Dissertation Chair & Committee

Research Interests and Methods for Sofia University Dissertation Committee Faculty

The faculty listed below are on the approved list for dissertation committees at Sofia University.

Lukoff, David, Ph.D. david.lukoff@sofia.edu

Interests: Spirituality and psychology; mindfulness, positive and psychedelic psychotherapeutic approaches; psychotic disorders and spiritual emergencies; psychotherapy and Aikido.

Methods: Case study and qualitative.

Luskin, Frederic Ph.D., Chair PsyD Program; Chair Ethics Committee frederic.luskin@sofia.edu

Interests:Forgiveness, the effect of spirituality on health and rehabilitation, and stress reduction.


Krippner, Stanley Ph.D., Professor of psychology

Interests: Extraordinary Dreams, Understanding PTSD in War Veterans, Healing, Anomalous Experience


*Martin, Jeffery A.Ph.D., Director of Transformative Technology Lab, jeffery.martin@sofia.edu

Interests:  personal transformation, non-symbolic consciousness (fundamental well-being, enlightenment, nonduality, mystical experience, etc.), rigorous empirical research and testing to transformational techniques and theories, cognitive science, neuroscience, and transformative studies.

  • Non-Symbolic Experience
  • Bio Stimulation and Feedback Technology
  • Augmented Consciousness
  • Interpersonal Technology


Rowe, Nancy, Ph.D., Global Transpersonal M.A. Program Chair nancy.rowe@sofia.edu

Interests: Ecospirituality, transformation through nature, creative process, shamanism, transformative learning and psycho-spiritual transformation.

Methods: Organic inquiry, intuitive inquiry, case study, and arts-based research.

Haefner, Carol, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Director of the Writing Lab; Director of the Dissertation Office carol.haefner@sofia.edu

Interests: Therapeutic application of yoga; consciousness studies; sexuality, especially asexuality.

Methods: Qualitative, grounded theory, narrative

Alexandre, Chandra, Ph.D. chandra@sharanya.org

Interests: Women’s spirituality, women’s studies, women and religion, South Asian comparative studies (including the Shakta and Tantric traditions of India), Dark Goddesses of the world’s traditions, ritual and esoteric worship, religion and business (sustainability), ecofeminism, eco-psychology, the Enneagram, and mysticism and pilgrimage.

**Methods: Organic inquiry, intuitive inquiry, heuristic and action research (first-person, participatory, collaborative), hermeneutic, feminist and ecofeminist methods, phenomenological, and some quantitative.

Bortz, Sheri, M.D. sheribortz@aol.com

Interests:I am a primary care medical doctor who teaches yoga. I have studied many healing systems including Enneagram, Jungian typology, psychosynthesis, process work, creative expression and dreamwork. I would be available for dissertations involving yoga, typology, psychosynthesis, imagery and mind-body techniques in healing, other alternative healing approaches, creative expression, and dream work.

Methods: Western scientific analysis. (ITP Grad/MA)

Dufrechou, Jay, Ph.D., J.D. (Chair) jay.dufrechou@sofia.edu

Interests: Interaction with nature in psycho-spiritual experience and growth; experiential psycho-spiritual practices involving processing through the body and emotions; Holotropic Breathwork or application of understandings of Stanislav Grof; "shadow" work, including violence and sexuality; studies involving astrology, dreams, or the Enneagram; transpersonal approaches to research involving work, history, law, politics, medical practice or health care, or other aspects of real life in 21st century USA.  (Jay has worked for over three decades as an attorney, sometimes in political settings.)

**Methods: Qualitative methods, including Interpretive Phenomenlogical Analysis (IPA) and Intuitive Inquiry. (ITP Grad)

Elfers, John, Ph.D(Chair) john.elfers@sofia.edu

Interests: My research interests are broad and draw from my career in teaching and educational leadership. I have been involved in many action research projects, focusing on program development, staff training, academic development, educational psychology, and learning theory. My transpersonal interests reflect many years as a meditator, psychotherapist, and sex educator working with adolescents. These research topics include transcendent sexual experiences, mystical experiences, gratitude, adolescent emotional development and spirituality, mental health, meditation, and yoga.

Methods: Phenomenology, grounded theory, and other methods of qualitative inquiry; mixed methods, action research, school-based research, survey and scale development

Fisher, Charles (Chuck), Ph.D. charles.fisher@sofia.edu

Interests: Transpersonal education (K-12 and higher), emotional intelligence, social/emotional learning, wellness, ecopsychology, beliefs, and consciousness.

