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Western Institute for Social Research (WISR)
A Premier Academic Institute for Social Change
Since 1975

2930 Shattuck Avenue, Suite 300, Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 655-2830 


Seminars & Announcements

November-December, 2020

Special Announcements

~Browse WISR’s Inaugural WISR Newsletter: Summer 2020

~Until further notice, due to COVID-19, all WISR seminars and events are online only

~All of the following events, WISR sponsored or that the WISR Community is invited to join, count as hours of collaboration for WISR students in their coursework.

WISR had endorsed Ecumenical Peace Institute’s Fall Gathering:

~Monthly Announcements are posted:

~PDF versions & recent Mailchimp emails:

~Tuesdays,  11/3, 17, 24, 27 and into December, 4-5pm,
Workshop In Support Of Student Academic Work In Progress

~Sat 1/16/21, 10am-12pm, Human Dignity And Humiliation Dialogue MFT and Interdisciplinary Seminar 

~Sat 1/30/21, 10am-12pm, Computing Basics, Google For Education, And More...What Students and Faculty Need to Know for These Times!


~Sat 11/7, 10am-12pm, Practicum Process Group
~Sat 11/14, 10am-1pm, Psychopharmacology, Part 1 

~Sat 11/21, 10am-1pm, Conflict, Control, And Out Of Control In Couples And Couple Therapy, Part 2

~Sat 12/2, 10am-12pm, Practicum Process Group

~Sat 12/12, 10am-1pm, Psychopharmacology, Part 2

~Sat 1/9, 10am-12pm, Practicum Process Group

~Sat 1/16/21, 10am-12pm, Human Dignity And Humiliation Dialogue MFT and Interdisciplinary Seminar 

~Sat 1/23/21, 10am-1pm, Conflict, Control, And Out Of Control In Couples And Couple Therapy, Part 3

~To facilitate the quality of an interactive seminar experience for everyone, participants are strongly encouraged to stay engaged and keep their video on at all times.

~Those with email addresses can find seminar/event info on their Google Calendars.

~Covid 19 Resources,
~WISR’s Statement And Actions On Racial Justice &
~Important Information and Disclosures about WISR Seminars and Events

~Look for our page on Facebook, also wisrberkeley on Twitter and wiserberkeley on Instagram.  
~If you have difficulty logging in to Zoom seminars, go to
for Zoom Technical-Support and click on the blue "Help" button. International phone numbers are also available.

INTERDISCIPLINARY SEMINAR(S)  are a way for WISR students to learn about core subjects of social change, writing, multiculturalism, adult/higher education, community leadership and social action-research. Community members are welcome to participate as well.  Students are strongly requested to participate in at least one seminar each month, unless they have an unavoidable conflict.  Students also have the option of creating seminars on topics of interest, of forming their own peer discussion groups, and developing regular collaborations with other WISR students. 



Tuesdays,  11/3, 17, 24, 27 and into December, 4-5pm

John Bilorusky, PhD, WISR President and Core Faculty. (Other faculty are invited to participate as well.) 

This workshop will be aimed at several things: 1) Students will be asked to share and discuss their learning projects and course work that is in progress. To this end, students can let others know about their interest and current personalized WISR learning projects and/or planned projects—get feedback from others, brainstorm and share ideas. 

2) Students will have an opportunity to discuss and ask about anything else about their studies at WISR that will be helpful for them to do in this small group discussion setting.

Video/phone conferencing Zoom link; Phone# 669-900-6833 with ID# 812 7817 0306. To RSVP or for help with technical difficulties call 510-655-2830 or email and provide a phone# in case of technical difficulties. 

MFT & Interdisciplinary Seminar 

Saturday, January 16th, 2021 

Rosa Reinikainen, MFT, WISR Adjunct Faculty, Facilitator

We are so fortunate at WISR to be linked in with the global network of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies.  Evelyn Lindner and Linda Hartling have dedicated their lives to the important study of these dynamics.  Understanding the dynamics of humiliation is critical to healing from these cycles and restoring our innate dignity. 

We live in a highly interconnected world. Humiliation cycles happen in a social, political, environmental, relational and interpersonal level, as well as an internal level.  It is important to look at our participation in these systems. There is escalating social instability, political unrest, violent conflict, economic injustice, and climate change and now a pandemic, which is already increasing and exacerbating existing inequality. There are massive issues with Police murdering back and brown people. We are having increasing climate disruption leading to floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes. In looking at these dynamics we can create the impetus to design innovative, sustainable, and mutually dignifying solutions to these problems. We will discuss how we can create systems that ensure equal dignity for all. 

This seminar is a discussion about Human Dignity and Humiliation.  It is a ‘come-as-you-are’ discussion, meaning you do not need to have a deep understanding of these ideas.   We have all had experiences that are relevant to the discussion.   These dialogues can help create change. Come discuss human dignity and humiliation with me.  

What Students and Faculty Need to Know
for these times!

10am to 12:00pm
Saturday, January 30th, 2021 

Mark Wilson, WISR’s Learning Experience Designer\Technologian will present a short overview of computing basics for learners; then explore the Google Suite Apps including storing, sharing, and editing files. Please keep a log of computing challenges you have encountered to share and discuss.

