We all know who they are: family, friends, colleagues, and "frenemies" who tend to disrupt our realities and make us second-guess ourselves so much so that we end up scratching our heads every time we interact with them. In this class, we will develop a new understanding of these “crazy-makers” in our lives. These difficult and often hard-to-understand personality types can draw us into unwanted drama, drain our energy, and cause us tremendous stress which continues long after our interactions with them. We will learn new ways of dealing with difficult people and situations. Through class exercises, discussions, film excerpts, handouts, and class exercises, we will examine these difficult people through psychological and spiritual lenses and also examine our own limiting thought patterns. We will learn powerful processes that can positively promote our health and well-being, and as a result, we will be able to handle these difficult people to the point that they won't affect us. We will explore our own, possibly unrealistic, expectations of people who may not be able to change. We will find that it is only the habits of a lifetime and repeated patterns of thinking that create our conscious experience and distract us from our own true nature which is always present—peace itself. By changing our consciousness, we can change our world. (A limited enrollment class)
Have you every misjudged something that someone has said or done, and changed your mind about it later? Has someone ever misunderstood your meaning or intentions? You’d be unusual if you didn’t answer “yes” to these questions, because the factors that influence our social experiences and behaviors are complex and not always transparent. Social actions and reactions can be conscious and deliberate, but are often automatic and unconscious. In Part I of this course, we looked at the nature of social behavior and considered the power of common perceptual biases, how they affect much of our social experience, influence the way we see others and they see us. In Part II, we will apply these ideas more directly to explain how they affect our own social interactions and relationships. In this 12-week class, psychologist Dr. Roberta Diddel will lead the class in applying basic social psychology concepts to understand and possibly change their personal social interactions. We will cover the material in No One Understands You and What to Do About It, by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Harvard Business Review Press, 2015; but reading is not necessary in order to follow along as we discuss the concepts. Attendance in Part I of the course is not required or necessary for students to enjoy and benefit from the material in Part II.
More and more, scientific studies have pointed out that negative mindsets can have a deleterious influence on everything from health, to aging patterns, to personal longevity. In fact, one of the fastest growing areas of medical research measures the impact of positive and negative emotions on the immune system. Too often, we are unconscious of the ways we operate, both in our own thinking and our own interactions with others. In this class we will focus on the our negative roadblocks that get in the way of our health and well-being by exploring the stories that we tell ourselves, examining inaccurate concepts, and learning new ways we can remain centered and unstressed even in the midst of upheaval. We will concentrate on the “tapes” of our self-talk, and root out stress-causing and debilitative thinking using cognitive behavior techniques. We will explore age-old prescriptions from the world’s major spiritual traditions that speak to simplifying our lives through the principles of non-attachment, living in the present, and understanding our true nature.
How much do genes affect our development? How does gender identity and sexual orientation develop? How does children’s thinking evolve through childhood, and why are adolescents so out of sorts? What are the stages of adult development, and how do we adjust to new stages in our lives? Studies of the human brain are teaching us more than ever about how we develop over the course of a lifetime, addressing questions like these and much more. Join Dr. Roberta Diddel as she explores issues in the psychology of lifespan development, considering what science is discovering, presenting theories and posing questions designed to get students engaged in open-ended discussion, which promote the sharing personal experiences. (A limited enrollment class)
“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein Our lives can be cluttered in so many ways. Our closets, garages, and storage facilities can be bulging with boxes of memorabilia and "must-keep" items from years past. Our minds can be filled with stored-up "tapes" from what we were told as children. Our days can be stacked with back-to-back appointments that become a constant source of stress. We may feel that the entire world is an obstacle course through which we have to make our way, surrounded by the clutter that we have created around us. The things we hang onto, both in our physical environment and within our mindsets, can lead to melancholy, isolation, shame and more. In some traditions, clutter is seen as a blockage of normally free-flowing energy that can cause stagnation, depression, and even disease. There are many wonderful books and television shows devoted to cleaning clutter, targeted to everyone from CEOs to homemakers. In this class, through discussion, film, book and video excerpts of clutter-busting professionals and more, we will not only find practical solutions to implement, but will also look into the deeper issues. Exploring the practices and principles of overcoming mental and physical clutter will bring new perspectives, leading us to discover new ways to simplify our lives and clear our mental and physical space for renewed energy. Handouts will be provided. (A limited enrollment class)
