On this page, you’ll find wonderful endorsements for the writings and works of our founders Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman. You’ll also find a small sampling from thousands of endorsements written by clients of The Option Institute.

Writings and Works

The search for peace in the world must start within the human heart and within our own families. Barry Neil Kaufman understands that. By personal example and through his writing and counseling, he gives a compelling vision for the building of inner and outer peace.

President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

If there were a Nobel Prize for love, I’d want the Kaufmans to be the first to receive one.”

Dr. Wayne Dyer, Author, Change Your Thoughts — Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Barry Neil Kaufman champions making the choice to believe in ourselves, to be hopeful and seize the power of loving ourselves and others.”

Lou Holtz, Head Football Coach, University of Notre Dame

Inspiring, groundbreaking and visionary. Barry Neil Kaufman’s work is the science of love, compassion and insight which will transform the world.”

Deepak Chopra, M.D. Author, Quantum Healing

I have long admired the work of Barry Neil Kaufman. He reveals the options and choices we can all make to find the road to happiness. Simple and effective for all.”

Bernie Siegel, M.D. Author, Love, Medicine, and Miracles

Barry Neil Kaufman is a gift to our world and his writings are among our treasures. Now, once more, the human community is blessed, this time by the extraordinary book, NO REGRETS. Thank you, Barry, for showing us again how grace and love can become part of our everyday experience.

Neale Donald Walsch, Author, Conversations With God

Barry Neil Kaufman’s work affirms the unlimited potential of the human spirit and offers hope to those who have been challenged by adversity.”

Coretta Scott King,, Founder, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Mr. Kaufman’s moving and eloquent account of his son’s recovery vividly illustrates the power of parental love expressed through imagination, understanding and perseverance . . . a remarkable adventure story.”


The kind of love everyone secretly wants but is afraid to ask for.”

Los Angeles Times

Kaufman’s story of accomplishing the impossible is engrossing and moving. This valuable book, Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, is not only fascinating on its own, but a source of encouragement to others.”

Publishers Weekly

Heartwarming . . . makes an eloquent statement for human understanding and compassion.”

Chicago Sun-Times

God’s grace abounds in the Kaufmans’ work with families and children!”

The Reverend Elizabeth S. Gombach, M. Div. Minister, United Methodist Church

Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues (by Barry Neil Kaufman) is brilliant, heartfelt, poignant. As a physician working with the developmentally disabled, I urge educators and health-care providers to applaud and incorporate the Kaufmans’ methods.”

Patricia Weber, M.D., Fircrest Rehabilitation Center, Seattle

I have been a psychiatrist for thirty years. Never before has any process taught me so much about how to be with others. Barry Neil Kaufman’s work in The Option Process® is clear, precise and packs a punch. At the center of this process are the principles of being present, being loving, accepting others and being nondirective. To have been given these tools and principles is a great gift indeed. I am grateful.”

Ted McCarthy, M.D., Chief of Psychiatry, Mercy Hospital, Maine

For over ten years, I have been in the business of helping diverse people work together to solve complex issues. I found one of the most powerful techniques to use in erasing barriers between people: Barry Neil Kaufman’s PowerDialoguesSM. At a time of crisis in my own life, I learned The Option Process® Dialogue.Not only did it help me to transform myself, but I also now teach it in my own work. As a result, the groups that I work with are more productive, more successful than ever before, and serve as role models within their organizations! This process has been critical to their success!”

Michael Rubell, President and Senior Consultant, TeamWorks International, New Jersey

His work is wise and liberating.

Harold S. Kushner, Author, When Bad Things Happen to Good People

The Kaufmans’ dedication is extraordinary.”

Joanne Woodward, Actor/Director

Love that comprehends and respects an inner sanctum of being without violating its uniqueness has always produced miracles – human miracles. The Kaufmans’ work reminds us once again of our under-used power to celebrate and ennoble life.”

Norman Cousins, Author, Anatomy Of An Illness

Fascinating and compelling.

Library Journal

An amazing adventure towards self-empowerment. I salute the work of this healer whose inspiring message of hope and optimism dares us to achieve the seemingly impossible.”

Paul Winter, Composer/Musician, Environmentalist and Director of The Paul Winter Consort

A fantastic and deeply moving book. The Kaufmans‘ capacity for loving gives me hope in a heartbreaking time when so many people seem to have turned their backs on children.”

Eda J. LeShan, Columnist/Author/Child Psychotherapist

The Kaufmans‘ work is love in action.”

