Abstracts

Dini R. Bintari

Women’s Empowerment Through Active Participation in Abrahamic Religions

Even though there is patriarchal hegemony in Abrahamic religions, the women’s active participation in these religions can increase their psychological empowerment. Women and men have different patterns of community participation and psychological empowerment. Empirical evidence supports the fact that active participation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam enhanced women’s empowerment. The author contends that these studies were not based on a comprehensive understanding of empowerment.

Sergei Slavoutski

Other Lives: The Ostensible Realities Beyond Past, Present, and Future

The concept of other lives suggests that other lives may represent experiences related to some apparent realities that are interconnected with specific structures of human consciousness. The author proposes that other lives may be associated with the karmic layer of the human subtle energy body and that these other life experiences may resemble but not necessarily depict potentially existing past lives. The events and people described in other lives may correspond to some ostensible realities or domains of expanded consciousness that may have existed and continue to exist along with reality, which is associated with the history of humanity as it is known. In connection with the concept of other lives, the historical roots, cultural and philosophical context of past life theory will be discussed by presenting an overview of the theories of karma and reincarnation. In addition, some reincarnation research related to various types of past life recall will be briefly discussed.

Samuel Root

Dark Night of the Soul

After reviewing recent definitions and statistics on depression, building on theologian and therapist Thomas Moore’s work, the author offers alternative definitions and treatment approaches from the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ literature. Photography, painting, poetry, and music are activities through which the darker aspects of the Soul can be acknowledged and appreciated. It is argued that a positive respect for depression in the Soul’s cycles can turn depression into an initiation to higher levels of self-realization.

Kathleen Marie Epp

The Therapeutic Impact of Spiritual Presence: Quantitative and Qualitative Pilot Study of Spiritual Hands-On Healing

This mixed-methods study of the therapeutic impact of spiritual presence examines self-reported experiences of participants in spiritual hands-on healing sessions. It is a quantitative and qualitative study using longitudinal scales and thematic content analysis based upon post-session interviews with nine participants. Results from this study showed seven overarching themes that all participants experienced while receiving spiritual hands-on sessions: movement/change, healing/improvement, awareness/deeper level, feeling/sense, listening/communicating, compassion/spiritual, positive/peaceful. Categories of levels of perception revealed from the data indicate six levels expressed by participants: Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, energetic and altered state. Quantitative data based upon scales of levels of pain and physical function report positive change.

Scott Johnson

A Phenomenological Exploration of the Experience of Will

The author will present preliminary information concerning his doctoral work exploring the experience of will. He will suggest that the phenomenological investigation of one’s will can be used as a vital intervention in therapy that might arguably and necessarily precede any attempt at goal identification or goal setting. The author will indicate how his pilot work in this area suggests that while the experience of will is not as easily accessible to one as other topics that have undergone phenomenological inquiry, it is a highly worthwhile endeavor that promises large rewards in its investigation. He will also focus on the merits and utility of hermeneutic, ontological phenomenological investigations – a type of phenomenological methodology currently less popular in the U.S. and more prevalent in Europe.

Gonzalo Brito Pons

Ayahuasca, Psychotherapy and Adictions: The Experience of Takiwasi Rehabilitation Center

Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis Caapi) has been used for millenia in the treatment of physical and spiritual diseases and also for spiritual guidance by the people of the Amazon basin. Recently, ayahuasca and other medicinal plants have been integrated into the treatment of “modern” diseases, such as drug addiction. The Takiwasi Center situated high in the Amazon of Perú, is an example of this integrated style of treatment. This facility has offered over 800 patients, intensive residential treatment that integrates modern psychotherapy (administered by professional psychologists) and medicinal plant interventions (administered by traditional curanderos or healers) as treatments for drug addiction. In this treatment model, psychologists, doctors, and curanderos work together to plan, evaluate and monitor each patients treatment from three levels: physical, psychological, and energetic. In this presentation, the author will share his experience as a psychotherapist and clinical coordinator of the Takiwasi Center between 2005 and 2007, an experience that also involved his personal healing experiences with medicinal plants. Pictures of patients drawings, and short videos will be used to convey the first person experience of this successful model of treatment.

Dominique Del Chiaro

Authentic, Contemporary Rites of Passage for Adolescents

Authentic, modern day rites of passage experiences may assist adolescents in developing identity and sense of purpose. At the end of their 8th grade year of school, four 13-year old girls from Nevada City, California, were guided in a contemporary rites of passage experience with community mentors. Fifteen years later, the four young women were interviewed as part of a qualitative research project, and asked what was remembered that was significant from their rites of passage experience. From these interviews, six main themes emerged. The author proposes that these themes could be used to enhance program development of contemporary rites of passage programs that support identity development in adolescents.

