Power Dialogues: Chapter Summaries

Many of us travel through our lives learning about many different philosophical, psychological, religious and spiritual paths in order to create a sense of clarity, comfort and understanding about our lives and the world around us. Some call this the search for knowledge. Some view such pursuits as the inevitable outcome of the human preoccupation with sanity and justice. Others believe we all really search for God. No matter what the rationale, we have a yearning for connection, communion and inner peace. Oftentimes, our sincere efforts, molded by the modern fad of going from discipline to discipline, keeping our options open, never quite committing, leave us empty-handed. There can be many roads to heaven, many avenues to clarity, many routes to peace of mind and many byways to love. However, we must travel far enough on one of those paths to reach such destinations. We believe the path outlined in this book is one of those paths that really delivers.

“For the casual reader, the contents of these pages might be stimulating, energizing, even thought-provoking. For the serious student, this process could just open the doors to your dreams. A dear friend who chose a path very different than mine argued that broadly based knowledge always outweighs a single focus. I used to share such a perspective. No longer. I now suggest, buckle down. Commit to something you love. Get to know it deeply, completely. If it’s prayer in a church, become versed in every word and every rhythm, the surface messages and the submerged meanings. If it’s computer technology, embrace every aspect of that silicon life until you can breathe it. If it’s kayaking, learn all about that craft and the movements of the tides and currents intersecting with wind and weather patterns so that you and your kayak can glide effortlessly across the waters. The Tibetan proverb, “Know one, accomplish all,” suggests that we focus on and master one way that lights our heart and that, in so doing, we will reach our own personal heaven and experience a life rich and rewarding beyond our wildest dreams.

Chapter 1: Principles Of Studentship

This chapter delineates the Five Principles of Studentship, teaching the student of the Option Process® Dialogue, or of any endeavor, how to relentlessly pursue not only developing themselves into the best of who they can be, but to pursue mastery of their subject matter. This chapter gives lessons in dedication to world-class studentship, an undertaking which makes all the difference in our ability to learn, understand and absorb any subject!

Chapter 2: On Becoming A Force Of Nature

Chapter 2 introduces a signature system for becoming a powerful, energized and unstoppable force in your own life’s endeavors. This five-point system was designed by Barry Neil Kaufman over the last 4 years as a blueprint of action for people who are attempting to make miracles happen against staggering odds. The “Becoming a Force Of Nature” system featured in this chapter of PowerDialogues paves the way for anyone to establish clear intentions and purpose, and shows how to successfully execute these intentions and purposes in any arena of life, including work, home, family and relationships.

Chapter 5: The Physiology of Change

Read The Physiology of Change and discover how physiology and psychology intermingle to create the wondrous living creature that you are! This section pulls from the newest scientific research on our minds and bodies, and tells how we can apply these discoveries in the most exciting and evolutionary ways. Discover that new learning creates new physiology and find out, in this section, how this works!

“There are one hundred billion stars in our galaxy. There are approximately one hundred billion neurons in our brain, which fire and interact with each other across synaptic connections. Every thought is a physical event in our brains and throughout our bodies…” – Excerpted from chapter 5.

Chapter 6: Option Process® Global Beliefs

In this chapter of PowerDialogues, thirty-six essential beliefs are listed which form the conceptual and philosophical basis of the Option Process®. Compiled and honed after decades of teaching the Option Process®, this chapter forms the first comprehensive collection of the life-changing beliefs of the Option Process® system.

Chapter 9: Belief Systems

Chapter 9 presents an in-depth discussion of the following topics, answering key questions and leading the reader to a rock-solid comprehension of beliefs and how to change them.

  • What Are Beliefs?
  • How Beliefs Function.
  • Replacing Old Beliefs with New Ones.
  • Changing Beliefs.
  • The Role of Evidence in Belief-Making.
  • Using Evidence for our Benefit.
  • Do We Choose our Beliefs?

Chapter 10: Judgments, The Critical Subset of Beliefs

Learn, in this chapter, the critical role that judgments play in every one of our lives. It would be rare for anyone to go through a single day without making a judgment. Expand your understanding of judgments – learn how we use judgments in specific ways to support or suppress what we want. Learn how to identify your own judgments and determine if they are serving or suffocating you!

Chapter 15: The Unhappiness Factor

In chapter 15 of PowerDialoguesSM we dissect and dispel the myth of The Unhappiness Factor. All the components of The Unhappiness Factor are discussed,including:

  • Being unhappy now so that we can be happy later.
  • Unhappiness as a motivator (for ourselves and others)
  • Unhappiness as a reinforcer (to perform, to stay the course and to inhibit).
  • Unhappiness as a gauge (to measure the depth of our caring).
  • Unhappiness based on a logical system of beliefs.

Chapter 19: Attitude: Heart of the Dialogue

The questions that form the operational aspect of the Option Process® Dialogue have little value unless they arise from a very special attitude. In chapter 19, we discuss the three fundamental components that comprise this attitude, plus a fourth surprise component is introduced!

