Overview

The Holistic Research Center (HRC) at John F. Kennedy University, funded by the National University System (NUS) Innovation Grant program, gives students, faculty and alumni of the National University System an institutional structure to collaborate on projects, connect to financial and administrative support, and maintain motivation for researching, publishing, and presenting in the holistic mental health field of study.

The HRC currently supports two kinds of projects:

  • Researching holistic counseling constructs (for example, meaning in life, mindfulness, and expressive arts interventions, etc.)
  • Expanding research methodology toward a more holistic paradigm (for example, embracing quantitative-qualitative mixed methods, exploring depth approaches to pursuing knowledge in the field of mental health, understanding best research practices that impact clinical application of holistic methodology in the field)

The HRC strengthens a 50-year legacy of John F. Kennedy University as a leader in the field of holistic studies. Learn more about the Counseling Psychology – Holistic master’s degree.

Current Research Projects

The MMM Research Group is currently undertaking two studies:

1. Mixed Methods study on mindfulness as a mediator between internalization of marginalization and meaning in life. In addition to an empirical study using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (Baer et al., 2006), the Meaning in Life Questionnaire (Steger et al., 2006), and the Devaluation/Discrimination Scale (Link et al., 1989), the MMM Research Group will employ Narrative Inquiry to investigate more deeply the lived experiences of mindfulness practitioners who are marginalized in society (People of Color and LGBTQ people) as they relate to connecting with meaning in life.

2. A theoretical exploration of the embodiment of the meanings of marginalization as they are encountered in a clinical context. The MMM Research Group will draw from mixed disciplines (somatics, sociology, attachment theory, psychology, etc.) in order to formulate a working theory of how to help counselors understand the embodied meanings of their clients’ marginalization. Additionally, the theory will include how counselors can help these clients understand their own embodied meanings of marginalization. This study will utilize literature review and self-reflexivity of the researchers.

Dr. Zvi Bellin is the principal investigator of the MMM Research Group. Dr. Bellin is the director of the Holistic Research Center and an assistant professor of holistic counseling psychology. He is a licensed professional clinical counselor specializing in meaning-centered psychotherapy, infused with narrative and mindfulness therapies. His recent publications include articles about post-conventional faith, social marginalization, and the relationship between mindfulness practice and meaning in life. Dr. Bellin is a committed practitioner of mindfulness and leads therapeutically oriented mindfulness retreats. Additionally, he was a lead researcher on a grant-funded program to improve LGBTQI2-S competency for Alameda County behavioral health providers.

To get involved with the MMM Research Group, please contact Dr. Zvi Bellin @ zbellin@jfku.edu

References:
Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13, 27- 45.
Link, B.G., Cullen, F.T., Struening, E., Shrout, P.E., & Dohrenwend, B.P. (1989). A modified labeling theory approach to mental disorders: An empirical assessment. American Sociological Review, 54, 400-423.
Steger, M. F., Frazier, P., Oishi, S., & Kaler, M. (2006). The Meaning in Life Questionnaire: Assessing the presence of and search for meaning in life. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 80-93.

The CCS research group is currently undertaking the following project:

Confronting the Cultural Shadow: A Phenomenological Study of Dreams of Racial Otherness and the Implications for the Body Politic

An empirical phenomenological study of emergent themes in dreams containing images of people that are racially different from the dreamer. Using data from various dream databases, this study will investigate what themes emerge when the dreamer is confronted with a dream image of otherness. Investigators in this research group will aim to respond to questions like:

  • What psychological implications do the dreams of racial otherness hold for the body politic?
  • Do dream images of racially different figures offer a direct mode of recognizing and mitigating implicit racial bias?
  • Is there also an inborn psychologically adaptive propensity evident in dreams towards the development of empathy for those that are racially different?

Dr. Butler is the principal investigator of the CCS research group, the faculty fellow of the Holistic Research Center, and an assistant professor in the holistic counseling department at John F. Kennedy University. He is a licensed psychologist and maintains a psychotherapy practice in North Oakland. The author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and a book, areas of Dr. Butler’s teaching and publications include archetypal psychotherapy, imaginal approaches to dream work, the confluence of yoga and depth psychology, and existential-phenomenological critique of psychology as a STEM discipline. He earned a bachelor’s in religious studies from Humboldt State University, a master’s degree in psychology from Saybrook University and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Students and alumni interested in contributing to this research endeavor can contact Dr. Butler at the following email: jbutler@jfku.edu

Many women struggle with challenges around sexuality. Stinson (2009) reviewed various studies which cited the prevalence of difficulties with desire, orgasm, arousal and pain from 33-45% in the United States. Because these studies looked at incidence rates for a short time period (1-3 months), the lifetime prevalence could be much higher. The FSH Research Group’s mixed method study aims to investigate whether peer support groups can offer improvement in female sexual health. More specifically, investigators in this research group seek to answer the following questions:

  • What change, if any, do women perceive in their physical, emotional, mental and social relationships to sexuality?
  • To what extent and in what ways do participants experience changes in their sexual desire, arousal and satisfaction?

Pam is a Student Research Fellow with the JFK Holistic Research Center, currently pursuing her Masters in Holistic Counseling Psychology at the San Jose campus. In addition to studying at JFK, Pam is the founder of Down To There, a movement to encourage more honest discussions about sexuality. Pam spent the first decade and a half of her career at Apple and Facebook, but now spends her time writing, speaking and coaching individuals and couples on new ways to renew and deepen desire and intimacy in their relationships. She believes that speaking openly is a powerful antidote to the negative cultural myths we have been exposed to, and shares her own real-life challenges and successes around sexuality in a regular series on Huffington Post.

