional system. Sometimes therapists work are called upon to make recommendations to courts regarding the outcome of child custody cases or visitation disputes. To make a fair determination, the therapist often contacts doctors, schools, social starticle-0-1E07829300000578-884_964x598aff, juvenile counselors, and law enforcement personnel. It is also not uncommon to see therapists testify in court.

In regards to correctional system work, therapists may assume the role of counselor for families of spouses who are newly released from prison. Therapists may also hold therapy sessions for incarcerated individuals to address issues concerning their family ties or spouses before gaining reentry into society. Other cases may involve sexual abuse victims and perpetrators, as well as juvenile offenders, and mental health cases found in the criminal justice system.

Health Maintenance Organizations – HMO’s

Health maintenance organizations provide or make managed care arrangements for health insurance, self-funded health care benefit plans, and individual patients. They work with a range of health care prmaxresdefaultoviders (such as hospitals and doctors) on a prepaid basis, hiring MFT’s to treat clients.

For example, Kaiser Permanente, the largest not-for-profit health maintenance organization in the U.S, hires marriage and family therapists to work in their related behavioral health centers, chemical dependency treatment programs, and mental health facilities.

The Government

MFT’s employed by the government assume roles that can influence decision-making on a government and political level. According to the BLS, therapists working with the government on both the state and local level, are typically paid the highest salaries for this occupation in the U.S.

The Military

Marriage and family therapists are employed at clinical resource centers dedicated to assisting and supporting current service members, veterans, and their families. Often providing PTSD and TBI counseling to Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard servicemen, therapists typically complete additional coursework or training, or experience assuming a role with the military, such as the Therapy with Military Families Specialization.090818-N-2541H-001

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Facilities

It wasn’t too long ago that Marriage and Family Therapists were not eligible to be hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs to work in VA facilities, but the Department has since expanded access to such mental health services. Now therapists working in VA facilities conduct screenings and assessments; develop treatment plans and goals for patients; provide crisis intervention; and offer individual, conjoint, family and group therapy.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists are human efficiency experts who specialize in working with companies and corporations to keep employees efficient, healthy, and working hard. The majority of industrial-organizational psychologists enter their careers with a master’s in I/O psychology, but salaries increase substantially with doctoral education. The industry for this career is one of the most stable and expanding on this list. Companies around the world are dedicating time and money to making their employees more efficient and happier, and are hiring I/O psychologists right out of school to make this happen.

Churches and Religious Settings

According to American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), 25% of specialty family therapists work in faith-based settings.

Sturbuck Community Church

Although they receive the same training as secular family therapists, MFT’s who complete additional coursework in religion and counseling can become a faith-based therapy provider, such as a Christian family therapist. This kind of therapist provides counsel to married couples and families regarding mental health problems, relationship issues, and parenting concerns – all while following a treatment and counseling approach that falls in line with the Christian faith.

In conclusion, this is not an exhaustive list of all the places that people with MFT or LPCC degrees can work, but aims to highlight some of the employment opportunities offering the highest number of available possibilities.

From working as case managers for insurance companies to negotiating psychiatric care for employees of large corporations, the number of job positions that marriage and family therapy professionals qualify for continues to increase with experience, further training, and education.

You can refer to CareersinPsychology.org for more insight into the job opportunities available to licensed Marriage and Family therapists.

Leave a comment

Filed under About Sofia, Academics, Alumni features, Career, Career Tips, Degree Programs

A Writer and A Scholar: Remembering the Work of William Braud

william-b.jpgWilliam Braud, Ph.D. preferred to think of himself as a writer, educator, researcher, and scholar. He began his academic work in physics, at Loyola University in New Orleans, but switched to psychology, earning his B.A. in psychology in 1964 from the University of New Orleans.

He earned his M.A. in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1967, both in experimental psychology,at the University of Iowa. From 1967 to 1975, he taught undergraduate and graduate psychology courses at the University of Houston and conducted original research in areas of learning, memory, motivation, psychophysiology, and the biochemistry of memory. After 8 years, he left his tenured Associate Professorship to join a private research organization, Mind Science Foundation (San Antonio, TX). In his 17 years there, he directed research in parapsychology; health and well-being influences of relaxation, imagery, positive emotions, and intention; and the then-new field of psychoneuroimmunology.

In 1992, he joined the Residential Core Faculty of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Palo Alto, CA), serving as a professor, research director, dissertation director, and co-director of ITP’s William James Center for Consciousness Studies. In 2002, when ITP initiated its distant learning Global Ph.D. Program, he moved to its Global Core Faculty. In 2009, Dr. Braud retired from his position at ITP, and was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus.

During his 17 years at ITP, Professor Braud taught research-related graduate psychology courses, supervised dissertations, and conducted quantitative and qualitative research studies in areas of exceptional human experiences (mystical, intuitive, peak, transformative) and their interpretations, meanings, and life impacts; personal and spiritual change and transformation; alternative ways of knowing; the development and promotion of more inclusive and integrated inquiry approaches for transpersonal studies and science in general; and examining some of the underlying assumptions of science, psychology, transpersonal psychology, and certain spiritual and wisdom traditions.

He also served on Editorial Boards of several professional journals and is the recipient of fellowships, travel awards, federal grants, honors and awards, including a university-wide Teaching Excellence Award (University of Houston), Award for Outstanding Contribution (Parapsychological Association), and President’s Award for Outstanding Service (Institute of Transpersonal Psychology).

Before his death, Professor Braud published over 250 articles in professional psychology journals and numerous book chapters he coauthored, with Rosemarie Anderson, 

51Ql-hioArL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgDistant Mental Influence

Professionals in modern psychology, behavioral medicine, and psychoneuroimmunology are exploring ways in which we can “mentally” influence our own bodies through hypnosis, imagery, visualization, attention, intention, and other forms of self-regulation–for fostering physical and psychological health and well-being.

  • Is it possible for us to use such techniques to influence others, even at a distance, for purposes of healing?
  • Is it possible for us to influence the images, thoughts, behaviors, and physiological reactions of other persons–separated by distance–without conventional sensory means of interaction?
  • Can these abilities extend to animals and even to cells (e.g., human red blood cells)?
  • Might these abilities be involved in the efficacy of distant, mental, or spiritual healing and intercessory prayer?
  • Might these influences even extend to events distant in time–even “backwards in time?”
  • Do these influences have major implications for our scientific theories, our human identity, the interconnections between ourselves and nature, and our relationships with others?Careful laboratory work–described in detail in this book–suggests that the answer to all these questions is a resounding “Yes!”A personal introduction and 12 detailed chapters describe the evidence that support these important claims. The book also describes the factors that make such distant mental influences more or less likely, so that anyone might use these distant influence skills more effectively and consistently for their own benefit and for the benefit of others.

 

51UTqckqLTL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTransforming self and others through research

Research approaches in the field of transpersonal psychology can be transformative for researchers, participants, and the audience of a project. This book offers these transformative approaches to those conducting research across the human sciences and the humanities. Rosemarie Anderson and William Braud first described such methods in Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences (1998). Since that time, in hundreds of empirical studies, these methods have been tested and integrated with qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method research designs. Anderson and Braud, writing with a contribution from Jennifer Clements, invite scholars to bring multiple ways of knowing and personal resources to their scholarship. While emphasizing established research conventions for rigor, Anderson and Braud encourage researchers to plumb the depths of intuition, imagination, play, mindfulness, compassion, creativity, and embodied writing as research skills. Experiential exercises to help readers develop these skills are provided.

41rxTbaOAXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTranspersonal research methods for the social sciences

There is no shortage of research methods that are easily applied to the study of everyday human experience. How, though, does one attempt to study extraordinary human experiences – ultimate values and meanings, peak experiences, transcendence and heightened awareness, among others.

William Braud and Rosemarie Anderson introduce a series of transpersonal research methods that are intended to help researchers develop new ways of knowing and methods of inquiry. While these methods will be of particular interest to researchers in transpersonal psychology, humanistic psychology, or transpersonal studies applied to traditional fields, the authors argue that these approaches – with their emphasis on developing intuition, empathy and self-awareness – can benefit anyone involved in the research enterprise across many disciplines.

re-upload.jpegRosemarie Anderson is a professor emerita at Sofia University. Together with the late William Braud, she created the field we now know as transpersonal research methods. Her individual scholarship includes the creation of an oracular system based on Celtic mythology, a transpersonal research method called intuitive inquiry, an assessment of body awareness called the Body Insight Scale (BIS), an embodied approach to writing and data collection called embodied writing, and a model of human development, which begins at conception and continues through death..

Rosemarie supervises doctoral research and serves as the U.S. representative on the Board of the International Transpersonal Association (transpersonalassociation.org). Throughout the year, she lectures on spiritual and transpersonal topics, including intuition, intuitive inquiry and the creative process.

Before joining Sofia University’s core faculty in 1992, Rosemarie taught in undergraduate and graduate programs at Wake Forest University, Graduate Theological Union, and the University of Maryland’s Asian and European programs. From 1983-87, she served as a university dean for the University of Maryland’s European Division in Germany. In 1987, she was ordained an Episcopal priest and served as a parish priest and university chaplain for several years.

Leave a comment

Filed under About Sofia, Academics, Sofia Faculty