The Devastating Close of Ryokan College

I have also heard that Ryokan College did not achieve accreditation. I don’t know if this is representative information coming to me of actual Ryokan status, but I have also heard that Dr. Arthur is not returning calls of late. My sources sound disappointed and upset, two being fellow students and two being my interns. One intern suggests that now that status is denied, Dr. Arthur’s lack of responsiveness is disappointing.  I need to speak up. I want to say out loud, “Oh my God. Oh my God” This man has fought with all his heart and soul for over ten years to shepherd Ryokan into accreditation. He took the best school to which I ever attended, with three others of them being accredited, and he fought to get accreditation for Ryokan by those opposed to including approved schools. He donated thousands of dollars of his own money. He revised and adapted Ryokan to demands from on high. He jumped through hoops, flew to Sacramento I don’t know how many times, implored others to back Ryokan for the sake of their alma mater. He must be heartbroken and exhausted, and he needs time to fall apart. I ran into Dr. Arthur in Sacramento, fighting the same cause, as he wanted to save Ryokan and I wanted to open a college. I was about six months too late. The State of California once had a liberal policy that schools here need only be approved not accredited, until they could earn accreditation. That policy encouraged creativity and innovation. It made it possible for older students, parents of young children and working parents to attend undergraduate and graduate school. The tuition was more reasonable than for accredited schools. Ryokan made it possible for academics who had groundbreaking insight to pioneer against a rapidly forming good-old boys club that was reifying conventional wisdom into the appearance of fact. California’s openness to approved schools allowed for radical new ideas that gave birth to the Palo Alto Group, systems theory and a number of other innovators that we used to study but have been dropped from the textbooks of accredited schools and licensing exams. Even though psychologists have adapted systems theory for their own, the legend builders of the Palo Alto Group were criticized out of the limelight by the status quo and the medical model. Historically, every time an innovator in our field proposes a causal theory of behavior, as opposed to theories of inborn, medical causes, the medical establishment and the psychopharmacological industry have risen up and squashed the related insights, so new avenues of development cannot be developed. Numerous heroes from our field have given away their careers fighting for what always become failed recognition. It began with the discovery of some wealthy benefactors in England and France that offered their mansions to the naked and abused mentally ill who had been chained and forced to sleep on straw. I could write a paper on all the moments in history where the good old boys circled the wagons to ensure that no new members could be allowed into their domain of doctors, except through their channels. In a humane environment they began to flourish, which caused a backlash of doctors wanting authority over the mentally ill that has continued since. The newly forming male medical club fought to force the recognition over to doctors. They began writing manuals and making up terminology such that lay people could not understand their information. The APA gives allegiance to the AMA.  Ryokan warned me when I registered in 2002 that I would not be able to teach at a University, but I did. I taught at CSUN, because they heard of my work and wanted me to teach about it for a year. Power and wealth surround us and hold the power of definition. This month marks the end of innovative colleges in California, apparently because our progressive state leadership was lost and new leaders decided if they couldn’t beat them, they’d have to join them. Now, there will be no new schools anywhere in the United States. There will only be the colleges that have already been accredited. To be clear, there will only be colleges that are already established and recognized. This is because no pioneering graduate school of psychology could survive if all its students knew they could never sit for a licensing exam if they graduated from a non-accredited school. It takes years to get accredited, so what we have here is the famous bureaucratic conundrum of a Catch-22. Once the State of California introduced the last straw that graduates of approved schools could not even sit for the licensing exam, Ryokan was doomed.  Even though an anti-trust violation of the highest and worst order was visited upon Dr. Arthur, Ryokan, and its students, the results violate our entire field. This month marks the end of pioneering schools and ideas in our field. Unfortunately, this field has far to go. As we watch the profit motive every corner of our society, we see the possible demise of democracy in lieu of economic interests and the onslaught of climate change, as the result of economic recklessness. We also face the manipulation of psychological theory which directs patients to a medical model and a new version of bean counting. While research and doctoral programs require research that focuses on minute parts of parts, which can be measured and calculated, the overview is lost. Specialization causes us to become more and more estranged from the insights of one another between our specialties. If we specialize in attachment theory, we don’t know about the discovery of mirror neurons and how they explain imitative behavior addressed by Albert Bandura and the transgenerational intergenerational transition model of systems theory. Behaviorists and cognitive theorists and clinicians don’t know about the effects of repression of feelings on healing. Trauma theorists don’t deal with repression ethics addressed by family systems theory. Forensic evaluators barely know anything about childhood causes of criminal behavior. With ignorance abounding for a lack of overview, no new insights by overview will be discovered and taught. I am writing to make the point that Dr. Steve Arthur is our unsung hero, the kind that will never be recognized. I give him all the time he wants to reconstitute, and I pray that he will choose to return to our profession somehow. We still need him. With sincerity and compassion for us all, S. Faye Snyder, aka Dr. Faye, Proud Ryokan doctoral graduate of 2005


