Who We Are

Jay Earley, PhD

My Self-Therapy Journey Story

Self-Therapy Journey (STJ) is my brain-child and my life purpose. It brings together the two professional sides of me that have been separate up till now—the computer scientist and the psychologist. It is very exciting to integrate these two disparate sides of me in this amazing project.

I have been working on it since November 2010. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started, no idea how complex and difficult a project it would be to create this kind of a web application. I can see why no one else has done something like this. I also had no idea that I would need to start a company to produce STJ, but that is what it took. In addition to being a psychotherapist and computer scientist, I have also had to become a high-tech startup founder and a project manager. It has been quite a stretch.

I have worked on every aspect of this project, except the programming itself, but even there, I have used a lot of my knowledge and experience as a programmer in working with Kathy Wilber, who actually did the programming, and in designing, along with her, the Authoring and Content Management System that we have used to create Self-Therapy Journey.

Self-Therapy Journey is a way to bring the Pattern System into the world. The Pattern System has been a pet project of mine for over 20 years, and now I am going public with it--publishing two books on it in addition to STJ. However, STJ is the most important manifestation of the Pattern System. It is only because of the level of detail and sophistication of the Pattern System that STJ is even possible.

I have also incorporated a lot of Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) into STJ. I discovered IFS in 2002, and it was such a powerful and effective tool that it transformed everything I do as a therapist. Since then I have not only been using it with my clients, I have been teaching IFS and writing books about it. And now that it is included in Self-Therapy Journey, I am excited that even more people will be introduced to IFS, though I have designed STJ so that users don’t need to know IFS to use it. So if you are committed to a different form of therapy, STJ will still work for you.

I tested STJ on volunteers for two years before launching it in January of 2014. This testing has been very satisfying for me, because I got to see what deep healing and transformation people were actually able to do with it. And I got to hear their feedback about what they liked and didn’t like about it. STJ developed into a very different system based on the feedback my staff and I have gotten from over 100 volunteers. I am grateful to all of them for their time, dedication, and enthusiasm. In the process, I learned an enormous amount about usability design.

When I hired my staff, I expected them to just help me with putting up content, testing it, and working with volunteer testers. Over and over again I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that this unique team has brought to the table other talents and skills that the project needed. When I hired them, I didn’t know that the staff members possessed those talents or that I needed them. This has been a great blessing. As you look over their bios on the rest of this page, you will see that I have written something about the special qualities and talents that they each bring to this project.

Jay Earley's Bio

Jay is a transformational psychologist, psychotherapist, group leader, author, teacher, and theorist.

He is a big-picture thinker and innovative psychological theorist. He studies psychotherapy in a comprehensive way to arrive at a depth of understanding of the human psyche and the process of transformation. Jay is known for the clarity of his teaching and writing, his creative methods of demonstrating complex ideas, and his detailed description of therapeutic technique. In his therapy work, people rely on Jay’s compassionate heart and sensitivity to group process. He has a deep understanding of the nature of therapeutic change and knows how to effect profound inner healing.

Jay focuses on Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) in all aspects of his work. He is active in the IFS community, helping to train therapists and presenting workshops every year at the IFS conference. He teaches IFS to the general public as a practice for self-help and peer counseling. He also teaches a variety of classes and workshops applying IFS to specific psychological issues such as procrastination, depression, and the inner critic.

Jay's self-published book Self-Therapy, which is a manual for IFS, has sold nearly 20,000 copies and is still going strong. He has also published Freedom from Your Inner Critic, Resolving Inner ConflictWorking with Anger in IFS, and Negotiating for Self-Leadership. Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss have produced a series of audio products related to IFS, including IFS Courses, IFS Guided Meditations, and IFS Demonstration Sessions.

Jay has created the Pattern System, a method for understanding parts, behavior, healthy capacities, internal dynamics, and underlying psychological issues. It is useful for mapping the psyche, understanding how people act and relate to others, and guiding IFS work. He has published an overview book, The Pattern System and a second book, Conflict, Care, and Love, which helps you to understand your relationship patterns and transform them. He has also published a series of books based on specific patterns--Embracing Intimacy, Letting Go of Perfectionism, Taking Action, A Pleaser No Longer, and Beyond Caretaking.

Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss engaged in a multi-year study of the Inner Critic and the best ways to work with this troublesome psychological issue, using IFS and other approaches. This resulted in two books, Freedom from Your Inner Critic and Activating Your Inner Champion Instead of Your Inner Critic.