Science tells us that stress causes illness, and that stress is a factor in many of our modern-day diseases. And yet, there are so many stress-causers around us: difficult people, worrisome projections about the future, issues from the past, feelings of fear, frustration, anger, guilt—all working to overwhelm us. In this class, using the perspectives of behavioral science, philosophy, wisdom traditions, and more, we will become aware of both the external and internal stressors in our lives, and we will learn specific techniques to begin to change our perspectives, and open up our mindsets. We will also discover remedies passed down from sages of multiple spiritual traditions that address our inner stresses. Through class discussion and specific techniques, we will actively understand how to overcome negative obstacles to peace-of-mind. We will learn how to access our inner serenity, and then understand how to abide in this peaceful aware state, in order to better handle stressful situations. We will explore ways we can change our current stressful thought patterns so that we may operate from a space in which we will be aware of all that arises for us in each moment. Most importantly, we will learn how to respond to the great invitation that life extends to us —to be part of the aliveness and poignancy of each present moment of our lives. Class materials provided. (A limited enrollment class)
Many people have conflicts in the realm of intimacy because of fears of exploitation or abandonment, thereby blocking closeness and interfering with commitments to others. We will discuss patterns formed in childhood that interfere with intimacy, creating villainous, vicious cycles. We will explore the “discipline of love,” including the importance of self-love, in the face of others’ imperfect or improper behavior. In this series, we will examine the difficulties of holding onto oneself, while attempting to maintain a healthy marriage, rear a family, and pursue a career. We will examine the need in relationships to work through betrayals of all kinds in order to reach healthy levels of acceptance, understanding, and growth. Together we will define a good wife, a good mother, a good business partner and a good career, finding the balance between self-actualization and self-sacrifice.
How is it that we become who we are? We are partially the culmination of our parents’ and grandparents’ stories, the stories perpetuated by our cultural heritage, and we are also constructed out of the stories told about us even before we were born. This seminar will examine the influence of the stories of our lives, those we have heard and those we tell. We will discuss the universal stories that unite us all as human beings and the very personal, individual stories that make us each unique. Students will be expected to engage actively in the sharing of their own life narratives and in discussion of the over-arching themes that bring us all together in a shared humanity. (A limited enrollment class)
Energy—it seems we never have enough of it. Without it, we can find ourselves depressed, weakened, and vulnerable to illness. However, new scientific findings have confirmed that many ancient (and once secret) healing systems from the East have been able to increase energy, improve health, slow/reverse aging, and even produce miracles like spontaneous cancer remissions. From the proven efficacy of acupuncture, acupressure, tai chi, qi gong, yoga, Reiki, therapeutic/healing touch, and more, we are learning that there are underlying, though invisible, energy systems in each of us that affect us, and which can be harnessed for better health and energy. To explore these energy systems, we will look at the tenets of Chinese Medicine and the Meridian system, a structure of hidden energy channels mapped by the Taoists more than 5,000 years ago, and still followed by acupuncture and acupressure specialists today. This powerful and confounding healing system (e.g. why a needle at the top of the foot fixes chronic migraines) has recently been correlated scientifically to connections between underlying fascial tissue. We will also learn about the similar Chakra system, mapped and described thousands of years ago within the Hindu tradition, which operates to this day as a key component in the physical and spiritual discipline of different types of yoga. We will examine where modern medicine, ancient Eastern medical principles, and the discoveries of Quantum Physics have begun to intersect with spirituality and the somatic sciences, leading to more effective holistic treatment. By exploring time-honored principles and learning actual practices, we will work with our own personal energy fields to directly experience the results that take place when we take charge of our energy and our health.
