Panel discussion: Spiritual Teaching, Psychotherapy, and the Quest for the Truth

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The panel includes Pamela Wilson, John Prendergast, Karen Johnson, and Ellen Emmet moderated by Gail Brenner.

Even with a profound awakening experience, it takes time for apparent personal conditioning to unwind. And some spiritual seekers arrive on the path, and show up in meetings and retreats, with significant mental health problems. Is there a role for nondual therapy in the quest for spiritual understanding? Do teachers of nonduality need psychotherapy skills and training? Do truth lovers need more than what is offered in satsang meetings to realize their true nature? Our panel of nondual teachers and psychotherapists reflect on these and other provocative questions.

Pamela speaks the Truth of advaita, non-duality – that the universe is one undivided whole. For the last twelve years she has traveled widely in the United States, Canada and Europe, holding satsang and giving private sessions. Week-long retreats have been held in Mexico, Costa Rica, France, the United Kingdom, Canada and the USA. She has endeared herself to many through her lighthearted humor and compassion, and deep understanding of what it is to be human. She lives in Napa, California.

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies
Senior Editor of The Sacred Mirror and Listening from the Heart of Silence

John J. Prendergast, Ph.D., is a retired professor of psychology at CIIS and the senior editor of The Sacred Mirror (with P. Fenner and S. Krystal) and Listening From the Heart of Silence (with K. Bradford). He is currently at work on a book about the sense of inner knowing for Sounds True Publications. He is in private practice in San Rafael, Ca., and facilitates two ongoing self-inquiry groups. His main teachers have been Jean Klein and Adyashanti. Dorothy Hunt, a teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti, has recently invited him to share the dharma.

Co-founder of The Ridhwan School/Diamond Approach
Karen Johnson participated in the development of the Diamond Approach with Hameed Ali since 1970’s, She has been teaching in the US and Europe for 35 years. She has an MA in Psychology, and trained as an artist and dancer. She has an interest true spirit of scientific investigation based on the love for truth. The underlying truth that manifests through the beauty and order of the physical and spiritual universe has been a motivating force in her life.

Movement Therapist
Ellen is a psychotherapist and dance movement therapist in the tradition of non-duality. She received her MA in Transpersonal psychology at JFK University in California and has studied the yoga of non-duality for many years with her teacher Francis Lucille.

Clinical Psychologist and Writer
Gail’s work as a therapist emanates from aware presence overflowing with possibility. Problems are seen as opportunities; the illusion of the separate self as a doorway to enduring happiness. Stories are honored, while fierce and loving investigation invites their dissolution. Gail has special expertise working with older adults and their families, bringing clear seeing and compassion to the transitions of aging, death, and dying. As a member of the clinical faculty at University of California, San Francisco, she helped physicians develop communication skills and learn to address psychosocial issues with their patients. Gail has authored many published articles on coping with stress and chronic medical illness. She consults with staff of assisted living and skilled nursing facilities about aging, dementia, and caregiving and has given numerous presentations to the community at large on these topics. Gail blogs at where she invites readers to see. through the confusion of separation and discover reality, which is true, alive, and undeniable.

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