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Deborah Aikens

Born in Iowa, Deborah Aikens spent her K-12 school years in Sacramento, where her father worked in state government. "Early on I was aware that I was sensitive to conflict," she says. "I couldn't watch a whole movie or I'd stay up all night." She began her study of physiological psychology at UC Davis, but transferred in 1971 to Berkeley, then a hotbed of antiwar protests. "Bomb threats were part of daily life," says Aikens, who retreated to Davis after two years to finish her degree in a serene environment, "across from horses and cows." She helped to start the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Menlo Park and later became a member of its first graduating class, earning a PhD in 1980. "I worked with Dr Emmett Miller, teaching stress-reduction classes," she says. "I saw how effective they could be to relieve people's suffering." When she and her husband Marc Aikens moved to Eugene in 1987, she opened a practice in transpersonal psychology. In 1994, she founded the Northwest Center for Health Promotion, an educational non-profit that offers classes in stress-reduction and self-care. NCHP's six-week Renew Your Life course begins this fall with a free introductory class on Tuesday, October 4. Call 541-343-0536 to reserve a space.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 29 September 2011

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