Michael Hall is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Binghamton, New York. He has been engaged in the full-time practice of psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families, and groups for more than forty years until largely retiring on Halloween, 2016.
After graduation from Vanderbilt University in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, Michael completed a doctorate in clinical psychology at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. A year-long clinical internship at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, the National Institutes of Mental Health in Washington, D.C., followed. Wanting as much clinical training as possible, he then served two years as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor in clinical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York. In 1975, Michael began work at the Counseling Center at Binghamton University. Since 1982, he was in full-time private practice in Binghamton, New York until his recent retirement.
Michael began to do Zen meditation with a small group of dedicated practitioners in 1978. A spontaneous awakening in 1982 occurred after reading the famous lines from The Heart Sutra: “Form here is only emptiness; emptiness only form.” The overwhelming power of this glimpse led to the beginning of serious Zen practice at the Rochester Zen Center, which continued until 1988. A number of awakening experiences occurred during this period, with recognition of kensho by his teacher Roshi Philip Kapleau coming in 1984.
Following his teacher’s recommendation, the Zen tradition, and his own appraisal of the limitations of his understanding, Michael didn't speak of or attempt to share his experience for twenty years. After an enduring awareness emerged out of nowhere in 2002, he recognized the end of his searching. Refusing to publicly share his understanding for two more years, he eventually realized that to refrain from sharing this direct realization was more self-centered than to convey this awareness as best he could.
In 2005, Michael began sharing his understanding of awakening. He is primarily interested in the integration of psychotherapy and spirituality. The realizations that emerge spontaneously from awakened awareness have a profound effect on how emotional suffering is best understood and treated. Michael’s focus is on developing effective approaches to alleviate suffering through education about direct awareness of what is. Awakening to who and what we really are is the most important thing that we can do in our life. In the past, awakening was rare and happened in a somewhat random manner. Even though many people devoted their entire adult lives to the pursuit of the direct, experiential realization of reality, few apparently succeeded. It is now possible to teach the core practices that will often lead to awakening for those who are open and interested. This blog, my website, DVDs and CD's can facilitate this natural process in those who are willing.
In addition to discussing the application of awareness to the problems of living, Michael is continually aware of emerging opportunities for provoking the shift in consciousness in others who are receptive and willing. His work demonstrates a continuing interest in learning to see reality as it is, rather than how we wish it were or believe it should be.