Staff

  • Zvi Bellin, Director
  • Kari Miller, Lead Program Officer
  • Carmen Barcena-Barba, Program Officer, South Campus

Location

  • Pleasant Hill campus

Overview

About

The Holistic Research Center (HRC) was founded at John F. Kennedy University in 2016 by Dr. Zvi Bellin with the support of a National University System Innovation Grant. A physical location of the center was opened on JFKU’s Pleasant Hill campus in 2019. The center gives students, faculty, and alumni an institutional structure to collaborate on projects, connect to financial and administrative support, and maintain motivation for research, publishing, and presenting in the field of mental health.

Mission

The Holistic Research Center’s mission is to expand mental health research towards a more holistic, compassionate, and decolonized paradigm. This paradigm shift entails, for one thing, including voices from marginalized and oppressed groups. It also means being aware of the skewed power dynamic found in social science research in which quantitative methods are perceived as superior to qualitative research, as explored in the text Decolonizing Methodologies (Smith, 1999).

The HRC sponsors projects and events that take an integrated approach and utilize holistic and justice-oriented research methodologies, such as community-based participatory action and self-reflexive methodologies. The center embraces the use of qualitative methods and mixed methods and explores depth approaches to co-creating knowledge.

The mission of the HRC is to expand what is considered valid in the current body of knowledge in mental health research to include all the ways in which wisdom is cultivated and shared. All are invited to join us in this effort.

What We Do

Research

For researchers seeking to collaborate with us, the HRC currently supports two kinds of projects:

    • Researching holistic counseling constructs (for example, meaning in life, mindfulness, expressive arts interventions, etc.) with the specific inclusion of marginalized voices in the field
    • Expanding beyond traditional Western research methodologies to include all the ways in which wisdom is cultivated and shared with respect and dignity

Public events

Over the past 3 years the HRC has brought researchers, students, faculty, and community members together for yearly symposiums, diversity events and conversations, movie screenings followed by discussions, mini meditation retreats, and other collaborative events and projects.

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 master’s degree.

Current Research Projects

Principal Investigator – Zvi Bellin 

This is an exploratory study, inspired by the work of Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies text. The author makes a case for research methodologies that uproot a skewed power dynamic found in social science research where quantitative methods are deemed better than qualitative research (or at least, more in line with finding the “truth”). This study will enlist participants who will also act as co-producers, taking part in a group reflexive process around their experience of Holistic Mental Health. We will employ reflexive methods of research (Herland 2017; Ezzy 2010) – for example peer interviewing, journaling, and art-making to synthesize our diverse experiences of Holistic Mental Health into a presentation for the JFKU community. The primary data will be the collection of narratives from the community of gathered participants – thus this methodology blends Narrative Analysis with Community-Based Participatory Research and Self-Reflexive Research.

Principal Investigator – Nancy Pederson

This project seeks to explore the idea of violence as a social construct in the experience of hispanic women over age 60. Nancy will use group and individual interviews in order to collect qualitative data for this project. The project is expected to take between 9 to 12 months. Goals include:

  • Identify role of culture and worldviews on violence against older hispanic women in public and private settings.
  • Provide a safe space for women to discuss the construct of violence and narrative of their experiences.
  • Promote the possibility to empower these women to voice their needs and concerns

Principal Investigator – Samuel A. Malkemus, Phd

This study attempts to show that vitality and sexual identity are positively correlated. It does so by exploring the hypothesis that an increase in sexual awareness, and thus a greater acceptance of the sexual self, may result in an increase in vitality. The importance of this study lies in its potential for transforming culturally embedded assumptions about sexuality and sexual health that reduce sexuality to genital function and desire.

Our research team is developing a multi-phase project that, while still in the planning phase, involves 1) developing and implementing a sexuality-vitality scale that will be administered to sexual education groups at the beginning and end of the course of study, 2) administering the scale to a diverse sample, and 3) collecting interviews with facilitators of sexual education and individuals who have gone through a process of sexual healing and awakening. 

Community-Based Reflexive Contemplative Practice Group Research Project

Principal Investigator – Zvi Bellin 

This is an exploratory study, inspired by the work of Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies text. The author makes a case for research methodologies that uproot a skewed power dynamic found in social science research where quantitative methods are deemed better than qualitative research (or at least, more in line with finding the “truth”). This study will enlist participants who will also act as co-producers, taking part in a group reflexive process around their experience of Holistic Mental Health. We will employ reflexive methods of research (Herland 2017; Ezzy 2010) – for example peer interviewing, journaling, and art-making to synthesize our diverse experiences of Holistic Mental Health into a presentation for the JFKU community. The primary data will be the collection of narratives from the community of gathered participants – thus this methodology blends Narrative Analysis with Community-Based Participatory Research and Self-Reflexive Research.

Power in the Voice of Elder Hispanic Women

Principal Investigator – Nancy Pederson

This project seeks to explore the idea of violence as a social construct in the experience of hispanic women over age 60. Nancy will use group and individual interviews in order to collect qualitative data for this project. The project is expected to take between 9 to 12 months. Goals include:

  • Identify role of culture and worldviews on violence against older hispanic women in public and private settings.
  • Provide a safe space for women to discuss the construct of violence and narrative of their experiences.
  • Promote the possibility to empower these women to voice their needs and concerns

Exploring the Link Between Body and Life Satisfaction

Vitality and Sexual Identity

Principal Investigator – Samuel A. Malkemus, Phd

This study attempts to show that vitality and sexual identity are positively correlated. It does so by exploring the hypothesis that an increase in sexual awareness, and thus a greater acceptance of the sexual self, may result in an increase in vitality. The importance of this study lies in its potential for transforming culturally embedded assumptions about sexuality and sexual health that reduce sexuality to genital function and desire.

Our research team is developing a multi-phase project that, while still in the planning phase, involves 1) developing and implementing a sexuality-vitality scale that will be administered to sexual education groups at the beginning and end of the course of study, 2) administering the scale to a diverse sample, and 3) collecting interviews with facilitators of sexual education and individuals who have gone through a process of sexual healing and awakening. 

Past Research Projects

The recently undertook 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 employed 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 drew 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 included how counselors can help these clients understand their own embodied meanings of marginalization. This study utilized literature review and self-reflexivity of the researchers.

Dr. Zvi Bellin is the principal investigator of the . 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 , please contact Dr. Zvi Bellin @ zbellin@skiltechsports.com

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.
威廉希尔世界杯 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 recently undertook 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 investigated what themes emerge when the dreamer is confronted with a dream image of otherness. Investigators in this research group aimed 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. Jason 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@skiltechsports.com

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 ‘s mixed method study aimed to investigate whether peer support groups can offer improvement in female sexual health. more specifically, investigators in this research group sought 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 Costa 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.skiltechsports.com.

威廉希尔世界杯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

Principal Investigator – Lauren Gogarty

There are roughly 21 million trafficking survivors throughout China and Southeast Asia who have had some contact with either law-enforcement or social services. It is understood that the survivors have high rates of PTSD that limit them from accessing services like job training, group housing etc. that promote independent living. There is some research demonstrating the mental health issues faced by survivors, but very little available data on how to effectively treat them. Additionally, the majority of people who staff shelters and agencies that work with survivors are not clinicians, especially in Southeast Asia, and lack the tools to understand or work with the extreme symptoms of PTSD. In discussing ways to deliver psychological treatment to this population it has become clear that a basic understanding of the needs of both survivors and staff are unclear, at least at a macro level, as the people doing this work are doing it in isolation.

With the increase in visibility of the scope of trafficking in the world, there is political will and funding to address the psychological needs of survivors but no path to how to deliver that treatment effectively. My end goal for this project is to develop two initial programs, both a training in a basic understanding of trauma and PTSD for staff who work with survivors, as well as a curriculum for group therapy with survivors that can be implemented by non-clinical staff.

My background is in the tech industry, as a programmer & senior manager, so my intention is to build something of an open source project, making ongoing data collection, curriculum development, implementation and analysis of results an open and collaborative process.

Before doing anything though, some basic data needed to be collected. So, the first phase of my project was to survey shelters and social services agencies working with survivors, as well as survivors themselves, to get a sense of how the issue is understood, what support or training is offered to staff, what treatment is offered to survivors, what support both groups feel they need, and what the organizations have the capacity to implement. It is this phase that I joined with JFKU to complete.

MMM Research Group - Meaning, Mindfulness, & Marginalization

The recently undertook 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 employed 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 drew 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 included how counselors can help these clients understand their own embodied meanings of marginalization. This study utilized literature review and self-reflexivity of the researchers.

Dr. Zvi Bellin is the principal investigator of the . 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 , please contact Dr. Zvi Bellin @ zbellin@skiltechsports.com

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.
威廉希尔世界杯 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 recently undertook 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 investigated what themes emerge when the dreamer is confronted with a dream image of otherness. Investigators in this research group aimed 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. Jason 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@skiltechsports.com

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 ‘s mixed method study aimed to investigate whether peer support groups can offer improvement in female sexual health. more specifically, investigators in this research group sought 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 Costa 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.skiltechsports.com.

