Ken is in the vanguard of clinical psychologists applying meditative sensibilities and nondual awareness to the practice of psychotherapy. Drawing upon the contemplative sciences of Buddhism, Existential Therapy, Phenomenology, Dzogchen, and Psychoanalysis, Ken’s lifework over the past 35 years has been devoted to the study and practice of these traditions.
Ken’s Dharma training began in the 1970’s with insight (vipassana) meditation practice and the study of basic (Theravada) Buddhism. Among the gifted insight meditation teachers with whom he studied, he counts Joseph Goldstein and Ruth Denison as primary mentors. In 1979, he entered the M.A. Buddhist Studies program at the Nyingma Institute, in Berkeley, where he met Tarthang Tulku and was introduced to Vajrayana Buddhism.
In 1980, Ken had the good fortune to meet his root master, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, from whom he received direct introduction to dzogchen followed by numerous clarifying instructions and transmissions continuing to this day. He received further guidance and pith instructions from other Tibetan masters, being most indebted to Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche. Through trial and error – that is, through many trials and too many errors to count -, he has been devoted to allowing the naturally clarifying wakefulness of dzogchen seep ever deeper into his muddy mindstream.
Having decided in 1980 to earn his living as a clinical psychologist rather than as either a Buddhist academic or monastic, he was fortunate to practice a livelihood that challenged him to be unconditionally present and relationally engaged on a moment-to-moment basis, day-in and day-out. He earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Psychology with an emphasis on Existential Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis. This academic education was complemented by experiential training in Focusing with Eugene Gendlin and more thoroughly during a decade-long apprenticeship in Existential Psychotherapy with Jim Bugental. In 1994, Jim invited Ken to co-teach in both university and private settings, which they did for several years.
In addition to undertaking an indepth course of personal psychotherapy in the 1980’s and 90’s, Ken spent an extended period studying, practicing, and teaching Mahayana Buddhism, which excels at cultivating humility and compassion for self and other. Emphasizing the practice of tonglen and encouraged by the heartwork of Chogyam Trungpa and Pema Chodron, the contagion of Ken’s practice spread to a close group of his psychotherapy graduate students, which formed an on-going Sangha practicing mindfulness meditation, tonglen, and eventually, dzogchen.
Throughout this time, Ken was developing a contemplative-existential approach to therapy. Beginning in 2002, this integrative work was deepened through training in Nondual Therapy, or “Radiant Mind,” with Peter Fenner. This approach folds Eastern nondual wisdom streams into Western contexts of interpersonal therapeutic exchange. In the service of catalyzing the healing power of authentic presence, whether in working with others or oneself, Ken’s teaching intertwines the existential sobriety and psychodynamic understanding of depth psychology with the nondual wisdom and contemplative skillful means of the Dharma, as appropriate to the situation at hand.