FoundersThe Option Institute® International Learning and Training Center, is a nonprofit, educational organization founded in 1983 by Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, who actively teach in Institute programs. Barry Neil Kaufman is the best-selling author of 12 books (one written jointly with his wife) on the Option Process® and The Son-Rise Program®, including Happiness Is A Choice, Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, and PowerDialogues. There are over three million copies of their books in print in over 65 countries. They are two-time recipients of the Christopher Award and received the Humanitas Prize for writing books and a screenplay that celebrate the dignity and inspiration of humanity.

Bears and Samahria started teaching The Option Process in 1972 and 11 years later established The Option Institute offering self-improvement workshops to adults. The Option Institute is situated on an expansive 100-acre campus on a Berkshire mountainside in Massachusetts and has a full-time staff of over 75 dedicated individuals. In the last 35 years, individuals from over 124 different countries have attended programs at the Option Institute.

srwasamThe Kaufmans are also the originators of The Son-Rise Program which is taught at the Autism Treatment Center of America, a division of the Option Institute. The Son-Rise Program methodology evolved when their son, Raun, was diagnosed with Autism. Refusing to give up on their son’s future, Bears and Samahria worked over eight hours a day with Raun for more than three years, resulting in his full recovery from Autism.

Raun went on to graduate from an Ivy League university and to become the director of an educational center for school-aged children. Today he is the Director of Global Education at the Option Institute and the Autism Treatment Center of America. Raun teaches on campus in addition to lecturing worldwide to help parents of children challenged by Autism or other developmental difficulties. Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, the story of Bears’ and Samahria’s work with Raun, became a bestselling book and award-winning NBCTV movie viewed worldwide.


The Kaufmans wanted to express their gratitude in a further more personal way for what they had learned in their journey with their son Raun. In addition to raising their own three children, they chose to adopt three more children from circumstances of trauma.

One of their sons had been seriously malnourished, resulting in physiological, motor and other challenges. Bears and Samahria worked with him and he thrived, demonstrating a keen mind and a wonderful ability to learn. Another son, whose mother had died and who had his throat slit by his birth father, found support, guidance and love in the expanding Kaufman family. Their adoption of an eleven year old girl from El Salvador, also a trauma survivor, completed their expanding multi-racial, multi-cultural family… still growing evermore with grandchildren.

The Option Institute and the work of Bears and Samahria Kaufman have been featured in over 2,000 articles and programs published or broadcast in major media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Parenting Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Good Morning America and in interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue among others.


The Kaufmans’ books and works have been endorsed by well-respected figures including President Jimmy Carter, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Carl Rogers, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Bernie Siegel, Norman Cousins, Lou Holtz, John Bradshaw, and Harold S. Kushner.

Bears says of his life’s work… “For Samahria and me, we clearly see our personal challenges as gifts to help us grow stronger and to create more love and sustained happiness in our lives. Our life’s work has allowed us the privilege, honor, and blessing to be able to help others facing their own challenges. Not just to teach them how to find their own best solutions to adversity and the surprises of life, but also to teach them a solid methodology and attitude they can implement to fill their own lives with a sense of ease, self-trust, empowerment and happiness. The title of my book, Happiness Is A Choice, speaks to the heart of what’s possible – to choose happiness and love even during tough times.”

The Core of What We Teach

A letter from the Co-Founder of The Option Institute – Barry Neil Kaufman

“At The Option Institute, we teach people unique and practical tools to build the life experience they desire. How?
“It begins with a radical departure from everything we’ve been taught. Many of us have heard of the popular psychological model of stimulus-response. The dog barks, I get scared. My friend compliments me, I feel happy. This model has helped spawn a culture where we see our emotions and experiences as being caused by people and events around us. As a result, we often try to change our circumstances and the people around us so that we can feel good or, at least, not feel bad.

“This approach leaves most of us feeling like victims. We believe that, if we could just get our loved ones to treat us right, or our finances to increase, or the roads to be traffic-free, we would feel better. But there’s always something else. Even without major life events such as divorce, bankruptcy, illness or loss of a loved one, many of us experience deep distress and discomfort.

The Option Institute modifies the stimulus-response paradigm with a simple twist. We introduce a third component: BELIEF. Every stimulus that elicits a response from us is first filtered and processed by one or more beliefs. As our beliefs change, so do our responses and experiences. This simple shift changes everything in our lives, moving us from the passenger’s seat into the driver’s seat. We call this new paradigm the Happiness GPS® because it helps you identify where you are and allows you to navigate to where you want to go (In terms of your own happiness and emotional well-being).

