New Visions in Education -Consciousness Imbued Learning

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By Kimberly Anne Christensen, Ph.D  (c),Advanced Seminar in Transpersonal Theory and Philosophy, December 2014.

 

Curliss-engine.jpgEducating students in the United States has been a national challenge for many years. Since the inception of industrialization, contemporary mainstream education has been dominated by an approach to knowing that focused on left-brain thinking. Krechevsky & Gardner (1990) called this type of education the “one chance model” (p. 69)

Students were given one chance to learn the traditional subject matter which was often measured with paper and pencil assessments and standardized tests.  With teaching strategies that were based on regurgitation of information and following directions, students were given little opportunity to make personal connections to the subject matter and instead were encouraged to be passive learners by mindlessly memorizing information. (Adamson & Bailie, 2012, Capel, 2012, Storrs & Inderbitzin, 2006)

Although this teaching strategy made for excellent factory workers for the new industrialized society, many other abilities and talents that a student may have held, were suppressed or went unnoticed..

vipassana-997078_960_720.jpgThis philosophy was finally tempered somewhat in the 1970’s when the focus of psychological research changed and revealed that our ability to learn was far more flexible than once thought. Roberts (1985) declared that the study of consciousness during the 1970’s and 1980’s expanded and created a paradigm shift in the way psychologists would view the human mind. Discoveries by researchers found that in addition to the usual state of awakened awareness that humans rely on, the mind was actually able to work in different patterns or states of consciousness.

Ben-Hur & Feuerstein (2011) called this shift a move toward dialogical consciousness (p. 324). This form of consciousness used as a primary way of knowing embodied and direct or relational knowing. Consciousness under this definition was able to connect using intuitive and somatic ways by engaging in continual dialogue with whatever the self came into contact.

O’Hara (2006) deemed this psychological shift an unraveling of the old standard which would inaugurate a consciousness breakthrough. Tarnas (1993) also saw this development as necessary to bring the critical emergence of the feminine which would allow masculine consciousness to recover its connection to the whole, the whole being represented by “the body, the emotions, the unconscious, the imagination, and the intuition” (p. 442). Roberts (1985) expressed that this trend toward an expanded view of consciousness would open the way to accessing flexible states of consciousness and make maximum use of human potential.

Star-diagram.pngPsychosynthesis author Molly Brown (2009) called this psychological shift the “Great Turning” (p. 1). This turning was the first indication that society was shifting from an industrialized society a life sustaining one.

Flake (1986) argued that moving education forward would now require a multisensory approach. Curricula would have to be developed to make use of these greater abilities to perceive information (based on scientific research determined that perception laid the foundation for cognition) that embody physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development.

By providing teacher training that recognized and taught about alternate states of consciousness, new learning principles could be created to reflect this new thinking. Krechevsky & Gardner (1990) connected this type of pluralistic mental approach to the “Multiple Chance Model” (p. 70) that recognized distinct facets of cognition and acknowledged a full range of capacities and styles of an individual. This multiple chance model reflected the psychological theory by Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences.

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Mindfulness and Adolescents : A Well Needed Intervention

Mindfulness Training as an Intervention for Substance User Incarcerated Adolescents: A Pilot Grounded Theory Study

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Keywords: mindfulness, substance abuse, incarcerated adolescents, juvenile offender, substance use, alcohol abuse

Authors: Sam Himelstein, Stephen Saul, Alberto Garcia-Romeu, and Daniel Pinedo (pictured)

s200_daniel.pinedoMind Body Awareness Project, Oakland, California, USA; Insights Program of Star Vista, East Palo Alto, California, USA; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Michigan, USA; Department of Clinical Psychology, Sofia University, Oakland, California, USA

Mindfulness-based treatment for adolescents is a clinical and research field still in its infancy. Literature is needed to address specific subcultural populations to expand this growing field. Further, minimal literature addresses the process of teaching mindfulness to adolescents. The current study investigated how to effectively teach mindfulness to 10 incarcerated adolescent substance users (N = 10) in an urban California detention setting. A grounded theory approach was used to collect and analyze interview data over a 1-year period during 2011 and 2012 in order to develop an initial theory for teaching mindfulness to incarcerated adolescent substance users. Implications, limitations, and future research are discussed.

 

INTRODUCTION

There is a significant need for substance abuse1 interventions for juvenile offenders. There were, for example, approximately 167,000 drug violations among juveniles in the United States in 2009. (Knoll & Sickmund, 2012). Furthermore, the number of cases placed on probation increased 29% from 1985 to 2009 (Livsey, 2012) and the daily use of illicit substances such as marijuana for 12th graders is 1 in 15, the highest use recorded in the past 30 years (Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2012).