Zachary Bertone

Yogic Practice in Nature: Opening the Possibility of Self-Actualization in Greater Foundational Psychological and Physical Health

Self-actualization might be a difficult level of development to obtain in the structure of today’s society. A literature review operationalized self-actualization as optimal human development (based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) and explored ways that it could be facilitated in the face of potential impediments. The author proposes the integration of yoga and temporary wilderness retreat as a uniquely effective intervention to facilitate self-actualization.

Samuel Arthur Malkemus

The Clash of Instinct and Culture: Eros, Phobos and The Roots of Morality

This presentation explores the tension between human instinctual nature and civilization. It seeks to examine the age-old philosophical and psychological opposition between human nature and human culture that has been reflected in many guises; i.e., nature vs. nurture, passion vs. reason, irrational vs. rational, etc. To this end it involves three primary aims: (1) To present the concept of instinct as it emerged through Darwin and developed in the context of Freud’s depth psychology, (2) to relate these insights to the moral ground of human nature by examining specific pan-human developmental markers that emerge in the early life of an infant, and finally (3) to reflect on the implications that these insights may have for easing the tension between instinct and culture. The works of the philosopher Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, and in specific her evolutionary ethics, serve as the textual ground for the author’s analysis of the moral foundations of human instinct.

Farina Chinoy

Flow – The Process of Optimal Experience – As a Phenomenon of Self-Expansiveness

“Flow” can be described as the process of optimal experience. Csikszentmihaly coined the term flow and describes it as a highly enjoyable psychological state that people experience when they are completely involved in an activity. This topic has been researched extensively in the field of psychology, particularly under the umbrella of positive psychology. In this presentation, Farina will be talking about the transpersonal dimensions of flow, specifically, flow as a self-expansiveness phenomenon.

Courteney Crouch

Genealogy as creative meaning-making: Engaging with family history for psychological, political, and spiritual transformation

The practice of genealogy, or the keeping of family records, has long been a popular hobby for many Americans, and the recent boom in the internet-based family history research industry and the success of media programs such as the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? have further supported burgeoning interests in family history. This presentation will first present the potential reasons for genealogy’s popularity in the U.S., and will then turn to an in-depth exploration of genealogy as a practice of creative meaning-making. It is suggested that practicing creative genealogy can serve as an effective tool for self-reflection, psychological healing, and the re-envisioning of personal and collective history. While genograms have been used in family therapy for decades, the full implications of the personal, social, historical, political, psychological, and transpersonal aspects of genealogy have not been adequately examined within the academic literature. In conclusion, a feminist and transpersonal conceptualization of genealogy will be proposed, highlighting the critical nature of genealogical practice and the spiritual implications of such work.

Zayin Cabot

Evolution and the poetics of indigenous participation: African and American Indian modes of participation

This presentation arises out of an ongoing conversation between the presenter, Zayin Cabot, and Dagara elder Malidoma Somé regarding the nature of participation and evolution. Somé and Cabot will co-teach a course in the spring of 2013 at the California Institute of Integral Studies entitled, “The Poetics of Indigenous Participation.” In this course they unpack some of their assumptions regarding the nature of participation, and question the role of novelty, and possibility of evolution with regard to their different understandings with regard the nature of participation. Following the line of this conversation, this presentation examines different indigenous cosmologies. The African cosmologies coming out of the Dagara and Yoruba languages are compared with those of the Mayan and American Indian.

At the heart of the Dagara cosmology lies an understanding of individual development or maturation, that takes place over several lifetimes, in relation to a diversity of different planets and/or realities. At the heart of the Mayan creation myth lies an emphasis on individual flowering and maturation that re-members the cycles and relationships of the world through entry into successive layers of Mayan cosmology. The Dagara image of an elder dressed in remnants of old clothing progressively letting go of worldly possessions is contrasted with the Mayan ideal of an elder re-membering the world by putting on more layers of clothing to indicate deeper entrance into the Mayan cosmology. The differences between these two cosmologies is further fleshed out through a consideration of the emphasis on individuality in Barry Hallen’s analytic interpretation of African Philosophy and Thomas Norton-Smith’s emphasis on circularity and relatedness in his interpretation of American Indian Philosophy. Though the African and American Indian traditions considered here are often understood under the rubric of indigeneity, they have very different relationships to notions of evolution, participation, and novelty. By way of concluding, this presentation considers some of the ramifications of these differences with regard to contemporary attempts to unpack a critical evolutionary theory of consciousness.

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