Our Distinguished Doctoral Recipients


Mark L. Ruffalo, Doctor of Psychoanalytic Studies

Fellow, The Parkmore Institute.

Doctoral Project: “Understanding Schizophrenia: Towards a Unified Biological and Psychodynamic
Published in Psychoanalytic Social Work, in press (May2019).

As is well known, the field of psychiatry has, in the past four decades, become increasingly biological in its theoretical and practical orientation. Many of us, who value psychodynamic and humanistic approaches to mental disturbances, have become dismayed by the ways in which neuroscience has become idealized often driven by the profitability of the psychopharmacological industry. All too often, it seems that the patient, as an existential and spiritual entity, has become overlooked in the course of these developments. In this context, it is refreshing that a dedicated mental health practitioner, with his skill and expertise as a psychotherapist, should bring his thinking to bear on the ways that biological and psychodynamic approaches could and indeed should be integrated in relation to a diagnosis that involves so much human suffering, namely schizophrenia. Dr. Ruffalo has committed himself, as an advocate for psychodynamic therapy, to the teaching and supervision of other professionals, notably trainees in psychiatry. His Doctoral Project, which is soon to be published in a PEP-Web journal, presents his thinking on this topic and is a significant contribution to the sizeable literature on schizophrenia. His paper is an important and very readable piece of work that will be of great interest to every mental health practitioner who sees patients diagnosed as schizophrenic. Dr. Ruffalo’s Faculty Mentor for this project was Dr. Jerry Piven, and the Board of Directors offers both of them its congratulations.

Halko Weiss, Doctor of Bodymind Healing

Fellow, The Parkmore Institute.

Doctoral Project: “My Innovative Journey as a Therapist and Teacher of Mindfulness and Somatic Psychotherapy: The Development of the ‘HEART’ Approach to Human Relationships.”

It is an honour for the Parkmore Institute that Dr. Halko Weiss, one of the most internationally eminent teachers of body psychotherapy today, chose to seek recognition for his life’s work by submitting his Doctoral Project, which details his professional journey and his extensive, innovative and invaluable accomplishments in the field of mindfulness and body psychotherapy. Dr. Weiss came from the humanistic tradition of psychotherapy and was one of the first students of Ron Kurtz, the founder of the distinctive method of bodycentered psychotherapy that came to be known worldwide as Hakomi. Dr. Weiss’ contributions to this field have been nothing less that Herculean. Originally trained as a Clinical Psychologist, he has subsequently taught worldwide with many of his therapy students going on to become renowned teachers of body psychotherapy and mindfulness. Dr. Weiss has written extensively in German and English; for example, coediting not only the influential 2015 English edition of the Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology (North Atlantic Books), but also in the same year the seminal text, Hakomi MindfulnessCentered Somatic Psychotherapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice (Norton). He was cofounder of the Hakomi Institute in Colorado, and since then has gone on to develop the ‘HEART’ program. I can guarantee that those who read his Doctoral Project will find it an inspiring document as well as a provocative testimony to a great healer, who has devoted his life’s generosity to his craft.


M. Cedar Barstow, Doctor of Psychosocial Intervention

Fellow, The Parkmore Institute

Doctoral Project: “The Development and Implementation of the Concepts and Training Programs in Ethics and “Right Use of Power.”

The ethics of power and all the questions surrounding its use and misuse are topics of unparalleled importance in the struggle for social and personal change towards freedom and justice in today’s world. Since 1988, Dr. Barstow has devoted her energies to the study of ethics and in 2003 she decided to use her additional skills as a Hakomi psychotherapist to develop a program called “Right Use of Power.” She has refined and implemented this program over the past twelve years, publishing three books that present her approach: The Right Use of Power Training Manual (2003); The Right Use of Power: The Heart of Ethics (2005/2015); and with her husband, Dr. Reynold Feldman, Living in the Power Zone (2013). This program offers detailed procedures and processes by which the ethical issues of power in personal relationships may be examined and reconsidered. Dr. Barstow has taught this approach in over a dozen countries, often combining it with her teaching in body psychotherapy. Additionally, she has held Adjunct Faculty appointments at institutions such as Naropa University and she is widely sought as a consultant on ethical issues and grievance processes, serving on the ethics committees of several professional organizations. For her doctoral project with the Parkmore Institute, Dr. Barstow submitted a detailed report of work she has accomplished with the “Right Use of Power” program. Dr. Barstow’s doctoral mentor was Professor Greg Johanson.

Robert Irwin Wolf, Doctor of Psychoanalytic Studies

Fellow, The Parkmore Institute

Doctoral Project: “A Mind’s Eye View: Processing Psychoanalytic Treatment through Artwork.” Published in Psychoanalytic Review 104(2), 203‑229.

In today’s world, ‘healing’ is all too frequently conceptualized reductively and behaviourally. It is considered in terms of symptom removal or increased adjustment to external conditions. Such conceptualizations produce clinical criteria such as adaptation and maturation, both of which suggest that healing must necessarily be assessed as a matter of the patient’s integration with his or her socio-political and cultural environment. The implication of these criteria easily bleeds into the tenet that healing entails certain sorts of ideological conformity to practices and structures that are external to the patient. In this context, the pioneering work of Dr. Wolf is greatly to be appreciated. In his doctoral project, he sets out to assess and process the course of psychoanalytic treatment not in terms of symptom remission or social conformity, but rather as the unleashing of the patient’s inner sources of creativity and self‑expression. This is not an entirely new idea and Dr. Wolf acknowledges the influence of Dr. Arthur Robbins’ important work on expressive therapy as well as Dr. Otto Kernberg’s earlier discussion of patients who need to be given avenues of nonverbal expression in the course of depth‑oriented treatments. However, to my knowledge, no one has tracked the psychoanalytic journey in terms of the patient’s unfolding creativity in the way that Dr. Wolf has achieved. This is a fascinating piece of work and a published paper that should be read by every psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. Dr. Wolf’s doctoral mentor was Professor Jerry Gargiulo. Dr. Wolf’s doctoral project and his biographical sketch may be downloaded via this link.

The Parkmore Institute has offices in South Africa (Johannesburg, Gauteng) and the USA (Wilmington, Delaware).  However, it is currently expanding and welcomes applications from prospective students, as well as potential Faculty and Fellows, from all parts of the world.