Steve Bearman, PhD is the founder of the Interchange Counseling Institute, and a counselor, social justice educator, and workshop leader residing in San Francisco. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he also received an MS in Social Psychology. He has published articles on internalized sexism, male sexual conditioning, mentoring, and the philosophy of psychology. He receieved his BA in Individual Transformation and Social Change from Hampshire College.
Steve has been teaching in the Bay Area and throughout the country for the last 20 years. In addition to teaching counseling skills classes, he has led workshops in the areas of community building, relationships, ending jealousy, overcoming anxiety, gender role conditioning, healing body shame, death and grieving, spiritual practice, and group facilitation. He was a teacher for the Re-evaluation Counseling Community and was counseling faculty at the Omega Insititute for Holistic Studies, where he trained support group leaders and peer counselors, led men's groups, and taught classes in ending suffering and holistic sexuality, and at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where he taught counseling skills to health coaches.
In his secret life as a researcher, Steve created and runs Psychsurveys, a free website that thousands of social science researchers use to conduct survey research on the web. He was part of a research team at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), in conjunction with UC Santa Cruz, working to find out how to best support students from underrepresented minorities to succeed in the sciences. His dissertation research involved seeding contagious behaviors into high schools to reduce racial segregation. He has also studied the ways in which internalized sexism pervades everyday dialogue between women and the use (or lack thereof) of anti-oppression practices amongst therapists.
Steve counsels a number of people in San Francisco, helping his clients to heal old hurts, to overcome emotional obstacles, to recover meaning and passion, to create healthy relationships and support structures, and to realize their unique and extraordinary capacities.
Right from the beginning the structure had so much warmth and humanness in it. Although we were learning so many different modalities, and looking from a really intellectual point of view, there was this incredible trust. Being with the group over time, and having that trust to draw on, gave me the ability to go into places that I don't think I would have been able to without having such a tight structure.
Margo Brockman is the Head of Admissions and Co-Owner of Interchange Counseling Institute. Along with running the business, marketing, and operations for the company, Margo is a two-time graduate of Interchange and brings over a decade of intense personal growth work and spiritual practice into her counseling relationships and leadership style. In a prior life, Margo ran Marketing and Strategy for high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. She left the high-tech world to follow her heart and joined Interchange to enable more people to have access to the kind of transformation, healing and community that she found through the program. Margo has a deep understanding of what's needed to facilitate the kind of shifts that help people (and businesses!) to change and grow in the ways that best serve them and the world. Interchange's Year-Long Training now reaches over 150 people per year.
Robert Okin, MD, is a psychiatrist who until recently was Chief of Psychiatry at San Francisco General Hospital. Earlier in his career, he was Commissioner of Mental Health of Vermont and Massachusetts. Bob is Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry at UCSF School of Medicine. He sees patients in private practice, is involved in human rights work in third world countries, recently published the book Silent Voices: People with Mental DIsorders on the Street, and tends his vineyard. He is a 2013 Interchange grad. Interchange broadened his therapeutic palate and inspired him to reexamine certain cherished assumptions he's held throughout his professional life.
Home Group Facilitators
Ashley Aron Craig is the Media Director and Community Coordinator for Interchange Counseling Institute. As a multi-media documentarian and academic researcher, she has interviewed over two thousand people, counseling them all the while, as well as training students in documentary and interview techniques. She currently incorporates filmmaking into her work with Interchange by creating all of the media on the Interchange website, and filming weekly video blogs with Steve. She brings a strong social justice, anthropological perspective into her counseling relationships, as well as a deep mindfulness practice, and trust that there really are no problems that cannot be healed, transformed, and viewed from a more holistic, empowered point of view. Ashley is a two-time Interchange graduate and has been on the leadership team since 2011.