Dr. Earley is nationally known for his innovation in the group psychotherapy field. His book, Interactive Group Therapy: Integrating Interpersonal, Action-Oriented, and Psychodynamic Approaches, describes his group therapy method in which people learn interpersonal relationship skills by working directly on their relationships with each other. He leads Interactive and IFS Therapy Groups in the Bay Area.

Jay's work grows out of his own life-long journey of personal growth, his interest in the nature of human consciousness, and his success in creating a passionate and satisfying life for himself. He has a loving, successful 30 year relationship and professional partnership with Bonnie Weiss. For many years, he was a student of the Diamond Approach of A. H. Almaas, a spiritual path that integrates psychotherapy insights and techniques with wisdom traditions in a unique Western approach to spiritual realization.

Jay has a Ph.D. in psychology from Saybrook University and is a licensed psychologist in California (PSY6973). He has been in private practice as a psychotherapist since 1973.

As a result of his research on human social evolution and its relationship to our current global predicament, Jay has published a number of articles plus the book, Transforming Human Culture: Social Evolution and the Planetary Crisis.

During the 1980's, Jay studied with both Jean Houston and Joanna Macy. He was active in the peace movement as a member of Interhelp and Psychotherapists for Social Responsibility, where he led workshops which integrated psychological, spiritual, and planetary concerns. Out of this work came his book, Inner Journeys: A Guide to Personal and Social Transformation based on the Work of Jean Houston.

Jay also has a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon University and was formerly on the U.C. Berkeley faculty, where he published 12 computer science papers, one of which was voted one of the best 25 papers of the quarter century by the Communications of the A.C.M.

Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

From Jay:
Bonnie is my loving wife as well as my professional partner. We have a wonderful marriage, which is due to the many years of psychological and spiritual work we have each done on ourselves.

Bonnie is an excellent and experienced IFS therapist. We have collaborated on studying Inner Critic issues and published a number of books and audio products on that topic and others related to IFS. We learned IFS together and love to share our lives as therapists. When I started working on STJ, she was skeptical about its possibilities. It was hard for her to imagine the work, growth and development that have taken place over these last few years. As we hired staff, gained momentum and started started getting rave reviews from the people who were testing it, she came around and has become a great supporter and fan.

She listens and helps me think through all the manifestations of the project on a daily basis. She brings her pragmatic sense of positive possibility to the endless discussions of minutia and larger vision that the project entails. I especially appreciate her patience with the life sacrifices that my obsession with this project has required!

Practically, she has contributed in numerous ways. She is an expert on eating issues, so she has helped to create the content for the Indulger and Food Controller Patterns and their healthy capacities, as well as the Foggy Pattern, which comes up frequently around eating issues. She also tested the volunteers for the eating patterns. She has also recorded a few of the guided meditations and helped and supported me in many other ways with this time-consuming project, not the least of which has been listening to me constantly talking about it and helping me think through difficult questions.

Bonnie Weiss is a psychotherapist, teacher, supervisor, trainer, and coach who has been practicing since 1974. Her distinctive approach incorporates the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model into an emotionally-deep, present-centered, yet action-oriented way of working. She combines a quick mind, clear insight, and sharp intuition with solid experience in developing trusting and meaningful transformative relationships. Her commitment is to facilitate personal growth and help people live to their highest potential.

Bonnie teaches classes and workshops on the Inner Critic, self-esteem, overeating, and IFS, most recently in Israel, Ireland, and at Easlen Institute. She is the author of Self Therapy for Your Inner Critic, The Illustrated Workbook for Self Therapy for You Inner Critic, and Activating Your Inner Champion, and Letting Go of Perfectionism, and producer of a number of audio products including IFS Classe, Demonstration Sessions, Meditations.

Bonnie serves as program design and development consultant for Lucid Learning Systems, a provider of curriculum for personal transformation. She was a director and faculty member of the Gestalt Therapy in Long Island and co-director of the Long Island Center for Eating Disorders. Her private practice in the Bay area and by telephone focuses on individuals, couples, and professional supervision. Bonnie is a licensed clinical social worker in California (LCSW23697) and New York (R018841).
Everett Considiine

From Jay:
Everett has technology and marketing skills as well as spiritual and psychological training. He has helped me to think through many of the tech and marketing issues for STJ and choose the right software to use for the project. He has been a major supporter of the Pattern System for a number of years and has helped me to see its incredible potential for structured personal growth programs. Everett is a good friend, and I love to talk with him about IFS, STJ, and my latest ideas.

