What Is Our General Intent?
To provide an internationally acclaimed certified multi-level career-training program where participants gain the skills to conduct our peace educating programs worldwide — programs that help young people:
If you would like more information about training, please contact us at the Atrium Society.
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– The Essential Intent – Peace – What Prevents It? Understanding the Conditioned Mind
Resources and training for peace educators, teachers, counselors, social workers, parents and students to help young people to understand and effectively cope with the harmful effects of prejudicial conditioned thinking – from the playground to the battlefield.
Presenters: Dr. Terrence and Jean Webster-Doyle, prominent educators in the field of Conflict Prevention, are co-creators of over fifty internationally acclaimed, award-winning resources for understanding what prevents peace – biological conditioning that manifests as psychological conditioned thinking. The Webster-Doyles have traveled and taught internationally for over twenty years. They will present conflict prevention resources that can address this critical concern and will offer training programs to teach these insights.
The Atrium Society has training courses for all the programs in the Framework – the "Eight Stages for the Bully/Victim Cycle – from the Playground to the Battlefield." The first two courses below are special presentations that explore more deeply the roots of conflict created by biological conditioning that creates psychological conditioned thinking. We feel that these two courses address this fundamental core conditioning that gives the teacher and student a broader and more profound look at what prevents peace. But it is also important to consider the other Eight Stages as apart of the total picture of what prevents peace through conditioned thinking.
We can offer you any and all of these programs. We encourage you to look through them to see how they can meet your varied needs with working with young people. They would be taught over a necessary time period that would allow the training to include an in-depth experience of the essential elements of what the curriculum has to offer so that upon the completion of the Training Course(s) participants would have enough of an understanding that they could then teach the course at that time.
The third special Training Course provides participants with a comprehensive in-depth program that can help young people to "develop an overall confidence to cope successfully with being bullied." It is a "combination of humane self-protection skills, character development, conflict education, and living skills. All these seemingly separate parts do make up a whole system of "self-defense." This program has been honored with numerous acclaims and awards for it success in dealing effectively with children being bullied.
The Training Courses will include interactive dialogue, and activities and role-plays from the curriculum.
Are We Hardwired for War? What Created this Battle in my Brain?
A Genetically Instinctive Survival Reaction
“Most honest combat vets will tell you, perhaps not eloquently but in their own way, the same thing: essentially that combat is in our human DNA and demands to be exercised…The question is, Can we humans evolve peacefully, or will we succumb to instincts we can’t transcend?”
– Quote from a former Marine Corp helicopter pilot in Vietnam
“Instinct Theory states that motivation is the result of biological, genetic programming. Therefore, all beings within a species are programmed for the same motivations. At the heart of this perspective, is the motivation to survive – we are biologically programmed to survive. And, all of our behaviors and motivations stem from biological programming. Thus, are actions are instincts – any quality that increases survival will eventually become genetically based. Thus we are genetically predisposed to perform certain social behaviors when situational cues call forth ancient instincts.”
Do we need to have an enemy to feel safe, to feel secure – to survive?
Is it possible that what is inciting people to go to war is a genetically generated misguided instinct for survival – a primal biologically based tendency for continued existence that is paradoxically preventing it? If so, what are the factors that create and sustain this conflict based on this inappropriate biological and instinctual necessity for survival?
In this Training the Webster-Doyles will present a critical insight that the basis for war originates from the human race’s need for it’s continued existence on the psychological identification with primitive divisive ethnocentric ideological ways of living that by their very nature create conflict – that this need creates a biological compulsion that defends against any apparent threat to this perceived responsibility – real or supposed. If in fact that this is correct the essential question is then if we are hardwired for war in this way, who then is to blame, who then is at fault, and therefore is there then any reason for retribution, to retaliate for a misguided instinct for survival, a biologically inappropriate act war? So what is the enemy?
With the right educational environment one can observe that this misguided need is paradoxically preventing our survival and in that light of awareness it can self-correct to now function in the appropriate way to actually insure our survival.
Are We Born To Bully?
Are Children’s Brains Being Biologically Programmed for Violence – From the Playground to the Battlefield?
This Training explores violence in the media as being paradoxically an essential prerequisite to prepare young people for combat. When young people look at what is happening around them in society and see the tremendous violence, they feel an urgent call for ways to defend themselves. This is not a conscious choice but a biologically based genetic demand to sustain a defense against what the brain sees as a threat, to keep the combat part of the survival structure intact in preparation for future dangers. This biological genetic preparation for combat has been programmed into the brain and has been operating for thousands of years. It is compelled to keep this primitive hardwired program primed and ready to ensure its continued existence. The illogicality of this reaction is that the brain is mistakenly recreating this defense system by reacting to these violent media images as if it was real – to be an actual threat when they are not. With the right kind of education this maladjusted biological program can be seen for what it is – and in that intentional awareness – proprioceptive Learning – it can be brought to a state of abeyance through the awakening of intelligence.
