Esalen faculty represent a spectrum of disciplines, experiences, and perspectives — current faculty members include Premal Shah, founder of Kiva.org; Robert Walter, Joseph Campbell’s longtime editor; mindfulness researcher Shauna Shapiro; Wisdom 2.0 creator Soren Gordhamer; and the Indigo Girls’ Emily Saliers.
Browse all our faculty, past and present:
Aviva Romm, MD, is a Yale-trained physician, midwife, herbalist, speaker, and author dedicated to optimal health for women and children.
Banafsheh Sayyad, MFA, LAc, is a Persian sacred dance artist, transformational teacher, and licensed acupuncturist. She is the founder of the pioneering synthesis of embodied spirituality known as Dance of Oneness® which beckons ALL to exalt. She teaches and performs worldwide.
Barbara Bogatin has been a cellist with the San Francisco Symphony since 1994. She studied at the Juilliard School and has performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York Chamber Soloists, Chamber Music Northwest, Casals Festival, Lucerne Festival, and Paris GroupMuse.
Barbara McAfee is a voice coach, oral tradition community song leader and author of Full Voice, The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence. A singer/songwriter with seven albums, Barbara founded the Morning Star Singers and gave a TedX Talk on the power of singing in community.
Barbara Waxman is a gerontologist and nationally recognized life coach for adults, midlife and better. She is the author of The Middlescence Manifesto: Igniting the Passion of Midlife, and is dedicated to naming middlescence as a new stage in life.
Barnet Bain's films include Milton’s Secret (director), Oscar®-winner What Dreams May Come (producer), Emmy® nominee, Homeless to Harvard (executive producer), and The Celestine Prophecy (writer, producer). Barnet’s most recent book is The Book of Doing and Being: Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love and Work.
Barry Robbins, is a long-term Esalen teacher and former nationally ranked athlete who has used affirmations for peak performance. A student of Michael Murphy and George Leonard, Barry continues their groundbreaking work in Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), created from decades of collective experience at Esalen. He is the vice president of ITP International.
Barry Vissell is a psychiatrist who, with his wife of 54 years, practices the medicine of unconditional love worldwide. He has co-authored many books, including The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Meant To Be, and To Really Love a Man and a Woman, among others.
Bart Weetjens is a Belgian Zen priest and internationally celebrated social entrepreneur (Ashoka, Schwab, Skoll awardee) for his humanitarian work. He accompanies individuals and organizations that are on a path to inner peace and harmony between people, Earth, and a sustainable future.
Bella DePaulo, PhD, is the author of Singled Out and How We Live Now and has written the “Living Single” blog at Psychology Today since 2008. Atlantic magazine described her as “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.”
Ben Geilhufe is the director of community-based clinical programs for the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center, adjunct faculty at Santa Clara University, co-facilitator of the Gender Therapist Team of the Central Coast, and a clinician in private practice in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Ben Sessa is an MD psychiatrist interested in the developmental trajectory from child maltreatment to adult mental disorders. He is a MAPS and Compass-approved MDMA and psilocybin psychotherapist and senior research fellow at Bristol and Imperial College London Universities, and has been a study doctor administering and receiving LSD, DMT, psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine on scientific studies. He is the author of multiple articles and medical textbooks exploring psychedelics, including Psychedelic Renaissance, and is co-founder and director of the Breaking Convention conference.
Benjamin Fox is the founding director of A New Possibility, a community of individuals dedicated to healing and education rooted in the ancient wisdom of alchemy. He is a licensed massage therapist, certified Zero Balancer, and Evolutionary astrologer.
Benjamin von Mendelssohn started exploring holistic approaches to bringing about change after a radical but frustrating period of political engagement in his youth. Although trained as a healer, dancer, and choreographer, Benjamin retained a focus on new models for living and a passion for complex synergies and systems theory. Ben has lived in Tamera since 1998 where he now serves as a next-generation leader, co-leading The Global Love School and currently directing the Grace Foundation for Humanizing Money.
Benny Holloway is a soulful sound-o-phile travelling the world sharing healing vibrations. Through live looping of his voice and guitar he creates deep atmospheric ambient soundbaths that encourage the listener to take a compelling introspective journey.
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, has taught yearly at Esalen for the past 20 years. He is medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston, professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, and author of the New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma.
Beth Jaeger-Skigen, LCSW, is a San Francisco-based therapist, relationship expert and Rising Strong Workshop leader. She is a certified supervisor and therapist in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). She has led hundreds of groups on relationships, parenting,
Beth Sternlieb is a senior teacher at InsightLA in Santa Monica and co-director of mindfulness and yoga programs at the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program. She has co-authored several research studies on Iyengar yoga and chronic health issues. Beth graduated from the Spirit Rock and IMS teacher training programs and is a certified mindful self-compassion teacher.
