Ascending through Adult Ed

By Steven Libowitz   |   August 23, 2018

SBCC’s Adult Education program has gone through myriad changes in recent years, but things seem to be finally coming full circle. Where once nearly all of the hundreds of non-credit offerings – which included scores of personal growth, psychology, and spiritual-examining selections – had no admission charge through the 1990s and into the 2000s, changes in funding from the state resulted in the vast majority of those courses either being canceled or converted to fee-based systems. New administrations shepherded name changes and policy adjustments, especially over the last few years. 

But now the lauded program has settled on both an appellation – SBCC School of Extended Learning – and a new direction that has once again made a majority of classes available to the public tuition-free.

Among the many psychology courses in the Fall 2018 Schedule, which begins this coming Monday, August 27, are such longstanding ones as “Nature and Self Healing”, which Rodger Sorrow offers in both beginning and intermediate sections, lets students learn self-discovery, self-healing, and alternative healing techniques while incorporating nature as a harmonizing influence and partner in the healing process. Techniques taught include meditation, being open to change, diaphragmatic breathing, being “present”, stretching, nutrition, stress management, and taking risks (which, for some, might be the hike itself). Participants in the intro section should be able to walk one to two miles at a slow pace, while the intermediate section ups that to two to three miles, with higher elevations.

Sorrow also teaches a Non Violent Communication-based class called “Compassionate Communication”, in which students learn to ask for what they want without fear, guilt or shame, and discover how to transform potential conflicts into compassionate dialogues. The class follows a simple process developed by Marshall Rosenberg, who himself was a frequent visitor to weekend workshops at SBCC Adult Ed. The improved communication and self-expression skills – by speaking from the heart to address feelings and needs rather than triggering analysis, diagnosis, and criticism – invariably deepens connections with others.

Spencer Sherman, who has a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford and directs the Mind & Supermind and other programs, returns for his decades-spanning “Consciousness, Science, and the Nature of Being”, which focuses on current thought in the physical and social sciences and in spirituality. Participants develop their critical thinking skills as they consider whether there is an evolution of consciousness that underlies the great discoveries being made. Meditation and invited guest speakers are a part of the process.

Terri Cooper is back with two of her favorites, including “Healing Yourself Whole – Staying Sane in a Crazy World”, where participants learn to identify common emotional and behavioral problems, acquire insight into thinking processes, and practice psychological and behavioral tools to make desired changes a reality, including neurolinguistic programming (NLP), healing the inner child, energy field therapy, and other self-healing techniques; and “Reclaiming Joy: Meeting Your Inner Child”, in which students learn how the child of one’s youth still lives within, affecting moods, decisions and behavior, and acquire skills to heal the wounds and nurture the Inner Child and forge a loving bond with this core aspect of personality to create a world of positive possibilities, creativity, and joy.

Other returning classes include “How Meditation Helps – Mindfulness in Everyday Life”, Dana Drobny‘s experiential course in which students practice a range of meditation techniques that encourage health and well-being; and “Turning Points in Thought From Film”, where teacher Kerry Methner screens classic films for the class to exercise mental acuity, critical thinking, and analytical skills to interpret storyline events using psychological lenses as students practice interpreting and integrating their emotional and rational reactions through psychological lenses to gain understanding.

New Horizons

Several new courses also appear on the SBCC School of Extended Learning’s psychology section, including Gloria Brockway‘s “Ten Ways to Be Happier Now” wherein students realize that they have the power to change their own attitude, and explore techniques to create more happiness in life, including forming new friendships, adopting an attitude of gratitude, improving self-esteem, adapting to change, and “getting your past out of your present.” 

Also, Anne-Marie Charest leads “Unlocking your Inner Potential”, helping students learn effective ways to unlock inner resources and potential via 10 quick and powerful tools for enhancing quality of life by learning to accept themselves despite past mistakes and failures; while Charlotte Zeamer‘s “When Love Meets Fear” examines the concept that human energy is inhibited by fear, meaning that we need techniques to free ourselves from the grip of fear so that it no longer stops or drives us, including exploring the origins and meanings of fears, guilt, phobia, and panic attacks and concepts of intimacy, abandonment, and closeness.

Sinking into Spirituality

There’s also a new Spirituality section in the current course catalog, and while the courses are not free, the fees are as little as $19 for titles including Dr. James Kwako‘s “How to Explore Spirit in the Sleep State” and “What Happens When We Die”, David Cumes‘s “Grappling with the Cosmic Mystery”, and Kimberly Ford‘s “Self-Discovery through Group Singing”, plus “SoulCollage: An Artful Path to Self-Discovery”, “Reconciling the Material and Spiritual Worlds”, “Tarot Cards Demystified”, “Discover the Meditative Art of Constructing a Prayer Mala”. This is also where you’ll find Cooper’s “Art of Mediumship: Talking to Spirit”.