“For instance, two parents watching their daughter getting married can have different experiences – one is happy and the other is distressed. How do we explain 2 people witnessing the same event (the same stimulus) having diametrically opposed responses? Simple – each one holds different beliefs that filter their experience of the wedding. One sees it as wonderful – believing that their daughter will be happy and the family will grow. The other sees it as terrible – believing they are losing their daughter and that they will be lonely without her. This simple illustration is a microcosm of the myriad ways our beliefs determine every response, from joy to anger, from kissing to shouting.

“The good news is: our beliefs are changeable. Our experience with thousands of people from across the globe has shown us that, when people use the tools that we provide, known collectively as The Option Process, they are able to uncover the beliefs fueling their responses and the underlying reasons for their beliefs. Moreover, they are able to change the beliefs that may be generating unhappiness, dysfunctional relationships or ineffective behaviors.

“In our highly interactive courses, we help people address ongoing challenges, find peace with catastrophic events, build more satisfying relationships and become efficient and effective at achieving their desires and dreams. We believe that the most effective way to help people change is to provide them with tools and opportunities to change, in an environment where they are completely accepted as they are, whether or not they change. We are happy to be, for many, the one place in the world where they can find just that.”


(Barry Neil Kaufman),
Co-founder of The Option Institute and Autism Treatment Center of America

Learn more about What we Teach.

Using the Happiness GPS®


Happiness I.Q.®

Definition: The measurement of a person’s capacity to choose emotional comfort and happiness irrespective of the stimulus.

Happiness I.Q. is determined by core belief structures about ourselves and our ability to decide how we feel and what we think.

Low Happiness I.Q. Beliefs:

  • I can’t choose how I feel. It depends on what happens (the stimulus).
  • I have to be unhappy, angry, worried, or upset in order to do what it takes to take care of myself, my child, etc.
  • It’s only human to get unhappy when things don’t go the way I want.
  • My mind just does what it does and thinks what it thinks. I can’t control it.
  • I am how I am. I have a limited capacity to change.


High Happiness I.Q. Beliefs:

  • How I feel isn’t determined by what happens (the stimulus) but by my beliefs about what happens.
    And I choose my beliefs.
  • I don’t need to get unhappy, angry, worried, or upset in order to take care of myself, my child, etc.
    I just need to know what I want.
  • There isn’t one predetermined “human” way to respond to things. I respond the way I want to respond,
    and so does everyone else.
  • I am the pilot of my mind and the creator of my thoughts and beliefs.
  • Since I decide who and how I am, and since I can always make new decisions,
    my capacity to change is limitless

Option Process® Dialogue: Introductory Questions
to raise your Happiness I.Q.®

  1. What is the stimulus?
  2. How do I feel about the stimulus?
  3. Why do I feel this way?
  4. What is my belief?
  5. Why do I believe that?
  • All beliefs are changeable.
  • Use the above questions to help yourself uncover your beliefs. Ask yourself these question in
    the most caring and accepting way possible.
  • Uncover the belief and choose whether you want to continue to hold it or change it for a new.
  • Change the belief and you change the feeling.

Testimonials for Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman
& Samahria Lyte Kaufman


Testimonials for Bears Kaufman


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


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


They should win a Nobel Prize for love.
– Dr. Wayne Dyer, Ph.D., Author, The Power of Intention


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’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.


Ah Bears, what can I say? Your teachings saved me. There are no words to express the difference my life has moved toward. Thank you for the tools and creating a place of love and safety that is so special.
– Karen Healey, Senior Administrative Assistant, New Hampshire


Bears is such a role model for how to love myself, how to grow myself and how to recognize and possibly achieve my wants.
– Robin McCarthy, Artist, Maine


Bears is a sheer pleasure to listen to, be facilitated by and learn from. His compassion, magnificent and probing mind, ‘attitude’, love and vast experience make him a master teacher. Thank you Bears!
– Lisa Steindorf, Feldenkraus Practitioner / Peace Educator, Germany


The most gentle, loving, and intelligent man in the world—Bears has the ability to connect with every single person in the room. I learned more from Bears in one week than I learned throughout my entire doctoral program in psychology. I often listen to his lecture tapes as a way to soothe myself and relax!
– Nicole Schumacher, Son-Rise Program Mom, Ohio


