Using the power of modern neuroscience, informed by ancient contemplative wisdom, you can use your mind alone to change your brain for the better. Mental activity changes neural structure in a process called neuroplasticity, which gives you a great opportunity to redirect the brain, and thus your whole being. During this workshop, you will explore “self-directed neuroplasticity” for steadying the mind (a key to both worldly success and spiritual practice), cooling the fires of stress reactivity, and weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and self.
Workshops with CE Credits for Psychology
The impact of stress on health is well recognized. Now the efficacy of stress reduction as an adjunct to medical treatment is being recognized in more and more health care settings. In 1996 Dr. Mark Abramson founded a program at Stanford University Medical Center using the 2,500-year-old technique of Mindfulness Meditation to train patients as an adjunct treatment for many different medical conditions.
The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe, and the study of its structure and function is one of the most rapidly developing fields in contemporary science. Yet many great mysteries remain, including understanding the brain processes involved in memory, perception, mental illness, and arguably the greatest unanswered question in all of science: How are consciousness and mind related to the physical processes within the brain?
Fear, anger, and anxiety that go on for too long can lead to a list of debilitating ailments that are so common we assume they are unavoidable: insomnia, heart disease, arthritis, gastrointestinal problems, and more. The key to reversing the negative impacts of stress and reclaiming our health is simple: love. Love sets off a series of physiological events in the body that help us adapt to life's challenges, stop and reverse disease, maintain health, and make it easier for our bodies to improve rather than deteriorate with age.
The journey of 10,000 miles begins with one step. -Ancient Taoist proverb
The Secret Path is a participatory workshop grounded in the relationship between individual and social consciousness. It presents historically documented accounts of the way that individuals and small groups have actually changed history in socially positive ways, without the destructive fallout of social breakdown and violence. It teaches a pragmatic approach to individual and social transformation grounded in the peer-reviewed science of social outcome measures and individual neuroscience, without either religious or ideological bias.
Do you ever feel like certain issues in your life come around again and again, across different situations and relationships? In Gestalt Relational Constellations (GRC) we take a fresh look at the hidden attachments and systemic dynamics that underlie all of our issues (“stuck” and fluid areas alike). Starting with the personal concerns of participants and using the experience of the whole group, we “drop below” the oft-told story, reaching the level of our fondest dreams and heart’s desires.
Esalen co-founders Richard Price and Michael Murphy envisioned Dick Price's experiences of madness to be of great potential value in helping others, and as a way to expand the human potential movement. As a result, Esalen became a hub in the exploration of alternative models of madness and the development of new ways to help people in extreme states. Michael Cornwall and David Lukoff have been involved in continuing this exploration for more than thirty years.
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began. –Mary Oliver
Self-compassion is the heart of mindfulness. It is warm-hearted, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience that allows us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with encouragement, forgive ourselves when needed, care for others, and be more fully ourselves. Rapidly expanding research shows that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional well-being, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships.
This five-day retreat is open to anyone — currently in a relationship or not — who is interested in exploring the idea that it is possible and optimal to bring one's full heart to any important relationship. In a safe and supportive environment, this experience will offer ways to work with the parts of ourselves that stand in the way of giving and receiving love fully.
With the beauty of the Pacific coast to support and nurture their process, participants have the opportunity to explore many aspects of self-compassion, in the following ways:
This workshop introduces the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model of psychotherapy, and teaches healing professionals and all who are interested how to apply it to their own countertransference. Richard Schwartz developed IFS over the past twenty-five years as he learned to set aside his trained assumptions and truly listen to his clients. IFS is a highly efficient and effective way of guiding people to a state of inner clarity and compassion (called the Self) from which they know how to heal themselves.
Why is it so hard for us as gay men to feel present in our lives and closer to those we love? For many, the main reason is fear; we’re afraid of being emotionally present with ourselves and with others. It’s this fear, often outside of our awareness, that keeps us from learning how to tap into our emotional experience. We avoid our feelings and end up stuck, detached from the wisdom and power inside us. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We are each always changing, always growing. But sometimes we encounter moments or periods of life that are so potent, and so full of potential, that they transform our consciousness, fundamentally shifting our worldview, our motives and priorities, and how we relate to ourselves, others, and the world. Where we have been limited, we expand. We become more open, balanced, and aligned with our true values. Compassion for self and others arises more naturally.
Psychedelics are among the most interesting and poorly understood of all the psychoactive substances. They produce a variety of complex effects on the brain and mind, including intensification of thoughts and feelings, alterations of sensory perception, and loosening of psychological defenses. Because of these complex effects, psychedelics are powerful probes of the connection between brain physiology and consciousness, one of the most deeply mysterious questions in contemporary science.
Health, well-being, and intimate relationships are profoundly affected by sexual issues, yet most health professionals lack adequate training to help clients. This workshop brings emotional and spiritual consciousness to the practice of sex therapy. It offers an innovative model for exploring a wide range of situations and dynamics, and provides opportunities for case consultation about desire, pleasure, dysfunction, and more. Its structure encourages personal awareness along with clinical questions and networking opportunities.
Trauma changes the way the brain processes information and the body engages with the world. This course explores how trauma affects people’s rhythms within themselves and with their surroundings. Because of altered biological systems, traumatized people continue to be trapped by their history and react to current experience in a myriad of ways as a replay of the past.
Enrich your healing abilities by exploring the interface of science and hypnosis. This in-depth approach joins the conscious and unconscious minds to engage the body's natural inclination toward health. This training is designed to help participants utilize personal unconscious resources. Methodology is based on the hypnotic techniques of Milton Erickson.
Our stress and its symptoms are maintained unconsciously as a distraction from emotional issues and harmful thinking. By addressing these issues, the body can let go, thereby improving physical health and enhancing performance and the ability feel joy.
Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT), developed by Jean Kristeller, addresses the mindless eating so prevalent in our culture — the type of eating that can lead to weight gain, obesity, disordered eating patterns, and stress-related eating.
Hanna Somatics is a mind-body technique developed by Thomas Hanna that enables us to move toward greater mind-body integration, ease of movement, and freedom. This workshop introduces the somatic self, somatic theory, and exercises for assessing and somatically transforming ourselves.
We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get it. It may be difficult, even disheartening, to dig in. But what can science teach us about the nature of happiness? Led by experts from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), this workshop will explore the roots of personal happiness and offer concrete, science-based approaches to boosting happiness in yourself and others.
Being a human is a complex task. In order to make the most of our lives and cultivate a peaceful and sustainable human culture, most of us need to practice being present and feeling our bodies. This workshop uses embodiment practices, embodied meditation practice, embodied speech, embodied listening, and embodied relationship as the means to achieve personal and cultural peace and creativity. Susan Aposhyan developed these practices in the context of Body-Mind psychotherapy.
Partner Program Full- Spectrum Gestalt Sex Therapy: A Comprehensive Training in Relationship and Sexual Enhancement
As therapists, our effectiveness depends on our own continuing aliveness and growth, particularly in interpersonal relationships. This seminar, for psychotherapists, sex therapists, and other health professionals, integrates cutting-edge research in attachment, neuroscience, and sexology with Gestalt somatic-experiential methodology and breath work, to enhance the capacity for emotional and sexual intimacy in our own lives.
Learn how to rest in the heart of joy, ease, and loving presence. Drawing on practices of mindfulness and lovingkindness, as well as recent neuroscience research, we’ll explore the transformational power of meditation. Discover the ways that lovingkindness and mindfulness support us in healing and living a joyful, vital, and compassionate life.
This program is designed to integrate the practice of mindful awareness with directed heartfulness to facilitate growth, healing, and change. It is based on Mark Abramson's work as the director of Stanford's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program which he founded 20 years ago. The workshop introduces the practical application of techniques of mindfulness and heartfulness to transform emotional states and unleash the great potential for deep healing of the body.
This workshop is about healthy relationships—in love, in friendship, in daily life. The focus is on how to nurture our own vitality in situations where we long for connections that are more real, more safe, or more rewarding.
Does meditation have power to heal the body? In their research together at The Integrative Medicine Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Lorenzo Cohen and Alejandro Chaoul examine the biobehavioral effects of mind-body interventions such as meditation, yoga, and t'ai chi. They are interested in quality of life as well as the clinical outcomes of those undergoing cancer treatments, and they work to get the population as a whole engaged in mind-body practices to improve health and well-being.
Men’s lives are often driven by a desire and expectation to climb the ladder of success. This type of training encourages men to look through a future-oriented lens, and subsequently create an inner sense of rushing through life and missing opportunities for experiencing the present moment more fully. The process and skills of slowing down and tasting life more fully are often desires that many men crave, yet are uncertain how to attain. This workshop explores what it means to be a fully present with ourselves and with others.
Neuroscience is the new frontier. As more is understood about how the mind is intimately involved with the brain, we now know that you can literally rewire your brain for the better by what you think, feel, and do. You resonate with others through your mirror neurons, and can enhance your relationships by activating these special areas of the brain. Balancing your nervous system lowers stress and allows you to handle your emotions better.
Refresh your technique and review EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) protocols and procedures, consult on your difficult cases, watch demonstrations, and practice EMDR in small, supervised groups. Instruction will focus on using EMDR with complex cases, resource development and installation, target development, and interweaves.
This EMDR course is for participants who have completed either part 2 training or an equivalent EMDRIA-approved course.
Required Reading: Parnell, A Therapist's Guide to EMDR.
The Quantum Dynamics of Consciousness and Healing Dreams
Ernest Rossi & Kathryn Rossi
Why do we sleep and dream? Why have most cultures evolved meditation, spiritual, and holistic healing practices to facilitate health and well-being? Recent research has uncovered a profound and surprising yet sensible answer to these eternal questions. Sleep and dreaming actually clears our mind by permitting 60% more cerebral spinal fluid to wash through our brain!
Are you living the life you were destined to live or are you living someone else’s life? Are your actions based on what you really feel and believe or on negative programming from your past? Learning to deal effectively with the critical inner voice is central to all areas of life: personal development, healthy relationships, self-esteem, and career success. Participants will be shown ways to identify destructive thoughts or voices that cause debilitating feelings of guilt and shame and interfere with all areas of life.
People can learn to change their thinking and behavior in ways that enhance happiness and well-being. For 2,500 years, the wisdom teachings of the East have utilized what their texts refer to as "skillful methods" for the study and transformation of the mind/body. These meditation and visualization practices help cultivate self-regulation through awareness, concentration, mindfulness, and other attention skills. This leads to clarity of mind, spaciousness of self, and greater compassion.
Our inability to handle personal criticism from loved ones is a common Achilles’ heel. The more deeply we are in love, the harder it is to handle. Soon, couples feel they are walking on eggshells, unable to express themselves honestly, and the love fades. Raising children and dealing with money during an economic recession magnifies the problems even as those problems become the reason couples stay together. The result? Couples often remain legally married but psychologically divorced—in a minimum-security-prison marriage.
This workshop directly challenges the confusion surrounding the issue of self-love. Self-love is the most altruistic of all practices. When you are free to be kind and loving to yourself, the world and all the people in your life are touched. This workshop is an experience of two trainings taught at Stanford University Medical Center. As director of Stanford's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, Dr. Mark Abramson has modeled his work after Jon Kabat-Zinn’s program (featured on Bill Moyers’ PBS series Healing and the Mind).