So sorry. It will be much harder for working adults to get an advanced degree in future. I am grateful that Ryokan was there when I needed it. Although most of my fellow students were licensed at Masters level, I took the North American Boards and passed, becoming licensed as a psychologist.. very thankful. BTW, my dissertation, the only copy, is at Ryokan….can I retrieve it? So upset to see a great resource end. Cordially, Lee Lawson PsyD


It's with great sadness I am reading your message. To see the college going down this way is so disturbing to me. Ryokan was an excellent institution of Psychology but it couldn't continue it's extraordinary and noble task of teaching. I am speechless and feel a sense of personal and profound loss. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help at this time. Again I am so sorry to hear the news. Abraham Amaya, Psy.D. Alumni 1994


I was saddened to hear about the closing of Ryokan.  I know you made heroic efforts to keep it open, and I witnessed your firm dedication, love, and commitment to the students.  I personally benefitted immensely from your patience and support.  I am so grateful that I was able to finish before Ryokan closes, and that my loved ones and I were able to attend the graduation. I am sending wishes that this transition will offer each of you new experiences of adventure, abundance, love, and happiness.  Thank you for the opportunity to write a dissertation that was so meaningful to me, and for all your support along the way. With great respect and appreciation, Charlene Farrell


Thanks for the emails and updates, this is terrible news. All along I knew the fight was going and I naively thought Ryokan would prevail.  Very very sad news for all of us.  Roni Cummings Psy.D


Thanks for getting back to me. Again... so sorry about the school. Will you be making available some sort of directory or contact information document for alumni to continue to support each other? If you need any help gathering and/or formatting that info, please let me know. I'm good at that sort of thing. I'd be happy to set up a unique email address specifically for gathering and maintaining that info. I'd also be more than happy to be the keeper of the master, should people want to update their info.  Just let me know. If someone is already doing this and would like some assistance, I can do that as well. T. Grey Parker, Psy.D.


So sorry to hear of this--I am so grateful for what I got from attending Ryokan.  It is a great pity that these regulations have cost us all this great education opportunity.  I also really appreciate your diligence and ability in leading this program.  I would like to keep in touch with you--I hope you will give us a way to reach you if/when the Ryokan address no longer works. Very best wishes to you, Merrilee Nolan Gibson PsyD/LMFT 34706


My education at Ryokan was a truly transforming experience and filled with happy memories for me.  I hope you'll be well moving forward. Best, Laura Schwemer-Calnan, Psy.D.


It's a sad day. I'm surprised some alumni hasn't become super successful and could donate a million or two. But I guess clinicians never become rich, in that way. Thank you for your commitment and service! Bob Kennedy, PsyD


To Steve, Terry, Mimi, Monica, Roz: I want to thank you all for the years of guiding Ryokan through the rough waters of opposition and change. For 30 years I was given creative license to teach meaningful material, and students had the chance to study in small group settings. They very much valued their experience in their cohorts and that was reflected in their evaluations of each course and in their speeches at each graduation. I am so grateful for the opportunity given to me by Al and Marcia so long ago and for the way Ryokan held onto those values even as the administration of the school changed hands. I have many evaluations in which students said that their experience at Ryokan was one of the most meaningful educational experiences they'd ever had. Many students have told me that the way they understand and treat their clients has been transformed and that they are so appreciative of the personal support they received from a responsive and encouraging administration. I tried to be responsive to students' needs and the school solicited feedback from students so that we could all be more responsive to them. That's what a small school can do.  :) It feels like a kind of death in the family, but hopefully, it's not the death OF the family. I have appreciated each of you through the decades (!!) and I don't want to lose touch. I still wonder if Ryokan couldn't morph into something else even if we can't be an accredited school the way the new laws require. But for now, it's the end of an era.  :( Warmly, Madeline Taylor, Ph.D.