Dear Bears- Thank you for taking me into your heart. My experience of your teaching is always, always, of profound love in action. I trust every decision you make, who you go to, who you don’t, what you highlight, how you shape the class dynamics – it’s all completely wonderful – utterly the perfect stimulus for me. I deeply, passionately, and abidingly love you. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you.
– Alex Woolgar, Cognitive Neuroscientist, United Kingdom


I have heard from soooo many people that seeing the NBC movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love had a profound impact on them – something that moved them deeply, that they never forgot. For me it was reading To Love Is To Be Happy With – I read it in the late 70’s – before there was an Option Institute – and I never forgot the power of it, the incredible sense it made to me, the answer to so many questions, the questions that helped me find my own answers… It took me over 20 years to come upon Happiness Is A Choice – (which I read hungrily, often exclaiming aloud “Yes! Yes!”) and that wonderful little note at the end pointing me to the Option Institute and my first workshop, Empower Yourself -which changed my life in five days! [Arthur, my husband, thanks you too ;-)] and then the summer Living The Dream program(s) and ultimately becoming a Certified Option Process Mentor 11 years ago and moving to the Berkshires for the blessing of working closely with the Institute and the wonderful and courageous people there, and you Bears! The future was beckoning way back there in the 70’s when I first read To Love Is To Be Happy With… the cause was in the future and I am so grateful! Thank you for all you’ve done, for your persistence and persistent love – for being a force of nature, for illuminating the path for me and thousands of others.
– Lauren Astor, New York, Certified Option Process Mentor


The single best personal growth teacher on the planet—Bears is creative, insightful, and has the incredible ability to direct beliefs to facilitate lifelong changes toward happiness. I am blessed to have Bears in my life to hold up a mirror to the judgments I make that hold me back.
– Scott Sanes, Attorney, Massachusetts


Rock on Bears!! You encouraged me to honor and value my thoughts. You invited me to create connections, be specific, delight in anything that comes along. I have really enjoyed practicing that through the ‘dialogue’ sections of this week. Thank you for showing up at 100% Bears, 100% of the time.
– Nichola Lefroy, Scientist, Australia


I find Bears electric. His mind works so fast – for logic – and his consciousness of each person in the group presents a model for presence and deep love for all of the participants. Using him as a stimulus is an incredible opportunity to see myself uncover beliefs and change my experience of all stimuli in my life – I really love being with him and learning.
– Susan Levin, Son-Rise Program Mom, Massachusetts


I never met anyone who projects love so wholly as Bears. Even though he did not know me, it felt as though he’d known me forever. He gives me the inspiration to keep stepping up the mountain because he so clearly shows the reward.
– Tanya Costin, Son-Rise Program Mom, Australia


Bears is amazing. He has such an incredible ability to love every moment and I find inspiration for myself in that. I love how he takes each moment and is fully present and guides us to learn from everything, yet still always invents a thread to lead to the main concept he wants to teach that day.
– David Kronig, Legislative Assistant, Washington, D.C.


He is a man of knowledge. Each word that comes out of his mouth is like a pearl. So valuable that you cannot help but admire him.
– Arpy Melkonian, Teacher, Lebanon


One of the most intelligent and loving people I’ve ever met. He inspires me and has taught me in so many ways. I’ll be always grateful for that. I love his style of teaching which comes more from inspiration than planned agenda. Simply brilliant.
– Tal Gur, Entrepreneur, Australia


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, Washington


His love for us all shows very much and this brings a depth and sincerity to his classes that is hard to imagine anywhere else. His way of reasoning and the flow of classes is remarkable and inspiring.
– Benjamin Hoffmann, Design Innovator, Belgium


Funny, wise, and challenging. Simply the best at living and teaching these ideas, and at working a room. I have great love and respect for him.
– Mike Wagner, Military Planner, Maryland


Every class with Bears is a leap into the unknown – one that has deep and meaningful insights. If you stay with his ongoing process, you’ll travel miles in minutes.
– Tom McGinn, Student, Scotland


Bears is quite simply the most powerful, effective and enjoyable teacher I’ve ever had. His love and playfulness, coupled with his deep caring and wanting the best for each participant, help create an atmosphere of safety and trust.
– Phil Lomas, Psychiatrist, Wisconsin


Amazing at all levels.
– Fernanda Maier, Therapist & Teacher, Switzerland


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, Maine


Within seconds of Bears entering the room you know instantly that you are in for fun and major learning. Never have I ever or will I ever meet a more outrageously exciting, boisterous, caring, fun-loving person. He has taught me what to fill my life with in order to have continuous, unending joy. He taught me that each interaction is an opportunity to learn or change a belief. His humorous, upbeat style is compelling – you don’t want to miss a single second of whatever he has to say. I feel privileged and honored to know him. Thank you, Bears!
– Janice Simon, Housewife, England


