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Susan Pearson

Residency Sites: Plainfield, VT

I treasure the opportunity to be a part of the HAS program at Goddard, where creativity, passions, ways of knowing, and dreams and concerns for our world and ourselves meet in vibrant collaboration. This is a place of deep honoring, curiosity, engaged conversation, mindful interaction, and commitment to collective well-being and transformation. Each of us participates as both learner and teacher. As a faculty member, I delight in nurturing that fertile growing edge of each person, sharing resources, diving into the depth and breadth of their cherished interests and concerns, witnessing the emergence of human beings and their studies that are unique and glorious expressions of their particular gifts.

I have worked for the past 25 years as a psychotherapist, teacher, and community organizer, in settings which include a prison, family therapy center, community-based counseling and action centers, universities, and private practice. Expressive arts therapy (particularly sandtray therapy, writing, family sculpture, authentic movement, drawing, and painting) is among the modalities I teach and practice. I see imagination and creativity, which infuse experience with beauty, mystery and wisdom, as humanity’s participation in the universal activity of creation that is life.

Another of the health-sustaining interests that fire my spirit is community: intentional communities, community ritual and celebration; mutuality of care and respect, reliable holding environments for making transitions through the lifespan, alternative egalitarian economies, restorative justice, healing communication and public dialogue, community involvement in social change and response to trauma, global community initiatives, interspecies community, and ecological identity and sustainability. I am currently collaborating with others in my part of Maine to create an alternative economy and an annual festival, which will integrate healing arts, applied arts, Puppet Theater, and rites of passage in celebration of and deeper communion with the natural world.

Educationally, my doctoral study was in ecopsychology. This work led to studies in psychology and transpersonal psychology, deep ecology, Native American traditions, Eastern faith traditions, feminist studies, and expressions of the shifting paradigm in consciousness, power and knowledge, relatedness, linguistic discourse, education, addiction, health care, and mental health care.

In divinity school, I engaged in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary studies of health and meaning making as they relate to medical practice, public health, mental health care, addiction, sacred ritual, education, and death and dying.

While Kundalini Yoga and anthroposophy (which underlies Waldorf education and biodynamic agriculture) are central spiritual practices and philosophies I have drawn from in my practice and teaching, I have studied and practiced a wide variety of approaches to yoga and meditation. Other healing modalities have included tai chi, acupuncture/acupressure, Ayurvedic medicine, exercise physiology, holotropic breathwork, nutritional therapy, anthroposophic medicine, homeopathy, EMDR, critical incident stress management, herbal remedies, and psychosynthesis. I have found illness, too, to be a powerful teacher.

I love to garden, paint, swim make and fix things; listen to rain, wind, birdsong, trees, and peepers; watch chipmunks, moose, flowers, mists, and the changing light; and celebrate life with ritual, food and friendship.

A thread running throughout all of the above is a profound concern with cultivating peace within and among us; grappling with questions about human nature, cruelty, suffering, and life-affirming response to them; examining the assumptions and dilemmas built into our social structures toward rethinking and transforming them; and restoring deep connection, wonder, and reverence in relationship with all of life.

Additional training: Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, Kundalini Research Institute; Life-Span Clinical-Developmental Psychology, Clinical-Developmental Institute of Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Gestalt Therapy, Boston Gestalt Institute.

Educational Background:

PhD in Ecopsychology, The Union Institute; MTS in Religion and Culture, Harvard Divinity School; MA in Psychology, Goddard College; BA in Art History and Sociology, Northwestern University.