Bill Morgan, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in couples psychotherapy. He has practiced mindfulness meditation throughout his adulthood, including more than six years of silent retreats. He is a founding faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy.
Bill Plotkin, founder of Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute, is a depth psychologist, wilderness-based soul guide, and agent of cultural evolution. Author of Soulcraft, Nature and the Human Soul, and Wild Mind, he has guided thousands of people through initiatory passages in the underworld of soul.
Bradley Lewis, MD, PhD, is an associate professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and a practicing psychiatrist. He has interdisciplinary training in humanities and psychiatry, and his recent books are Narrative Psychiatry: How Stories Can Shape Clinical Practice and Depression: Integrating Science, Culture, and Humanities.
Brady Gill wants to make the world a playful place. Brady is a writer/performer, camp director of Camp Anywhere (a summer camp for grown ups) and founder of Custom Camps, which creates summer camp style retreats for companies and teams.
Branan Freeman is an artist and art educator with over 15 years of experience. She was an art and museum educator at the San Diego Museum of Art and the Children’s’ Museum San Diego, and a former residential education manager at Esalen.
Brant Secunda is a world-renowned shaman in the indigenous Huichol tradition of Mexico. Recognized as a global thought leader, Brant has lectured at the Mayo Clinic, the American Holistic Medical Association, and the World Health Organization, and co-founded the Peace University.
Brigitte Grof is a psychologist, licensed psychotherapist and artist with 30 years of experience in Holotropic Breathwork. She leads HB workshops and teaches training modules worldwide. She also maintains a private practice in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Bristol Baughan is a professional leadership coach, speaker and executive producer of Emmy®-winning and Oscar®-nominated films. She is a TED fellow, founder of Inner Astronauts, and holds a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
Brita Ostrom has led massage and somatic workshops at Esalen and internationally for more than 40 years. She is a founding member of the Esalen Massage School, practices Gestalt awareness work, and participated in Esalen’s two-year somatic education program. She is also a licensed psychotherapist.
Brooke Dean is the founder of Digital Detox, leader of Camp Grounded, and their director of hospitality, sustainability and nutrition. She is dedicated to slowing down the speed of life and encouraging us to take care of ourselves.
Brother David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine monk, psychologist, and author, has lectured on five continents. He was Spiritual Teacher in Residence at Esalen, and is concerned with the unique challenges and opportunities of our time.
Bruce Lyon is an author and teacher of cosmology and soul initiation. His path has been the trans-Himalayan wisdom tradition and the esoteric teachings of the world. He has written several books, founded Shamballa School, Highden Temple, and is part of the wisdom council for the international School of Temple Arts.
Bryan Reeves is a former US Air Force Captain who has survived multiple dark nights of the soul and now coaches individuals and couples. He's written two books, including Tell The Truth, Let The Peace Fall Where It May.
Byron Katie created The Work, which has been bringing freedom to millions of people for more than 20 years. Her books include the best-selling Loving What Is, I Need Your Love—Is That True? and A Thousand Names for Joy.
C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice who, with his wife Annellen Simpkins, specializes in research and practice of hypnosis, neuroscience, and meditation. Together they teach widely and have written 28 books, including Neuro-Hypnosis, Neuroscience for Clinicians, Meditation and Yoga in Psychotherapy, and Self-Hypnosis for Women, with CD.
Camille T. Dungy is an author whose recent books include Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood and History, and her fourth poetry collection, Trophic Cascade. She has also edited anthologies including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.
Camille Maurine is the author of Meditation Secrets for Women and Meditation 24/7. Camille's work synthesizes meditation, movement, and expression, with a keen passion for women’s spiritual empowerment and embodiment.
Carl Swanson is an Esalen Massage practitioner/instructor and a yoga instructor. He has been teaching weekly yoga classes in the Esalen movement program since 2004. He teaches massage and yoga workshops at Esalen and abroad.
Carla Fernandez is a strategist for Census Open Innovation Lab where she focuses on designing unexpected experiences that help individuals, teams and communities move forward. Carla has conceptualized and facilitated experiences that include creatives, police chiefs, a youth poet laureate, government appointees, researchers, major funders, brand leaders, and a community of 6,000 millennials she built from scratch with the intention of getting disparate groups of people to connect, come up with ideas and take action together. Her work has been featured in NPR, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, and as a case study in multiple books. Carla is a Reynold's Scholar at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she concentrated in Social Entrepreneurship, and is a Senior Fellow at USC's Annenberg Innovation Lab.
