The SMB Area of Focus of the MA Psychology in Education degree offers a unique pedagogical model as a "crossroads" for spiritual leaders and thinkers from around the globe. The SMB Area of Focus prioritizes experiential learning interfaced with science, insights from world traditions and diverse spiritual practices. This pedagogical model was designed by Dr. Lisa Miller based upon twenty years of teaching on spirituality in psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally offered in the late 1990s as a single class, the SMB Area of Focus has grown to house the first Ivy League graduate degree area of focus focused on spirituality and psychology!
Lisa Miller, Ph.D. is a national leader in the science of spirituality in wellbeing, mental health, development and flourishing. Dr. Miller brings two decades of funded research, practice and leadership into partnerships for a spiritually supportive society. She works closely with the US Military, US Dept of Health and Human Services, K-12 schools and higher education, environmental initiatives, and private and public organizations.
Dr. Miller solo edited the Oxford University Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality (2012, Second Edition forthcoming 2021) and has published over a hundred articles and chapters on spirituality in mental health, wellbeing and thriving. She has been Principal Investigator on several million dollars of grants drawing from foundations and NIMH.
Dr. Miller is Co-Founder and former Co-Editor-in-Chief of the American Psychological Association journal, Spirituality in Clinical Practice. She is Associate Editor for the Journal of Positive Psychology focusing on research integrating spirituality into positive psychology and former Associate Editor for the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. Dr. Miller served as President of APA Society of Spirituality and Psychology and APA Council Representative.
Dr. Miller has been elected as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and awarded the Virginia Sexton Mentoring Award. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in Psychology from Yale University and earned her doctorate from University of Pennsylvania, where her mentor was Martin Seligman, Ph.D.
Dr. Tomasulo is the Academic Director and core faculty member at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute (SMBI), Teachers College, Columbia University.
He coauthored the American Psychological Association’s first book on psychotherapy for people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities and has published over 20 articles on innovations in delivering mental health and wellbeing services. Dr. Tomasulo was the lead author for the first Diagnostic Manual - Intellectual Disability (DM-ID) identifying the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in people with intellectual disabilities.
Dr. Tomasulo has been elected to fellow of the American Society for Group Psychotherapy /Psychodrama and has served as board member for this organization as well as the National Association for Dually Diagnosed (NADD).
Dr. Tomasulo has been honored as one of the top ten online influencers on the issue of depression. and awarded the Avant-Garde Clinical Intervention award by the International Positive Psychology Association. He has been a teaching fellow at Princeton University, and is a graduate of Yeshiva University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied under Martin Seligman, Ph.D.
Aurélie Athan is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology, and a core faculty member of SMBI, Teachers College, Columbia University.
Her scholarly interests center on spiritual development across the lifespan, with a current emphasis on the transition to motherhood or matrescence, and the emerging concept of reproductive identity. Her clinical orientation is informed by depth perspectives such as Jungian psychology with a focus on the creative expression of the human psyche in art and therapy as well as ritual and rites of passage. She has been honored to work with the Archives for Research on Archetypal Symbolism on a 10-year effort culminating in The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Symbolism (Taschen). As an experienced administrator in higher education, she applies a strength-based and transformational learning framework to foster the flourishing of students through innovative curriculum design and academic guidance.
Mark Kuras is a member of the Faculty of Columbia Medical School, Teachers College Clinical Psychology and the Spirituality Mind Body Institute. He directed the High Risk Unit in the Community Psychiatry Clinic at NY Hospital for 20 years and is a core faculty member in the Columbia University Clinical Psychology Internship Program. He is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, Jungian Analyst and was the founding Director of Training of the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association. His clinical interests focus on the evolving forms of psychological distress (e.g. indefiniteness of identity/hypersuggestibility/derealization) shadowing advances in informational technology and its impact on interiority.
Linda Lantieri, MA has been in the field of education for over 40 years in a variety of capacities: classroom teacher, assistant principal, director of a middle school in East Harlem, and faculty member at Hunter College, New York City. Currently she serves as a Senior Program Advisor for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). She has also been involved in designing and teaching the k-12 Spirituality in Education Strand of the SMB Area of Focus within the Masters in Psychology in Education at Columbia University. For the last 15 years, she served as the Founding Director of The Inner Resilience Program whose mission is to cultivate the inner lives of students, teachers and schools by integrating social and emotional learning with contemplative practice. Prior to that, she co-founded the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP), a research-based K-8 social and emotional learning program that is being implemented in over 400 schools worldwide. Linda has recently been appointed to the Council of Distinguished Educators of the National Commission on Social, Emotional & Academic Development and is currently Senior Advisor to Social, Emotional, and Ethical (SEE) Learning Program at the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics at Emory University. With the blessing and support of the Dalai Lama, the SEE Learning Program seeks to develop a guiding curriculum framework based on Compassion to be integrated into Kindergarten-Higher Education worldwide. Linda has written numerous articles and book chapters and is coauthor of Waging Peace in Our Schools (Beacon Press, 1996) editor of Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers (Beacon Press, 2001), and author of Building Emotional Intelligence: Practices to Cultivate Inner Strength in Children (Sounds True, 2008, 2014).
