Join Us for Reimagine This April

What would it mean for an entire city to reimagine the way we live and die?

We at AgeSong are thrilled to be part of a unique San Francisco experience called Reimagine. From April 16-22 with more than 150 events all exploring big questions about life and death, Reimagine features a lineup from Academy Award winners Frances McDormand and Pixar’s team from the film Coco, to Daybreaker, GLIDE Memorial, SFJAZZ, and the founder of Burning Man. Our intention is to help break down taboos and inspire brave conversations across the city.

Want a special discount for some of these events? Read on!

AgeSong is participating in Reimagine by hosting an event because we share this nonprofit’s vision of a world in which we are all able to reflect on why we’re here, prepare for a time when we won’t be, and live fully right up until the end. Check out our event WHO WE ARE MATTERS AS WE MOVE TOWARD END OF LIFE.”  on Friday, April 20, 2018, from 10 am to noon at a private home, convenient to public transportation, and free street parking, 551 Page Street, San Francisco.

If you RSVP to our event, you will receive a special 20% off discount code to experience some of Reimagine’s curated events, including Opening Night with a stacked lineup including Dr. BJ Miller, members of the SF Symphony and Opera, Comedy Central comedian Chris Garcia, indie folk band Cloud Cult, and many more!

We hope you’ll consider attending a few of the incredible happenings during Reimagine week. Take a look at the full schedule to discover events drawing on everything from the arts to spirituality to healthcare to design.

We’d love it if you could help us spread the word about Reimagine by sharing this information with your friends and family, and we’ll see you soon!

Look forward to your participation!


Dr. Sally Gelardin
Career & Carepartner Educator
Cell: 415.312.4294

How can we move toward end of life with a joyful vision?

“Who We Are MATTERS” as We Move toward End of Life!
Friday, Apr 20, 2018, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Private SF Home, lite refreshments
551 Page St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA


As part of Reimagine End of Life in San Francisco, we invite you to join us for an event exploring this: Who We Are MATTERS as We Move Toward End of Life. By playing the Who You Are MATTERS! board game that sparks meaningful conversations, we move forward with clarity, confidence, and a stronger voice.  Join us on Friday April 20, 10 am to noon, at 55 Page Street, San Francisco.

We’re thrilled to be a part of Reimagine, a week of exploring big questions about life and death. We will join an amazing lineup of artists, storytellers, healthcare professionals, innovators, and designers, who are coming together to host events that look at living and dying well from all different, often creative, perspecgives. There are over 50 other workshops, experiences, performances and more to check out during the week of events.

Interested in this topic? Let us know on the Who We Are Matters as We Move toward End of Life Facebook page.

View the entire Reimagine lineup at





Dr. Sally Gelardin, Dr. Nader Shabahangi, Kyrie Carpenter, MA, Kadir Uyanik



Who We Are Matters as We Move Toward End of Life

Reimagine FB Event Page

Eldership Academy Press Offers New Book by Dr Julia Wolfson

Eldership Academy Press is honored to offer “Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services.” the latest book by Julia Wolfson, PhD.  Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services empowers those in need of care services, caregivers and care organizations using a strengths-based approach to recovery and change.

Dr. Julia Wolfson is a frequent presenter at AgeSong Academy, an life-long education program for residents, volunteers and staff. She has presented workshops on changing the culture of care in ways that give equal emphasis to individual agency, reciprocity in relationships, and community belonging.

Dr. Julia Wolfson, human ecologist, is founder of Turning Forward. She works with people, organisations and communities around the world.

“Dr. Wolfson’s book Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services shows how certain skills and metaskills using ‘deep democracy’, can help those in need, caregivers and whole organizations thrive!”
– Drs. Amy and Arnold Mindell, Founders of Processwork, deep democracy and worldwork

“A refreshing and thought provoking must read if you or your friends or a family member is in a care environment.”
– Drs. Ellen and Max Schupbach, Founders of the Deep Democracy Institute International

“This book will help people reframe the key issues in human services around the themes of self-direction, relationships, and social capital.”
– Dr. James F. Gardner, Former President and CEO, Council on Quality and Leadership, 1989-2012

Find out more about Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services >>

Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services

Diversity, Inclusion and Innate Powers
Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services cover

By Julia Wolfson, Ph.D.
Eldership Academy Press (2017)
$18.95 Softcover, plus shipping

Purchasing Details:

Now Available in Paperback!