Carol Bevilacqua is an accomplished tile maker, sculptor, and mosaic artist. She is an inspiring instructor at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Berkeley and teaches community-based mosaic through the Richmond Artists in Schools/Community program.
Carol Donahoe has worked in retreat centers for over 20 years and has held the position of program director at the Omega Institute for the past 13 years. Her passion is creating programs that have the ability to transform people’s lives.
Carol Greenhouse is a creative catalyst who has served on the staff of The Intelligent Optimist for almost a decade. She is the founder and director of the Center for a New Mainstream, which has brought transformative psychology, transformative medicine, and the work of Ruediger Dahlke to the US. She is Dr. Dahlke's lead apprentice.
Carol Kramer, LICSW, is an advanced Imago therapist, faculty trainer, and workshop presenter. Carol was trained by Dr. Harville Hendrix. She brings enthusiasm, warmth and clarity to the process of learning Imago theory. Carol has taught at the Omega Institute, Kripalu, and the Cape Cod Institute.
Caroline Harvey, MA, LMT, is a published author, a writing professor at Berklee College of Music, and an internationally renowned speaker. She believes in poetry and performance as a powerful path for overcoming adversity, discovering vibrant health, and affecting real social change.
Caroline Muir, is a leader in the work of the Divine Feminine Awakening, and creator of divine-feminine.com. She has led many Esalen weekends for women in past years, as well as teaching couples and singles the transformative work of Tantra Yoga since 1990.
Carrie Northover is the Director of Research Services at 23andMe. She leads the Project Management function, a team responsible for executing on strategic cross-functional projects such as research partnerships and product launches. She earned her PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University.
Cassandra Vieten is Executive Director of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, Scholar-in-Residence at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California, San Diego, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, where she served as President from 2013-2019. She is an international thought leader, and co-wrote Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life.
Catherine Ann Jones, MA, is an award-winning playwright (Calamity Jane, On the Edge, The Women of Cedar Creek) and screenwriter (The Christmas Wife, Unlikely Angel, Touched by an Angel series). She also is a writing consultant and author of fiction and nonfiction, including The Way of Story and Nautilus Book Award winner Heal Your Self with Writing.
Catherine McConkie, NC, is the executive chef for CMBM’s nutrition programs, founder of the Caregivers Table, co-creator of Diabetes in Motion at San Francisco General Hospital, core faculty for Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, and lead chef instructor at San Francisco General Hospital’s Wellness Center.
Caverly Morgan is the founder and guiding teacher of Presence Collective, a contemplative community, and Peace in Schools, a nonprofit organization that created the nation's first for-credit mindfulness class in public high schools. She has been teaching contemplative practice since 2001 and trained for eight years in a silent Zen monastery.
Celeste Hirschman is the co-founder of the Somatica Institute® of Sex and Relationship Coaching and co-author of three books. She offers her wisdom, love and deep empathy to her students and clients as she helps them embrace the heights and navigate the challenges off all things relational. Celeste Hirschman has an MA in Human Sexuality Studies.
Chad Morse is an educator and farmer. He managed the Esalen Farm for four years, co-led the Farm & Garden apprenticeship program, and has a background in cross-cultural and service-based education.
Chandra Easton studied Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and Tibetan language at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India, and translated Tibetan Buddhist texts on meditation with B. Alan Wallace. Chandra has taught meditation and yoga since 2001.
Char Pias, a member of the Esalen massage staff since 1980, teaches internationally, focusing on bodywork's energetic, emotional and spiritual aspects. She is a Reiki teacher, a Circle of Life facilitator/coach, and a licensed graduate of The Center for Spiritual Healing.
Charlea Massion, a family physician, is the medical director of Hospice of Santa Cruz County and a hospital inpatient palliative care consultant in Santa Cruz, Calif. She has taught Esalen workshops on self-care and work-life balance for health care professionals since 1997.
Charles Eisenstein is a speaker and writer focusing on themes of human culture and identity. He is the author of several books, most recently Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. He lives in Rhode Island with his family.
Charles Muir has been a professional yoga teacher since 1967 and director of the Source School of Tantra Yoga since 1978. He is quoted in 145 books in print on Tantra, relationship, sex, and yoga. He is co-author of Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving, which is printed in nine languages.
Charles S. Grob, M.D. is professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine and director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Over the last thirty years he has conducted approved clinical research with psilocybin, MDMA, and ayahuasca.
Charlie Bloom is an educator, therapist and seminar leader. He and his wife Linda are co-founders of Bloomwork and co-authors of Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love and 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married. He has facilitated workshops internationally since 1986.