Bears is a great student of human beings. He is like an artist and scientist interweaving stimulus and response into a beautiful dance of uncovering beliefs. My interactions with Bears were especially helpful for the goal I came with – to love more in my relationships. I feel very satisfied, challenged, and inspired!
– Brian McSweeney, Teacher, California


Bears is deeply intuitive, fatherly and has genuine concern for anything regarding whomever. The most loving eyes ever! He is a great teacher/lecturer/motivational speaker.
– Mina Okoloko, Lawyer, Nigeria


Take the most loving, accepting, RADICALLY authentic teacher/coach/exploration leader that can be imagined and then multiply by 1,000 and you have BEARS! Thank you, Bears, for giving the heart a language and a voice that can be learned by anyone willing to step out and speak ‘LOVE’, and a way to use what’s learned in life, relationships and the world.
– Jan-Marie Gundacker, Family Counselor, Connecticut


Bears is a true master. His teachings are brilliant. He reinforced what I knew inside but did it with humor and love and nonjudgment and grace, which allowed me to heal this week and feel completely at peace with myself. He has helped change my life forever. I love him!

– Suparna Bhasin, Coach/Consultant, New York


It’s such a thrill to experience a class with Bears! His playful and sometimes challenging insights really turned the world around for me this week. He always radiates such a love for us – it inspires you to reach deeper within.
– Selina Spowart, Son-Rise Mother, Australia


What I get from Bears is a personification of love in action – love for life, for growth, for challenge, and love of service. Bears is a model of contribution – of making everything and everyone into a gift and being a gift to everyone.
– Nico Panigutti, Production Manager, California


A great person, an awesome mentor and teacher, the father of my new life. A life full of love, free of fears and judgments. It’s unbelievable how Bears can teach us to ‘read’ ourselves with very little things and how deep he can go inside us to show us the way. Definitely the most amazing person I’ve ever met.
– Marcelo Cataldo, IT Manager, Paraguay


Superb! There aren’t enough words to describe the clarity, wit, love, compassion, and the unending giving that comes from this man, this teacher. Bears breaks all the conventions and lovingly embraces all. He supported us in creating a warm, loving, accepting community and in letting go of unhelpful ways of viewing ourselves and our world.
– Linda Neiman, Yoga Teacher/Bookkeeper, Israel


Absolutely THE MASTER – extremely challenging while totally being LOVING with biggest of hearts. I really feel his complete joy and devotion to sharing and teaching The Option Process to others.
– Jeannie Reid, Son-Rise Program Mom, Ohio


Very dynamic and challenging – Bears is an absolute inspiration. I felt safe to challenge myself in his classes. I love how present he is with us all and find his style of teaching to be terrifically insightful.
– Ami Dalal, Architect, India


Thank you Bears. You are the most aware and most loving teacher ever! As always, you challenged me, cajoled me, encouraged me, loved me and walked with me as I went deeply within myself to find truths and solutions that I used to make my life into a new, comfort-laden, joy-filled experience.
– Brian Ellis, Special Projects Coordinator, Connecticut


There are no words that explain how much I learned from him. He is a charismatic man with a wonderful way in speaking and lecturing. When Bears enters the room, I don’t feel that there is a lecture but I feel that there is lots of wisdom and information I’ll learn. Thanks a lot Bears; you are the best.
– Zeinah Jajeh, Student, Lebanon


Once again a master at your craft, rock solid, unmoving. As I said before, in the Zen Tradition, someone of your abilities is considered a keen-eyed lion. You are an inspiration. Thank you Bears!
– Shayu Talbot, Community Service Worker and Counselor, Canada


I love, love, love Bears’ teaching style. It is so refreshing and like nothing I have ever experienced. I feel like he has fed something within me that I didn’t know existed that has been slowly stirring away unnoticed. Thank you!
– Angela Bambach, Mother & Learner, Australia



Testimonials for Samahria Kaufman


Samahria Kaufman is a perceptive, wise, patient and inspiring woman, a bright light whose presence is tremendously healing and comforting to every person she touches. Her passionate love for her autistic son, moved her to create and tirelessly continue the innovative process that has healed so many children and their parents for decades. Offering the same deep acceptance she utilized in dealing with autistic children in teaching adults, she changed my life forever. By modeling acceptance, she taught me how to love myself and others.
– Jane Wyker, Family Counselor, New York