Jack McGourty Ph.D. is Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School and a faculty member teaching courses in entrepreneurship; venture creation, and product innovation. Prior to joining the Columbia Business School, Jack was Vice Dean for Columbia’s Engineering School. For over 20 years, Jack has been an active member of the University's entrepreneurial community, establishing an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship, teaching core and advanced courses in new venture creation & growth, and launching the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center. Jack is the driving force behind Venture for All®, a program designed to educate aspiring entrepreneurs in emerging global markets. Jack is the recipient of the Columbia Engineering School’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award and Columbia Business School’s Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He is also co-author of the Wiley publication, Patterns of Entrepreneurship Management, 6th Edition, published in 2020.
Dr. Rosenbaum is a licensed psychoanalyst in private practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in New York City. She has worked with individuals and couples for over 25 years. She is also a certified biofeedback therapist who helps people overcome a variety of stress-related problems, including insomnia, panic, anxiety, migraine, tension headaches, muscle spasm, back pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, she is a certified yoga and meditation instructor, and has studied Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation with Lama Pema Wangdak. Her clinical work reflects her in-depth studies and integration of mind, body and spirit. Dr. Rosenbaum is on the faculty of National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis in New York, where she is also a supervisor and training analyst. She is on the Editorial Board of the professional journal The Psychoanalytic Review. As an adjunct professor in the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Master’s program at Teachers College, she has taught “Psychotherapy, Spirituality and Religious Diversity”, “Personal Transformation: Integrating Mind, Body and Spirit”, “Group Dynamics”, “Varieties of Transformative Experience in Spiritual Growth”, and LEO Wellness Practicum. She also conducts a study/supervision group devoted to exploring how a post-Newtonian framework can enrich psychodynamic therapy. Dr. Rosenbaum has lectured on a variety of topics, including intersubjectivity theory, spirituality and psychotherapy, the integration of concepts from fields such as neuroscience, quantum physics, and psi phenomena with the process of change in psychotherapy, and the parallels between psychoanalysis and the Buddhist concept of reincarnation. She has been an invited guest speaker at scientific conferences in Europe on topics such as “Consciousness and Quantum Physics” and “Consciousness and Medicine,” and spoke at Columbia University on “Contemporary Psychoanalysis and New Models of Consciousness.”
Mitchell Saskin, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist with a practice on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The focus of his psychotherapy practice is providing counseling for individuals and couples who are struggling in terms of life transitions and major life changes. He has over 20 years of experience as a psychotherapist in private practice as well as working and consulting in public, parochial, and independent schools throughout NYC. Mitchell received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Derner Institute at Adelphi University. He is licensed in New York State as a Clinical Psychologist and a School Psychologist. While Mitchell has been analytically trained as a psychotherapist he has moved towards incorporating more alternative, mindful, and spiritual forms of treatment into his practice. This is primarily based on his own long-standing meditation and spiritual practice. Mitchell uses mindfulness and spiritual practices in his counseling practice with individuals and couples, as well as offering workshops on mindfulness to students, educators, and parents. He currently is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the SMB Area of Focus at TC where he specializes in teaching the integration of spirituality and psychotherapy.
Traci Stein, PhD, MPH is a health psychologist, award-winning author, and the creator of a series of popular guided imagery, self-hypnosis, and meditation audio programs. For over two decades, Dr. Stein has explored the interrelationship among mind, body and spirit in health and well being. Prior to receiving her PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University, Dr. Stein earned a master’s degree in public health from New York University. She is also the former Director of Integrative Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and has had a longstanding interest in complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies. As a psychologist, Dr. Stein’s theoretical orientation is integrative and draws from the strengths of empirically supported, psychodynamic, and CAM therapies. Dr. Stein has supervised TC clinical psychology doctoral students on how to work with medically ill patients using an integrative, collaborative
approach. In addition to the above, Dr. Stein is certified in clinical hypnosis, is fellowship trained in pain psychology, and has formally trained in intuitive development on and off for nearly 20 years. She has been featured or quoted in O – The Oprah Magazine, Health, Shape.com, Women’s Health, and more, and has been interviewed on numerous radio programs and podcasts. Her new podcast, “Unpacking Possibility with Dr. Traci Stein,” features interviews with people who have experienced profound personal transformation and share their strategies for creating positive change.
Lorne Schussel is Adjunct Assistant Professor and Core Faculty at SMBI, Columbia University, Teachers College. He is the Research Director of the Contemplative Science and Post Materialism Lab as well as the PI of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Connectivity Project. His research focuses on the utilization of contemplative practices, human connectivity, contemplative neuroscience, EEG hyperscanning, and integrating clinical biomarkers into treatment. Currently, he and his team are working on developing an epigenetic clinical pilot using mediation-visualization practices, and EEG hyperscanning for the Police Force. Dr. Schussel developed a psychological healing practice known as “The Best Self Visualization Method” which has been cited in the New York Times, ABC-online, and the Huffington Post. He has also been an invited speaker at the United Nations Mission to Nigeria and United Nation Church Center. The method has been added to a curriculum for mental health and resilience at Zucker Hillside Hospital (NorthWell Health) and the Long Beach School District. He has presented to corporate leaders in Indonesia as part of a mental health initiative for the COVID-19 crisis and lectured to Psychiatry Medical Residents at Mount Sinai Hospital, Glendale Adventist Hospital and to the University of Southern California. Dr. Schussel has recently worked as visiting faculty at the California State Judicial College teaching about mental health and employee burnout to appointed state judges.