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Talcherkar decided to take sobriety into her own hands in July 2012. But in order to do so, she not only had to permanently turn her back on drugs and alcohol. She also had to stand up to her own psychiatrist.
“I’m coming up on five years clean and sober,” says Talcherkar, who will turn 39 this year. “July 2012 was the last time I had any type of alcohol or drug substance, so that’s my sobriety date. I was on antidepressants for a long time because that’s how psychiatrists were treating me. For many years, I visited practitioners who treat primarily through psychotropics and who don’t really incorporate holistic medicine. They had diagnosed me as bipolar with chronic depression. But, in 2012, I finally weaned myself off of all mind-altering substances, including psychotropic medications.”
Talcherkar developed her own routine, which included the 12 Steps, Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, and the Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique. The Saybrook student, who is currently a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Mind-Body Medicine: Integrative Mental Health, has not been afraid to confront her own past during her education either. While focusing on addiction studies to earn her master’s degree in psychology, she freely admits that she was still using drugs. After completing a few credits in 2007, she left Antioch University and did not return until she was sober and ready to complete the program.
“I was in psychotherapy at the time,” Talcherkar says. “I just became fascinated by the field of psychology. It was a combination of interests, and I’ve also been very academically inclined so I tend to just continue to learn and educate myself.”
She’s just as receptive to learning even when she identifies with the population a study is focused on. As a research assistant at Harvard University in 2016, and continuing to collaborate with the Division on Addiction, she’s currently studying gambling addiction and driving under the influence (DUIs).
“Ironically, as a repeat DUI offender, there was no way for me to separate my personal experience from Harvard’s data on repeat DUI offenders,” Talcherkar says, who started drinking alcohol at the age of 15. “My biggest takeaway from this research program was that I could be more compassionate working with that challenged population. There’s immediate empathy there. Of course, most researchers don’t necessarily have the same prolonged addictive history as I do.”
“The Division on Addiction at Harvard conducts primarily quantitative-based research,” Talcherkar says. “They focus on the numbers and data, important in its own right, but sometimes there is a disagreement between qualitative versus quantitative schools. Coming from Saybrook and having the double experience of having been a repeat DUI offender, I have a level of compassion and empathy, which could be considered a personal bias or a personal strength, depending on what school you come from. My experiences at Saybrook and Harvard have taught me that there is a need and place for both. Personal anecdotes and stories are as informative as quantitative data.”
Proclaiming that “Saybrook found me,” Talcherkar learned about the university while browsing around online for an editor, who turned out to be a Saybrook student. But it was the humanistic philosophy from the professors and in the classes that made her apply and pursue her Ph.D. with Saybrook over several other programs.
“If I have an idea for a paper in a class and it’s a little unconventional, nine times out of 10, I’ve felt supported to do what I want to do,” Talcherkar says. “You don’t find that in a lot of academic institutions. Other universities have the academic rigor, guidelines, and structure. But I feel like Saybrook truly believes in the student and that humanistic philosophy. The potential of the student is their greatest asset so they really work to support you in whatever you want to be. At Saybrook, you’re going to grow and expand beyond your known mental confines.”
Talcherkar plans to use her educational growth to teach and research mind-body practices as a practitioner.
“One of my main goals is to make mindfulness-based practices more mainstream,” Talcherkar says. “In a couple of my blogs, I’ve mentioned the Sudarshan Kriya breathing practice. It’s taught by the International Association for Human Values (a sister organization of the Art of Living foundation) to different populations now. It’s a controlled rhythmic breathing practice, and it helps you ease into meditation and balance out emotions. There is some research on the practice currently that may help alcohol-dependent individuals. I’d like to contribute more research on the practice within addiction populations.”
From her experiences with the 12 Step Anonymous programs, she shies away from the belief “that we’re born fundamentally diseased and broken. I believe that people struggling with addiction can recover completely. Unfortunately, the mindset throughout the 12 Step program reinforces a disease model—a chronic condition that you’ll live with for the rest of your life. I don’t resonate with ideology driven by fear.”
Initially believing that her multiple relapses at an abstinence-based treatment center were failures, Talcherkar now looks back on that time period as a way to learn and grow into who she is today. And while she realizes that the techniques she’s used to overcome addiction may not work the same for others, she certainly plans to advocate for them.
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Trauma is often associated with violence, either from war, personal attacks, or abuse, but it can just as easily be a result of unpredictable and seriously disruptive forces of nature (hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods, for example). Traumatic events may be the extreme end of the spectrum of experiences of change that occur throughout our lives. Although the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is relatively recent (it was developed in the late 1970s as veterans returned home from Vietnam, often with emotional difficulties), the phenomenon of symptoms occurring following exposure to an extremely difficult events has been described in religious texts, literature, and diaries and memoirs.
