Sufism & Psychology Forum
The Sufism and Psychology Forum (SPF) was established by Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar in 1993, and works to integrate the wisdom of Sufism with the knowledge of Western psychology and to bring people from around the world who are interested in these disciplines together in mutual understanding and inquiry. Initiatives of SPF include the 40 Days Alchemy of Tranquility®, Community Healing Centers, and Beyond Identification. The 40 Days program fosters emotional balance and a deeper understanding of human behavior and spiritual development, while the Community Healing Centers are public practices run by licensed psychotherapists with many years of clinical experience and spiritual practice in the ancient wisdom of Sufism, help bridge spiritual teachings with the contemporary language of psychology. The Beyond Identification program focuses on heart-based approaches to psychotherapy.
Goals of the Sufism and Psychology Forum are to:
- conduct research in the field of Sufi psychology, through its Institute for Sufi Studies
- expand the SPF research library
- present Sufi psychology at academic and professional conferences
- sponsor seminars and lectures presented by spiritually oriented psychologists and therapists
- publish electronic newsletters
- publish books on Sufi Psychology
- provide a forum for exchanging resources, articles and other information relevant to both Sufism and psychology
The Sufism and Psychology Forum is a department of International Association of Sufism (IAS) and is not affiliated with any one Sufi school or order.
40 Days Alchemy of Tranquility®
The 40 Days: Alchemy of Tranquility program is led by Sufi Masters Seyyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar assisted by a team of experienced psychotherapists and educators. Throughout the ages and across traditions, a practice of forty days has been valued as a concentrated method of self-discovery, and a means of experiencing increased awareness, personal develoment, and healing. Practitioners move daily, step-by-step, from a limited experience of self to a greater sense of wholeness. This practice results in a a state of peace and is known as the “alchemy of tranquility.” The 40 Days: Alchemy of Tranquility program offers a variety of activities including workshops, retreats, practice groups, and individual mentoring.
Community Healing Centers
The Community Healing Centers were founded to provide essential services to the community. Each Center is a local provider of counseling and psychological services designed to meet a variety of needs for individuals, couples, and families. The Healing Center approach integrates Western psychology with ancient wisdom to bring balance and harmony to the whole person. The clinical staff is comprised of highly trained and qualified psychotherapists specializing in a broad spectrum of clinical issues. Classes, groups, and workshops are offered by the Community Education Program on a variety of topics including stress-reduction, parenting, meditation, women's issues, men's issues, and classes for therapists.
This 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, yet there is still much to be learned about the role of the heart in promoting human development and healing.
The Sufism and Psychology Forum Team
His Holiness, Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D., a world-renowned Sufi master, has been teaching spiritual practices and techniques internationally for over 40 years. He is co-director of the International Association of Sufism, and founder and director of the 40 Days: Alchemy of Tranquility program. The practical spiritual techniques he uses in each session are based on the ancient wisdom of the prophets and have been used by spiritual masters throughout the ages. Through the 40 Days program, Dr. Kianfar brings spiritual practices of purification together with psychology, recognizing that many of us carry psychological wounds that first must be healed before we can progress on our spiritual journey. “Tranquility is available only by unity of heart and mind.”
Sheikh Salman Baruti, MSW is a licensed clinical social worker. He graduated from the University of California Berkeley School of Social Welfare in 1981. For the past 30 years, he has provided case work and mental health services to underserved and at-risk youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past 25 years, Mr. Baruti has worked at the Alameda County Child Guidance Clinic where he is a Senior Psychiatric Social Worker supervising a day treatment unit. Mr. Baruti is a student of Sufism and uses transformative life skills including Sufi wisdom, stories and sayings that he has learned from his teachers to help young people appreciate and value their lives.
Jamal Lawrence Granick, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist in California and New Mexico. He is student of Uwaiysi Sufism under the guidance of Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Dr. Seyyed Ali Kianfar, the founding directors of International Association of Sufism. Dr. Granick is a member of IAS and serves on its Executive Committee, and has participated in many of its programs, including presenting on Sufism and Psychology nationally and internationally. He also holds a fourth degree black belt in Aikido which he teaches in a regular weekly class. Jamal obtained a Ph.D. from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 2011, and did his doctoral research on transpersonal aspects of therapist’s presence in psychotherapy.
