Interplay of Psychology and Spirituality

Beyond Identification 2021

“Heart-Based Psychotherapy”

Saturday, March 13th, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

One-day, Online Conference

Registration is closed

Course meets the qualifications for 6 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences*. See the CEU page here.

This year’s Beyond Identification program focuses on the practice of psychotherapy grounded in a heart-centered approach. The heart has been recognized as a center of awareness in many spiritual traditions since ancient times. Recently, the field of psychotherapy has begun to recognize its relevance, from both neurobiological and experiential perspectives.

There is still much to be learned about the role of the heart in promoting human development and healing. The presenters at this event are all experts in their fields and  represent a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches and spiritual disciplines. This program offers the opportunity to increase our understanding and awareness of how focus on the heart can remove impediments and increase the possibility of realizing our full human potential.

  • John PrendergastHeart-felt Meditative Inquiry Seeing Through Core Limiting Beliefs with the Wisdom of the Heart
  • Judith BlackstoneThe Realization Process: Opening to the Wellspring of Love
  • Joseph BobrowPour Your Heart Out: Good Mourning to the Heart of the World
  • Rollin McCratyThe Importance of Heart Based Self-Regulation and Energy Management in Improving Patient Outcome
  • Rahima SchmallThe Heart as a Doorway to the Divine

(See presenters’ bios below)

Presentations will be introduced by members of the Beyond Identifications team, Jamal Granick, Mary Granick, Arife Hammerle, Elizabeth Miller, Katherine Preston, and Amineh Pryor.



Judith BlackstoneThe Realization Process: Opening to the Wellspring of Love

Judith Blackstone, PhD, developed the Realization Process, a method of embodied psychological and relational healing and nondual spiritual awakening.  She teaches workshops and teacher certification trainings world-wide and online.  She was a psychotherapist in private practice for several decades, and before that, a professional dancer.  She is the author of Trauma and the Unbound Body: the Healing Power of Fundamental Consciousness, Belonging Here, The Enlightenment Process, The Intimate Life, and The Empathic Ground.  An audio series of the Realization Process practices is available from Sounds True.




Joseph BobrowPour Your Heart Out: Good Mourning to the Heart of the World

Joseph Bobrow is the founder and Roshi of Deep Streams Zen Institute. An author and psychoanalyst, he has long been integrating Buddhist practice with Western psychology to create communities of healing, including retreats that mobilize the power of community to help veterans and their families and caregivers transform the traumas of war. The author of Waking Up from War, foreword by the Dalai Lama, and Zen and Psychotherapy: Partners in Liberation, comments by Thich Nhat Hanh, Joseph’s After Midnight is his first collection of poems. His essay, ‘The Beating Heart of Standing Rock’ was published at His podcast, ‘Lotus in the Fire,’ is on most platforms. Joseph practices in Los Angeles and teaches widely.



Rollin McCratyThe Importance of Heart Based Self-Regulation and Energy Management in Improving Patient Outcome

  Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. is Director of Research of the HeartMath Research Center at the HeartMath Institute. As a psycho-physiologist, Dr. McCraty’s research interests include the physiology of emotion, heart-brain communication and the global interconnectivity between people and the earth’s energetic systems. Findings from this research have been applied to the development of tools and technology to optimize individual and organizational health, performance, and quality of life. Dr. McCraty has acted as Principal Investigator in numerous studies examining the effects of emotions on heart–brain interactions and on autonomic, cardiovascular, hormonal, and immune system function, and outcome studies to determine the benefits of positive emotion-focused interventions and heart rhythm coherence feedback in diverse organizational, educational and various clinical populations.

He has been featured in a number of documentary films such as I am, The Truth, The Joy of Sox move, The Power of the Heart, Solar Revolution, and The Living Matrix among many others.




John PrendergastHeart-felt Meditative Inquiry Seeing Through Core Limiting Beliefs with the Wisdom of the Heart

John J. Prendergast, Ph.D., is a spiritual teacher, author of The Deep Heart (2019) and In Touch (2015), retired Adjunct Professor of Psychology at CIIS, and a soon-to-retire psychotherapist in private practice. He offers online and in person retreats. He studied for many years with the European sage Jean Klein as well as with Adyashanti.




Rahima SchmallThe Heart as a Doorway to the Divine

Rahima Susan Schmall, PhD, RN is a clinical psychologist, registered nurse and master teacher and healer in the Shadiliyya Sufi tradition.  She blends spirituality into her clinical practice to help people connect through their hearts to the divine source of healing. She is a founding faculty of the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism, faculty at Southwestern College and Director of the Healing Intensive program at the Shadiliyya Sufi Retreat Center. She is a contributing author to the book, A Drop in the Ocean of Love.




Check back here for updates or, to receive announcements please email us at

*The Community Healing Centers is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, to sponsor continuing education for LCSWs, LMFTs, LPCCs and LEPs, Provider number: 90789. Community Healing Centers maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. Continuing Education grievances and request for refunds, disability accommodations, copies of CEU certificates or other records should be directed to Dr. Ellen Hammerle at (415) 499-1115. For our policies pertaining to these matters, please go to the policies page.



Past Conferences

Beyond Identifications 2019

See the recent article in The Journal

On Saturday, July 27th, 2019, the Sufism and Psychology (SPF) program of the International Association of Sufism (IAS) along with Community Healing Centers (CHC) presented Laurence Heller, Ph.D., Jamal Granick, Ph.D., Arife Hammerle, Ph.D., and Amineh Pryor, Ph.D. in a workshop entitled “The Interplay of Psychology and Spirituality” to offer the community exposure to cutting edge psychological theory as well as spiritual practices for healing at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley CA.

Dr. Hammerle – Director CHC

Dr. Heller – founder NARM

Dr. Granick – Co-Director SPF

Dr. Pryor – – Co-Director SPF









Dr. Arife Ellen Hammerle opened the morning with appreciation of the founders of IAS Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Dr. Ali Kianfar. Dr. Jamal Granick introduced the guest speaker Dr. Laurence Heller. In his recent book, Healing Developmental Trauma, Dr. Heller presents the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM).

In the morning workshop, Beyond Identification, Dr. Heller began his talk with his understanding that connection is paradoxically the deepest desire and the greatest fear for the human being and is where psychology and spirituality intersect. He emphasized that separation from old identifications and ideas of self and world are necessary in order to be available for an experience of non-duality and what he called the “vastness of being.”

At the afternoon workshop, The Roots of Healing, presenters Dr. Jamal Granick, Dr. Arife Hammerle, and Dr. Pryor addressed the interplay of psychology and spirituality from the perspective of spiritual practice. Dr. Granick built on Dr. Heller’s presentation by introducing the idea that we are called forward from our “identifications” by the larger dimension of being which is our essential nature, with which we are already always connected. Dr. Pryor presented the principle of balance as understood in Sufi psychology as a door to transformation. Experiential exercises were offered to enable participants to discover this principle within their own being. Dr. Hammerle invited participants to the direct experience of their essential nature with practices to focus on the point of connection with the source of existence within one’s heart.

The day concluded with a closing circle in which all participants came together to connect by heart expressing their experience with a word that captured the essence of the day.









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