The experience of a traumatic event does not necessarily lead to post traumatic stress disorder. Just as “stress” is a name for what we might experience in response to challenging situations outside of ourselves, the word “trauma” describes the wound or injury inflicted by an external event or situation. How each individual responds to those events and situations determines the intensity of the trauma experienced. As Krippner, Pitchford, and Davies emphasize,
How people experience their wounding brought on by a traumatizing event is strongly related to their person temperament, personal history (especially any prior traumas), context (the setting or environment,) and the subjective impact of the event—in other words, how they attribute meaning to what has happened. (p. 2)
The authors make the point that PTSD symptoms may be present even without what would usually be considered a traumatizing event. The continuum of distress from what we might call stress to what we understand as trauma includes responses to work-related and marital conflicts on one end, and war, violent abuse and attacks, and natural disasters on the other. The factors involved in “predisposing, activating, and maintaining” (p. 133) the symptoms of PTSD are complex and non-linear.
Krippner, Pitchford, and Davies have written this contribution to the Biographies of Disease series to provide a foundation for understanding PTSD. Rather than a treatment manual, this is an overview, covering differential diagnosis, the wide variety of manifestations of this complex phenomenon, PTSD in children and adolescents, the neuroscience underlying the symptoms, and the varied treatments available. The book achieves this goal, though it would have benefited from proofreading and editing. The first few chapters were somewhat repetitive, and there were a few slips where a different name was used to refer to one of the four case history subjects. The chapter on treatment approaches is fairly comprehensive and helpful at illustrating the wide variety of healing modalities used to address PTSD, though I was surprised to find no mention of body-oriented and somatic psychotherapy techniques such as Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing.
Perhaps the most inspiring part of the book is the last chapter, focusing on the post-traumatic strengths that may develop through the process of journeying through PTSD. The authors make the point that for a surprising number of PTSD survivors, finding their way through their difficult response to a traumatic event can lead to going beyond their former baseline normal state of being. These people find strength and meaning that had not been part of their lives before their traumatic experience. In the process of healing, they were able to “mine the gold” of their experience and grow, returning to the world with gifts of newfound strength, compassion, courage, and resilience.
Hardcover: 177 pages
Publisher: Greenwood (March 9, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
The post Book Review: Post-traumatic stress disorder. Krippner & Davies appeared first on Saybrook University.
Student loan default continues to be a key concern for many. According to Andrew Martin reporting for the New York Times one in every six student loan borrowers is now in default. Default is defined as having fallen behind at least 12 months with payments. The federal government has in place a flexible payment program that in theory is supposed to prevent the borrower from default by way of low payments. These payments are so low that they are quoted as being affordable even for those who have lost their job. I couldn’t find any way to find out as to whether this program works. However, embedded in HR 4170, The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 there is a statement about discretionary income levels and how much a person has to repay is calculated according to income that is over 150% above the poverty limit.
Robert Applebaum introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 to the US House of Representatives on March 8, 2012. Total outstanding student loan debt in America is tipping toward $1 Trillion this year. Since 1980 the average 4-year college tuition increased by 827%. Since 1999, student loan debt increased by 511%. We have a real problem here.
Student loan debt is the latest financial crises facing America and Americans. Many economists predict we will have another economic downturn of severe proportions if nothing is done. This is being referred to as the “student loan bubble.”
Here are some of the questions that were asked about the act:
Does HR 4170 cover private student loans? Yes.
How is discretionary income calculated? Discretionary income is defined as the borrower’s, and the borrower’s spouse’s (if applicable), adjusted gross income exceeding 150% of the poverty line applicable to the borrower’s family size as determined under section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (422 U.S.C. 9902(2).
Would the forgiven debt be treated as taxable income? No.
What happens if the student borrower is unemployed or becomes unemployed? The borrower would still qualify for enrollment in the program if they become unemployed or are unemployed. For borrowers who would owe zero dollars based on their discretionary income, the Department of Education would make a case-by- case assessment of the appropriate minimum monthly payment. This minimum monthly payment, even if calculated at zero dollars, would be applied towards debt forgiveness.
Would there be caps on the maximum amount of forgiveness available? Yes and no. Under the bill, there would be no caps on the maximum amount of forgiveness available for borrowers who are currently in repayment or in school. For new borrowers, the bill imposes a debt forgiveness cap of $45,520 as incentive to students to make sound financial decisions and to encourage colleges and universities to lower the cost of their tuition.
How would HR 4170 impact interest rates on student loans? The bill would cap interest rates on federal loans at 3.4%
Would a borrower still be eligible to enroll if his or her loans are in default? Yes. Unlike the federal government’s program of Income Based Repayment (IBR), there is no requirement for the borrower to be current on his or her loans to qualify for enrollment in the new 10/10 program.
