The Holistic Research Center (HRC) was founded at John F. Kennedy University in 2016 by Dr. Zvi Bellin with the support of a National University System Innovation Grant. A physical location of the center was opened on JFKU’s Pleasant Hill campus in 2019. The center gives students, faculty, and alumni an institutional structure to collaborate on projects, connect to financial and administrative support, and maintain motivation for research, publishing, and presenting in the field of mental health.
The Holistic Research Center’s mission is to move toward research founded on more holistic paradigms and away from that which draws participants mainly from Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) societies and which represents the majority of current research. Taking on a more holistic paradigm means, for one thing, including voices from marginalized and oppressed groups. It also means being aware of the skewed power dynamic found in social science research in which quantitative methods are perceived as superior to qualitative research, as explored in the text Decolonizing Methodologies (Smith, 1999).
The HRC sponsors projects and events that take an integrated approach and utilize holistic and justice-oriented research methodologies, such as community-based participatory action and self-reflexive methodologies. The center embraces the use of qualitative methods and mixed methods and explores depth approaches to co-creating knowledge.
The mission of the HRC is to expand what is considered valid in the current body of knowledge in mental health research to include all the ways in which wisdom is cultivated and shared. All are invited to join us in this effort.
What We Do
For researchers seeking to collaborate with us, the HRC currently supports two kinds of projects:
- Researching holistic counseling constructs (for example, meaning in life, mindfulness, expressive arts interventions, etc.) with the specific inclusion of marginalized voices in the field
- Expanding beyond traditional Western research methodologies to include all the ways in which wisdom is cultivated and shared with respect and dignity
Over the past 3 years the HRC has brought researchers, students, faculty, and community members together for yearly symposiums, diversity events and conversations, movie screenings followed by discussions, mini meditation retreats, and other collaborative events and projects.
The HRC strengthens a 50-year legacy of John F. Kennedy University as a leader in the field of holistic studies. Learn more about the Counseling Psychology master’s degree.