Integral Counseling Psychology
School of Professional Psychology and Health (SPPH)
PhD, MA, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
BA, University of California, Santa Cruz
Alzak Amlani, PhD, joined the ICP faculty in 2007. He has been a practicing psychologist in San Francisco and Palo Alto since 1995. He began his education in psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he was introduced to gestalt, humanistic-existential perspectives, yoga philosophy and practices and Buddhism.
Alzak completed his doctorate in transpersonal psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1995. His research and studies included diet and psychospiritual development, diversity work, Jungian psychology, object relations, aikido practice, and ecopsychology. His interests in an integral approach to food, eating and holistic health led him to develop a series of classes: "Diet, Ecology and Spirit," that he taught at the Mercy Center in Burlingame and privately in his home. This also included a food preparation component incorporating live foods, Ayurveda, juicing and dietary cleansing regimes.
After studying some of the writings of the Jungian author, Robert A. Johnson, Alzak met him in 1990 at Grace Cathedral. They immediately developed a close friendship which included spiritual mentorship, analytical training and a trip together to India. His psychotherapy practice website: www.wholenesstherapy.com, describes the work of Robert Johnson and has stories of their trip to India in 1996. Alzak has written an aritcle about their relationship in White Crane Journal, entitled, "My Mentor; My Friend."
Alzak's interest in intuition and alternate ways of knowing, psychotherapy and meditation led to publishing an article, "Internal Events and Archetypes," in Honoring Human Experience: Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences, edited by Braud and Anderson. Here he describes how he incorporated images and impressions derived from a meditative-intuitive state into Greek and Hindu mythological-archetypal depictions of his participants. These approaches and findings have implications for research methods, psychotherapeutic practice and healing.
Alzak was born in Uganda, East Africa of parents from Gujarat, India. He grew up speaking Gujarati, Swahili and English. Due to Idi Amin's regime in 1972, before Alzak was a teenager, they fled the country as refugees and finally arrived to California. In Los Angeles he studied Spanish for four years and has traveled to Mexico, Spain, Peru and Costa Rica. He also worked as a tutor for Spanish-speaking, migrant children from Mexico in the Santa Cruz County School District. Alzak's cultural background and work as a psychologist led to invitations to give talks on honoring your culture and shifting your culture at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Stanford Univ., Notre Dame Demur Univ, and the Aga Khan Foundation. He writes a monthly column on these topics for India Currents Magazine, called "Dear Doctor," He also wrote a piece in Trikone Magazine and has published a chapter on queer spirituality in the book, Queer Dharma.
He recently presented at the Queer Bodies Conference sponsored by CIIS, on, "Liberating the Queer Body: Familial and Cultural Constraints for South Asian and Middle-Eastern Americans." In 2007 he gave a paper at the World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality in New Delhi, India on cultural narratives. His topic was titled: "Honoring the Family; Finding the Self: A Delicate Balance." Through the experiences of four Indians living in the U.S: A 38 yr. old woman in the process of divorcing; a 25yr. old man coming out as gay, and an interracial couple, as well as Alzak's personal story, he delineated the proclivities and challenges on the psychospiritual journey for individuals from a family-centered, collectivistic culture. These themes included: I-self--we-self identities based on philosophical, societal and parental perspectives and approaches; The American ideal of self-expression and freedom vs. the Indian of family cohesion, hierarchy and tradition; Western models of differentiation as a stage towards self-realization; The Indian ideal of deference to one's mother, merging with the Great Mother and transcendence; Realization and embodiment of one's True Nature as a powerful next stage towards personal transformation and global healing.
In 2002, Alzak began practicing the Diamond Heart work with A.H. Almaas. This approach is a path of wisdom. It is an exploration of Reality through inquiry to differentiate personality and Essence, leading to the integration and unique expression of one's essential aspects of love, compassion, will, strength, joy, clarity and peace. Alzak runs a group at CIIS exploring the writings of A.H. Almaas, where students engage in experiential inquiries (repeating questions in dyads, focused and open-ended inquiries in triads) to practice the Work and explore the immediacy of moment-by-moment feelings, thoughts, insights and inner guidance to serve the unfoldment of one's True Nature.