Lori Goldman, MFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who works with children, teenagers, parents, and adults in a private practice in Berkeley. In the past, Lori has worked in community mental health, working with underserved and under-supported children and families in clinic, home, and school-based settings. She is inspired to help children and adolescents find creative and resourceful ways to support their own development, and to help parents encourage their children's own unique gifts and talents. Lori is passionate about supporting people in the reemergence of their inner longings, wisdom, and voice. She is deeply relational and down-to earth, and brings her love of yoga, dance, mindfulness and authentic communicating and relating into all of her work. Lori is a 2003 Interchange graduate.
Greg Callahan draws from over two decades of leadership experience and intensive inquiry into the nature of the self, embodiment, and relationships. In the current iteration of a 23-year IT career, Greg drives global infrastructure technology and business change management as a cross-functional program leader for Philips Healthcare. His study of mind, nature, and spirituality spans a degree in cognitive neuroscience, 9 months in meditation retreat, and full course curriculum and leadership at Headwaters Outdoor School. His practices in health, fitness, and nutrition include 5 years of intensive martial arts training in Qigong, Tai Chi, and Ninjitsu (Shodan black belt). He is a great lover of music and spent 6 years as a semi-professional musician following 15 years of formal percussion and vocal training. Greg brings highly developed capacities in the areas of empathy and embodiment to his work as a counselor. He is a two-time Interchange graduate (2008, 2010) and has been on the leadership team since 2012.
Jolana Bishay brings passion, warmth and sincerity to her work as a facilitator and full-time mom. As a Senior Leader with Challenge Day, she leads workshops empowering young people to connect across lines of difference, create a culture of inclusion and respect in their schools, and express more of their true, full selves. She has been a facilitating groups for the last 14 years, including running team-building and outdoor education programs with Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation, and facilitating programs for Bay Area peace-building non-profits such as Mosaic Project, Soul Shoppe and Theatre of all Possibilities. Jolana holds a BA in psychology and has spent the last six years diving deep into the subtleties of living an awakened and embodied life at the Ridwhan School with A.H. Almaas. Everything she always wanted to learn about counseling in college, but never did, she learned at Interchange in 2004.
Carla Bagdonas is an independent consultant and counselor in private practice with a BA in Psychology from Pomona College. She has worked in public education for social justice and youth development as a non-profit administrator, classroom teacher, curriculum developer, recruiter, and human resources strategist. Most recently, Carla served as the lead project manager on the Living the New Economy Convergence, a new conference in Oakland that brought over 300 change-makers and activists together to re-imagine an economy that serves people and the planet. Carla is a 2013 Interchange grad - this is her second year on the leadership team.
Toni Kohn, MS, RD, has been counseling clients for over 20 years. She specializes in working with women with eating disorders and believes that absolute and full recovery is possible. Her clientele have exceeded even Toni's hopes for complete recovery and empowered lives that reflect freedom from guilt and shame around eating and body issues. She has almost completed writing a book that teaches parents how to raise children to have healthy and positive relationships to food and their bodies. Toni is currently is in the process of launching an eating disorder recovery program online that can reach national and international communities. She is a three-time Interchange graduate: 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Kermit Goodman has over 6 years training as a life coach and group facilitator. He has certifications from the Transformational Coaching and Leadership Training, Interchange Counseling Institute (2012), and Luminous Body Integral School of Energy Medicine. He has coached the Landmark Education Self Expression and Leadership Program course, and is currently training as a group facilitator at the Life Essentials Institute. Kermit’s 15+ year experience as a social dancer and dance instructor informs his practice, as the habitual patterns encountered in learning to connect with the music, your partner, the floor, and your physical-kinetic self mirror closely those encountered in connecting more deeply with life. See his web site, http://www.comealive.me, for more information on his background and current offerings.
Home Group Assistants
Adam Cohen, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist seeing clients at Kaiser Permanente’s Adult Psychiatry Department in Union City and in private practice. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Miami, researching traits of human resilience such as forgiveness and gratitude. Additionally, he has practiced in community clinics, UC Merced’s counseling center, The Cancer Support Community, and Miami’s Federal Correctional Institution. His approach focuses on helping clients connect with their strongest values and take steps toward fulfillment, even in the face of distressing thoughts and emotions. Adam is a 2014 Interchange graduate.
