My Formal Education:
Public schools in Oakland, CA: Call me a book worm. The high point of my week was riding my bicycle through the Mills College Campus to a little-known library. Unbeknownst to me, the librarian was nudging me towards classic literature that was, in hindsight, not developmentally suited; A Tale of Two Cities? In elementary school? Really? I loved it.
Community College in Oakland: I remember the day President Kennedy was assassinated. What can I say? My world was forever changed.
San Francisco State: I changed majors every year. I did not want to pick! Since when did college become ‘job training.’ I thought the goal was to become well educated; silly me.
University of California at Berkeley: Hey! I could get psychoanalytic training through the back door! How? An independently minded Freudian psychoanalyst was teaching at the school of Criminology. I soon discovered the School of Criminolgy was also a hot bed of Marxist radicalism. My head spun; crime is a psychological problem, no it’s bad genes, no it’s poverty, no it’s classism, no it’s cultural. The good news is my critical thinking skills were well-honed.
India: As a medical anthropologist of sorts I traveled to India to study 1) exactly what was characterized as mental illness and 2) how folks were helped.
Stay in school long enough and you pick up credentials:
I have a Masters degee, a Doctorate degree in Criminology, a Marriage and Family Therapy license and am credentialed to teach in 5 subjects in community colleges. I taught at UC Berkeley, California community colleges, a private college (Chapman) and California State University, East Bay.
Making Myself Useful:
For years I practiced structured psychoanalysis. Yes, folks were on the couch. As the business of mental healthcare care changed, I adapted. I have learned short-hand ways to help people minimize the effect of unfortunate experiences, become more psychologically sophisticated and mobilize the best of themselves.
My Informal Education:
Those trips to the library as a girl foreshadowed a life style. I have pursued self-directed education for decades now. I used to visit the bookstores of local college bookstores. I’d pick up course outlines and buy the books. Now, I have the internet and libraries!
As you might guess, I gravitated towards volunteer work that required serious study. Jubilee, a volunteer organization, was originally founded to mobilize the public to put pressure on politicians and bankers to 1) cancel the debt of countries that struggled to feed their people and 2) modify the terms of lending which forced policies which ill served them. So….I began to study international finance. I found myself learning about the consequences of lending practices upon specific countries. It led necessarily to learning about the history, culture, economic and political systems of many countries pre and post colonialism. Need I note, I’m still working on that?
In a good book, there is a ‘through-line. As one finishes the book, one sees that the early, middle and end phases of the story carry through a primary theme. As a child, as a student, as a teacher, a volunteer, a psychotherapist and as an older woman, the most powerful ‘through-line’ I see in peoples lives (including my own) is the power of learning. It is mind-expanding, It is liberating! It is therapeutic! It is the lynch pin that enables us to be the best that we can be?
Perhaps we can custom tailor a course of study that suits you, inspires you and nourishes your intellectual self. We can surely custom tailor a course of study that helps you understand the historical moment; momentous events are restructuring our world as we speak.
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