Is Your Child Being Bullied? – Martial Arts for Peace – A Proven Solution That Works!
“Some experts are writing about bullying telling us about this terrible problem,
citing statistics about how many of our children have been bullied and how bad it’s getting.
Statistics don’t stop bullying. We already know what the problem is.
What we need now are solutions that work – to avoid, resolve and manage it.”
Bullying stems from our frantic need to succeed in this exceedingly competitive society. Young people see that in order to survive they have to “get ahead” and in doing that they take on the role of either a bully or victim. This is based on a “survival of the fittest” philosophy that says in order to be successful you have to be aggressive. Young people see that those who are aggressive and bully are rewarded by society. This is what they have been taught – “If you want to get ahead then be tough, be strong.” So the question is are there other ways to get what they need without becoming bullies? And how can our children learn to skillfully cope with bullying that exists now in their schools before it gets to the stage of bullying in the workplace or bullying on the battlefield?
Using a specially designed Martial Arts for Peace Child Safe Program called S.O.S. – Self Options Self-defense — an age appropriate, developmentally sound, non-lethal integrated system of physical and mental martial arts self-defense skills – young people can develop an overall confidence to cope successfully with being bullied. This unique internationally acclaimed, award-winning program is a combination of compassionate self-protection skills, character development, conflict education, and living skills. All these seemingly separate parts do make up a whole system of “self-defense” so young people can “succeed” in society in an intelligent and humane way.
Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle is a Sixth Degree Black Belt in the Art of Karate, having spent the last 50 years in this field teaching and writing about martial arts that are for peace. Jean Webster-Doyle is a certified Master Trainer and Teacher in the Martial Arts for Peace Child Safe Program.
"Mark, a severe ADHD kid who used to throw temper tantrums at the least provocation, now tries to resolve conflict with words. According to his mom, we have made more progress with him in three months than his psychologist has made in three years."
- Gary Ritterhaus, Educator speaking about the Character for Kids – Life Skills Program
In this area we are reproducing a few letters written to the Atrium by students who underwent the Education for Peace Training.
Marvin Garbeh Davis is from Liberia, West Africa and is the first student to train in the Atrium Education for Peace Curricula. Marvin was a refugee in The Gambia when he made his first contact with the Atrium and consequently enrolled in the program. He graduated and went back home where he started the Common Ground Society, a local nonprofit dedicated to teaching young people to understand the underlying causes of conflict. The letter below was written to the President of the Atrium Society and prospective students interested in studying the Atrium Education for Peace Training program.
Dear Prospective Student
I completed the Youth Peace Literacy/Education for Peace (YPL/EFP) in 2004 and with the assistance of the Atrium Society the following year started the Common Ground Society Peace School. In reflection I can only say one thing: enrolling in the EFP was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my personal life and career.
The skills I acquired, as a student has been very useful and suitable in my work especially as it relates to dealing with diverse groups and populations. Besides, the training helped in understanding myself and in transforming my ways in relating with others in a sane and intelligent way.
Unlike other peace education or conflict resolution courses, the YPL/EFP program does not offer solutions, methods, conclusions or hopes for peace. Neither does it advocate a particular ideology for peace. On the contrary, and exhilaratingly too, the course raises a platform that allows for mutual dialogues between teacher and student on questions about what prevents peace. This pattern of deliberations creates an inquiry into the nature and structure of conflict thereby bringing the student in direct contact with what creates conflict.
One of the greatest challenges that face humanity in the 21st century understands what creates conflict or what prevents peace. Having an insight into this very important question to me is the most edifying bestowal the YPL/EFP program has presented me. The YPL/EFP program is truly a worthwhile human journey to embark upon.
Marvin G Davis
Certified Teacher/Trainer in the Youth Peace Literacy/Education for Peace Program Founder/Director Common Ground Society Liberia
Dear Atrium Society Readers and Potential Trainees,
My name is Sally Hedley and I live in Chico, CA. I am a Liberal Studies graduate from California State University, Chico. I am training to become an elementary school teacher. I met Marvin Davis at my first placement at Marigold Elementary School. His powerful speech about his classroom in Liberia touched my heart because we have so much wealth and resources in America and do not truly appreciate or share them with the world. Also he invited any one who wanted training to contact Jean Webster-Doyle.
In January 2009, I completed my seven week training with Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle and his wife Jean. They are kind, intelligence, and sensitive people who strive to make a difference in the lives of children as well as adults. We went through Dr. Webster-Doyle’s curriculum –Why is Everybody Always Picking on Me? We also discussed his other books on the same concept- the source of conflict, which is psychological conditioning.
I learned that from the playground to the battlefield the same problems of prejudice and ignorance arise from perceived images in the mind. The images are linked to a fight or flight response that says “Identification with this group (race, tribe, organization, state, country) ensures my survival.” This fragmented thinking is the source of bullying and disharmony. It is the reason the bully-victim cycle has such a stronghold over us.
