Division of Counseling and Psychology
Dr. Jared Kass has been a member of the Lesley University faculty since 1976. His clinical work and research focus on the prevention and treatment of health-risk behaviors that harm self and others. His multi-decade research program (Study Project on Well-Being) has developed, and is currently testing, a curriculum for university students (and other young adults) that strengthens psychological resilience, promotes inclusive communities, and facilitates health-promoting and pro-social behaviors, through social-emotional skill-building and psychospiritual growth.
Dr. Kass has published numerous research papers and book chapters. He is the author of The Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA), an assessment tool which measures a resilient worldview. The IPPA is currently used in a college health textbook and many research projects in positive psychology and community psychology.
Dr. Kass is also the author of The Index of Core Spiritual Experience (INSPIRIT), an assessment tool that measures experiences commonly reported during mindfulness practice and meditation. The INSPIRIT has been reviewed favorably in many textbooks on the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. It has been used internationally in research measuring the impact of contemplative practice on well-being; and has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese.
Dr. Kass worked closely with Dr. Carl Rogers, as a staff member of the Person-Centered Approach Project (1975-1979). This project was formative in Dr. Kass’ clinical work and teaching, highlighting the importance of empathic attunement and reflective listening in the formation of a therapeutic alliance. Rogers’ capacity to respect and value the dignity of individuals, irrespective of social status or behavioral history, was figural in his ability to facilitate therapeutic change. Dr. Kass describes himself “constantly striving to implement these same interpersonal conditions” in his work with clients and students.
Recent developments in attachment theory and sensorimotor approaches to the clinical treatment of trauma, Dr. Kass explains in his classes, are consistent with Rogers’ emphasis on empathic attunement. These psychodynamic and humanistic approaches, when integrated, teach clinicians to develop right-brain, somatic awareness of a client’s inner emotions—helping clients explore unexamined feelings, thoughts, and experiences—gradually developing the capacity for securely attached relationships.
Dr. Kass concretizes therapeutic learning through cognitive-behavioral approaches to psychotherapy that include mindfulness, elicitation of the relaxation response, emotional self-regulation through affect tolerance, behavioral self-monitoring, and cognitive reframing. He refined these skills through study with Dr. Joan Borysenko, Director of Mind-Body Programs at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, under the supervision of the cardiologist, Dr. Herbert Benson (1985-1986).
This training led to fruitful collaboration with Dr. Herbert Benson (1987-1991), leading mind-body stress reduction groups and validating the inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes to Life (IPPA) and the Index of Core Spiritual Experience (INSPIRIT), supported by generous grant support from Mr. Laurance Rockefeller.
Dr. Kass has been deeply influenced by feminist psychology and the civil rights movements. The social justice orientation of Dr. Jean Baker Miller, Dr. Derald Wing Sue, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have been instrumental in explaining the psychology of social dominance and subordination—both its negative effects on society, and the need for a critical psychology that incorporates these sociocultural perspectives in treatment programs, prevention philosophy, and social justice advocacy.
Dr. Kass has served as an Associate of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug, and Violence Prevention, US Department of Education.
He was a Senior Scholar in Psychology on a panel sponsored by the University of Notre Dame and the University of New Mexico. This panel produced a book, Judeo-Christian Perspectives on Psychology: Human Nature, Motivation and Change, published by the American Psychological Association, and edited by Drs. William Miller and Harold Delaney. Dr. Kass’ chapter was entitled, Emerging Models of Spiritual Development: A Foundation for Mature, Moral, and Health-Promoting Behavior.
Dr. Kass has served as a Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, funded by the Fetzer Institute; and received a grant from the Templeton Foundation to conduct research and write a book (in process) on the process of spiritual maturation. Recently, he presented some of his research findings at an International Symposium on Contemplative Studies, sponsored by the Mind-Life Institute.
In addition, Dr. Kass served for a decade as Coordinator of the Boston Clergy and Religious Leaders Group for Interfaith Dialogue, a community-based program for developing understanding and cooperation among the faith communities in the Greater Boston area.
Dr. Kass is a member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Dr. Kass coordinates the Holistic Studies specialization in the Division of Counseling and Psychology.
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View a list of selected publications and conference presentations by Dr. Kass