We all know who they are: family, friends, colleagues, and "frenemies" who tend to disrupt our realities and make us second-guess ourselves so much so that we end up scratching our heads or fuming every time we interact with them. In this class, we will develop a new understanding of these “crazy-makers” in our lives. These difficult and often hard-to-understand personality types can draw us into unwanted drama, drain our energy, and cause us tremendous stress which continues long after our interactions with them. We will learn new ways of dealing with difficult people and with difficult, stressful situations. Through class exercises, discussions, handouts, techniques and more, we will examine difficult people and situations using psychological, sociological, genetic, spiritual, and other perspectives. We will also examine our own thought patterns in relation to these kinds of stresses. We will learn powerful processes that can positively promote our health and well-being, and as a result, we will be able to handle these difficult people and situations to the point that they won't affect us. We will examine the habits of a lifetime of repeated patterns and thinking that create our conscious experience and distract us from our own true nature. We will come to see that by changing our consciousness, we can change our world. (A limited enrollment class)
Too often, we are unconscious of the ways we operate, both in our thinking and our interactions with others. Other people and stressful situations can press our "buttons," leading to reactivity, negativity, and overall stress. Becoming conscious in new ways to the thoughts and perspectives that no longer serve us is the first step. In this class we will concentrate on these issues and more, including: • Conscious thinking: We will explore the stories that we are telling ourselves, dismantle old concepts, and learn ways to remain centered and unstressed, even in the midst of upheaval. We will concentrate on the “tapes” of our self-talk, and root out stress-causing and debilitative thinking using multiple techniques. • Conscious acting: We will develop a new understanding of the “crazymakers” in our lives. These difficult and often hard-to-understand personality types can draw us into unwanted drama, drain our energy, and cause us tremendous stress which continues long after our interactions with them. In this class, we will learn new ways to operate, working with boundaries, and creating specific behavior “templates” to use for difficult people and situations as they come up. • Conscious living: We will use wisdom teachings from the world's major spiritual traditions, scientific findings, the lenses of psychology and sociology, ideas from Aikido (a martial art) to simplify our lives through the principles of non-attachment, living in the present, understanding our true nature, energy banking, and more. By changing our consciousness, we can change our world. (This class is a part of a series of classes in which Liz Weiman explores the continuing journey spanning stress and serenity, dealing with difficult people and culminating in choosing freedom over fear. A limited enrollment class.)
In this course, students will read and discuss two books from the current bestseller list in psychology and social science. The Undoing Project the latest book by Michael Lewis (author or The Big Short and The Blindside) is about the friendship and collaboration of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two psychologists who turned the world of psychology on its head. This will be followed by one of iconoclastic thinker Daniel Kahneman’s best-known works, Thinking Fast and Slow. Dr. Diddel will lead discussion of the material, adding additional information about the topic and guiding students into putting their spin on the material and how it applies to their lives. (A limited enrollment class)
Scientists are discovering more and more that there are complex biological links between the stresses in our lives, our nervous system, and our immune function. In fact, one of the fastest growing areas of medical research measures the impact of positive and negative emotions on the immune system. Unfortunately, the stresses of modern life cause so many of us to operate in a continual state of the "fight or flight response", during which specific biochemical reactions occur and cortisol is released throughout the body. Elevated cortisol levels have been found to interfere with memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, and higher blood pressure. At the same time, the extensive research into the mind-body connection has confirmed the medical, mental, and psychological benefits of certain stress-reducing practices that can improve our health. In this class we will cover the landmark mind-body research of such scientists as Robert Ader, Bob Fellen, Candace Pert, and others. In addition, we will learn cutting-edge stress reduction techniques such as cognitive behavior mindfulness, MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction), and integrative breathing. In addition, we will learn and experience simple ways to work with Eastern practices such as QiGong, Tai-Chi, Yoga breathing, and guided/non-guided meditation. By understanding the mind-body connection and by using specific stress-reduction techniques, we can profoundly affect our overall health, longevity, and quality of life. (A limited enrollment class)
This course will bring together the Arts and Psychology—an exuberantly illuminating and catalyzing pair—in order to create a portal into understanding the conundrums of human behavior. We delight in duos that reciprocally enhance: food and wine; Simon and Garfunkel; warp and woof; Toklas and Stein; Yin and Yang; Freud and Jung. Our smorgasbord will include: • Poetic cataclysms of Nobel prize-winning Wislawa Szymborska managed by Tich Nhat Hahn’s meditative practice and Steven Hayes’ Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). • Pia Melody’s epic research on redemptive connection through healthy boundaries excavated by excerpts from Grace Paley’s short stories and Rebecca Solnit’s memoires. • Maggie Taylors’s fantastical photo collages mapping the stress/trauma response in Bessel van der Kolk’s foundational book The Body Keep the Score. Ultimately, this course is designed to provide safe passage—sometimes quiet, sometimes boisterous—to better understand the complexities of our lives, individually and collectively, through combinations that compliment and oppose; distill and topple; shore up and expand. Each class will combine current psychological and neurological theory with the visual and literary arts. Writing, collage, and drawing will also be a part of our work together, though always optional. Ultimately, group discussions and experiential opportunities will open a space for better understanding the dynamics of relationships with others and with ourselves. (A limited enrollment class)