Missa Bayne, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Psychology at CSU Sacramento, received her Ph.D. in Psychology from University of California Santa Cruz. For the last three years, Missa has managed the acclaimed Sacramento Violence Intervention Program, which provides long-term case management and mentorship to young victims of violence. In addition, Missa conducts research on vicarious and secondary trauma. Among her areas of professional expertise are trauma, mentorship, and transformational leadership. Missa is a 2007 Interchange graduate.
James Rucker is a technologist and software entrepreneur turned activist, who has spent the last 10 years using technology to strengthen the voice of everyday people in creating political and social change. James was an early campaign director at MoveOn.org and left to co-found and lead ColorOfChange.org, an organization of over 1 million that seeks to amplify the political voice of Black Americans online. James also co-founded Citizen Engagement Lab, an incubator that has started and supported several organizations that use the model of online organizing to serve different communities. James has a B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, a program anchored on the study of the mind, language, computation, and philosophy. The program catalyzed his interest in understanding how humans make meaning, communicate, and learn. James is a 2014 graduate of the Interchange Counseling Institute and has served in multiple non-professional counseling roles throughout his life. In addition to raising his 7 and 1 year olds, he works as a strategy consultant for political and advocacy campaigns.
Aida del Valle, JD, studied humanistic psychology at Princeton University, where she was a member of its first class of women. In her first career as a performer, she produced cross-cultural, participatory art events in lofts and public spaces, performed in prisons, community centers and universities, and garnered both state and federal arts grants for her work. Presently an estates and trusts attorney, she has counseled hundreds of individuals and families in navigating family dysfunction and fear of death, in forging a life legacy, and in processing grief over the loss of loved ones. She also served as a mentor/advisor for gang-related and other at-risk youth for four years through the Marin County Office of Education and is a former Commissioner for the Marin County Women’s Commission. A dedicated practitioner of world spiritual traditions, yoga and meditation for over forty years, Aida is a fierce advocate of the self- actualization and cross-cultural/cross-class communication needed to make universal love come alive. She is a 2014 Interchange graduate, and is deeply enamored of the Interchange community!
Amani Dunham brings over a decade of Re-evaluation Counseling experience to her role as Home Group Assistant. She graduated from Interchange in 2008, and spent the following year assisting Steve. Amani graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Ethnic Studies and has been a credentialed public school teacher for the last 14 years. As a classroom teacher, Amani was always the most drawn to the social-emotional and behavioral health of her students and colleagues. No longer a classroom teacher, she is now lucky enough to be spearheading her school district’s initiative to implement Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice which are relational practices that allow for deeper connection and result in humanistic approaches to communication and discipline. Amani feels closest to her true self when she is helping others or finds her self in nature. She is honored to be a part of the revolutionary work of Interchange.
Emily Frost is a passionate artist, educator and counselor. She has spent the past six years developing her vision of a holistic educational program based in mindfulness, nature connection, and the arts. She is Assistant Director of the Stepping Stones Project (a rites of passage program for youth), holds dual degrees in the Arts from UC Berkeley, and certifications in counseling, mindfulness, ecology, leadership, and bodywork. Some of her personal modes of finding peace are through qi gong, dance, digging in the garden, singing and playing guitar, creating magical worlds, or just getting outside. She teaches around the Bay Area, has a private practice, and specializes in working with girls. She is a 2014 Interchange graduate.
Anna Hirsch is a social justice editor at www.activisteditor.com with expertise in anti-ableism, anti-racism, youth advocacy, and sexual freedom. In 2006, after completing her MFA in creative writing in southern Louisiana, Anna served two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer mentoring teens and designing and teaching after school writing workshops in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. A two-time graduate of Interchange (2013, 2014), Anna is on a mission to better understand and spread compersion, the joy and love we experience when witnessing the success and happiness of others.