Information and Contact: Dr. Michael Murphy
This class explores the interface of Western Psychology and the world’s contemplative traditions. We will explore various Western and Non-Western spiritual traditions as they relate to psychological health and being authentically human. We will explore how contemplative practices can enhance well-being and the practice of psychotherapy. Since contemplation requires being still and quieting the mind, the course is highly experiential. Students will learn how to do mindfulness meditation and there will be an optional all-day silent retreat as part of the class. The class is open to graduate students who are training to be counselor/psychotherapists as well as to others who have a deep interest in the topics addressed in this class.
In this course, we will explore the issues surrounding dying well from multiple perspectives, including sociology, psychology, biology, medical sciences, ethics, history, spirituality/religion, and economics. In particular, we will start by studying dying well from a developmental or life course perspective. Then we will discuss the medical, psychological, social, spiritual/religious, economic, ethical, and legal aspects of death and dying. We will end the course by considering cultural variations in end-of-life issues, examining the grieving process for survivors, and discussing the question of life after death.
The Cosmic Dance: Spirituality and Science
This is a course about reality maps. Every society, every subset of society, and indeed every individual operates with fundamental beliefs about what is real, what isn’t, and how what is real actually works. We can think of these fundamental assumptions, some implicit and others explicit, as constituting “reality maps.” This is the first time in human history when a very pervasive reality map has excluded the realm of spirit. This is due, for the most part, to the overwhelming success of science and technology in transforming our lives. On the other hand, as world events constantly remind us, religion is undergoing a major resurgence, especially in its more conservative, even fundamentalist forms. The inevitable and dramatic contradiction between those two ways of perceiving reality has been as disastrous as it is un-nuanced. When we consider the larger context of human spirituality– some of which is religious, much of which is not–and when we consider the best accounts that science can give at this moment about the nature of empirical reality, the situation seems far more fluid and hopeful. The course will help us all clarify our reality maps, and broaden and deepen our understandings of spirit, science and human nature.
Death and Dying
Information and Contact: Dr. Mike Murphy
In this class we will explore the topic of death and dying from a variety of perspectives, including the cross-cultural and transpersonal (psychological/spiritual) perspectives. Class members will be encouraged to explore their own experiences with, and beliefs about, death and dying, while also exploring new and alternative beliefs about the topic. Emphasis will be given to developing a more hopeful, optimistic view of death and dying. More information in PDF format.
Exploring the boundries of spirituality and psychology: old and new world perspectives
Information and Contact: Dr. Mary Fukuyama
In the “old world” of Western Europe, religion provided the primary structure for social organization and personal meaning-making. Since the emergence of science and the social sciences, religion and psychology have had an uneasy relationship, with a tradition of antagonistic conflicts. We no longer have to live with these dichotomies. This course is designed to explore the boundaries of spirituality and psychology by integrating old and new world perspectives. We will use the labyrinth, an ancient symbol of religious and spiritual pilgrimage as a guiding metaphor for this journey. From a “new world” perspective, we will learn about how cultural boundaries are crossed and meaningful exchanges are shared across religious traditions. The course will integrate principles of holistic health (mind-body-spirit) and personal growth with week-long immersion experiences in two intentional monastic communities. The latter opportunities will afford comparisons of Eastern (Buddhist) and Western (Christian) religious traditions. Part of the course will focus on learning Mindfulness Meditation and its applications in psychology. A study abroad venue is ideal for this sort of experiential learning course because immersion in a foreign country heightens self-awareness and opens students to new experiences which help to clarify values.
View the course syllabus in PDF format here.
Group Related Internship Program (GRIP)
Information and Contact: Dr. Monika Ardelt
This course provides an opportunity to reflect on, discuss, and learn from your internship/service learning experiences in a group-related setting. In addition, we will use this class and your internship experience to reflect on the greater picture, or “what’s it all about.” We will discuss the meaning of life from a sociological, philosophical, and spiritual perspective. Although, according to Max Weber, sociology (and science in general) cannot provide an answer to this question, it can help us to examine the philosophical and spiritual answers through the sociological lens. In “What’s It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life,” Julian Baggini approaches the question of the meaning and purpose of life from a philosophical and secular perspective. In contrast, Bo Lozoff in “It’s a Meaningful Life: It Just Takes Practice” represents the spiritual point of view and also directly addresses the question of service-learning. We will read, write about, and discuss both books in the first half of Summer C.
Health and End of Life Issues
Information and Contact: Dr. Barbara Rienzo
Explores issues associated with death and dying including cultural, spiritual, and psychological traditions that affect health decisions, behavior, and medical care. Emphasizes developing professional and personal skills for coping with end-of-life issues for oneself and for assisting others.
Introduction to Non-Western Psychology and Counseling
Information and Contact: Dr. Michael Murphy
Most of the psychology and counseling classes that are offered in American universities focus on WESTERN psychology. With the recent emphasis on multiculturalism in such curricula there has been an increased focus on looking at cultural issues as they affect psychological health and the counseling process. Very few programs, however, include classes that focus on NON-WESTERN PSYCHOLOGY when it comes to theories of personality, psychological functioning or clinical interventions. In this class we will explore the field of non-western psychology and counseling. Students will be introduced to a variety of “approaches” to psychology and counseling that come from non-western traditions. Topics that will be covered include: Meditation, yoga, dreams, death and dying, the near-death experience, hypnosis, guided imagery, Jungian psychology and symbolism, parapsychology, shamanism, and Buddhist and Hindu psychology – to name a few.
Mindfulness Meditation: Personal, Clinical and Training Applications
Information and Contact: Dr. Mike Murphy
This class will introduce students to the principles of Mindfulness Meditation, both as a personal practice AND as it applies to clinical practice and training. Research over the past 20 years has shown Mindfulness Meditation to be a very powerful agent of change for a multitude of psychological and health-related concerns (e.g., headaches, test/performance anxiety, depression, anxiety, trauma, etc). The past few years there has been more and more emphasis placed on the value of Mindfulness Meditation in the counseling/psychotherapy setting. The value of this practice to both the patient AND the therapist has been demonstrated. An important aspect of its application in therapy is the effect it has on the therapist, the client AND the therapeutic relationship. More information in PDF format.
Information and Contact: Dr. Barbara Welsch
This course, for upper division students, is developed for students from multiple disciplines including: psychology, sociology, physics, engineering, religion, philosophy, health and spirituality, pre-medicine, nursing and neuroscience. Both local and non-local consciousness will be considered along with the history, epistemology, theory and current research in consciousness studies. Neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback), Heart Rate Variability biofeedback, and Light and Sound Entrainment will be explored in an in-class lab setting; no other group in-class consciousness work is planned, though a daily practice of the student’s choice (meditation, yoga, qigong, dreamwork, prayer etc.) will be an expected component of the course. Students will assume major responsibility for introducing the class (limited to 30 students) to selected topics from their particular area of interest. Students will be challenged to simultaneously employ a high degree of open-mindedness coupled with rational skepticism and logic.
Research Methods in Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology
This class is a graduate seminar, especially for anybody interested in doing a master’s or dissertation research in this area. It is intended to be very flexible and will accommodate the needs of students from many different areas, even though it is listed as a psychology offering.
Spiritual Issues in Multicultural Counseling
Information and Contact: Dr. Jennifer Stuart
Mental health professionals need to understand diverse religious and spiritual worldviews and how spiritual issues are expressed and addressed in multicultural counseling. Examples of course topics include: understanding spirituality, spiritual worldviews and developmental models, healthy and unhealthy expressions of spirituality, and counseling issues (such as making meaning of suffering or death). Various spiritual interventions and ethical concerns will be discussed in the context of recently developed multicultural and spiritual counseling competencies. Students in this course will be asked to engage in experiential learning (e.g., activities that nurture their spiritually), observe a culturally different religious or spiritual practice, read and write from didactic materials, keep a journal for personal awareness, and participate in classroom discussion.
Spirituality and Health
Information and Contact: Dr. Barbara Rienzo
This course is an exploration of current theory and knowledge about the intersection of human spirituality and health. It is intended for health educators and other health professionals and endeavors to address such questions as — What is spirituality? What is health? How are they related? What are some different traditions in how spirituality is a part of health? How is spirituality currently being integrated into primary health care? By the end of the course, students will be able to: Describe current research and theory that explore the relationship of spirituality to health and to disease; Describe major spiritual traditions within various cultures in the U.S. and how these traditions can affect health behavior and treatment; Describe effective methods by which health educators and other health providers can assess and address issues of spirituality of their clients/ patients in their professional practice; Discuss the ethical principles and issues associated with addressing the spiritual aspects of health in professional practice; and Explore one’s personal spiritual health status and path/journey and describe how this (potentially) effects professional practice.
Spirituality and the Health Sciences (Honors)
Information and Contact: Dr. Lou Ritz
A course intended for undergraduate health science majors, particularly pre-medical students, who are interested in exploring the interface of spirituality and the health sciences. The course consists of weekly presentations and discussions led by the course instructors (and some members of the UF Center for Spirituality and Health). Student group dialogue and exchange will be emphasized. Topics typically include: Spirituality: Its Nature and Varieties; Health: An MD’s Perspective; Health: Viewpoints from Religions; Taking a Spiritual History: Patient-Physician Dialogue; Research on Prayer and Health; Meditation and Wellness; The Art of Patient Care; Stress Management; Wisdom in Aging; Near-Death, Death and Dying; Care for the Soul: Living the Healthy and Spirited Life.
Worlds of Consciousness
The course will focus on a very general and a more specific question. First, how is consciousness structured? Second, how does it construct our experience in the many worlds that we inhabit or could inhabit? Our special concern will be the various transpersonal territories that have been known by artists, poets, mystics, and metaphysicians (in other words, as the Buddha taught, all those who want to be happy). Assigned reading will include writings by developmental philosopher Ken Wilber and transpersonal critic Jorge Ferrer. Each student will be expected to participate actively in class discussions, maintain a study journal that the instructors will review and grade, and (if possible) attend a public lecture by Jorge Ferrer in April. Two books that will be required reading are Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution (2nd edition) by Ken Wilber and Revisioning Transpersonal Theory by Jorge Ferrer.