The warmth of a mother and the wisdom of a sage.
– Lejla Somun-Krupalija, Manager /Lecturer, Bosnia


You are an exceptional woman! What a shining example of strength and love and humanness. I look forward to connecting deeper with you.
– Shayu Talbot, Community Service Worker and Counselor, Canada


To have this fabulous, fiesty little lady who founded this whole earth-shattering program come bursting into our living room on Tuesday morning had an astonishing, uplifting impact on our week. Her warmth, her wisdom, her wit and humor, her insight, her common sense, and that unforgettable laugh! She filled the room with enriching energy, practical advice, and sheer fun.
– Jack Burnicle, Son-Rise Program Dad, United Kingdom


Such a model of love, kindness, laughter, joy, connection, incredible caring – she sweeps you forward with a soft but powerful strength – she adds so much at just the right time, exuberantly and so appropriately. What a spirit! What a contribution!
– Keith Garrick, Financial Planner, California


Samahria is my second mother, with the wisdom of 10 women. She is fun, spunky, funky, and yet extremely professional and always seems to hit the nail on the head—Always!
– Mina Okoloko, Lawyer, Nigeria


Samahria is deeply loving with a clarity and force which continually challenges us to question the beliefs we have chosen to adopt for ourselves in every area of our lives. She teaches us to question ourselves on the most daring and profound level. I am deeply honored to know her and learn from her.
– Erika Cohen, Educational Therapist, New Jersey


Samahria, through her passion and love for teaching The Son-Rise Program, has enabled me to reach my son Blake at a level of complete love, acceptance, language and communication. Her wisdom, humor and dedication has helped my son Blake, 12, be able to talk, laugh, sing and see the world as an exciting and caring world something that he now takes part in. Samahria is a true beacon of what love is about and it shows in every breath of her being. Blake will now attend public school thanks to her love and dedication.
– Leanne Dole, Homemaker, Australia


Samahria is ‘Love on a stick’, I always say. You can never have enough time with her. She is a healer of hearts, spirit and soul. She teaches what she practices and it shows so much in everything she does. Samahria is a wonderful being, benefiting all that have the privileged to spend time with her. I took the Exceptional Woman class with Samahria and she helped me get out of my shell, find myself and not be afraid of being the person that I am. I am very grateful and will never forget her. With love,
– Michele Placais, Massachusetts


A delicate force of nature.
– Martin Funck, Volunteer, Sweden


Samahria Lyte Kaufman is an extraordinary educator with special gifts and a remarkable dedication to improving the lives of others through her teachings and therapies. I attended an eight week course at The Option Institute and had many sessions with Samahria that had an enormous impact on my life and for which I have always been truly grateful. She is a wonderful therapist in her own right in addition to her extraordinary work and successes with children with Autism and special needs. I know that many thousands of lives have been changed for the better as a result of the work she carries out jointly with her husband Barry Neil Kaufman. I am looking forward to attending a further course with Samahria and having one to one sessions with her.
– Shelagh Johnson, Retired, England


Samahria has impacted my life personally and the life and future of my family. Not ONLY by her direct teachings in the classroom and one-on-one, but also as the founder The Son-Rise Program and everything it is. Our son Garret has a better future in front of him thanks to Samahria. He was severely Autistic and now … he is still autistic and continues to heal … but he is a child who loves, interacts, smiles, and wants to be with people, kisses, hugs, laughs, etc. Garret’s social abilities are directly related to our Son-Rise Program. She is an inspiration and a truly gifted and loving individual who deserves recognition for all that she is.
– Ana Kapparos, Son-Rise Program Mom, Iowa


What a loving soul and wonderful being. I love her laugh. She is a guiding Angel.
– Najat Abuhaliqa, Systems Analyst, Saudi Arabia


Samahria Lyte Kaufman can light up an entire room with her smile alone. Now add her personality and her love of people and you may very well have the sun filling the room. Samahria is an incredible communicator in that she is able to help children and families and individuals see what they do not see in themselves. She is a guide to those of us seeking love and compassion. She has been instrumental in helping our family find our own answers. My husband and I have been able to see through our difficulties with her incredible ability as a facilitator and mentor. Her laughter and sense of humor are a guidepost for me to see what is really possible, that in fact I can live a life full of happiness and joy.
– Kathleen Corelli Byrne, Mental Health Aid, Connecticut


Enthusiastic, energetic and uplifting. Brings a smile on your face no matter what mood you’re in.
– Raffi Elmadjian, Student, Lebanon