What if a borrower already paid the equivalent of 10% of discretionary income for at least 10 years? Under the terms of this bill, those who have already paid the equivalent of at least 10% of their discretionary income over the prior 10 years totaling 120 payments would immediately qualify for forgiveness upon passage of the bill.
How are married couples incomes calculated for purposes of this plan? For married couples that file their income taxes jointly, loan payments would be calculated according to household income. Loan payments for married couples filing separately would be based on the individual borrower’s income.
As a parent who took out a Parent Plus Loan, how would this bill help the parent? The parent would be eligible to enroll in the program.
Would this bill restore bankruptcy protections for student loan debt? No. However, Rep, Hansen Clarke will be introducing a “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights” in the coming weeks which, if signed into law, would restore bankruptcy and other consumer protections for student loan debt. The “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights” would also propose a host of much-needed reforms to the student lending system.
Let’s hang on and see what ends up taking place. There is no doubt about this being a very serious issue.
Be well and take care.
Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo, PhD
To read the full bill please go to this site: http://tinyurl.com/6txure8
It is 1975. I arrive at the threshold of the rest of my life with excitement. I am about to meet the folks who make Saybrook the “go to” place for a doctorate in humanistic psychology. Then called The Humanist Psychology Institute (HPI), it is already the stuff of urban legend. I remember the comments of friends, and laugh out loud. “Really? You can write your dissertation on that?” Now I will see the faces of these courageous academicians.
I drive up to New Jersey and enter the meeting room, knowing something amazing is about to happen. It does. This is when I meet Dr. Stanley Krippner. Off in a corner, looking nothing like Freud, James, or Skinner, Stanley sports a colorful jacket of indigenous design and a smile that twinkles each time he hears a student make an outrageous claim concerning paranormal events. Tasked with educating these searching souls, Krippner’s eyes lower as he carefully chooses just the right words. Students wait; miners ready to collect the gems he produces from the recesses of his great mind. Stanley’s brow slightly furrows as he weighs the ramifications of his words; his steady voice becomes a loving friend. Although I do not yet know how, this early trek into the unknown pads my own path into the nature of consciousness and changes my life.
Fast forward to Saturday, August 4, 2012. Following weeks of excited emails proclaiming “Stanley is attending the APA conference in Orlando, and he is turning 80!”, I startle at how much time has passed since my first meeting with him 37 years ago. It feels like the blink of an eye with life-times in between. I arrange to attend, wondering what I might offer this remarkable man on this uncommon occasion. He has done so much for the world. Does the world know? I decide to honor my mentor, my colleague, and friend with a filmed retrospective of his life and works. Nothing fancy. Heartfelt.
With Stan’s permission, I invite my filmmaking partner to the occasion. An International group of well-wishers arrive to celebrate Stan’s Birthday in style. Many travel from far places. We record interviews with Stan and other fascinating folks. Told from the perspectives of people personally touched by his efforts, the retrospective begins and ends on the night of Stan’s party. It weaves into its tapestry, archival footage and published works. I name it “Siren Song: The Life and Works of Dr. Stanley Krippner”. We would like to have it ready for Stan’s Mill Valley party this fall or an award presentation soon after. Realistically, our plan is to finalize editing by this year’s end, and make it available for purchase in 2013. A gift from my heart, only modest production costs will be retrieved. After that, all proceeds go to Stan. Happy Birthday, Stan.
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BOOK REVIEW: BAUSCH, K.C., & FLANAGAN, T.R. (2012). BODY WISDOM IN DIALOGUE: REDISCOVERING THE VOICE OF THE GODDESS .
by Jerry Kurtyka, M.A. (OS), Saybrook 2002
Body Wisdom in Dialogue is a guide book for understanding the feelings that enable and sustain heartfelt discussions as collective conversations, an ancient art which has been continued within tribal cultures. It is the second AGORAS publication by Thomas Flanagan and Ken Bausch, Ph.D. Saybrook 1998, and follows last year’s book, A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures. In one way, Body Wisdom might have come first as it presents the underlying theory (or is it theology?) for the Structured Dialogic Design – SDD – process described in the earlier book.
Body Wisdom addresses how we surface ideas that are embodied below the level of our conscious knowing and then sort out the wheat from the chafe, primarily in a collective context. The authors state that such ideas are known through body wisdom, the repository of inner feelings that can speak to our mind in a conscious way (p. 32). For a collective, these ideas might relate to what are sometimes called wicked problems that resist analysis because there are so many entangled issues and unintended consequences which can potentially result from tackling the problem prematurely. On the other hand, SDD and body wisdom techniques are probably not the best approach to deal with emergencies that require immediate, expert action to avert further disaster (I am recalling the Fukishima nuclear disaster response last year, though SDD would likely be an excellent way to develop contingency plans for such an event).