Methods: Organic inquiry, narrative, and interviews and questionnaires. (ITP Grad)

Heery, Myrtle, Ph.D. (Chair) myrtle.heery@sofia.edu

Interests: Grief, loss, group work, existential-humanistic psychotherapy, inner voice research, supervision, training of psychotherapists, near death experience, death and dying, transpersonal psychotherapy, change in psychotherapy models, the psychotherapist.

Methods: Case studies, phenomenological, depth inquiry, and heuristic.

Himelstein, Sam, Ph.D. sam.himelstein@sofia.edu

Interests:  Behavioral Health, Mind Body Awareness, Psychotherapy in mindfulness and high-risk and incarcerated youth; corporate wellness and self-care.

Methods: Qualitative methods, organic inquiry

Dianne Jenett, Ph.D. dianne.jenett@sofia.edu

Interests:  Women’s spirituality (including women & religion, goddess traditions, Black Madonna, and contemporary women’s spirituality movements), feminist psychology, women’s psycho/spiritual development, ritual studies, cross cultural studies, ecofeminism, and South Asian studies.

Methods: Qualitative methods, organic inquiry, heuristic, feminist approaches, intuitive inquiry, and Autoethnography

Grindler-Katonah, Doralee, Psy.D., M.Div. doralee.grindlerkatonah@sofia.edu

Interests: Embodiment and spiritual development with specific interest in applications of the experiential method (focusing) for both spiritual guidance and psychotherapy; the mind/body connection and health and well-being, contemplative and somatic approaches to work with trauma, the function of symbolization in human process, diversity of spiritual practices/world views and impact on personal development.

Methods:Qualitative methods, especially grounded theory, intuitive inquiry, and applications of ‘thinking at the edge’ for creating themes and concepts from subjective data. Creation of  mixed methods designs for further elucidation of hypotheses.

Judy, Dwight, Ph.D. dwjudy@aol.com

Interests: Christian mysticism, sexuality, masculinity, healing, spiritual direction, prayer, spirituality in therapeutic contexts, and lifespan development of spirituality.

Methods: Phenomenological, survey, interview, and hermeneutical. (ITP Grad)

Judy, Ruth, Ph.D. ruth.judy@sofia.edu

Interests: Grief, death and dying, spirituality across traditions, spirituality in human development, women and spirituality, eldering, sacred feminine, infertility, synchronicity, dreams, compassion fatigue, and compassionate self-care.

Methods: Phenomenological, intuitive inquiry, and feminist. (ITP Grad)

Mihalache, Gabriela, Ph.D. (Chair) gabriela.mihalache@sofia.edu

Interests: (a) Transpersonal experiences or exceptional human experiences (EHEs) in particular unitive consciousness and mystical experiences in various spiritual traditions, (b) Transpersonal therapeutic practices, such as meditation, hypnosis and hypnotherapy, (c) forgiveness research and therapy, (d) Yoga psychology and philosophy, (e) Transpersonal processes such as spiritual narcissism, spiritual bypass, spiritual materialism, (f) Humanistic and positive psychology topics such as post-traumatic growth, wisdom, love, forgiveness, meaning and meaninglessness. (g) The experiential spectrum detachment/attachment/ non-attachment, (h) shadow integration in transpersonal development.

Methods:Qualitative Research Methods - Heuristics, Grounded theory, Transcendental phenomenology (Moustakas), Case study, Content analysis, Generic qualitative inquiry

Netzer, Dorit, Ph.D., ATR-BC, LCAT, dorit.netzer@sofia.edu

Interests: Transpersonal, Transformative education; personal, transpersonal, and social development through creativity and creative expression (creative thinking, visual expression, poetry, music, authentic movement, etc.); the healing imagination; dreams as a way of knowing; embodied spirituality; spiritual relationship with the natural world; transpersonal collaborations; nonviolent communication; inclusive psychology; and transpersonal approaches to psychotherapy with couples and families.

Methods: Heuristic Research; Intuitive Inquiry; Art-based Research; Practice-based Research; Experiential Research; Feminist Approach (e.g., Organic Inquiry); Case Studies; Cooperative Inquiry; Personal and Collective Narrative; Action Research

O'Laoire, Sean, Ph.D. pray4sean@gmail.com

Interests: Psychospirituality, dream theory, Jungian work, theology, comparative religions, and prayer.

**Methods: Quantitative, experimental design, and archival research. (ITP Grad)

Park, Russell, Ph.D. rdp108@gmail.com

Interests: Spiritual emergence, kundalini, non-ordinary states, brain wave/biofeedback, and clinical topics.