Everett has a diverse background that spans technology, business, spirituality and psychology.  At the core he is a heart centered systems thinker who can break down and understand complex systems and then explain them to others. He used to design and code complicated systems for Wall Street and Fortune 500 companies but now uses those same skills in the worlds of spirituality and psychological by helping people understand and heal their “inner” systems. He teaches classes and facilitates workshops on spirituality and personal growth including classes in IFS Peer Facilitation.

He has a private practice in Seattle where he sees individual clients as a healer and a coach. He also owns a technology company that focuses on marketing automation and ecommerce. He is Certified Internal Family Systems Practitioner and uses that as his primary modality in his one-on-one work. He has been initiated as a Buddhist Monk and has taught meditation for many years. He recently completed a 3-year program in applied Shamanism.
Rachel Whalley, LMHC, MA, MFA

From Jay:
Rachel has been with me from almost the beginning of the development of Self-Therapy Journey. She brings her depth of knowledge as a therapist along with her understanding of online endeavors. She has helped me put up much of the content for STJ, including writing some of the pattern descriptions and stories. As a tester, she has gleaned so much from her volunteers to impact the design of STJ. She is a heart-centered vision holder in our staff meetings, reminding us to connect personally, and helping us to express our excitement and passion for what STJ can bring to the world.

Rachel is a Good Girl Expert and Mindful Conflict Mentor. She teaches corporate climbers and business owners how to escape the cage of emotional slavery and start living the brilliant lives they are meant to live. Trusted by clients and fans as a therapist who walks her talk, Rachel helps visionaries and peace-seekers find their emotional center in the midst of inner turmoil. Through her copyrighted Self-Rescue System, women learn how to recognize the warning signs of inner panic, plan ahead for effective strategies that get their needs met and position themselves as powerful collaborators and leaders.

Rachel is a Certified Systemic Constellations Facilitator via the Seattle Constellations Institute’s 12-month intensive training program.
Simon d’Orsogna

From Jay:
Simon helps with putting in and testing content and working with Self-Therapy Journey volunteers. In addition, he has a varied background in and knowledge of online systems and interfacing with users, so he has given me lots of wonderful advice in this area. He is quite thoughtful about the larger implications of the choices we make and a unique ability to see things from the user perspective. He constantly supplies me with interesting and thought-provoking readings on these topics. His video expertise has been a joyous bonus for the project. He delights in using his creative talents in this way.

Simon is a professional coach and group facilitator based in Melbourne, Australia. If he had a coaching tag-line it’d read ‘Helping smart professionals make new sense of their worlds.’

Before children (BC) he worked as a writer, freelance-researcher and project manager, before working for 5 years as the Executive Officer for a secure online-messaging architecture for public-funded health services that proved the concept regionally and was rolled out nationally. After the denouement (AD) he works as a process consultant, group facilitator, and certified leadership coach. He is a contrarian geek with heart, one who asks screwball coaching questions to help you see a bigger sense of meaning in your life at work and play. 

Working and coaching with management teams and senior executives and a range of adults has stretched Simon’s understandings about the whole-person-in-role. In his current work, Simon brings together Kegan-Lahey’s Immunity to Change adult-developmental coaching, Coherence Therapy, IFS, Focusing, and more as an integrative coach-facilitator.

More about Simon at immunitytochange.populr.me/home-itc
Howard Ditkoff

From Jay:
Howard is very knowledgeable about psychology and has given me wonderful detailed feedback about the Pattern System. If fact, he knows the Pattern System better than anyone else. He helps to put in content and test it, and he works with volunteers who are testing STJ. Howard is a detail man who always looks over everything to make sure that it will work as well as possible for users. Whenever I give him something about STJ to examine, he finds a host of things that aren’t working quite the way they should or that need to be improved.

I have been impressed with his ability to dive in and comprehend the details of the Authoring and Content Management System that is the back end of Self-Therapy Journey. He understands the organization of the system almost as well as I do, which is a great relief because that means it all doesn’t depend on me.

With experience in medicine, the non-profit sector, activism, coaching and consulting, internet marketing, and as the Vice-President of a startup software company, Howard brings a diverse background to his work with Self-Therapy Journey.