Students or alumni who want to get involved in the research can contact her at pcosta@email.jfku.edu.

References:Stinson, R.D. (2009). The behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatment of female sexual dysfunction: How far we have come and the path left to go. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, (3-4), 271-285. doi:10.1080/14681990903199494

MMM Research Group - Meaning, Mindfulness, & Marginalization

The MMM Research Group is currently undertaking two studies:

1. Mixed Methods study on mindfulness as a mediator between internalization of marginalization and meaning in life. In addition to an empirical study using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (Baer et al., 2006), the Meaning in Life Questionnaire (Steger et al., 2006), and the Devaluation/Discrimination Scale (Link et al., 1989), the MMM Research Group will employ Narrative Inquiry to investigate more deeply the lived experiences of mindfulness practitioners who are marginalized in society (People of Color and LGBTQ people) as they relate to connecting with meaning in life.

2. A theoretical exploration of the embodiment of the meanings of marginalization as they are encountered in a clinical context. The MMM Research Group will draw from mixed disciplines (somatics, sociology, attachment theory, psychology, etc.) in order to formulate a working theory of how to help counselors understand the embodied meanings of their clients’ marginalization. Additionally, the theory will include how counselors can help these clients understand their own embodied meanings of marginalization. This study will utilize literature review and self-reflexivity of the researchers.

Dr. Zvi Bellin is the principal investigator of the MMM Research Group. Dr. Bellin is the director of the Holistic Research Center and an assistant professor of holistic counseling psychology. He is a licensed professional clinical counselor specializing in meaning-centered psychotherapy, infused with narrative and mindfulness therapies. His recent publications include articles about post-conventional faith, social marginalization, and the relationship between mindfulness practice and meaning in life. Dr. Bellin is a committed practitioner of mindfulness and leads therapeutically oriented mindfulness retreats. Additionally, he was a lead researcher on a grant-funded program to improve LGBTQI2-S competency for Alameda County behavioral health providers.

To get involved with the MMM Research Group, please contact Dr. Zvi Bellin @ zbellin@jfku.edu

References:
Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13, 27- 45.
Link, B.G., Cullen, F.T., Struening, E., Shrout, P.E., & Dohrenwend, B.P. (1989). A modified labeling theory approach to mental disorders: An empirical assessment. American Sociological Review, 54, 400-423.
Steger, M. F., Frazier, P., Oishi, S., & Kaler, M. (2006). The Meaning in Life Questionnaire: Assessing the presence of and search for meaning in life. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 80-93.

CCS Research Group - Confronting the Cultural Shadow

The CCS research group is currently undertaking the following project:

Confronting the Cultural Shadow: A Phenomenological Study of Dreams of Racial Otherness and the Implications for the Body Politic

An empirical phenomenological study of emergent themes in dreams containing images of people that are racially different from the dreamer. Using data from various dream databases, this study will investigate what themes emerge when the dreamer is confronted with a dream image of otherness. Investigators in this research group will aim to respond to questions like:

  • What psychological implications do the dreams of racial otherness hold for the body politic?
  • Do dream images of racially different figures offer a direct mode of recognizing and mitigating implicit racial bias?
  • Is there also an inborn psychologically adaptive propensity evident in dreams towards the development of empathy for those that are racially different?

Dr. Butler is the principal investigator of the CCS research group, the faculty fellow of the Holistic Research Center, and an assistant professor in the holistic counseling department at John F. Kennedy University. He is a licensed psychologist and maintains a psychotherapy practice in North Oakland. The author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and a book, areas of Dr. Butler’s teaching and publications include archetypal psychotherapy, imaginal approaches to dream work, the confluence of yoga and depth psychology, and existential-phenomenological critique of psychology as a STEM discipline. He earned a bachelor’s in religious studies from Humboldt State University, a master’s degree in psychology from Saybrook University and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Students and alumni interested in contributing to this research endeavor can contact Dr. Butler at the following email: jbutler@jfku.edu

FSH Research Group - Exploring Female Sexual Health

Many women struggle with challenges around sexuality. Stinson (2009) reviewed various studies which cited the prevalence of difficulties with desire, orgasm, arousal and pain from 33-45% in the United States. Because these studies looked at incidence rates for a short time period (1-3 months), the lifetime prevalence could be much higher. The FSH Research Group’s mixed method study aims to investigate whether peer support groups can offer improvement in female sexual health. More specifically, investigators in this research group seek to answer the following questions:

  • What change, if any, do women perceive in their physical, emotional, mental and social relationships to sexuality?
  • To what extent and in what ways do participants experience changes in their sexual desire, arousal and satisfaction?

Pam is a Student Research Fellow with the JFK Holistic Research Center, currently pursuing her Masters in Holistic Counseling Psychology at the San Jose campus. In addition to studying at JFK, Pam is the founder of Down To There, a movement to encourage more honest discussions about sexuality. Pam spent the first decade and a half of her career at Apple and Facebook, but now spends her time writing, speaking and coaching individuals and couples on new ways to renew and deepen desire and intimacy in their relationships. She believes that speaking openly is a powerful antidote to the negative cultural myths we have been exposed to, and shares her own real-life challenges and successes around sexuality in a regular series on Huffington Post.

Students or alumni who want to get involved in the research can contact her at pcosta@email.jfku.edu.

References:Stinson, R.D. (2009). The behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatment of female sexual dysfunction: How far we have come and the path left to go. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, (3-4), 271-285. doi:10.1080/14681990903199494

For more information about these projects, please contact:

Zvi Bellin, Holistic Research Center Director, zbellin@jfku.edu

Leyla Eraslan, Program Manager, leraslan@email.jfku.edu

Shannon Edwards, Program Officer, sedwards1@email.jfku.edu