One technique to elicit unconscious ideas is the use of a trigger question. Trigger questions play an important role to surface the unmanifested ideas from their embodied, unconscious state. The authors give the example of a new cohort of participants for an Indigenous leadership development program who are asked upon entering the program, “Where did you get your Medicine?” This type of existential question is designed to elicit self-disclosure and common group experiences, leading to more cohesion as the cohort evolves. One could imagine asking President Obama about his controversial healthcare program – “How will this be our healing?” – and then listening closely to his answer!
The authors cite the Greek myth of Psyche (mind) and Aphrodite to illustrate the dynamic tension between the unformed yet salient new idea and the current embodied wisdom and practice (Aphrodite), especially as these play out in an organizational context. New ideas exist initially like Psyche, nebulous and still emergent, unproven and undefined, but also pushing at us in some way to find expression. Aphrodite, then, is the current paradigm: its attractiveness; business model; culture; technology; known markets; profits and revenues; respectability (she is a goddess, after all). It is against and with Aphrodite that Psyche must prove herself, but first she has to know herself and to this end is given a set of trials.
So it is with salient ideas; we have to first know them before we can prove them to ourselves and others. This is where body wisdom comes in; it helps us to discern when we need to engage an important problem (p. 132). Not necessarily how to engage, which is more in the domain of our rational mental process and which can be assisted by SDD. Thus, the two domains of body/goddess andmind/reason find each other in a common purpose, as the authors describe.
Publication Date: Feb 25 2012
ISBN/EAN13: 0984526633 / 9780984526635
Page Count: 170
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5.25″ x 8″
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Psychology / Social Psychology
Dr. Terilyn Jones-Henderson: A Profile
By Pat Brawley, Ph.D. Saybrook University ’97
The post Saybrook University Alumna Dr. Terilyn Jones-Henderson Embodies Humanistic Ideals in Her Work appeared first on Saybrook University.
Saybrook Psychology Alumnus Dr. Bob Flax (Ph.D. ’92), also a faculty member and Chief Research Coordinator at Saybrook University’s Graduate College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies, has been named to the governing body of the World Federalist Movement. The announcement was made at the WFM’s 26th annual conference in July. Founded in 1947 to support the efforts of the United Nations, the WFM is a worldwide organization dedicated to promoting peace and the global rule of law: it is the primary sponsor of the International Criminal Court and the U.N.’s “Responsibility to Protect” initiative, among other major global efforts.
The Vice-President of the Democratic World Federalists, Flax’s interest in global law and governance grew out of his work as a senior clinical psychologist for the California Department of Corrections, treating individuals, couples, families, and groups. He expanded his focus to include larger systems and studied organizational development and conflict resolution, and has worked to test these approaches in a wide range of settings, including businesses, non-profits, intentional communities, and the California State Prison system. Dr. Flax finally arrived at the next logical step – the way we work together as citizens of the world.
Bob lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a key faculty member in Saybrook’s program in Social Transformation, which offers a body of practical knowledge to support students who want to connect the library to the street in pursuit of meaningful social change.
Dr. Flax’s Saybrook Doctoral Dissertation was titled, From Beginner to Master: Changes in the Ways of Being, Perceiving, and Practicing of Psychotherapists as They Acquire and Develop Clinical Skill, and was chaired by Dr. Tony Stigliano.
The Saybrook Alumni Association and Saybrook University are proud to announce that Psychology Alumnus Dr. Sil Machado was recently appointed to the Core Faculty at the Sanville Institute for Clinical Social Work and Psychotherapy in Berkeley, CA.
The post Saybrook Alumnus Dr. Sil Machado Appointed to Core Faculty at the Sanville Institute appeared first on Saybrook University.
Saybrook Psychology Alumna Dr. Ellie Zarrabian (Ph.D. 2010) is a third generation Shamanic Healer and the Founder and Spiritual Director of Centerpeace Foundation – A Holistic Center for Psychotherapy and Spirituality. Dr. Zarrabian incorporates her Shamanic roots from the Sufi/Jewish tradition in Iran with her background in Transpersonal Psychology to help bring health and wellness to individuals, families, and communities.
The brain can be trained to identify and redirect anger impulses before they are automatically expressed, according to Saybrook University Psychology Alumnus Dr. Steven Wolf. Steven is so confident individuals can learn to redirect anger impulses in a positive way that he guarantees success for those who complete his three stage training program.
The post Is there Help if You are not Pathologically Angry, but Still Lose It from Time to Time? appeared first on Saybrook University.