He is deeply interested in psychology, particularly areas such as evolutionary psychology, Imago Relationship Therapy, personality typing, and Internal Family Systems Therapy. In addition, he is interested in questions about the origins and underpinnings of ethical behavior.

Howard also enjoys music, sports, humor and philosophy. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and an M.D.

Howard has written about a range of ideas, topics and resources related to health and sustainability on various levels from a systems thinking perspective at his website, www.SystemsThinker.com.
Amy Lorenzen

From Jay:
Amy brings a solid work ethic and a sense of thoughtfulness and curiosity to STJ. She helps put in content and test it and she works with volunteers who are testing the system. I can always count on her to ask valuable questions in our staff meetings.

Amy is a healer, mental health counselor, and Systemic Constellations Facilitator based in Los Altos, California. Amy's experience includes many years as a technical writer. The day came when she realized she enjoyed coffee breaks with her colleagues much more than writing technical documentation, and needed a career where she could connect with people all day. She considers it an honor and a privilege to witness and facilitate growth and healing in others.

When she is not doing healing work, or working on STJ, Amy often morphs into Karate Mom, Reading Mom, or Game-Playing Mom for her wonderful son, Spencer. She also enjoys singing with her church choir. 
Alexis Blaire Zielke

From Jay:
Alexis is my stepdaughter, which makes this a truly family business. She has narrated most of the guided meditations and written some of them. She also created the music for the meditations and handled the recording and editing of them. Alexis has also recorded and edited our other audio products—courses, demo sessions, and more. It has been a delight to bring her musical talents and her keen emotional insight into our work and take advantage of her experience as an audio producer.

Alexis is a singer, musician, sound editor, and voice-over actor. She has been singing playing musical instruments since she was three. Taught early by her father who is a jazz musician and an improvisation whiz, Alexis enjoys collaborating on music, singing in choirs and bands, working on films, and helping people to create audio products.

She has enjoyed being part of such a healing, insightful project. She currently lives in the Bay Area.

Kathleen Wilber, MS

From Jay:
Kathy has been the only programmer on this project since its beginning in late 2010. She and I have created a very complex and sophisticated Authoring and Content Management System for the back end of Self-Therapy Journey, which is based on templates. The rest of the staff and I use this system to input and organize all the psychological content in the system. Like me, Kathy had no idea what she was getting into when she signed on, and it has been a delight growing and expanding together.

Kathy is very easy to work with. Our communication is usually excellent and she maintains an even keel despite the inevitable frustrations of programming and debugging and the difficulty of interfacing with browsers. I really appreciate her dedication and availability and I especially appreciate how hard she has been willing to work in the last few months to get STJ ready to launch in the time frame I needed.

She didn't have a photo to put here, so you'll just have to imagine what she looks like.

After graduating from Princeton and MIT, Kathy worked for 33 years at Bell Labs/AT&T/Lucent on the development and management of telecommunications products. Since then she has been a free-lance programmer working on ASP.NET application development, especially complex, custom, web-based content management systems.

Other People Who Helped with Self-Therapy Journey

Jeannene Langford created the logo and the web design for the home page and the application itself. She has also done the book covers for most of our books and generally helped out whenever we have needed an artistic eye. She surprised me contributing her experience in branding and marketing to her visions and designs.

Kira Freed has been my copy editor and proofreader for most of my books. It is great to have someone doing this who knows IFS, since she is an IFS coach. She has also helped to get all the details of the Pattern System in sync and accurate between the Pattern System wiki, Self-Therapy Journey, and my Pattern System books. And she has done a great job producing the Pattern System graphics, aided by Charlie Alolkoy, who created the icons for the dimensions.

Mary Jane Stern is our virtual assistant, who helps with a myriad of tasks related to Self-Therapy Journey and all of our other endeavors. MJ never fail us! She is always available to sustain and support us, with clarity, attention to detail, and a pleasant, industrious attitude.

Michael Nowacki and Claudia Marsili helped to put up and re-organize aspects of the content in Self-Therapy Journey.

I want to express a special thanks to all of the over 200 volunteers who have tested Self-Therapy Journey by using it to work on their own psychological issues. They have helped enormously by giving feedback on the psychological content, navigation, usability, clarity, editing, and many other things. I have learned an enormous amount about usability design from them, and STJ would be much poorer without all of their excellent feedback.

ENROLLand start exploring yourself