Aw that’s so sad to hear! What a shame.  I hope you’ll be ok and have a place to go... I wish the best for you. Kelsey Pietro, Psy.D


I would like to thank you for your support and for the many individuals you helped along the way. If there is any future endeavors that I could support please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Brian Wildason, Psy.D.


I was so sorry to hear that Ryokan was closing. I understand why, but you filled a real need for me and many others. Thanks to all the faculty and staff for all the years of service and help. Gary S. Fisher, PsyD


I am so sorry to hear this. I know how hard all of you worked to move Ryokan towards accreditation. I just passed the EPPP last week, and I was going to contact you about teaching again once I pass the CPLEE. Thank you for my education, but also the opportunity that you gave me to teach. It was difficult to balance it with the position I held at the time so I couldn't continue, but I very much enjoyed it. I am sorry that all of you there are having to make this major life transition. Everyone I came in contact at Ryokan was so dedicated, and I hope that you all land somewhere you enjoy and that appreciates what you have to offer.  Cynthia Kelvin, Psy.D.


I am truly sorry to hear the news that Ryokan will be closing. I had a wonderful experience there and I am so appreciative of the excellent education I received. The program was absolutely perfect and allowed me to continue working full time and go to school at the same time. This is a very sad day and I wish you the best of luck. I will miss receiving your emails and updates. You have done a fine job as Chief Executive Officer and I truly wish you and the entire Ryokan staff the best. Take wonderful care, Ariella Reisner Psy.D.


Good morning, This news is disheartening. I’m really sad to hear this.  I appreciate the support and encouragement that I’ve received from the staff at Ryokan College, throughout the 15 years relationship with this college. I respect this school and staff for many reasons; specifically it being an intimate campus with sincere staff to support us and all staff knows each student by name. I will always be a proud alumnus of Ryokan. I’m very thankful of my education and Ryokan College giving me the opportunity and consideration of earning a doctorate. I wish you all the best of luck. I can’t that you enough for the support, opportunity and gratitude. Respectfully, Dr. Nicole Alexander


I hope you also find a soft landing. A sad turn of events that I frankly couldn't imagine. Ed. Tennen, Psy.D.


I am in shock and I will be back in touch! Thinking of you all!! Sincerely, Robin A. Hubert, MFT, SEP


I'm saddened to hear that after 40 years Ryokan is closing.  Thanks for providing me with a stellar education which provided me with the necessary credentials to enter law school and sit for the CA Bar exam.  Wishing you and every one at Ryokan all the best now and moving forward. Sincerely, Robert Brogan


This is so awful, and feels unreal.  My heart goes out to all of you, the soul of Ryokan.  I would like to send something to help with closing costs and want to know how best to effect the donation.  I hope in the not too distant future, a reunion of sorts would be possible.   In the wake of this change, I am wondering if I can obtain 3 sealed transcripts.  I know there will be a charge as always.  Also, will Ryokan be sending a sealed transcript to the BOP or will I do this once my application for licensure is approved?  I am not sure if the BOP will accept a sealed transcript directly from the student? You have all made a difference, your support abounding, thank you!!!! Fondly, Linda Spurrier, Psy.D.


I'm very saddened to hear that this wonderful school is closing. Respectfully, Matthew Ghukassian


I am so saddened to read your email today regarding the closure of Ryokan.  I know you have dedicated so many years to fight the battle for the sake of students like myself to be able to work, support my sons, and get a great education.  Thank you for all that you have done.  I am very appreciative of your efforts! Best Regards, Cynthia Woo


Both myself and Neal Ramer have the same words and are “sad” at the college closing.  Ryokan has been an important institution and it is unfortunate that the Psychology Board and state bureaucracies have pushed the accreditation issue. I was impressed from my first visit to Ryokan as I am now and proud of the Ryokan administration, staff and instructors for the education they have provided. Thank you for all your help and I wish the best for you and all others at Ryokan. Steve Kudler, Psy.D.