Buy a version for your Kindle!
Order the Kindle ebook of Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services

One billion people across the globe of all ages – one eighth of our human community – are dependent on health, disability and/or care and protective systems and providers. For millions of people, everyday survival depends on caregivers, supporters, care programs and funding. The need may be temporary, longer term or lifelong. Many people in care systems and assisted living settings are lonely, isolated and long to feel at home in a community with meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute.

Mistreatment, exploitation and neglect in protective environments and institutions, has come to light in a sweep of shocking revelations and inquiries worldwide. Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services is relevant for caregivers, educators and direct support professionals, and people who rely on support and care. This book is also important for family members, policy makers and community developers, facilitators, leaders and administrators involved in this ever-growing and expanding field of human services.

The nine innate powers explained, are a concrete way to address one of the core questions people in care institutions, educators and helping professions are grappling with: How best to respond to people who require assistance and care in a strengths-based, individualized and respectful way. Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services is a humanising and pragmatic response to addressing and preventing abuse and awakening inner resources for a self-directed life, rich with meaning, friendship and contribution.

From the Foreword

“This is an important text for the future. On a global scale we are discovering that relationships and connections with other people, opportunities, and resources provide the best guarantee of health, safety, and growth and development. We are also discovering that we can no longer afford to continually enlarge the disability bubble. We will need to master the material that Wolfson provides us if we intend to explore sustainable lives and relationships beyond that bubble. This book will help people reframe the key issues in human services around the themes of self-direction, relationships, and social capital.”

– James F. Gardner, PhD, President, J Gardner & Associates, LLC, and Past President and CEO, Council on Quality and Leadership, 1989–2012

What Leaders in the Field are Saying About the Book

“Dr. Wolfson’s book Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services shows how certain skills and metaskills using ‘deep democracy’, can help those in need, caregivers and whole organizations thrive!”

— Drs. Amy and Arnold Mindell, Founders of Process Work, deep democracy and worldwork

“A refreshing and thought provoking must read if you or your friends or a family member is in a care environment.”

— Drs. Ellen and Max Schupbach, Founders of the Deep Democracy Institute International

“Finally, after working for over 40 years with people with challenging behaviors, predominantly in the field of Intellectual Disability, I am awed and heartened by this book. Rich with insight derived through direct practice and capable of being extrapolated to all nature of oppression and abuse of power, Dr. Julia Wolfson uses her own rich life and work experiences to expose the painful abuses and misguided power-over in interpersonal relationships that often commingles with well-meaning care-taking intentions for people with different abilities. Through her powerful storytelling she simultaneously exposes us to pain and suffering, as well as the hopefulness of the healing path when truth is heard in a facilitated environment. This book is very important for us all to read, especially if we hope to help humanity develop to its fullest potential. I will assign it to my students in our MSW program as well as to our clinic interns as a strategic guide to transformative leadership, and recommend it to everyone I come across who is trying to help change the world.”

Dr. Beth Barol, Associate Dean and Director of Social Work, Widener University, Pennsylvania, USA.

“For more than a decade the author has worked with our organisation in a village in Africa, for children, youth and young adults with different abilities, bringing us together to discover at progressively deeper levels what the core of our work is. In this book she shares the treasures and insight of many decades of work supporting organisations to bring out the strengths of vulnerable people. It is a remarkable book that should be required reading for all who work in this field.”

— Agas Groth, CEO Camphill Communities, Botswana.

“This masterpiece promises to make a significant contribution to the most difficult existential questions of our time. In a fascinating weave of experiences from her professional life and deep, personal accounts, Julia provides a roadmap for a journey of a universal kind. The inquiry is both confronting and comforting. The authenticity of the voice in this narrative demands of us as readers that we, too, ask ourselves: how can I be safe and free? What does it mean to be alive? Can I become an agent of change? Can I grow my own power or must I wait for this to be authorized by another? This book should be on any reading list that aims to educate people within the social sciences. It applies not only to the education and care sectors but in any context within which our aim is to serve others. With its refined approach to inclusion, this book applies to any culture or nation where there are individuals who put their work in service of their fellow human beings. Courage and love in equal measures has made this book what it is. Read it and be changed.”

Charlotte von Bülow, founder and CEO, Crossfields Institute, Awarding Organisation for specialist qualifications, Stroud, United Kingdom.

“Bringing in her personal and professional experiences with people of diverse ages, backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientations, political and spiritual beliefs, Julia discusses ‘nine innate deep powers,’ giving concrete examples in her work and suggesting ‘on-the-spot practices’ that can be used to apply these powers. As a counselor, multi-cultural educator, and mother/grandmother of a family with varying abilities, I identify with and will continue to learn from Julia and the people and situations that she describes.”

Dr. Sally Gelardin, AgeSong Community Engagement Director, 
San Francisco, USA.

Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services
By Julia Wolfson, Ph.D.
Eldership Academy Press (2017)
$18.95 Softcover, plus shipping

Available Now on Kindle!
Order the Kindle ebook of Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services

Paperback to be Available in June, 2017!
Order Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services

Related Post:
Dr Wolfson Presentation From the Inside Out: Changing Our Culture of Care

What Role Does Technology Play in Communication?

Erving Polster, PhD, 90+ year old master therapist, presenter, and author, opened the Existential Humanistic Institute 2017 Conference with an audience discussion via Skype.

Though he doesn’t see or hear very well, and no longer facilitates in-person therapeutic groups, the keynote speaker had an insightful distance conversation with conference attendees. Combining human interaction with distance delivery, the speaker and members of the audience came up with several realizations, including the following:

Erving:  The computer cannot be a good substitute for the group experience, but it can be a good intermediary.

Kirk:  The computer is difference from letter writing because it has a lot of advertisements.

Marlene:  If you were with us personally, what would be your theme for us today?


Erving: Existence (experience) comes before essence (meaning). However, the experience is not sufficient, also need meaning.  Human beings need meaning and belonging. The medium is the message is confusing.  To me it means there is an inseparability between the communicator and what he is communicating.

Sonya: Facebook is the medium, it’s not the guilty party…There’s hardly anything so good that it can’t be overdone. (i.e., reading or the computer).

Erving: How wondrous that I can be talking to you in San Francisco this way…Things can happen in communities that are stimulated by the computer.

AgeSong’s elder communities throughout the San Francisco Bay area are alive with in-person impromptu and planned groups that demonstrate the value of meaningful intergenerational  group interactions.

Through distance delivery,  the AgeSong Today blog shares this documentation with the world.



Building Relationships through Dance & Movement

The goal of the weekly Elders Academy session was to  demonstrate how dance movements can be used to build relationships. Participants included Hayes/Laguna community members of varying abilities and memory, gerowellness interns, and staff.

After an explanation of the four stages of an exercise regime (warm-up, aerobics, resistance, and cool-down), Cuo,  visiting dance therapist, demonstrated sitting stretches and breath work .

During the resistance stage (muscle building), interns and elders worked in pairs. When Cuo progressed to aerobics, community members started dancing.  The floor livened up.

Intergenerational relationship building through non-verbal dance & movement, and other forms of meaningful engagement. That’s AgeSong.

AgeSong’s Nader Shabahangi to speak in Berlin on Aging

Dr Nader Shabahangi is presenting a workshop in Berlin on revisioning aging from a liability to a resource, from a burden to a gift and how aging invariably can bring us a deepening and maturing to our life’s experience.

Haus Eichkamp
Wednesday, Sept 28 5pm – 7:30pm
Thursday, Sept 29. 9:30am – 4:30pm
Haus Eichkamp,
Zikadenweg 42 A
14055 Berlin
Nähe S-Bhf. Messe-Süd

Click image to download flyer [PDF-German]

Click image to download flyer [PDF-German]

AgeSong GeroWellness Interns Share Positive Experiences in Reaction to Video

Former interns with the Pacific Institute GeroWellness Program Hammond Care reflect on their experiences while working at AgeSong in the program.

Here is the inspiring video that prompted the discussion below. This is”Changing Lives through Art” from HammondCare’s Centre for Positive Ageing and Care – Arts on Prescription program.

These three former interns, Melissa, Anin and Dede share and comment on Hammond Care Center’s video about ‘Changing Lives through Art.’ In this discussion that took place on Facebook the GeroWellness interns who each worked at AgeSong communities during their internship talk about what the experience meant to them.

Melissa D’Antoni had this to say about her experience in the GeroWellness Program:
“This is SO awesome to see! When I was doing my clinical internship in expressive arts therapy in San Francisco it was Nader Robert Shabahangi and Doris Bersing who believed in me and the power of creative expression to support me in starting a program at for elders at AgeSong assisted living facilities. We had painting, drawing, drama, yoga, sandplay, dance and music, it was incredible. Can’t forget Dede Estey and Anin Utigaard for all their training and support as well! Such fond memories. My clients at AgeSong and Zen Hospice taught me so much about presence and stillness. This IS the way of health & wellness care.”

Former intern Anin Utigaard commented on Melissa’s post:
“Thanks for sharing this Melissa. Yes, my time at AgeSong was also very rich and heart opening, and I have you to thank for that. I just saw several interns from AgeSong on Friday night and we were reminiscing about our time there and how much we learned from the Elders. It changed us in a good way – wonderful experience. So glad you’re continuing to bring your magic to your community. Creativity is such a powerful resource for all of us. I can’t imagine what life would be without music, art, dance, drama and poetry.”

Former intern Dede Estey shared this comment about Melissa’s post:
“So happy to see this and be reminded of all the great interns I met at AgeSong and Pacific Institute. you are a bright light in a difficult time in the world. So happy your work fulfills you and now you can share your love of art and people with your daughter.”

EHI Now Enrolling Students in the 2016/17 Existential Humanistic Therapy Practice Programs

Enrollment is Open for EHI’s 2016-2017 Education and Training Programs

Orah Krug, Ph.D. EHI Clinical Director

The Existential-Humanistic Institute’s(EHI) 2016/17 teaching staff, Orah Krug, Kirk Schneider, Sonja Saltman, Nader Shabahangi, and Troy Piwowarski invite you to join one of our three unprecedented Existential-Humanistic education and training programs this upcoming 2016/2017 curriculum year.
EHI offers a Certificate in the Foundations of E-H Practice for students looking for a basic grounding in E-H therapy practice, an Advanced Program awarding a Certificate as an E-H Therapist for students who have completed the Foundations Program and the Modular Training Program for students who would like to participate in EHI’s two curriculum year Experientials.

Apply to an EHI Program Today »

EHI 2016/2017 Experiential Dates Announced

EHI is excited to once again hold the program Experiential Residentials at lovely Westerbeke Ranch.

The students who are accepted into the upcoming cohorts will enjoy the wonderful ambiance and food that are provided by the fantastic staff and environs of Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, California. Westerbeke Ranch as a retreat center has historic significance for our community, as it was the meeting place for many of the seminal writers in E-H theory and practice such as Rollo May and James Bugental.

Experiential Dates for 2016/2017 Cohorts

Experiential I

• Sun, October 23rd, 2016 – Thurs, October 27th, 2016

Experiential II

• Fri, March 24th, 2017 – Tues, Mar 28th, 2017

Visit the Westerbeke Ranch website to see where we hold our retreats!

EHI’s Sonja Saltman works in triad with students at Experiential

Troy Piwowarski and Orah Krug at Experiential

Troy Piwowarski and Orah Krug at EHI Retreat


EHI is here to answer them!

Do you have questions about a program or about becoming an EHI student?Orah Krug, our Clinical Director, and Troy Piwowarski, EHI’s Coordinator of Education and Training will be happy to give you more information and to answer your questions about the upcoming EHI programs.Contact either Orah or Troy by email:

Email EHI today »

EHI is a program of Pacific Institute.


Working with Elders: Joy in Aging Series Video

Sharon at KRON Channel 4 speaks with AgeSong co-founder, Dr Nader Shabahangi and Pacific Institute clinical therapy intern, Jay Cusker about working with elders as a therapeutic intern.

Sharon asks Nader how Pacific Institute is a program that is connected with AgeSong? Nader explains that Pacific Institute is a non profit educational organization that teaches psychotherapy interns, student who would like to become psychologists, how to be and work with elders.

Jay works with elders in the intake transition and has found the experience to be rich and rewarding. Jay find the elders to be so wise and it seems every day there is a new gem that comes up where Jay experiences awe in the moment.

Nader mentions that one of the discoveries made at AgeSong is having young people come together with the elders is a benefit for the both of them, not just the elder. Young people learn to be more accepting of themselves and to go more slow. The elders are more accepting and a young person can be who they are around them, be more authentic. Because that is where the elders are at in their life right now. The elders are who they are in that moment and are less critical of themselves and more accepting of who they are.

Find out More!

Learn more about the Pacific Institute GeroWellness Program and how the interns are working with the elders at AgeSong.

View more of the Joy in Aging Series.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library.

Internal Narrative: Joy in Aging Series Video

Sharon of KRON Channel 4 speaks with AgeSong co-founder and licensed psychotherapist, Dr Nader Shabahangi and Paula Hertel about the concept of the “internal narrative” and how it applies to AgeSong.

How can we change our perception about aging? This is a big part of the foundation of AgeSong. AgeSong is trying to shift that perception to a more positive and empowering concept. We want to change that story where we tell ourselves that aging is about decline. At AgeSong, residents can rewrite their story; instead of a life review they can create a story for themselves that has a future to it. The therapists working within AgeSong can assist elders with changing their internal narratives.

Aging can really be full of joy. Changing the internal narrative can assist with this. It is life long learning, we keep learning and growing.

Find out more!

View more of the Joy in Aging Series videos.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library.