This course will bring together the Arts and Psychology, an exuberantly illuminating and catalyzing pair, in order to create a portal into understanding the conundrums of human behavior. Ultimately, this course is designed to provide safe passage—sometimes quiet, sometimes boisterous—to better understand the complexities of our lives, individually and collectively, through combinations that compliment and oppose; distill and topple; shore up and expand. Each class will combine current psychological and neurological theory with the visual and literary arts. Group discussions and experiential opportunities will open a space for better understanding the dynamics of relationships with others and with ourselves. (A limited enrollment class)
Most people rate their connections with other people as one of, if not the most, meaningful aspect of their lives. Yet unlike reading, writing and ‘rithmatic—we do not explicitly learn skills in connecting with others in school. Sometimes we have no instruction in these skills. This seminar will discuss and explore the following skills: identifying our own and others emotions; expressing our own emotions in an effective way; understanding and facilitating others expression of their emotions; demonstrating compassion, even during conflict; nurturing deep emotional bonds with others; and, emotionally reconnecting with another person after a conflict. We will use discussion, brief exercises, and participant journals to focus on understanding relationships—both how we nurture and interfere with deeper connections. (A limited enrollment class)
In this class we will focus on the negative thinking that can get in the way of our health and well-being by learning how to access the peace that resides within us. In our journey, we will use wisdom teachings from the world's major spiritual traditions, scientific findings, psychology, sociology, and other perspectives to learn how to simplify our lives through the principles of non-attachment, living in the present, and understanding our true nature. We will also examine how certain people and situations press our "buttons" and cause internal reactivity, negativity, and ongoing stress. By accessing the peaceful state that is our true nature, we can more effectively produce the changes we want in our lives and in the world. (This class is a part of a series of classes in which Liz Weiman explores the continuing journey spanning stress and serenity, dealing with difficult people and culminating in choosing freedom over fear. A limited enrollment class)
Each day we see news on TV or in the papers about drug abuse, eating disorders, attention deficit disorder, teen suicide, and the presumed effects of childhood abuse. But are we to make sense of what we hear? The past 30 years have brought about unprecedented development in the understanding of human behavior, but there is still much controversy and much more to be learned. Join Dr. Roberta Diddel as she moves into a large classroom setting in order to explore issues of applied psychology, challenge what is suspected to be true, and poses questions for open-ended debate. Controversies to be discussed include: • Is mental illness really an illness, and should it be treated like a medical disease? • Is adult distress caused by childhood trauma? • Is divorce always harmful to children? • Are repressed memories reliable? • Should the courts make allowances for the insane? • The media’s reporting on mental illness: Is it helpful or harmful? • Does Attention Deficit Disorder exist, and should kids take medicine for it? • Eating Disorders: Is our culture killing us? • Should abstinence be the only goal for alcohol abuse? • Are psychiatric medications over-prescribed? • Are antidepressants responsible for some
Is there a place for spirit in the human psyche? In the view of Sigmund Freud, religion was built only on wish fulfillment and illusion. Throughout the 20th century, dominant schools of psychology have seen consciousness as a function of the human brain, destined to end when a brain dies; frequently, those schools ignore religious questions and view spiritual experiences as mere pathology. Throughout the history of modern psychology, however, a countervailing view has explored the human mind’s capacity for spiritual insight. This “transpersonal” psychology examines the greater potential of our consciousness, from telepathy, genius and clairvoyance to mystical experience. Ultimately, it suggests that our minds can take in more than what is perceived through our five senses, and that reality is more than the material world that surrounds us. Focusing on key figures and their ideas, these classes will survey the transpersonal outlook in psychological thought from the discovery of the unconscious in the late 19th century until the present day, considering its implications for how we view the possibilities and meaning of human life.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha Through the centuries, sages from multiple spiritual traditions have passed down “prescriptions” that address the mind’s incessant traveling and mental noise. In recent years, studies have shown that negative mind patterns can bring on chronic stress and negatively affect our mental and physical health. These studies have further shown that mindfulness-based programs can profoundly break the cycle of ongoing stress. The practice of mindfulness can be defined as a state of non-judgmental, open attention to the present moment. It involves observing our present thoughts, emotions, and sensations, and breaking the long-standing habit of being caught up in a maelstrom of thoughts about the past or future. In this workshop, we will rediscover the wisdom of contemporary and ancient sages and learn to open our eyes to the miraculous quality of each moment. (A limited enrollment class)