Mary Toth Granick, M.Ed, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and maintains a private practice in California and New Mexico. She works with individual adults, couples, adolescents and their families. She also has extensive experience and a background in school-based counseling services. Ms. Toth Granick is a student of Uwaiysi Sufism and a member of the International Association of Sufism. She has contributed articles in the SPF Newsletter and the journal, Sufism: An Inquiry. She has also presented her work with Sufism and Psychology at various retreats in the Bay Area.
Arife Ellen Hammerle, Ph.D. is a senior teacher of the Uwaiysi School of Sufism, guided by Sufi Masters Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali. Kianfar. Dr. Hammerle is a member of the International Association of Sufism and sits on the Executive Committee for the Institute for Sufi Studies. She is a psychotherapist and published author who teaches courses at the Institute for Sufi Studies and 40 Days Alchemy of Tranquility Program. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology. Dr. Hammerle is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor with the Community Healing Centers, an integrative psychotherapy non-profit organization. She is a published author who has written numerous books and articles on spirituality and psychology.
Jalal Brian Heery, Ph.D. did his doctoral research on “Awakening Spirit in the Body: A Heuristic Exploration of Peak or Mystical Experience in the Practice of Aikido” at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology 2003. He currently holds a fifth-degree black belt in Aikido and is the founder and head instructor at Rocky Valley Aikido in Santa Cruz, CA. He is interested in the interstices between Somatic Experiencing, Aikido, and Sufism. He is currently a Uwaiysi School of Sufism student, under the guidance of Sufi Masters Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar.
Rahmana Lynn Larkin, MSW, ACSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Seattle, WA and a student of Sufism under the guidance of Seyed Ali Kianfar Ph.D and Seyedeh Nahid Angha Ph.D. In addition to her experience and training in Sufi Psychology, she is certified in Psychosynthesis, EMDR, Reiki, Hypnosis, and NLP.
George Matchette, MA, LMFT is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with many years of experience working with individuals and couples. He specializes in trauma reduction and core belief transformation using a variety of techniques, including active imagination and energy psychology. Mr. Matchette has taught courses at the graduate level in empathy skills and individual and couples’ theories of counseling. He was a founding member of the Community Healing Centers and continues to participate in the Sufi Psychology Forum. Mr. Matchette also holds a second-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.
Salima Ginny Patton Matchette, LMFT received her MA in psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, student of Sufism Psychology, and Music Therapist. Throughout her career, Ms. Matchette has worked extensively with: individuals dealing with issues arising from past trauma and abuse; adults in recovery from addictions/dependencies; people undergoing difficult life transitions; and individuals, couples, and families with relationship issues. She also has a thriving Music Therapy practice, working therapeutically with home- and facility-bound elderly clients, using vocal and instrumental music as the modality. Ms. Matchette is also a member of Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble, a department of the International Association of Sufism.
Katherine Preston, MA, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and has been a practicing psychotherapist for over twenty-five years. She maintains a private practice in San Francisco and has held many clinical leadership positions overseeing and providing clinical training and supervision for therapeutic services throughout the Bay Area. Ms. Preston is a student of Uwaiysi Sufism and a member of International Association of Sufism. Ms. Preston serves as moderator for the 40 Days – Alchemy of Tranquility Program.
Amineh Amelia Pryor, Ph.D., LMFT is a student of Uwaiysi Sufism under the guidance of Sufi Masters Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar. Dr. Pryor is co-director of the Sufism and Psychology Forum and co-editor of the SPF Newsletter, a department of International Association of Sufism. Dr. Pryor is a clinical supervisor and psychotherapist at the Community Healing Centers in San Francisco. She presents at local and international conferences and has published articles in the fields of spirituality, psychology, consciousness, and science. Dr. Pryor is the author of Psychology in Sufism and co-author of Sufi Grace.As a presenter and group facilitator in the 40 Days – Alchemy of Tranquility® Program she also experiences the benefits of the 40 Days practices in her own life.