Methods: Quantitative, multivariate analysis, heuristic research, and case study. (ITP Grad)

Rossie, Karen M., Ph.D. karen.rossie@sofia.edu

Interests: Health psychology, addiction, obesity, pain coping and management, attachment disorder, anxiety,  coping with chronic illness. Jungian topics, the unconscious and dream-like phenomena.

Methods: Qualitative content analysis, quantitative clinical trials and pre- post-test design. (ITP Grad)

Schmitt, Bob, Ph.D. bob.schmitt@sofia.edu

Interests: Topics that include a spiritual perspective, spirituality topics (especially spiritual guidance, discernment, spiritual experiences, feminine face of the Divine), relationship of psychology and spirituality, decision making, transpersonal management models and skills, ethics, applications of transpersonal psychology in multiple fields including eco-psychology, death and dying, and pain management.

Methods: Qualitative, case study, and historical research methods

Shirazi, Bahman A.K., Ph.D. bahman.shirazi@sofia.edu

Interests:Integral yoga. integral psychology, Sufi psychology,  psychospiritual transformation.

Methods:Theoretical research, Quantitative and mixed methods, and research methods in counseling psychology.

Snow, Renée M., Ph.D., CFP®, (Chair) EA renee.snow@sofia.edu

Interests: Behavioral economics and finance, transpersonal corporate and business strategies, the influence of religion and philosophy on money management, especially Astika and Nastika traditions; conscious wealth creation that reveres all living beings and the environment, business and financial ethics, economic philosophy, value-driven personal wealth management.

Methods: Primary focus− quantitative and mixed-methods; Secondary focus− grounded theory, phenomenology

Taylor, Jeremy, D.Min. jeremy.taylor@sofia.edu

Interests: Psychology of the unconscious as it is revealed in dreams, sacred narratives, folk materials, and artifacts of world culture. Non-violent social change and ecological/cultural justice. Creative arts and how they impact and are used in creating and nurturing non-violent social change & ecological/cultural justice. Evolution of individual and collective consciousness.

Methods: Group projective dream work, arts-as-meditation, individual and cooperative community arts projects, dream work with specific (particularly underserved) populations, cross-cultural dream exploration, and participant observation & action research.

Wall, Kathleen, Ph.D. (Chair) kathleen.wall@sofia.edu

Interests: Collaborative research opportunities with UCSF and California Pacific Medical Center on projects in distance healing, health, hospice, breast cancer alternative healing methods, Psychospiritual integration and transformation, clinical, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, application of transpersonal psychology in business, education, and health and wellness, assessment of student learning and transformation, violence prevention, gardening and nature, and the evolution of consciousness (Gebser, Feuerstein, Sri Aurobindo).

Methods: Qualitative and quantitative, case studies, organic inquiry, heuristic research, feminist research approaches, and epidemiology.

Extended Research Interests

Alvarado, Carlos, Ph.D. carlos@theazire.org

Interests: Psychological correlates of spontaneous parapsychological experiences (absorption, dissociation, and lucid dreams), features of out of body experiences (prevalence, variety, interrelationships with other variables), and history of psychology and psychiatry (dissociation and psychical research).

Methods: Quantitative, surveys (statistical evaluation of questionnaires), bibliographical and historical studies.

Amorok, Tina, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist tamorok@me.com

Interests: Ecopsychology, Conservation Psychology, Unity Experiences in Nature and with Animals, Interspecies Communication, Sacred Ecology, Eco-Trauma and Eco-Recovery of Being (how to heal and transform our relationship with one another and the natural world), Noetic Sciences, Consciousness and Healing, Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Health, Energy Medicine, Transformations of Consciousness, The Nature of Positive Transformations in Consciousness, Psychology of Interdimensionality, Extraterrestrial Contact Experiences, Indigenous and Shamanic Origins of Western Spirituality, Sacred Chanting and Music, Non- Ordinary State Experiences, Mystical Judaism, Uncovering Spiritual Identity, and Applications of Transpersonal Inquiry in Clinical Psychology.

Methods: Theoretical Research, Interviews, Conjoining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. I appreciate and welcome going deeper into most Transpersonal Research Methods.

Astin, John, Ph.D. (Chair) john.astin@sofia.edu

Interests: Non-duality, spiritual awakening, meditation, mindfulness, mind-body medicine, stress-reduction, and health psychology.

