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IONS' "Big-Picture" View Inspires Therapist's Bequest


"Becoming an IONS Circle Member was a transformative experience," says family therapist Jan Ögren.

At her first Circle retreat at EarthRise, Jan found inspiration for her novel, Dividing Worlds, in which the protagonist helps create a shift in global consciousness based on the theories and research that have characterized IONS' work.

As a psychotherapist, Jan works with consciousness-shifting every day. She sees her clients as living members of a complex universe of relationships, not isolated individuals.

When she joined IONS in the 1970s, Jan was a student of neurobiology exploring the biological basis of consciousness. "I was studying neurology, physiological psychology, and cognitive psychology," she recalls, "and I found that people in those different disciplines were not talking to one another. Then I discovered IONS, which was blending these fields and getting people to talk across disciplines. It was wonderful. IONS let me know that I am not alone."

Before IONS Jan felt her big-picture interest ran counter to the conventional scientific focus on the particular and the specific. Through IONS she discovered that "there were other people out there who saw the larger picture. That's what Edgar Mitchell talked about when he looked at Earth from space and saw it as a whole, without frames or boundaries. That gave me hope." Like IONS, Jan believes in the value of exploring new ways to help create healthier paradigms. Fifteen years ago that drive led her to public speaking and writing. (For more information, go to

Jan and her partner, Dean Watson—a computer architect for Blue Shield of California—have made IONS and other causes the beneficiaries of an estate plan they created a few years ago. She says "our bequest honors humanity's collective future because IONS is pointing toward a direction we all need to go."

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