Kate Gustin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her education from Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley; and has worked in a variety of settings over the past twenty-five years as a mental health practitioner: outpatient psychiatry, community mental health clinics, VA Hospital, college counseling services, and currently in private practice. Gustin integrates the science of positive psychology into her psychotherapy, teaching, and consultation, and leads classes and trainings for students, patients, and health care professionals.
The attempt to formulate a code of ethics that might applyuniversally in the contemporary spiritual community and enliven anunderstanding of what may or may not be appropriate, giving students greaterconfidence in their own discernment and discrimination.
Ancient traditions held the teacher beyond reproach andstudents surrendered their own will. This may have worked in monastic settingsbut generally does not work today.
Preventative support so we’re not busy doing cleanup.
Power hierarchies should not be an essential part ofspiritual development and can lead to abuses.
Spiritual awakening does not necessarily qualify a person tooffer advice on relationships, finances, etc.
Ethical training of some sort is integral to most honoredtraditions.
The issue of sexism and patriarchy in spiritualorganizations.
Entering the teaching profession prematurely.
All too often, when teachers are challenged on theirbehavior, they ignore the challenger or become defensive.
How do we offer the possibility for redemption and atonement?
Moving away from a culture of competition to one ofcooperation.
The importance of humility.
The importance of teachers not identifying with their roleand thinking that students’ devotion is about them.
South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” as a model.
Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.
A Discussion on Teacher-Student Romantic Relationships
The Association for Spiritual Integrity does not have a moralistic, judgmental orientation. It’s a community endeavor. We don’t agree among ourselves on certain points. We’re trying to balance our subjectiveperspectives with standards that fit our contemporary culture.
A key point of disagreement is the issue of teacher-studentromantic/sexual relationships. None of us are rigid or adamant in our opinions.We’re trying to work it out.
There are exceptions to every generality. In graduateschool, psychotherapists are taught that it will never be appropriate for therapistsand their clients to become partners.
Relationships tend to be the most challenging aspect ofpeople’s lives. These challenges shouldn’t bleed into a teacher’s teachingactivities.
When a teacher/student or therapist/client relationship transitions into romantic involvement, the potential for growth is undermined.
Sometimes “divine compulsion” arises in your spiritual path, shattering your conception of appropriate behavior.
The problem with teachers who haven’t transcended desire and explored their own shadow.
There can be a huge disparity between the apparent enlightenment of a teacher and their behavior.
Isolation and being closed to constructive criticism can be very dangerous for a teacher.
If a teacher doesn’t have friends other than his students, he might want to ask why. If he doesn’t have regular relationships and is always on a pedestal, he won’t get real-world feedback.
The culture is changing anyway. We’re just trying to give voice to values that are becoming lively in collective consciousness.
There can be a lot of practice involved in having your actions be a reflection of your deepest understanding.
Sandra is known for gathering the global spiritual community together to perform powerful transformative ceremonies as well as inspires us to stand strong in unity so we do our own spiritual and social activism work while keeping a vision of hope and being a light in the world.
She is passionate about helping people to reconnect with nature. Since the 1980’s thousands of people have healed from past and present traumas through the classic cross cultural shamanic healing method Sandra teaches called Soul Retrieval.
She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional mental health counselor. She is also a board-certified expert on traumatic stress. Sandra was chosen as one of the Top 10 Spiritual Leaders of 2013 by Spirituality and Health Magazine.
Anne Baring, born 1931. MA Oxon. Jungian analyst. Author and co-author of 7 books. The ground of all her work is a deep interest in history and the spiritual, mythological, shamanic and artistic traditions of different cultures. Her website is devoted to the affirmation of a new vision of reality and the challenges facing us at this crucial time of choice. It includes her many talks, lectures and seminars as well as interviews and talks on YouTube.
Raphael Cushnir is a leading voice in the world of emotional connection and present moment awareness. He has shared his unique approach to personal and professional development with millions of readers in O, The Oprah Magazine, Beliefnet, Spirituality and Health, Psychology Today, and The Huffington Post. He is the author of six books, lectures worldwide, and is a faculty member of the Esalen Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. In addition, he coaches individuals and couples, as well as organizations and their teams. Raphael’s own heart was opened by an experience of profound grief.