**Methods: Theoretical, qualitative, quantitative, and meta-analysis.

Battista, John, M.D., MA (Psychology) riverbend2@earthlink.net

Interests: Consciousness studies, including the development of consciousness, the history of consciousness, theories of consciousness, including informational, developmental, neuropsychological and quantum mechanical approaches, all states and forms of consciousness, including meditative states, dissociative states, social and collective forms of consciousness, life after death, and the consciousness of other species; developmental theory and how it can be used to provide an integrated understanding of normal, disordered and exceptional forms of experience; spiritual practices and spiritual practitioners, particularly Buddhist and Christian; existential-humanistic and transpersonal psychotherapy; research design, particularly the development of new methods, measures and tests to evaluate hypotheses, concepts and theories.

Methods: Empirical, including interviews, questionnaires, and qualitative means of generating data; quantitative analysis, particularly factor analysis; theoretical.

Bogart, Greg, Ph.D. gbogart7@sbcglobal.net

Interests:  Developmental psychology, attachment theory, lifespan development; existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology; Jungian psychology, archetypes, dreams, mythology, rites of passage; history of psychoanalysis; ecopsychology; vocational psychology; Buddhism and yoga psychology; mysticism, esotericism, and spiritual psychology.

Methods: Qualitative methodology, phenomenological, Intuitive Inquiry, and narrative research.

Buckler, Scott, Ph.D., CPsychol, AFBPsS, Scott.Buckler@staff.newman.ac.uk

Interests:Transpersonal Psychology, Education

Methods: Case study and qualitative

Catford, Lorna, Ph.D. lorna.catford@sonoma.edu

Interests: Autism support for individuals, families, agencies, schools;  Hero’s Journey; Creative problem solving in life & business;  Right livelihood; “Traveling in Two Worlds."

Methods: Case study and qualitative

Friedman, Harris, Ph.D. (Chair) harris.friedman@sofia.edu

Interests: Spiritual and transpersonal assessment (especially measurement and diagnosis); health (especially mind-body-spirit approaches, both traditional and alternative/complementary); culture (especially multiculturalism, including indigenous spiritualities and cultural “meetings”); organizational systems (especially social change in corporations and governments); somatic practices (especially martial arts); personality and individual differences; environmental psychology; leadership and groups; psychopathologies and psychotherapies (especially hypnosis, family systems, and gestalt-bioenergetics, as well as coaching); parapsychology; and consciousness studies (especially psychedelics and implications of technological advances for “transhumanism”).

Methods: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods (especially psychometrics and sociometrics); concept clarification and theory development; and neurobiology.

Friedman, Philip, Ph.D. philip.friedman@sofia.edu

Interests: Forgiveness, gratitude, prayer, healing, well-being, quality of life, hope, optimism, meditation, intention, attitudinal healing, miracles, chakras, consciousness, chanting, intuition, intention, blessings, meaning/purpose in life, positive psychology in general, marital and family therapy, a wide range of healing therapy and healing modalities, and assessing and tracking change in the therapeutic relationship and correlates of that relationship.

Methods:Multi-factor designs, quantitative and qualitative research, and single case studies with ongoing assessment.

Gackenbach, Jayne, Ph.D. gackenbach@macewan.ca

Interests: Video games, electronic mediated communication, social media, dreams, nightmares, lucid dreams, and development of consciousness.

**Methods: Quantitative, surveys and their analysis.

Glenn, Marti, Ph.D. martiglennphd@gmail.com

Interests: Family therapy, cross-cultural and sacred psychology, brain/mind research, pre- and perinatal psychology, and clinical topics.

Methods: Clinical and educational approaches.

Holden, Janice, Ed.D. jan.holden@unt.edu

Interests: Near-death experiences and similar and related phenomena: Any related topic including phenomenology of the experiences themselves, aftereffects, personal and cultural factors in their occurrence, theories to explain them, preparing healthcare professionals to work with people who’ve had them, and educating the public.

**Methods: Quantitative, qualitative, and combined methods.

Hunt, Harry, Ph.D. hhunt@brocku.ca

Interests: Meditation, mystical experience, lucid dreaming, life history analysis and psychology of imagination and metaphor.

Methods: Questionnaires, content analysis, and interviews.

Jampolsky, Lee, Ph.D. lee@drleejampolsky.com

Interests: Peace psychology, addiction, health psychology, spirituality in clinical work, and humanistic-existential psychology.

Methods: Phenomenology and experimental design.

Krycka, Kevin, Psy.D. krycka@seattleu.edu

Interests: Existential-phenomenological psychology and first person science; embodied understanding of phenomenon (hope, transcendence, non-ego/non-dual states of consciousness); and felt understanding of change, particularly as it relates to AIDS, life-threatening illness, shamanism, hope, homosexuality, and the peace-building processes.

**Methods: Qualitative.  Phenomenological methods & research; heuristic inquiry; and applying the felt-sense and focusing (Gendlin) in the research project.

