Simon brings to his facilitation years of exploration of self-inquiry, non-dual contemplative traditions, and meditative practices; the perspectives of post-conventional human development and soul-centric depth psychology; and his long experience with artistry and the creative process. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from the University of Auckland and a master’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology from Columbia University; is a Certified Trainer of Focusing, a mindfulness-based, somatic approach to psychological healing and development; has completed a yearlong Soulcraft and vision quest immersion with Bill Plotkin and Animas Valley Institute while also certifying as a Purpose Guide through Purpose Guides Institute and studying in Thomas Hübl’s Academy of Inner Science; and is currently pursuing doctoral studies in psychology and philosophy. He has been a director with organizations active in international sustainable development and social entrepreneurship, leadership development, and mental health, and is currently affiliated with the Post Growth Institute, the Center for Ecozoic Studies, and the Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain. He was led from his New Zealand homeland to the US by his career as a recording artist and songwriter.
TRAININGS AND CERTIFICATIONS
Master’s degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, Columbia University, New York
Certified Trainer of Focusing, a mindfulness-based, somatic approach to counseling and psychological healing and development (including completion of two-year certification training in Focusing for Mental Health Professionals through the International Focusing Institute)
Yearlong Soulcraft Immersion and Vision Quest with Bill Plotkin and Geneen Marie Haugen through Animas Valley Institute
Certified Purpose Guide through Purpose Guides Institute
Extensive studies in adult development; non-dual traditions; integral psychology; depth psychology; depth-oriented life purpose discovery and embodiment; and Eastern and Western wisdom traditions
15+ years meditation practice
10+ years Alexander Technique study
Various additional counseling trainings, group facilitation trainings, and mind-body trainings
Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Current PhD student investigating the intersection of post-conventional psychological development and cultural change
THE FULL STORY
Growing up in New Zealand, I had an abiding sense that life held profound potential, richness, and beauty. At the same time, my experience was one of feeling somehow disconnected from that potential—and eventually plagued by an underlying sense of despair, emptiness, and desperation. I think it was this combination that launched me wholeheartedly onto the journey of self-inquiry.
Until then, my deep interest in understanding the forces that shape our world—and especially how we might be able to create more life-supporting economic dynamics—led me to a lifelong interest in political economy and my bachelor’s degree in economics and finance. I was also enthralled by the desire to create music that somehow expressed some of the beauty and vastness that I sensed. I found it challenging to balance these dual passions. I had set myself up for initial success in a more reliable setting—and I was excited about this—but as I neared the end of my final undergraduate year and prepared to enter graduate studies in 2003, I was finally able to muster the courage to follow what I felt was whispering to me somewhere in the depths of my being: continuing my fledgling adventure with music. As risky as it felt to follow, and as empty and confused as I felt somewhere inside myself at that time in my life, something told me that, somehow, this unknown and alluring path with music and the muse could reveal what I was searching for.
My ensuing nine-year journey as a songwriter and recording artist based first in Los Angeles and then in New York was closely intertwined with my own personal journey of deep self-inquiry, contemplative practice, and transformative experiences. It was a potent mix of delving into the mysteries of creativity and the heart; walking an unknown and exhilarating path characterized by formidable challenges and opportunities; and meeting my deepest fears, wounds, and longings. This crucible crushed me and opened me, revealing a freedom and connection I had never known and which became the foundation upon which my life continued to unfold.
I was dedicated to following what I felt calling within. From all my studies and practices and teachers, I had assumed that discovering this core freedom and surrender would mark some kind of an “end” to the journey—some kind of point of arrival. However, the more deeply I started to move into this space, the more alive with a kind of creative expression and love it seemed to become, and I realized that this was only the beginning of the real journey. Life became about exploring what it is to integrate these essential discoveries with the lived experience of life in all its challenges and limitations and possibilities—an exploration of how to live in service to one’s deepest call and knowing, and in participation with the creative process of what wants to be born.
My artistic path and the way it supported my journey of self-inquiry had been a true gift. Eventually, I found my directions expanding, and I sought formal training and studies in psychology and related disciplines to further my understanding of human development and my ability to support others in their journeys. Previously, my experiences in this regard had largely been in the domains of non-dual mystical traditions, meditative lineages, archetypal work, and the creative and artistic realms. I then pursued a number of other trainings that expanded upon what I had already learned (many of these are listed in the qualifications section below). As I continued to grow and learn, the fundamental recognitions of inherent freedom and wholeness remained the ultimate ground of my orientation, but the beautiful complexity of the human experience in its rich exchange with the vastness of life and its endless capacity for learning, growth, creative brilliance, and participation in life’s evolution also became an important part of my orientation. I enjoy knowing that my understanding of human development and of life will probably always be incomplete and expanding, just like my own journey continues to unfold in new and unexpected ways.
Since moving from New York to North Carolina and founding my practice in 2015, working with individuals and groups in transformative settings has become my focus. I eventually came to call this work Emergent Inquiry, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to support people in walking their most authentic path in alignment with the core of who they are.