Thank you for persisting so long with all the hard work that went into trying to get regional accreditation.  I'm naturally sad, along with many others, that Ryokan has to close.  I'm very thankful for my education at Ryokan.  I'm studying through PsychPrep for the EPPP, and I have been able to recall many of the things I learned in the Psy.D. program in clinical psychology. Many thanks to you, the staff, and my instructors/professors in the M.A./Psy.D. program. Warmest regards, Jeff Hicks, Psy.D.


Breaks my heart. You all fought the fight. What Ryokan gave all of us is irreplaceable. Best, Di Keller, Psy.D.


I’m So sorry to hear this !! Ryokan created such a unique learning environment! Such a wonderful experience for me! Thank you for your incredible many years of service to your students, including me! All the best, Dolores Aguanno


I am so sorry to hear this news - such a difficult decision you and the board of directors had to make - it must have been agonizing for you all!  Brian Oltman, Psy.D


I enjoyed my time there..glad I got my degree back then. Anita DeFrancesco


I am so sorry to hear this. I’m very grateful for all you gifted me. Sivi Ruder, Psy.D.


I'm so sorry to hear this news. I'm glad to know the current students will have a safe landing space. Ryokan was a godsend to me and was good for the community. Good luck! Best, Veronica Brooks, Psy.D.


I’m so very sorry. You did so much good for so many of us.  Kathleen Cairns, PsyD 1992


This is so very very sad!!!! Judi Bucholtz, a graduate in 1996


Really sorry to learn this.  My experience at, and degree from, Ryokan have been of the major positive impacts on my successful life and career.  Thanks for fighting the good fight and all it has meant for me and many others.  Best to you and all of yours in future endeavors. Mindfully - John (Jay) Pietrzak, Psy.D.


I'm so sorry to hear this. Ryokan was such a great school. I was happy to have found it when I did and though I didn't follow through with psychology as a second career for me, it gave me a wealth of new knowledge and confidence. I wish you only the best and know that you and all the Ryokan family put a great thing into the world. Best Vickie Sampson, Writer/director/editor


Very sad news. I guess the writing was on the wall, but the reality is hard to take. I just cited Ryokan College as my academic affiliation for a paper published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. So the name will live on for now in that sense. But it is a terrible loss for you, the staff, the students, and the community. With condolences and best wishes for the holiday season, Dr. Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D.


This makes me extremely sad. The education I was given was an incredible experience. It is a shame that future students will miss out on amazing teachers and mentors. Ryokan and every member of staff was a shiny beacon of light in these turbulent and negative times. I wish for everyone to find a place where you can continue sharing that brightness. Please let everyone know that I would love to keep in touch.  April Faragalli Picillo


I’m sorry to hear that Ryokan is closing. It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Ryokan family, and I hope the best for all of you who are in the midst of this transition. Best, Vula Baliotis, Ph.D.


I am very sorry to read this though it was expected. It has been an honor and privilege to have received high education at Ryokan, and I am very grateful for the college and its staff members and fellow student who touched my life as well as my heart.  I will cherish the memories forever. I remember we had the first class with you, and you gave me the encouragement and advice that helped me tremendously in my two-year (2005-2006) educational pursuit. Thank you very much again. Take care. Ryokan student  Stephen Wu, Psy. D.


This is absolutely heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. I’m speechless. I really appreciate all that you have done and that I was fortunate enough to attend Ryokan.... Wishing u all luck in your next chapter.  Blessings, Mychelle Charters, PsyD , LCSW, SEP


So sorry to hear this, Steve and the amazing staff that made me feel I was a part of the family. My education at Ryokan College continues to contribute and grow the important work of my clients. Thank you for your Herculean effort to gain accreditation for our school that you and your students believe is so deserving of this credential.  Sincerely, Melissa Muller, Psy.D


Wow I am so sad Dr. Arthur.  I am retired now but it hurts my feelings.  Miracles can happens I hope one comes in the way. Paula E. Ruiz, Psy.D.