Marlo, Helen, Ph.D. helen@helenmarlophd.com

Interests: Jungian, psychoanalytic, and psychodynamic theory; reproductive mental health; perinatal issues; spirituality; trauma; and early childhood development.

Methods: Qualitative and quantitative.

Miller, Nancy, Ph.D. nmiller@uakron.edu

Interests: Personality theory, overexcitability, emotion management and emotional development, intellectual ability, personality development, ethnic identity, and role of social support.

Methods: Qualitative, quantitative, meta-analysis, multiple regression, crosstabulation, and path modeling.

Morgan, Robert F., Ph.D. (Chair) robert.morgan@sofia.edu

Interests:Life span abnormal/clinical & developmental psychology, graduate and exceptional education, international and multicultural psychology, life span therapy and longitudinal follow-up, psychology of time and hypnosis, organizational/community psychology, social/general experimental psychology, program evaluation & accreditation, prevention of iatrogenic practice, educational innovation and enhanced abilities, and health psychology and measurement of human aging.

**Methods: Qualitative and/or quantitative (usually mixed models), survey, case studies, and innovative applications, and both cross-sectional and longitudinal impact studies.

O'Fallon, Terri, Ph.D. terri.ofallon@gmail.com

Interests: Education, integral business, arts based research, cosmology development, diversity theories and application, learning communities, and spiritual and transpersonal psychology.

Methods: Qualitative methods including, insight dialogic inquiry, heuristics, phenomenology, collaborative inquiry, organic inquiry, synergic inquiry, intuitive inquiry, integral inquiry, and narrative methodology, developmental and evolutionary approaches and methodologies

Pilisuk, Marc, Ph.D. mpilisuk@saybrook.edu

Interests: Social change, ecological psychologyand sustainability, peace and conflict resolution, and community development.

Methods: Most qualitative and quantitative.

Rockenbach, Alyssa, Ph.D.   alyssa_rockenbach@ncsu.edu

Interests: College impact on students; College student development; Campus climate; Spirituality in higher education; Religious and worldview diversity in colleges and universities; Gendered dimensions of the college student experience; LGBT issues in higher education.

Methods: regression, structural equation modeling, multi-level modeling, case study, phenomenology, narrative analysis

Rosen, Steven M., Ph.D. stevenrosen@shaw.ca

Interests:Existential-phenomenological philosophy; foundations and poetics of science; qualitative approaches to theoretical physics and mathematics; alchemy; selected topics in transpersonal theory; continental feminist theory; cultural history and planetary crisis; and evolution and transformation of consciousness.

Methods:Conceptual: Philosophical and phenomenological analysis; qualitative, imaginative, integrative, and intuitive thinking. Experiential: Bohmian dialogue, focusing (Eugene Gendlin), proprioceptive writing, and social self-inquiry (Trigant Burrow).

Schachtman, Todd, Ph.D. schachtmant@missouri.edu

Interests: Learning and cognition, neuroscience, psychology and Buddhism, social cognition, judgment and decision making, animal behavior, and conditioning processes.

Methods: Experimental and questionnaire.

Sela-Smith, Sandy, Ph.D. sselasmith@aol.com

Interests: Heuristic self-search inquiry.

**Methods: Qualitative including heuristic self-search inquiry and single-case history study.

Tedlock, Barbara, Ph. D. (Chair) barbara.tedlock@sofia.edu

Interests and Methods Blurb coming soon!

Valle, Ron, Ph.D. ronvalle@aol.com

Interests: Dying and grieving, self-transformation, sacred/spiritual experience, spiritual relationship, stress-related disorders, and preventive/holistic medicine and meditation.

**Methods: Classic phenomenological research (i.e., constituent analysis), as well as the broader area of hermeneutic research designs and strategies.

Weinberger, Nanci, Ph. D nweinber@bryant.edu

Interests: early childhood environments, child development, child health, physical environments Methods: experimental, observation, survey, interview, diary, quantitative and qualitative.

Young, Jonathan,  Ph.D. young@folkstory.com

Interests: Jungian theory, fairytales, mythology, literature, folklore, ritual studies, Joseph Campbell, heroic initiatory journeys, movies, popular culture, dreams, symbolism, metaphor, emotions, meaning, imagination, expressive arts, writing as healing, cinema therapy, bereavement, tragedy, storytelling, narrative therapy, poetry therapy, psychodynamic therapy, creativity, visual and performing arts, life-stage transitions, aging and later life.

Methods: Archetypal symbolic analysis, dream studies, mythological studies, psychological interpretation of art and literature, heroic journey stage analysis. Qualitative research, case studies.