威廉希尔世界杯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

International Trauma Intervention

Principal Investigator – Lauren Gogarty

There are roughly 21 million trafficking survivors throughout China and Southeast Asia who have had some contact with either law-enforcement or social services. It is understood that the survivors have high rates of PTSD that limit them from accessing services like job training, group housing etc. that promote independent living. There is some research demonstrating the mental health issues faced by survivors, but very little available data on how to effectively treat them. Additionally, the majority of people who staff shelters and agencies that work with survivors are not clinicians, especially in Southeast Asia, and lack the tools to understand or work with the extreme symptoms of PTSD. In discussing ways to deliver psychological treatment to this population it has become clear that a basic understanding of the needs of both survivors and staff are unclear, at least at a macro level, as the people doing this work are doing it in isolation.

With the increase in visibility of the scope of trafficking in the world, there is political will and funding to address the psychological needs of survivors but no path to how to deliver that treatment effectively. My end goal for this project is to develop two initial programs, both a training in a basic understanding of trauma and PTSD for staff who work with survivors, as well as a curriculum for group therapy with survivors that can be implemented by non-clinical staff.

My background is in the tech industry, as a programmer & senior manager, so my intention is to build something of an open source project, making ongoing data collection, curriculum development, implementation and analysis of results an open and collaborative process.

Before doing anything though, some basic data needed to be collected. So, the first phase of my project was to survey shelters and social services agencies working with survivors, as well as survivors themselves, to get a sense of how the issue is understood, what support or training is offered to staff, what treatment is offered to survivors, what support both groups feel they need, and what the organizations have the capacity to implement. It is this phase that I joined with JFKU to complete.

Who We Are

Zvi Bellin

Dr. Bellin is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology, and the Director of the Holistic Research Center @ JFKU. He is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor specializing in meaning-centered psychotherapy, infused with narrative and mindfulness therapies. His recent publications include articles about the intersection of meaning in life and marginalized identities, and about mindfulness in psychotherapy. Dr. Bellin is a committed practitioner of mindfulness and leads therapeutically-oriented mindfulness retreats. Additionally, he was a principal researcher on a grant-funded program to improve LGBTQI2-S competency for Alameda County behavioral health providers. Dr. Bellin is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association of Humanistic Counseling, and the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors and a member of the Transition Committee for the International Network for Personal Meaning.

zbellin@skiltechsports.com

Kari Miller

Kari Miller is the Program Officer for the Holistic Research Center (HRC) at JFK University in Pleasant Hill working with the Director of the HRC Zvi Bellin to organize events, research projects, and any other specific needs of the HRC. Kari is currently studying at JFK University in Pleasant Hill for her Master’s degree in Holistic Counseling Psychology with a focus in Somatic Studies. She has a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Spanish from Washington State University. Her hope is to incorporate body-centered awareness and holistic approaches into her practice as a psychotherapist in the future. She is excited to be joining the HRC and their efforts of reaching unheard voices, building community in the holistic field, and conducting research in a more mindful and alternative manner. Currently she resides in Oakland, California where she has lived since March of 2019. If you would like to collaborate with the HRC or want more information on our programs and research, please feel free to contact her.

kmiller3@skiltechsports.com

510-478-6033

Carmen Barcena-Barba

As program officer for the Holistic Research Center (HRC) at JFK University in San Jose, Carmen Barcena-Barba works closely with the Director of the HRC, Zvi Bellin. Her work with the HRC includes organizing events, research projects, and any other specific needs of the center. Carmen is currently working towards her Master’s degree in counseling psychology with a specialization in PCC at JFK University in San Jose. She is originally from Mexico where she developed her fine art skills at the National Autonomous University. After raising her two daughters she returned to school and received her Bachelor’s in psychology from JFKU. She is an active member in the San Jose community where she has lived for over 20 years. Her goal is to use her skills as a Holistic counselor to help adolescents navigate life giving them tools to find their own voice. If you would like to collaborate with the HRC or want more information on our programs and research, please feel free to contact her.

cbarcenabarba@skiltechsports.com

Get Involved

If you’re interested in getting involved with the HRC, would like more information, or have a project that you would like to propose, please contact Zvi Bellin, Kari Miller, or Carmen Barcena-Barba.

Zvi Bellin, Holistic Research Center Director

zbellin@skiltechsports.com

Kari Miller, Lead Program Officer Holistic Research Center

kmiller3@skiltechsports.com

510-478-6033

Carmen Barcena-Barba, Program Officer South Campus Holistic Research Center cbarcenabarba@skiltechsports.com