Samahria L. Kaufman is an exceptional woman, I met her in a one-week course and my relationship to men changed for the rest of my life, because I learned from her how to love myself, enjoy myself and care for myself. I gave up all my expectations of men and became more of who I am.
– Anne Kari Thronsen, Nurse, Denmark


The most amazing role model! I so admire her qualities and her love she pours out to everyone. She is so articulate and has such an amazing CLARITY in what she wants to portray.
– Denise Skinner, Nurse, Washington


Vivacious, charismatic, lovable. I had a great time in a safe environment, which she creates with her teaching style. Samahria is the Mother Theresa of Autism.
– Paul Kelly, National Operations, Australia


Mama Samahria – Your light is immense and radiates so beautifully. What an extraordinary opportunity to be able to spend time with such a loving, powerful, creative, playful, and shining woman. You are the essence of being YOURSELF – so down to earth, raw, organic, pure love. You are everything wonderful wrapped into one INCREDIBLE package! I love you!
– Danielle Bell, Emergency Fire Coordinator, California


The Oracle. No, but I will. Thank you Samahria for starting all this in a bathroom 35 years ago. Your life and your love give me energy, hope and love for others, too. Thank you.
– Nichola Lefroy, Son-Rise Mom, Australia


You are such an amazing role model in every area of my life. Thank you for your love, your wisdom, and your openness, which inspire me to change and grow. I love your teaching style, your sincerity, and I love your LAUGH! You are one sexy woman!
– Alexe Oakley, Son-Rise Mom, France


Her warmth and humor! Samahria is a fantastic model for all women because she is so open and free about all problems and situations. She is great at simplifying a belief and replacing it with a positive life changing one.
– Adrianne Grayson, Sales, New York


Goddess, mother, powerful, real. The best teacher.
– Tatiana Mikhailova, Mother & Musician, Costa Rica


I used to always call Samahria liquid sunshine. She’s also liquid gold. And now I’d like to add CHAMPAGNE. Bubbly, effervescent, always playful, she literally lights up, and lightens the room as we enlighten ourselves. What an invitation to dance, laugh, live and love she offers.
– Valerie Gilbert, Actress/Writer, New York


The love that I have seen in Samahria could not help but draw any special needs child or any adult to want to live in the kind of love that she so freely gives. That love is magnetic and life-giving. I have met and worked with many people who are trained to counsel and care for others. It is extremely rare that I meet someone with the power of love and purpose to accept others as I have seen in Samahria Lyte Kaufman. The love and acceptance that she gives has worked miracles and will continue to do so. She is a very rare jewel, worthy of recognition and thanks.

– Rev. Kathleen Panning, Leesville, South Carolina


An amazing teacher! I love her insights, passion and love of The Option Process. Learnings with laughter. WOW!!!
– Stelios Angelides, Care Manager-JRP Coordinator, United Kingdom


I love watching how Samahria does what she does with amazing precision, love and humor. She seems to be able to know every child that the families are asking about in a personal way and comes up with answers for them.
– Barbara T. Bekmeyer, Teacher/Faculty Technical Consultant, California


What can one say that hasn’t been said of Samahria? She the ultimate Exceptional Woman! She’s a goddess! She’s become my mentor and I think of her as the Mother. When you are near here, you feel love and light emanating from her.
– Lenore Goldfarb, Research Scientist, Canada


Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart! You are an amazing teacher and wonderful mentor- I am truly blessed to have had the honor to meet you and learn from you! I give you an A+! You are the kind of teacher that one remembers for the rest of their life. Your teaching style is absolutely mesmerizing.
– Kathy Hayward, Publisher/ Realtor, California


Joy, delightful, energetic and so wise and insightful. I am forever grateful for Samahria for guiding me by her example of how wonderful we can become when we want to put happiness first and LOVE LIFE.
– Mary Finnegan-Rosselli, Full Time Son-Rise Program Mom, Massachusetts


A five foot tall fountain of inspiration and energy. Her desire to be useful to others is palpable, her exuberance and good humor is infectious, her insights and offerings are food for my hopeful spirit. Spending few hours in a room with her was a wonderful and helpful experience.
– Patricia McCormack, Guidance Counselor, Ireland


She is an angel in human form. Her ability to be non-judgmental is unparalleled in my experience. I feel very safe and loved in her presence.
– Mary Church, Business Owner/Mother, Indiana


A strong, loving and inspirational teacher. Her joy in life and the fun she brings to her teaching give me such vision of my own potential.
– Tissie Roberts, Environmental Writer And Consultant, England

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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