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Gay Barfield, PhD, LMFT

Dr. Leah (Swenson) Barfield, holds a BA as a graduate of University of California at Berkeley, Masters level teaching credential from San Francisco State University, advanced studies at the Sorbonne in France, and a Ph.D. from Union Graduate School, and is a Hawaii Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She was a Resident Consultant and Member of the Center for Studies of the Person (CSP) based in La Jolla, California, as well as on its Board of Directors, for nearly 30 years. At CSP she was instrumental in founding one of the first Women's Centers in San Diego, and many other group programs and trainings over the years. She founded and directed the Center's internationally recognized 10 day residential summer program which was held for 22 years, the "Living Now Institute." Based on the person-centered approach of Dr. Carl Rogers, this annual seminar explored social, personal and political transformations from Carl Rogers’ person-centered perspectives with renowned guest speakers and participants from around the world every summer at the University of California San Diego campus. The final program was held in Hilo, Hawaii in 1998, with emphasis on principles of Aloha and Peace.

In 1984, she and her long-time colleague, Dr. Carl R. Rogers, became the founding Co-Directors at CSP of the Carl Rogers Institute for Peace, a project to apply person-centered principles to real and potential crisis situations, in the search for the evolution and transformation of conflict. This program (and/or through individual members of its staff), convened and facilitated training and peace-building gatherings in Central America, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the former Soviet Union. Leading international and national political leaders, policy-makers, diplomats and lay-persons of impact world-wide were in attendance at the two Central American conferences held in Rust, Austria in 1985 and in Heredia, Costa Rica in 1988. Supported by a sizeable donation from Joan Kroc after Dr. Rogers’ death in 1987, and with the cooperation of the United Nations University for Peace, and then sitting Costa Rica President Oscar Arias and former President Rodrigo Carazo, among others, Dr. Swenson-Barfield and the Carl Rogers Institute for Peace staff were able to convene the second Central American peace meeting in Costa Rica in 1988, again with leading political persons involved in the turmoils of Central America.

After the death of Dr. Rogers in 1987 and his posthumous nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for this work, she remained the Institute's Director, with a focus on improving ethnic, race, gender and family relations in our homes, neighborhoods, offices, and countries. Dr. Barfield offered through the Institute for Peace a series of workshops, lectures and conferences focused on urban diversity dialogues with grassroots leaders, held neighborhood "Living Room Dialogues", and provided consultations for private sector groups, government and educational institutions, agencies and business organizations in the USA and throughout Europe.

Dr. Barfield has been a frequent invited guest lecturer and consultant for colleges, universities and conventions worldwide in the field of counselor training, family relations, men and women's issues, life transitions, peace-building, gender issues, and intercultural relations, with a special interest in facilitating improved communications across differences in contexts of tension and volatility. She also provides private counseling and consultations to individuals, couples and organizations to transform such tensions and conflicts into constructive, equitable and fruitful dialogue, actions and change.

Dr. Barfield has been widely interviewed on radio, television and in the print media, and has published numerous articles and chapters in professional journals and texts, including a chapter in the second edition of Freedom to Learn for the 1980s by Carl Rogers, along with many chapters included in several texts & journals in recent years. Honored with election to the "Charter 100" o
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