I am very sad to hear this. You have done a wonderful job all along and it is such a shame that you are forced to quit. Please let me know if I can be of any help to your students. Best Regards, Daniel D. Sadigh, Psy.D., LMFT


This is tragic and it breaks my heart. I have referred many people to Ryokan and now a couple of them are licensed as a Clinical psychologist and MFT. It’s disappointing to me that the BOP would be so unempathic and exclusive despite knowing the great success rate of graduates seeking licensure. I have not been interested in pursuing their license and I’m glad that I won’t be under their umbrella of control. The psych assistants who work in my non profit clinic struggle to get clients because they’re not allowed to advertise even with a completed doctorate. Meanwhile MFT trainees can advertise as supervised clinicians...! Makes no sense except that the BOP is out of touch and out of control. Thank you for all your support during my time at Ryokan.  You and your staff have been extraordinary and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have learned with you. I am saddened. But I wish you well and trust that the future will find you doing whatever brings you great satisfaction. Avis Attaway, Psy.D.


My heart goes out to all the faculty and staff.  I appreciate all that Ryokan has done throughout the years for all of the students. I am thankful to have been part of such a wonderful institution. My prayers go out to all the Ryokan faculty. Thank you for being part of my educational journey.  God Bless you all. Ruth Alonso, Psy.D.


I am so sorry to see Ryokan College close its doors. What a loss.  Ten years ago, the College allowed me to pursue my degree, and provided me with my family’s first BA. Several classmates from my time at Ryokan — now practicing psychologists — remain my good friends, having shared together the attainment of an impossible dream. My education was furthered incalculably after my graduation through my having been privileged to edit more than two dozen doctoral dissertations. So soon, so soon the day is done… but always another dawn. Good luck to all as we move forward into life. L’chaim! Penny Orloff


This is very sad news! I was hopeful that Ryokan would be able to continue fulfilling its mission and dream, and I am so very thankful for all of you being so available as a school, instructors, and administrators for myself and my cohort when we really needed a school to transfer to! But I am very familiar with the BOP law changes, and unfortunately it is impacting many schools and students. I currently teach Psych Testing classes online with JFK University (which I think is also under another umbrella of National University). I would be very interested in a potential opportunity to teach and work with Ryokan students and other students if the schools you are referring students to might need remote instructors (as I live in the San Jose bay area and not in L.A.) If they have asked for instructor referrals or have a portal to apply, please do keep me informed about how to get in contact with them. And as always, I am available to network and speak with any students or alumni. I wish you all the very best going forward! Again, thank you so much for being there when I personally needed you, and for so many other students as well. The legacy of the school and its founders will live on in all whose lives have been positively touched by Ryokan. Love and light, Sara Hyatt, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist


This is sad news. I am deeply grateful of having been through Ryokan. Ryokan was there when I needed it (I fit the profile exactly: Parent going back to school, 48 years. Roykan was affordable and feasible. I have one in college and one about to head off. 60K colleges each. Each year!! Who can afford that?! Not us, Not anyone without aid and loans. I hope the climate changes around education and affordability with the new congress and I pray that Ryokan finds a way to resurrect itself once these draconian times are behind us.  In deepest respect, Kate Brennan, Psy.D


This is deeply sad. Thank you for letting us know. Best regards, Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D.


This is very sad.  Thank you for the opportunity to help me achieve my goal in attaining my PsyD.  It was hard work but worth being called doctor.  I wish all of you a pleasant journey into your next adventures.  Sincerely, Ruth Schriebman, PSYD, MFT, CT


This is very sad news. Ryokan was a wonderful college and I got an excellent education there. Best of luck to all the staff and faculty.  Warmest Regards, Dr. Sharilyn Adams, Psy.d.