John S. Weltner, Child Psychiatrist, Co-President, Society for Family Therapy and Research

Client Endorsements of The Option Institute

Below, you’ll find a small sampling from thousands of endorsements written by clients of The Option Institute.

If only I had known years ago that there is a place I could have come to live and practice being the person I always knew I could be. A place with a specific, simple approach to living a fun and joyous life. A place with stunning vistas and brilliant teachers. My life now seems like a sweet journey. I am forever grateful for my expanding capacity to love, accept myself and others and live with passion.”

Jennifer Quinlan, Radio Host, California

The capstone of my learning at The Option Institute is that acceptance of myself, my neighbor, my situation, my past, my present, my future enables me to touch the divinity within myself. This produces a feeling of ecstasy so pervasive that I am now calm, peaceful, confident, fearless, authentic and happy.”

Charles M.P. Lim, Physician, Singapore

Four years ago I spent the summer at The Option Institute as a volunteer. Those two months had a profound and lasting effect on my personal well being. Having just graduated from college, I chose to return to the Grand Summer Sequence Program (formerly Living The Dream), to give myself the greatest gift I could imagine as I venture out into the next phase of my life. I know that I now possess a phenomenal ability to create my own reality at every moment and in any situation. My clarity, sense of purpose and well being are now unflappable. Thank you, Option Institute. Look out world, here I come!

Chiara D’Amore, Graduate Student, North Carolina

For me, coming to The Option Institute was like coming home to a place I had always known existed but never found – somewhere warm, fresh, full of trust, honesty and unconditional love. I felt continually embraced and aware of life – embraced not just physically, but by the very atmosphere itself. I have had many holidays for relaxation, exercise and enjoyment, but this is the first time I have ever given my soul a holiday.”

Clare Bradley, Government Manager, United Kingdom

I feel so blessed to have found The Option Process®. To achieve such miraculous and lifelong changes from such a subtle and gentle process has been a wonderful revelation to me. The love and acceptance I felt taught me that there is an easy and wondrous way to grow comfortably. I now feel such a profound sense of peace, safety and security within.”

Guy Bowden, Director, Kenya

The turning point of my life! I changed from a critical person to someone with an unlimited capacity for loving people. This program has been an exciting, awesome, amazing journey into myself.”

Mary Anne Joseph, Special Education, Malaysia

The Grand Summer Sequence Program has been the best gift I could give myself. I have made friendships which will last forever, while continuing to grow personally. The Option Institute and the Option Process® have been instrumental in my personal and business success. What I learned this summer will improve my life and the lives of those I touch. The teaching staff and support people are truly the greatest team of people I have ever come in contact with. You walk your talk and strive for excellence in every way. You are the greatest.”

David M. Tully, President, SMB Corp., Washington

The best experience of my whole life. The entire environment is so conducive to growth. The tranquility of the grounds, the beauty of the people, the love of the staff all invite you to go inside yourself and come out with peace and happiness. The teachers are totally focused and they gently guide each participant to reach their goal – happiness. This experience is how I always dreamed living should be.”

Elizabeth Weber, Teacher, Guatemala

I am amazed at the wondrous miracles that occur in the serene setting of loving, caring, accepting people applying simple, yet elusive principles that transform lives! As I watch class members from many walks of life free themselves of beliefs that do not serve them and move on to accomplish their goals with true happiness, I too am able to deal with similar issues in a productive way that frees me to be happy no matter what! WOW! I feel truly free of major roadblocks, and I am so grateful to The Option Institute team for their profound teachings!”

Julie Hilton, Business Executive/Attorney/Mediator, Florida

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The Option Institute and its teachers have had the honor to present programs (during the last four decades) that explore the attitudes and beliefs we have (and may want to change) and to help program participants find their own answers to questions about relationships, careers, family challenges and health issues. Our new program, Health & Healing: Navigating Life’s Health Challenges (formerly '5 Days to Live') , focuses on navigating significant health challenges and decision-making with greater ease, clarity, and clear purpose.

We are not a medical facility and we do not dispense any medical advice. We have and would always guide our program participants, to consult with their doctors, healthcare providers, and family members in making medical decisions for themselves and those they love. Neither Mass General Hospital nor any member of its medical staff endorses any program being offered by the Option Institute and its teachers.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration



PRE-REQUISITES for attending Advanced Power Dialogues are:

  • Completion of The Option Institute’s PowerDialogues program.
  • If it’s been more than 5 years since you attended PowerDialogues, please call 413-229-2100 to discuss options.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar