All Courses (including inactive)

Co-Creating Cultural Consciousness

MHS 3930/SDS 6938

For more information contact: Dr. Emi Lenes

Multicultural mistakes are common, and are also found in helping professions, where benevolent people are intending to be of service. Mindfulness practices may help with emotional intelligence, self-regulation, awareness of oneself and others, empathy, compassion, and relationship repair. The class will be experiential and interactive. Culturally diverse community role models and emerging leaders will be sharing powerful perspectives regarding the intersectionality of visible and invisible identities (e.g., race, nationality, sexual/affectional orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, ability, spirituality, religion, age). Together, we can mindfully explore how we can be more conscious on individual and collective levels. Mindfulness can be applied personally and professionally, and can help us grow in our interpersonal and intrapersonal awareness, knowledge, skills, and advocacy.

Contemplative Psychology/Psychotherapy

PSY 6930
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

REL 4936/5937
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

SDS 6938
Information and Contact- Dr. Michael 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.

Death and Dying in Old Age

SYA 7933
Information and Contact- Dr. Monika Ardelt
What constitutes dying well for older persons, and how can families and institutions make the dying experience less painful and more emotionally rewarding for the dying and those close to them? I define dying well as the maintenance of psychological well-being, even under adverse circumstances. Based on a theoretical orientation that assumes life-long psychosocial development and potential for psychological growth, the dying experience can be considered the last developmental milestone of a person’s life course. However, dying well in old age is still a relatively neglected topic. Unfortunately, dying well also appears to be the exception rather than the norm. Too many older people spend their last days or hours of their lives in places, such as hospitals or nursing homes, that may not spare any expenses to keep them alive but lack the human contact and compassion to facilitate a “good” death.

Exploring the boundries of spirituality and psychology: old and new world perspectives

PSY 4930
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

HSC 5657
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.

Honors Spirituality and the Health Sciences

IDH 3931
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.

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.

Mind-Body Practices and Spiritualities

SDS 6938

Information and Contact: Sabine Grunwald, Ph.D.

In this course we will explore contrasting mind-body constructs and practices from Western psychological, modern spiritual, and Buddhist perspectives. We will immerse ourselves in the study of select mind-body practices, explore their theoretical underpinnings and traditional roots as well as benefits for wellbeing, health, and human flourishing. Such learning approach discovers the ‘Why’, ‘What’, and ‘How’ that undergirds mind-body practices. Mind-body meditation practices bring forth transpersonal and transbody states of consciousness and embodiment which will be discovered, observed, and studied. We will explore mind-body interactions, psycho-spiritual experiences, and potential liberative transformation paths and goals. To embody the lived experience of a particular moment through mindfulness and body awareness means to viscerally feel sensory, motor, emotional, and imaginal experiences rather than to funnel arousal into mental concepts, ideas, and categories (“chatter mind, ruminating mind”).

Evidence-based research and phenomenological qualitative research studies that have assessed the effects of mind-body practices on health, well-being, and spiritual/mystical experiences will be given special attention in form of student projects and papers. This course is highly experiential and stresses engagement and study of various mind-body practices and spiritualities.

The course is part of the UF Certificate in Spirituality and Health.


Mindful Living: A Course on Spirituality for Everyday Life

MHS 3930

For more information contact: Kerry Parks

Mindful Living is geared to teach students about various approaches of how to live a more “mindful” life. The holistic approach focuses on the various mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual conditions that arise when confronted with stressful or traumatic situations throughout one’s lifespan. Students will be provided a wide range of perspectives regarding personal responsibility toward stress management and mindful self-care practices. Throughout the semester, we will practice various mindfulness-based techniques to learn how to reduce the negative effects of different psychological concerns in one’s life through tangible application methods. Specifically, students will learn some mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) practices throughout the semester, as well as informal mindfulness practices. Each class will have a different 10-minute guided mindfulness activity, followed by reflection of your experience. Throughout the class we will engage in various mindful, experiential, creative, didactic, and process oriented discussions.

The Mindful Trauma Therapist

SDS 6938 (section number: 4E68, class number: 21560)

For more information contact Dr. Keri Johnson

This class explores the interface between Western psychology and the world’s contemplative practices. In particular, we will examine how the practice of mindfulness meditation can enhance one’s life by both quieting the mind and providing awareness into life’s greatest questions. This course will be highly experiential, combining the practice of sitting meditation and other simple contemplative and yoga practices that foster inner stillness and clarity. We will also study the wealth of Eastern thought that when applied to a therapeutic setting can enhance well-being as well as foster authentic presence, that quality that has been shown repeatedly to be the most important therapeutic agent of change. The course will focus on how to apply these ancient wisdom principles to the practice of psychotherapy.

Mindfulness Meditation: Personal, Clinical and Training Applications

SDS 6938
Information and Contact- Dr. Michael 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.

Neurotheology: The Interface between the Brain and the Divine (Honors)

IDH 3931
For more information contact- Dr. Lou Ritz
Are religious and spiritual experiences brain-based? If they are, what are the implications to understanding brain circuitry? If they are not, what are the implications to our understanding of who we are? Our course – Neurotheology -will investigate the neural correlates of religious and spiritual experiences and the implications of such relationships.

Non-local Consciousness

PSY 4906
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

PSY 6930
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

MHS 6061
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 Creativity in Healthcare

NUR 4930/6930

For more information contact: Dr. Mary Rockwood Lane

This course gives undergraduate and graduate students in nursing, art, and other disciplines an overview of the field of Spirituality, Creativity and Healthcare. It will describe the history and physiology of Spirituality, Creativity in Healthcare, explain the use of art, writing, music and dance to heal, provide exemplars of programs that use creativity and spirituality to heal, and demonstrate the praxis of artists healing themselves, others, and the earth. The course utilizes stories of patients and artists, and guided imagery as a way of teaching. Creative art projects provide exciting opportunities for personal growth and healing. The final art project can be any art process that heals. Students have built meditation benches in the house they rented for peace, written poetry for a brother who was ill, painted their inner critic and inner artist, created portfolios of healing photographs, sculptures, or painting, and created art programs in healthcare settings. This course shows how art, spirituality and healing are one. It shows how creativity and spirituality resonate the body, mind and spirit and talks about how art is transformational to us, others, and the earth. The course discusses the future of art, spirituality and healing and talks about how spirituality and healthcare departments in universities are now helping people pray and use spiritual disciplines to heal. This course is about healing your own spirit.

Spirituality and Health

HSC 5606
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 Health Care

REL 3099
Information and Contact- Erin Prophet
In the twenty-first century, spirituality and health care are intersecting in new ways. Traditional and indigenous medical practices are increasingly being sanctioned by and integrated with Western biomedicine. Health providers are expected to be aware of patients’ spiritual needs. Students will learn about: The historically shifting boundaries between medicine, psychology and religion in the West. How to evaluate the health impact of patients’ religious and spiritual beliefs and practices. Whether and how the effects of spiritual practices can be measured. The latest findings from the cognitive science of religion, including theories regarding the innateness of religious ideas. Finally, they will evaluate different models for integrating traditional and alternative therapies with Western biomedicine and learn best practices for assessing and meeting patients’ spiritual needs. They will fulfill the general education student learning outcomes by mastering the required content and demonstrating competency in critical thinking through analyzing information from multiple perspectives and communicating the knowledge and ideas they have learned in both written and oral forms.

Spirituality and the Health Sciences (Honors)

IDH 3931
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.

Yoga and Mental Health

SDS 6938 

Information and Contact- Dr. Jennifer Stuart
This course is designed to provide both a conceptual and embodied understanding of yoga philosophy and its applications to mental health, as well as yoga-based interventions that can be used in counseling.

Through direct practice, didactic material, and class discussion, students will explore basic yoga philosophy including the yamas and niyamas, the five koshas, the nature of the mind and mental distress, “prajna” or inner knowing, and the cultivation of “sattva.”

Students will learn how these concepts relate to Western concepts in psychotherapy including polyvagal theory, interoceptive awareness, and psychological resilience.

The course will discuss the efficacy of yoga-based interventions for mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and addiction, as well as theorized mechanisms for change.

Finally, the course will provide students with a foundation and a knowledge of how to integrate yoga-based interventions into their counseling work.