Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lama Surya Das joins advisory board

I am very happy to share that Lama Surya Das, bestselling author and long-time meditation teacher, has just joined our advisory board.

I met Lama Das in San Francisco in August of 2007, after he gave a lecture on "Buddhist Positive Psychology" at the annual American Psychological Association convention. I believe Lama Das has a gift for taking the essence of the timeless wisdom from the East and presenting it in a way that is fresh and applicable to finding happiness in today's world.

For more about Lama Surya Das, visit or

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Michael Fitzpatrick joins advisory board

Michael Fitzpatrick with Muhammed Ali, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama
(photo by Tamara R. Fitzpatrick)

I am very pleased to announce our newest advisory board member, Michael Fitzpatrick, an outstanding musician and supporter of meditative traditions. I first heard Michael play during one of the Dalai Lama's visits to the U.S., and his music is amazing.

Fitzpatrick provided the sacred music for the Gethsemani Encounter led by His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama involving the world’s monastic leaders from East & West held at the Abbey of Gethsemani, home of the late Thomas Merton. His nine solo performances during the historic 6-day summit were deemed the high point of the Gethsemani Encounter, and led to the invitation to produce COMPASSION, the first East-West recording in history between the traditions of ancient Tibetan Chant and Trappist/Gregorian-Chant. He served as Music Director, featured
Soloist and Executive Producer for the unprecedented musical collaboration recorded and filmed at sacred sites including inside Mammoth Cave, the largest cave in the world, the Abbey of Gethsemani, and the Furnace Mountain Zen Temple.

To learn more about Michael, visit his website at, where you can hear samples of his work.

Welcome advisory board members

Although the CCMM advisory board is still forming, I would like to introduce our founding members.

Bill Lax, Ph.D., ABPP, is the Dean of Psychology at Union Institute & University. Bill has continually integrated his theoretical and applied interests in family therapy, postmodernism, narrative therapy, and Buddhism with his practice of clinical psychology.

Dennis Tirch, Ph.D., is the Director of Clinical Services at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy. In addition to his training in Western psychology, Dr. Tirch has had extensive experience in Eastern meditative and philosophical disciplines over the past 25 years. This training includes work in Japanese Zen and Vajrayana Buddhism, Tibetan Kagyu Buddhism, and Central Asian meditative disciplines.

Brian Denton, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist who has studied Eastern philosophy traditions and has traveled to various monastic establishments around the world, including those within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Soto Zen traditions, and the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Stephen K. Hayes is the founder of To Shin Do, a comprehensive program utilizing martial arts and meditation for self-development. He is author of 20 books, and has studied meditative disciplines around the world. He has served as a personal escort for the Dalai Lama on his travels in the U.S. since 1987.

David C. Sink, R.N., B.S.N., B.S. practices nursing in Emergency, Critical Care, and Long Term Acute Care. He holds a Third Degree Black belt in To Shin Do and is a 24 year student of Japanese martial arts and Eastern mind sciences.

I am excited by the diversity and background of our advisory board. To learn more about them, see

Media Release

New center demonstrates UI&U’s commitment to cutting-edge research and practice

CINCINNATI - Union Institute & University (UI&U) today announced the launch of the Union Institute & University Center for Clinical Mindfulness and Meditation (CCMM), a resource for mental health professionals, researchers, and the general public. Maintained by the university’s doctoral program in clinical psychology (PsyD), the CCMM will serve the needs of clinicians, scholars, and other interested individuals, and demonstrates UI&U’s leadership and commitment to cutting-edge research and practice to both the professional community and to prospective learners.

“This is a very exciting time in the field of psychology,” said Richard Sears, PsyD, MBA, ABPP, a psychologist and a core faculty member of the PsyD program, who will serve as director of the new center. “Although mindfulness and meditation are ancient practices, research on their clinical applications is a rapidly growing field within the scientific community. The new center will provide an excellent forum through which professionals and the public can share information, link resources, and provide networking opportunities.” Sears is also forming an advisory board from within UI&U, other colleges and universities, and from the professional community.
Mindfulness is a rapidly growing area of research and practice in the field of psychology and mental health. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are cutting-edge, evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatments using mindfulness.

Basically, mindfulness involves systematically training to pay attention and work wisely with thoughts and emotions. It has a wide variety of applications, from helping business professionals to be more effective and find a happier work-life balance, to dealing with severe chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. The use of mindfulness has been popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn and others through such books as Wherever You Go, There You Are, The Mindful Way through Depression, and Mindfulness at Work.

The center will post news, articles, resources, and links on its Web site, Future plans for the center may also include sponsoring workshops and meetings, creating a book and video library, and assisting in the creation of a peer-reviewed journal.

In addition to his clinical work as a psychologist, Sears has been studying and practicing mindfulness and meditation for over 20 years. He has traveled in India and Nepal, and has studied with a variety of Eastern teachers, including the Dalai Lama. He has a fifth degree black belt, and continues to practice martial arts with To Shin Do founder Stephen K. Hayes, the first American to learn the art of ninjutsu.

To learn more about Union Institute & University’s Center for Clinical Mindfulness and Meditation visit the website at or contact Dr. Richard Sears at