Thanks for all you guys did for me while in school at Ryokan.  I will send light to you and the staff for a peaceful transition. Arthur A. Stern


First I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort you have put into the accreditation process and also to taking on the BOP. I can only imagine how difficult this decision has been for you. Thank you so much for all of your tireless work over the years. Many talented and well-prepared professionals contribute to the improvement of individual, family, and community life thanks to Ryokan. Connie Collins


I could not sleep last night when late at night I read your email with the sad news. I am feeling like I lost my home and my family. Ryokan was not as large as UCLA or other big university but just being small, gave it quality and closeness with the instructors, stuff  and schoolmates.. also as students, we had so much opportunity to discuss  the materials and benefit from the guidance of instructors and students in the class better. I wish we could help somehow to keep Ryokan active. One thing which is very important is your great service to the community and all those who studied or graduated from Ryokan. I am very grateful for all you did and appreciate all your hard work for Ryokan. I still have the  wonderful memory  when I met you  for the first time; you interviewed me if I could be a candidate for Psy.D.  I was so excited at the same time nervous that finally I took the first step to reach my goal and I was so happy when I was accepted to college. I am always grateful for that. Regards and Respects Always, Manijeh- Maggie Ahouraian


I am so sorry to hear of this news. You have been a great support and very responsive to all of my needs while I was a student in the PSY.D program completing my Dissertation with the guidance of Dr. Smith in 2016. Thank you for all your dedication and hard work. With much appreciation. Cecelia Mylett, Psy.D.


I was initially focused on what Ryokan's closure would mean to meeeeeeeeeeee, and over the weekend I started to think about you all. I want to thank you for the amazing, enriching experience I had with you over the last year. You created a fantastic learning environment - fun and warm and familial. I loved being at Ryokan. My heart is heavy for you, having to close the 'home' that you created and made so special. I hope you find new endeavors that appreciate and excite you. I am grateful for the gifts you've given me. I hold you in my heart. Love, Jonna Tomasas


Thank you for the information. I am so saddened by this news and please know over the years you have been loving, kind and supportive. I wish you well in future endeavors. Please know that you are leaving a Noble Legacy of competent practitioners. Lisa Klein, Psy.D.


Wow. The intent of that bill was to close the fake diploma mills not actual schools that were running correctly. Sorry to hear this. I assumed the school (undergrad and graduate programs) were going to be fine, just the Psy.D. program was at risk. Unfortunately, sometimes our well meaning politicians create more problems then they solve.  My thoughts go out to the entire school administration, staff, students and alumni who dedicated 40 years to this institution of higher learning. Thank you for all you and the administration/staff have done to help students find their voice in this profession. During this season of thankfulness, the staff and administration should be thankful for the years of service to our industry as alumni are thankful for the Ryokan experience. Sincerely, Patrick Kelly


Heartbroken, yet grateful beyond comprehension. Some years ago, I was a dropout, an ex-convict, an ex-addict, and self-made as only the desperate can be. Back then, I sought help from a psychotherapist (a Ryokan graduate).  That man helped me turn life around - and encouraged me to "stop being a dropout." I enrolled at Ryokan, earned a BA, earned an MA, and just completed doctoral coursework. During that time, I've become able to serve my clients as a degreed, state licensed professional man. I've taken a leadership position in my community, and have encouraged others to begin and/or return to their education. I am a far, far better man for the humane education and challenges presented by Ryokan College.I am saddened to see the state's maniac dance - and the awful spectre of MONEY - bring an untimely end to the mission here......but I am certain that those who came before me, along with those in my cohort, will continue the good works started here. Steve, Monica, Roz...every person with whom I've had regular contact in and around the school has lightened my load and improved my ability to serve people who are hurting. Thank you for everything you've done. Sincerely, Douglas Caine, MA, LDAAC, CATC-IV, and a BMF.


I am very shocked and saddened to hear you are closing your doors for good! Ryokan was probably one of the best experiences I had in my life as well as extremely rewarding. I thoroughly enjoyed every class, the instructors, the students, and the encouragement and support I received from you when my life became more complicated. It took me longer than expected but I accomplished a dream/goal I yearned for in undergraduate school.I couldn’t have completed this without you. I will miss contact with you and wish everyone from Ryokan good luck in their next venture. My very best to both of you! Be well and keep in touch. Nadine Krull