I am now at another elementary school for the second half of my credential training. The students at this school have incredible odds against them including poverty, racism, and constant bullying from society, the school, and each other. There is physical and psychological bullying bombarding their lives.
I decided that even though I am “just” the student teacher, these students needed to understand where their conflict was coming from and to learn strategies for deterring bullying and living peacefully. As a class, we have successfully completed the first and two lessons. I divided each lesson into manageable segments that we do every Wednesday and Friday. The first week, the students and I created a chart of “Ways we've been bullied” and “Ways we’ve bullied.” The children had many examples of sibling and school bullying. I had them imitate what a bully and victim look like.
The next lessons showed that the students are beginning to understand the concepts and stories represented in Dr. Webster-Doyle’s curriculum and handbook. One student showed me a drawing of bullies and victims that had masks on. He said, “Mrs. Hedley, those are the masks people wear” and was referring to how outward actions are used to cover up inward feelings. In other words, bullies are victims in disguise. It was incredible to see their drawings and sentences that answered the questions: “What is a bully?” and “What is a victim?” We talked about the different types of bullies and victims and how the bully-victim cycle is what prevents peace in our classroom and our lives. I included many examples from my childhood and told them how my sister and I used to continually bully each other and that we couldn’t break the cycle because we were playing the roles of bully and victim over and over again.
I will be continuing 'Why is Everybody Always Picking on Me?' with my students and will update their progress along the way.
Thank you for your time.
Dear Atrium Society,
My name is Daniel Moglen, and I currently reside in Chico, CA. Being a substitute teacher, I see a variety of students and classes, ranging from elementary to high school level. Although each class is amazingly different, each class has distinct similarities.
One similarity in particular is that the students exhibit patterns of conditioned thinking. They go throughout the day reacting to cues/bells/words. It is as if they are herded to one place to another, physically and mentally. They line up when the bell rings, become quiet when certain words are sung, etc.
This conditioned thinking is useful from the perspective of the teacher (and perhaps even society). How else would you get a group of thirty kids to quiet themselves?
The drawback is that the conditioned thinking so permeates their experience that they often do not realize when they are causing harm to other children. This is manifested in forms of emotional and physical bullying.
Trapped in the bully/victim cycle, it is commonplace for one student to hurt the feelings of another, even when the so-called consequences are certain to come. The teachers are even reacting in their own conditioned way, attempting to resolve the conflict through talking or intervention. Little is done to prevent it.
How can this cycle be broken in order to prevent children from become adults who bully? Being predisposed to conditioning, they may even become warriors, putting themselves and others in harm’s way.
This prevention is at the root of the curriculum that I'm learning from Dr. Terrence and Jean Webster-Doyle. Their work is extensive in the field of peace education. With care and passion, they have constructed this curriculum.
The students have responded well to the lessons. Given that bullying is an experience that every student can relate to, they become alive with sharing their experiences.
Making this issue a central one at schools will show to the students, as well as to the teachers, that we bully because of our conditioning. And by becoming aware of our conditioning we can break it.
I’m extremely grateful to Dr. Terrence and Jean Webster-Doyle for their strength and perseverance in their work.
Dear Perspective Students:
My involvement in the Bullying Education Program with the Atrium Society has reassured me of the importance of every teacher, parent and child to learn the essential life skills that will help facilitate a healthier relationship with the people around us.
I am an educator from Japan that has taught children from kindergarten through third grade. Currently, the Japanese education system is failing drastically to facilitate a supportive environment in which children feel safe from being bullied at home, at school and in our communities. Hence, Japan is in anguish as bullied kids commit suicide in large numbers. According to a Japanese research conducted in 2008, children as early as 9 years old have thought of about taking their lives because of being bullied at school. However, there seems to be little but no intervention within the Japanese society to do anything about the issue.
The Bullying issue is not merely related to Japan only but is in fact a world wide epidemic. Within North America alone, there is variety of bullying intervention programs. However, one thing that I have noticed is that they only touch on the surface level issues of bullying. That is to say they teach peaceful conflict resolution skills that may be useful in the short term but they don’t cure the deep-rooted issue of bullying in preventing it.
The program at Atrium society has helped me to understand that bullying is in fact a learned process between people. From a young age, we are all conditioned by erroneous information about other people around us who we think are different, hence habitually compelling us to bully them merely because they are a threat to our own ethnocentric identity. The bullying program at Atrium society is crafted in ways so children and the teacher can unravel and break free from this type of destructive conditioned thinking.
As my first phase of training with the Atrium society is coming to an end, I am looking forward to implementing the Bullying Program in Japan very soon. Hence my goal is to help children to feel confident with their unique characteristics and eliminate judgments on others because they are different from us. Though the task to assist millions of struggling children to be free of bullying seems like the impossible assignment, I know it’s worth it if I can influence just one child to break free from the harmful effects of the bully/victim cycle.
Love and care,