There are some evidence-based interventions targeted toward juvenile offenders that have been shown to reduce recidivism, substance use, and behaviors associated with delinquency (Guerra, Kim, & Boxer, 2008). Multidimensional family therapy (MDFT; Liddle et al., 2001) targets substance-abusing adolescents and their families. Research on MDFT has been conducted since 1985 and suggests that the intervention significantly reduces substance use among adolescents (Liddle et al., 2001; Liddle, Dakof, Turner, Henderson, & Greenbaum, 2008; Rigter et al., 2013). Further, Multisystemic Therapy (MST; Henggeler, Schoenwald, Borduin, Rowland, & Cunningham, 2009), another evidence-based multiple systems approach, has been shown to decrease substance use and behaviors often associated with substance use such as delinquency and incarceration (Henggeler et al., 2009; Schaeffer & Borduin, 2005).

Although the above two interventions have a prolonged history of evidence, they require a substantial amount of resources (such as prolonged clinical training with astronomical costs) that juvenile detention facilities and the families of incarcerated adolescents often do not have. Given the lack of financial resources, and because adult-based substance user interventions that do not require such resources (e.g., Motivational Interviewing) have shown limited and mixed efficacy with adolescents (Barnett, Sussman, Smith, Rohrbach, & Spruijt-Metz, 2012; Deas, Riggs, Langenbuche, Goldman, & Brown, 2000; Masten, Faden, Zucker, & Spear, 2009; Wagner, 2009), there is a strong need for efficacious substance user treatment2 approaches that are fiscally sustainable for incarcerated adolescents.

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Dr. Samuel Himelstein, Sofia/ITP alumnus sits with a client. 

Dr. Himelstein is a licensed psychologist in the state of California (PSY25229), an author, trainer, parent coach, and researcher. His day job is as a Behavioral Health Clinician at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center (ACJJC), an institution he was once incarcerated in as a young teen. Dr. Himelstein is passionate about working with juvenile justice populations, addiction populations, and those suffering from trauma. He offers individual, group, and family-based counseling sessions in Downtown Oakland, speaks at conferences nationally, and is committed to training clinicians, teachers, other healers in how to effectively build authentic relationships with adolescents through his training institute, the Center for Adolescent Studies. Dr. Himelstein is also currently planning to launch an online-based training community specifically for parents, Parenting Tough Teens

 

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Intuitive Therapy: A Transpersonal Practice for the Mind, Body and Spirit

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“Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.” ― Madeleine L’Engle, A Wind in the Door

By Kimberly Anne Christensen, D.Div, 4/14/2015

Intuitive Therapy

Intuitive Therapy as a psychotherapeutic practice is not one found in the directory of traditional psychotherapists. Although the use of intuition can be a skill that therapists, counselors and other healers use to connect empathically to clients (Edwards, 2013; Hart, 2000; Jeffrey & Fish, 2011), using intuition as the primary mode for diagnosis and healing may not. While some readers may balk at the use of the term “therapy” to define a practice not sanctioned by the governing board for licensed clinicians, and can be practiced by anyone with intuitive abilities, Dictionary.com defined therapy as “the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process or as any program or act that relieves tension.”

Digging further, Merriam-Webster defined the term therapist as “a person trained in the methods of treating illnesses, especially without the use of drugs or surgery; a person who helps people deal with mental or emotional problems by talking about those problems.” Conventional dictionary definitions do not restrict the title of therapist to those with licenses. In fact, a therapist can simply be identified as someone who uses conversation to help others deal with their problems…

Having defined therapy and therapist, Google searches for intuitive therapy practitioners resulted in few matches, with practitioners scattered across the U.S and U.K. Of the four websites used as source material for this paper, three of the therapists identified themselves as psychotherapists, while one identified herself as a social worker and psychic. The two (of four) Intuitive Therapy practitioners that defined intuitive therapy used different definitions, and two offered no definition at all. One Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Rachel Greene, identified intuitive therapy in this way.

Intuitive Therapy is a form of integrative psychotherapy that utilizes intuition to uncover what the client senses but may not be consciously aware of. Rachel uses her intuition in order to access this unconscious information and bring it to conscious awareness. She works from an energetic; mind, body, spirit (holistic mental health) approach that assists the client to uncover, articulate, and release the source of the presenting problem.

 

1.pngModel of the Psyche

Intuitive therapy has no official model of the psyche. However, both Jung and Assagioli serve as excellent models. According to Salman (1997), Jung’s postmodern vision found matter and psyche as integrated and connected. The relationship, described as a self-regulating system that connected conscious and unconscious processes, offered imaginative and creative interactions between subject and object and psyche and matter. These seemingly disparate parts of the Self that were separated as part of an adaptive strategy of social and cultural survival, must be reunited in order to bring the subject to health as a whole being. This process toward wholeness was considered a synthesis of what had been divided – ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious – and was part of the psyche’s development toward individuation.

The presence of the soul is central to the Jungian model of the psyche (Salman, 1997). Jung believed, according to Salman (1997) that psychological phenomena were as real as physical objects, and that they functioned autonomously, something recent studies in dissociative disorders have found to be true. In essence, Jung’s model of the psyche states that unconscious material can never entirely be repressed, exhausted or emptied. Instead, this material should be analyzed through a process of loosening the boundaries between conscious and unconscious content, releasing psychic energy that activates psychological and transcendent growth. This analysis is conducted through two types of perceptive activity – introversion, which examines the interior world of the psyche through reflection, and extraversion that searches the exterior world for meaning. The examination is conducted with four types of psychological functions  – sensing and intuiting, feeling, thinking, and bodily/kinesthetic physical sensations. The intuitive function, as described by Fadiman and Frager (2002), allows those who have this as a superior function, to rapidly process and integrate information quickly, as intuitive thinking often utilizes unconscious materials.

Ideal Client and Setting

In the world of Intuitive Therapy, where autosymbolic imagery and collective archetypes are primary resources for decoding the shadow aspects of self that arise, the ideal client should share several important qualities. Benor (2014) states that the primary motivation of a client should be willingness to change and release or let go of the problems that have erupted into crises. Puhakka (2000) suggested that being open to alternate ways of connecting to deep level consciousness, perhaps through the practice of meditation as she did, so that one could enter into an altered state, would be important. Brown (1997) offered that any techniques, such as mental, affective or transpersonal imagery, regularly practiced or available to the client would be critical in order to delve into and explore the unconscious. Brown suggested that no special training was needed to undertake mental imagery work and that the effectiveness of using imagery has had documented success with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse

For those practitioners engaging in Intuitive Therapy, because of their ability to connect to the energetic field with an empathic or intuitive connection, clients can be worked with over the phone, through Skype or in person. According to therapists in the study by Jeffrey and Fish (2011), the keys for most practitioners to implement work from a distance are ensuring their readiness to engage with the intuitive faculties and getting clear enough to tune in with oneself.  Therapists in the study believed that having personal preparation time before meeting with the client in order to access the intuitive faculties was important. Additionally, they reported that the therapist also needed time to clear away personal issues so that one could engage with an open and centered field. Hart (2000) speaks of this as maintenance of a separate self before one opens to the client.

 

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Have we exceeded our ability to adapt to stress?

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The Self in Migration (the Ulysses Syndrome) and Psychology’s Moral Stance

Olga Louchakova-Schwartz and Joseba Achetogui

(In this conference presentation, Louchakova-Schwartz will review Achetogui’s many publications referencing the diagnostic category of the Ulysses Syndrome with “deep mourning” as caused by the seven griefs of migration, and call for the creation in the Division 24 a group for further discussion of the problem.)

This topic calls the attention of psychology to a very large-scale phenomenon which has been overlooked both clinically and in philosophical psychological reflection. Since 1990, the global numbers of migrants grew from 150 to 232 million, including from 19 to 43 million in the US alone. How does migration affect the human condition, and what are its consequences for subjectivity and self?  Is psychology adequately responding  to the phenomenon of migration, and what values govern our response?

JosebaAchoteguiAs demonstrated by a psychiatrist from Barcelona, Joseba Achotegui (1999), for many migration brings about stress levels exceeding the human capacity of adaptation. This leads to the development of Immigrant Syndrome with Chronic and Multiple Stress, known as the Ulysses Syndrome, which is an emerging health problem in our societies.

The health system does not provide adequately for these patients, either because this problem is dismissed as being trivial (out of ignorance, a lack of sensitivity, prejudice and, even racism, etc.) or because this condition is not adequately diagnosed and immigrants are treated as being depressive or psychotic, thereby causing the immigrants even more stress. Nor are their somatic symptoms seen as being psychological problems, and so they are subjected to a series of tests (such as colonoscopies, biopsies, etc.) and given inadequate, costly treatment.

The health system itself thereby becomes yet another instrument of stress.

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