MARRIAGE FAMILY THERAPY (MFT) SEMINARS are for WISR students pursuing an MFT and/or LPCC license. Other interested persons are welcome to attend (on site or by video conference) and receive CEU credit for MFTs and LPCCs, but you must RSVP the faculty member (see email contact info below) in advance. *WISR students not in the MFT program may get CEU credit for no additional charge, others pay $40.  These seminars are typically held at WISR from 10am to 12 or 1pm (as listed) with a short break; often students bring a snack. MFT students must participate in a total of 48 such seminars in order to graduate. These required seminars for our MS program lead to the State of California MFT and LPCC licenses and are now available by telephone conference call and video webinar.  

Saturdays, November 7th, December 2nd, January 9th, 2021…. 

Monthly, the first Saturdays of each month unless otherwise notified. 

Rosa Reinikainen, MFT, WISR Adjunct Faculty  leads this group for those MFT and LPCC students and alumni who are pre-practicum, those who are in practicum, and those who have already done their practicum.  We will be discussing issues around therapy practices, including treatment plans, assessments, modalities etc.  This is a place for students, interns and associates to discuss their experiences, hopes and ideas and to discuss the world of therapy in a group setting.  This is a monthly seminar where we can discuss any thoughts, ideas or concerns you might have surrounding practicum and therapy practices. Everyone is welcome regardless of where you are at in your learning. 

Video/phone conferencing Zoom link ;
Phone# 669-900-6833 with ID# 853 8800 8924. Please RSVP or  call 510-655-2830 and provide a phone# in case of technical difficulties. 

Saturday, November 14th, Part 1;
Saturday, December 12th, Part 2
10am – 1pm
Karen Wall, EdD, LMFT,
WISR Faculty, Facilitator

As mental health practitioners, our work is to provide services with the goal of helping our client to reduce emotional pain, and to promote psychological growth and healing. Psychiatric medications are increasingly being prescribed by providers who are not psychiatrists; therefore, it is important for non-medical mental health providers, such as therapists, to be familiar with these medications in order to be able to monitor client responses for efficacy and side effects of the medications, and compliance in our clients who are taking these medications. Regardless of the therapist's degree of involvement or interest in medication management, the large body of evidence demonstrating the connection between certain mental disorders and neurochemical imbalances has made it important for therapists to be able to address medication-related topics that are directly related to diagnoses and referrals.

Video/phone conferencing Zoom link for Nov & Dec
Phone# 669-900-6833 with ID# 814 0855 2008. Please RSVP or  call 510-655-2830 and provide a phone# in case of technical difficulties. 

Saturday, November 21st 
Ronald Mah, MA, LMFT, PhD, Faculty.

The book Conflict, Control, and Out of Control in Couples and Couple Therapy by Dr. Mah addresses the continuum of assertion, aggression, and abuse between partners. The therapist is guided how to promote appropriate assertiveness and aggression while avoiding crossing the boundary of abuse. Conflict is intrinsic to most couples, but relative control vs. getting out of control varies greatly resulting in relationship health or dysfunction. The therapist is directed how to guide partners how to deal w/ anger and frustration -- learning how to fight fairly and productively to prevent emotional abuse.
The book discusses conceptual vs. practical distinctions between normal couple therapy and domestic violence therapy. Therapist boundaries and choices to engage or not in domestic violence therapy become functionally problematic when intimate partner violence is unanticipated but uncovered in sessions. The therapist will learn how to assess for, manage, and treat partners when emotional reactivity becomes emotional abuse -- a focus of normal couple therapy; when verbal abuse predicts physical abuse; and when domestic violence is revealed.

Video/phone conferencing Zoom link for November 21st, ; phone #669-900-6833 with meeting ID# 858 0708 4547. To RSVP or for help with technical difficulties call 510 655 2830 or email or and provide a phone#.

(See above for more details)
Saturday, December 12th
10am–1pm; Karen Wall, EdD, LMFT, RN-BC, WISR Faculty, Facilitator 

MFT & Interdisciplinary Seminar

(See above for more details)
Saturday, January 16th 
Additional Announcements 

WISR had endorsed
Ecumenical Peace Institute’s Fall Gathering, THE FORGOTTEN COUNTRIES~ THE ET CETERA

November 15, 4:00-6pm PST.
Join virtually to hear speakers from four countries at this online gathering, representing crises in regions often forgotten and/or left behind, while we are distracted by fires closer to home. Often thought of as et cetera countries which suffer from U.S. driven crises, they are literally 20 or 30 down the triage list. We promise an exciting gathering from around the world. Speakers include:The Reverend Naim Stifan Ateek on Palestine; Pierre Labossiere on Haiti; Gloria La Riva on Venezuela and Lorenzo Canizares on Cuba.To participate virtually see updates at as it gets closer.

Covid 19 Resources for Therapists

WISR Alum Diane Poole Heller offers a masterclass, Nurturing Resilience During a Traumatic Crisis masterclass: Therapists can earn 30 CE credits.

