What is Control Research Foundation

Purpose and Mission Statement

The Control Research Foundation Fund was established in 2004 with one overarching purpose: To promote education and further research and understanding regarding the positive and healthy uses of human control and self-control for individuals, families, societies and planetary health and well-being.

The main goal of the fund is an educational one. It is based on the belief that control issues are intimately intertwined in all of our lives, and that to reflect on these issues can be healthy no matter what the setting: psychotherapy, education, or daily life. Through awarding specific targeted grants, this fund is intended to facilitate the further research and teaching focused on the principles and practice of control theory and Control Therapy—to help individuals gain a positive sense of control in their lives--clients and students in particular and the world around us in general.

The Control Research Foundation Fund is housed in and administered by the Orange County Community Foundation. The donors of the fund are Deane and Johanna Shapiro.

Below are Some Personal Comments from Deane

It is the hope that the Control Research Foundation and the applications of the principles and practice of control theory and Control Therapy can add in some small way to decreasing human suffering and increasing wisdom and compassion. I hope as well that understanding control issues can help achieve an increase in physical, mental and relational health-- self-control, in terms of lifestyle habits, "tai chi" dancing with each other to work out power struggles; helping heal depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, and increasing "optimal" positive control in cognitive, emotional, physical, and relational domains of life. This latter goal - exploring a vision of positive, optimal psychological and physical well-being, and finding the skills and means to achieve it - though "optimistically ambitious" is certainly in accord with the goals of the foundation! Dream large! :)

PROFILE: http://faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=3007

Control Therapy owes an enormous debt to the work of others, as evidenced by the over one thousand references in the book Control Therapy. CT certainly is not the last therapeutic word, but merely a step along the path, on which hopefully others can continue to build. Below is information about the Control Research Foundation Fund: Mission and purpose, followed by reflections on: a) Vision; b) Pay it forward; and c) Breath and Gratitude.

The Vision on the Other Side of the Hour Glass and Gratitude

When I was in graduate school, a teacher shared that a dissertation process is like an hourglass. At the top of the hour glass is the grand vision: eg, how can I help reduce the world’s suffering. As the hour glass narrows, the project becomes more refined, so that at the narrowest part you are now reducing the grand vision to how does this study help these people in this situation. After the study, it’s important to once again fit the narrow study into the grand vision, on the other side. So too with the Control Research Foundation Fund. Above is the grand vision of the Mission and Purpose statement. In the different grant applications—research, curricular, writing-- to refine, nuance, and actualize that vision. So, now, a few comments on the other side of the hour glass again.

The Vision: Our human quest for control, at the deepest and broadest level, involves many different domains. It explores how we humans develop personal self-control and examines the struggles and success we have. It considers how we develop competence in our lives; and how we overcome separation, and power struggles to develop close, intimate, and loving relationships. The study of our human quest for control also involves exploring the "big picture" questions: How do we create/uncover meaning? How do we understand the nature of the universe, our place in it, and the amount of control we might exert in our lives?

It is helpful to remember as a context for therapy—and life itself—that we live on a small planet in a small solar system in a small galaxy. One the one hand, it is astonishing to even imagine having a sense of control as we exist on this one insignificant planet circling a sun in one galaxy among many. On the other hand, we humans are amazingly complex and resilient with vast worlds within each of us. Can we hold both thoughts in an interrelated way? Can we recognize that we are small, fragile, and impermanent physical beings? Can we acknowledge that there is suffering in this world that is part of the life experience, and no amount of control efforts can ever completely ameliorate that. We are all fellow travelers on a temporary journey. This perspective can help us remember that compassion, empathy, and kindness are wise attitudes as a context for our gallant, even noble efforts to teach, learn, and practice positive control in our lives.

It is the hope that the Control Research Foundation and the applications of the principles and practice of control theory and Control Therapy can add in some small way to decreasing human suffering and increasing wisdom and compassion. I hope as well that understanding control issues can help achieve an increase in physical, mental and relational health-- self-control, in terms of lifestyle habits, "tai chi" dancing with each other to work out power struggles; helping heal depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, and increasing "optimal" and positive control in cognitive, emotional, physical, and relational domains of life.

Pay It Forward

The Control Research Foundation Fund is an attempt to take what I have learned (from great teachers, wise masters, learned scholars) and to "pay it forward." Clearly my efforts to integrate, synthesize, and create a theory, research, and therapy of control are not the last word. It is merely one more step in our hopefully upward evolutionary spiral toward greater human wisdom and compassion. In the final appendices of Herman Hesse magnificent novel, the Glass Bead Game, Hesse writes movingly and trustingly about how the universe always provides someone to carry forth the teachings from one generation to the next. For example, one story in that book tells of a Shamanic weatherman….and how a "student" appears who can carry on his wisdom teachings. I love that story, for it suggests you do the positive assertive mode (e.g., create a foundation) and then you trust (positive yielding) that those who are supposed to share and build on that wisdom to transmit it to the next generation will appear. ommm...ahh…

I hope this Foundation and this work might be like a message in a bottle, put into the universe for those who find it helpful, and who can build upon and move the work forward, creating further bridges, nuance, and depth regarding control theory, research, and practice. I hope as well that this future work will be for the purpose of helping to reduce distress and bring increased health, healing, and happiness to those who suffer, and greater wisdom for those who seek it. That is my wish and prayer.

Breath and gratefulness: And now, it’s time for a deep breath. Breathing in, I relax my body and mind; breathing out, I smile. Thank you, all teachers, all students, all colleagues, all friends. It’s also time for a deep bow of gratitude, and thanks.

Many years ago, a wise, kind monk, Kabori Roshi at Daitoku-ji monastery in Kyoto, bowed to me, a young man, and said, "Now it’s your turn." As of this writing, I, now an old man, bow in turn, and offer this opportunity to further this work to whomever is meant to receive it. Thank you. It’s your turn. Please be assured, that wherever I am, I’m sending blessings (as best "I" am able)...for peace, health, happiness, and "a healthy and positive" sense of control!

Thanks, and Namaste, Deane H. Shapiro, Jr