Meanwhile, “Beachside Healing” is under the Fitness heading, as are “Body-Mind Wakeup Call” and “Qigong Animal Frolics” (both of which come up via a search for “Spirituality”). The new schedule has hundreds of courses in other studies, including art, business, health, computers, cooking, horticulture, graphic design, multimedia, photography, and professional development – many of which could also be considered for this column. Meanwhile, many are being offered tuition-free for the first time in more than a decade, including the popular ceramic classes. Pick up a catalog at newsstands around town, or log on to for full class schedules, details, and registration.

Wisdom in Words

Speaking of James Kwako, the 45-year veteran family medicine M.D. – whose self-described vision is to increase the awareness of health and healing by the research and application of scientific integrative medicine and the subtle energies of body, heart, mind, and spirit – recently published a book called Mobilizing Your Healing Power. In the book, Kwako, who is a founding member of the American Holistic Medical Association and an ordained minister in the Science of Mind Church for Spiritual Healing, addresses the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. It draws upon the experiences of thousands of patients, scientific studies, professional observations, and personal insights to encompasses a holistic view to medicine and healing. The book is divided into four main sections: physical health, emotional, mental agility, and the spiritual aspects of healing. Kwako will talk about the book and sign copies at Chaucer’s in Loreto Plaza at 7 pm on Monday, August 27.

Love. Period.

The fourth annual Interfaith Pride Celebration has the vision of bringing together all of the faith organizations of Santa Barbara to help heal, support, and bring awareness to the local LGBTQ+ community. More than two dozen open and welcoming faith groups – including such disparate groups as Catholic Church of the Beatitudes, All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church and Community Shul of Montecito – will come together to stand up for the dignity of the LGBTQ+ community, with the celebration featuring an interfaith choir. The event kicks off the annual Pacific Pride Festival at 1 pm on Saturday, August 25, at Chase Palm Park, 323 E. Cabrillo Blvd. For details visit

Spirit Movie Night

What happens when a six-year-old boy in Kenya is abandoned by his family and left to raise himself on the streets? The documentary Mully is a rags-to-riches tale with a twist as it tells the true story of Charles Mully, whose unlikely stratospheric rise to wealth and power leaves him questioning his own existence and searching for meaning in life. The businessman sets out to enrich the fate of orphaned children across Kenya, setting in motion a series of events that is nothing short of astonishing. The result is an inspirational film directed by Scott Haze with Academy Award-winner James Moll serving as executive producer and an original score by Golden Globe nominee Benjamin Wallfisch. The 2017 film screens at 7 pm ‎Monday‎, ‎August‎ ‎27‎, at Center of the Heart, 487 N. Turnpike Road, as a fundraiser, with a portion of the $10 suggested donation earmarked to aid local children in the community. Call (805) 964-4861 or visit

Summer Singing

Raise your voice, your vibration, and your spirit in song as “song carriers” Benjamin Gould and Britta Gudmunson share from the heart and facilitate song in the oral tradition. The couple believe that not only is music medicine but also every human being’s birthright, so it’s their mission to bring community together in a spirit of courageous, musical expression, and activism while exploring the connective instrument of voice. Singers, recovering “non-singers,” breathers, and talkers of all experience levels are welcome to commune in songs from around the world spanning culture, tradition, and language. No experience necessary. The 90-minute circle at 7 pm on Monday, August 27, at Yoga Soup is the last of a series of three summer song circles in between the inCourage Chorus’s spring and fall 13-week sessions. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 on Monday.

Patrick San Francesco returns to Yoga Soup for another Full Moon Meditation and Talk at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, August 29, when he will offer another globally live-streamed meditation followed by a talk and Q&A session. The topic this time is “Breaking Old Behavior Patterns and Belief Systems”, and those in attendance will have the opportunity for individual healing for all. San Francesco, the founder and chairman of the Samarpan Foundation, travels the world, often healing thousands a day as well as speaking on the raising of consciousness, and teaching individuals how to heal themselves and others. Admission is $25.

Yoga Soup is located at 28 Parker Way. Call (805) 965-8811 or visit

Breathwork and Sound Healing Circle

Alison McKelvie Eakin guides participants in an ancient two-stage Pranayama Yoga (breath work active meditation) followed by a relaxing gong session in the healing space known as the Salt Cave. The breath work serves as a tool for opening the heart and connecting with your true essence, while the gong is valuable at helping to move the old energy out and open the channels for positive energy to flow into the body. The combination of the two can be blissful. Admission is $25 for 9:45 to 11 am session on Sunday‎, ‎August‎ ‎26‎. The Salt Cave is located at 740 State St. Register online at, or contact Eakin at (970) 208-7733 or

Pause for the Q Process

What would your life be like if you lived from a deep place of peace, knowing that nothing and no one is against you? Reverend Denese Schellink hosts another group offering of the interactive workshop of powerful exercises, multi-media presentations, and meaningful discussions on a single Saturday that is then followed by three coaching sessions to support creating the life you desire. The next The Q Effect Workshop & Process, which was postponed from earlier this month, takes place this Saturday, August 25, in the Unity of Santa Barbara Chapel, 227 E Arrellaga St. Call (805) 966-2239 or visit, or contact Schellink, who is a certified Q coach, at (805) 708-7345 or email


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