Links to free content: various interviews around COVID 19 and how best to respond:

~Deb Dana: Responding to Stress and Dysregulation in our Nervous System

~MingTong Gu: How to Practice Self Care:

~Pat Love: Societal and Trauma Fallout from COVID 19

~Francesca Maxime: Exploring Diversity and Marginalized Populations during COVID 19

DISASTERSHOCK is a valuable Resource on Dealing with Stress During a Major Disaster, Co-authored by WISR Faculty Member, and Chief Academic Officer, Brian Gerrard, PhD: Disastershock: How to Cope with the Stress of a Major Disaster provides explicit instructions on how to lower stress using 20 different practical techniques. The majority of these are cognitive-behavioral and evidence-based techniques known to reduce stress and reduce the effects of trauma. The manual is in 3 sections. Part 1 provides adults with techniques to lower stress. Part 2 is written for parents, teachers, and anyone working with children and contains techniques for helping children to lower their stress. Part 3 contains additional books, videos, and internet resources. Since 1989 Disastershock (now in its 4th edition and available as an ebook on Amazon and Apple iBook) has been distributed free to countries around the world where there have been disasters. A 92 person Disastershock team representing 26 countries is currently translating Disastershock into 20 different languages for global distribution. Free copies of Disastershock may be downloaded from . If you are willing to volunteer some time to assist us with helping our global family, please contact Brian (


The Current Voices and Actions in Support of Racial Justice Must Not Be a Moment, but Must Be a Continuing Movement Toward Racial Justice. We believe in Dr. King’s famous statement that “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

It is the responsibility of all of us to make Dr. King’s statement true, and not to be bystanders at this important time. The current and long overdue attention must be sustained beyond a brief moment of outrage in time, especially, given that the United States’ founding history was significantly based on the slavery of African Americans and the genocide of Native Americans.

Since WISR’s founding, its mission and educational programs have been committed in practice, not just in words, to multiculturalism, inclusive diversity and social justice.

Members of the WISR learning community remain committed to these principles, although each member may demonstrate their commitments in different ways, through their own individual voices as well as through their collaborative actions at WISR and beyond.

To support further the expression of these voices and WISR’s actions, we have this webpage to publicize our present and past actions. Members of the WISR community are encouraged to share information about their current efforts on behalf of racial justice, or to suggest possible ways to take constructive action.



  • For those who are new to WISR, here are some important things to know about WISR seminars and events.

  • All WISR seminars and events are accessible online through the use of Zoom, and they are also concurrently held on site at WISR’s facility in Berkeley, CA, which is on unceded, traditional Ohlone territory.

  • At WISR, we intend to create a learning environment that is safe, and supportive of mutually respectful dialogue and collaboration, and curiosity and openness in learning. [see WISR’s Statement of Non-Discrimination and Affirmation of Diversity Values: --and a portion a portion of which is found under “WISR Core Values Include” below ]

  • At WISR, we welcome people from all walks of life and of many, varied values and political beliefs, who share WISR’s commitment to our affirmation of diversity values.

  • At the beginning of each seminar, we give each participant a minute to introduce themselves, and if they wish, to share a bit about themselves. Those wishing to inform others of the personal pronoun they wish to have used for themselves, are encouraged to do so, when introducing themselves.

  • DISCLOSURE ABOUT RECORDING EVENTS AT WISR, AND WISR’s USE OF THE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF WISR’s PUBLIC EVENTS: All WISR seminars and events are recorded, and photos and video clips, and sometimes entire videos, of WISR seminars may be posted on WISR’s website, on WISR’s Facebook Page, or on WISR’s You Tube Channel. We publicly share some videos and clips to promote WISR’s educational content to the wider public. In addition, the entire video of each seminar is, with some exceptions, accessible to WISR students, faculty and staff through WISR’s online courses. By participating in a WISR seminar or other event, you are giving WISR permission to use photos or videos of your participation in these seminars and events. However, if you have strong concerns about a particular portion of the seminar in which you made comments, you may, within 24 hours, request that we remove that portion of your comments. In addition, if you want us to edit out your image and entire participation from one, or even all videos, or photos, of WISR seminars we will honor such requests.


Developing a multicultural, inclusive perspective. This means developing and using multicultural perspectives to inform one’s purposes, and one’s views of social issues and challenges and opportunities in one’s chosen fields or arenas of endeavor—profession, workplace, community.

  • Developing a sense of empathy, compassion and community toward, and with others.

  • Appreciating and understanding the broad spectrum of perspectives and consciousness, and how those arise out of people’s culture, gender, economic background, religious and sexual orientation.

  • A culture of learning that respects and promotes the dignity of every person.

  • The belief that no individual or group may rightfully prosper at the expense of others.

  • The use of language that conveys respect for persons whose gender identity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, economic background, or political interests may differ from our own.

Prospective students and Community Learners are invited to attend these seminars. Contact WISR if you need a ride from the BART or want to carpool. 

Copyright © 2020 Western Institute for Social Research, All rights reserved.

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