Chapter 22: Primary Beliefs of an Option ProcessSM Mentor/Counselor

In this chapter we identify the ten primary beliefs that are most helpful for an Option Process® Mentor/Counselor to hold. Furthermore, anyone who adopts these beliefs will find that the Primary Mentoring Beliefs have an unprecedented beneficial impact in every relationship in their life!

Chapter 25: Option Process® Dialogue Questions

In chapter 25, all of the potential questions asked within an Option Process® Dialogue are classified into four simple, sequential and logically constructed categories. Study how this classification makes the questions exceedingly easy to use! As we learn how to be clear, helpful and loving listeners, this format becomes an indispensable guide for always knowing the most effective question to ask!

Chapter 26: The Questions – Basic Guidelines

Learn to make listening and asking gently, nonjudgmental questions second nature! For anyone, and especially for those learning the Option Process® Dialogue, it is important to have some means of discerning which question to ask of an Explorer, client, friend, spouse or colleague at any given moment. In this chapter, we list each of twenty-two fundamental questions and give an in-depth explanation of their application (how and when to ask them). Additionally, many diverse examples of using the questions are given. For instance, a single statement made by an Explorer is given, and afterwards, a list of the many possible questions that a Mentor might ask. Next, we analyze each possible question, determining which are the most effective questions to ask and why.

Chapter 27: Option Process® Mentoring Guideposts

In this chapter, specific areas of focus pertaining to the Option Process® Dialogue are recast, re-explored and amplified so that students have ample opportunity to digest and internalize this ultimate system for personal change. For your review, all areas have been listed below:

  • Recognizing Explorers as their Own Best Experts
  • Validating/Buying Into the Beliefs of the Explorer
  • Past verses Present
  • Being Nondirective
  • Being Nonjudgmental
  • “Going in Circles”
  • Asking for Examples
  • Misunderstood Questions
  • “Yes” and “No” Questions
  • Statements of Intent or Preference
  • The Redirect
  • Getting Out of the Way
  • Dialogue Interruptions
  • Dialogues with Children
  • Contrary Explorers
  • “Successful” Dialogues
  • Joint Sessions
  • On being an Option Process® “Tormentor”
  • Taping Training Sessions
  • A Spiritual Dimension
  • Keeping The Mentor’s Beliefs Out of the Content of the Questions
  • A Special Note on Fantastical Information

Chapter 29: Asking for an Example

The jewels of self-understanding lie in specifics, or in the details. Learn to dig for the diamonds that are within your friends’, colleagues’, or clients’ concerns and issues. In chapter 29, we focus on learning how and when to ask for examples. To best illustrate this, hypothetical, yet frequently used, statements by Explorers are listed. Afterwards, a varied selection of possible questions from Mentor/Counselors are posed, making it extremely easy to understand the many ways of asking for examples

Chapter 32: QED’s – Question Evaluation Dissectors

What exactly is a QED? The QED’s constitute a method of self-evaluation for Mentor/Counselors and all those learning the Option Process® Dialogue. Six Question Evaluation Dissector’s provide a way to analyze and evaluate, after the conclusion of a dialogue session, the questions you have asked. The QED’s have been especially designed to help individuals learning the dialogue to identify which questions are effective and which are not and, most importantly, understand why.

Chapter 35: DJ’s – Dialogue Jump-Starters

Sometimes we find ourselves being “stuck”, confused or lost while we are mentoring or listening to another speak. Oftentimes, this is because we have become distracted, have stopped being present, or are harboring judgments.

The Jump-Starters are the answer to this challenge! Chapter 35 presents five easy steps to take when we get “stuck”; steps which can help us to re-center ourselves, become present again and to drop any judgments. And, each Jump-Starter is designed to take no more that three seconds to implement!

Chapter 37: The Keys to Option Process® Mentoring

Twenty-three distinctive tips and keys to Mentoring are taught and detailed in this chapter. These keys tap into the heart of Option Process® Mentoring/Counseling, leaving the reader with a quick-reference outline of information. Titles of each Key to Mentoring are listed below. To see the full description of each Key, read PowerDialogues!

  • The Option Process® Mentor as Happy Detective
  • The Option Process® Mentor as a Visiting Martian
  • The Practice of Mentoring as a Process of Unlearning
  • The Role of the Mentor
  • The Option Process® Attitude: Cornerstone of the Dialogue
  • Option Process® Dialogue Questions
  • Perspective on Pivotal Beliefs
  • Beliefs – Dropped in an Instant
  • No Good or Bad Beliefs
  • People are doing The Best They Can, Based on Their Current Beliefs
  • Each of Us is Our Own Best Expert
  • Anything I Uncover Can Only Enrich Me
  • The Happiness/Unhappiness Factor
  • Mini-Dialogue (Questioning Beliefs Viewed as “Truth”)
  • Over the Line: Tormenting versus Mentoring
  • The Option Process® Dialogue: An Evolving Discipline
  • Tips for Mentors-In-Training
  • Mentoring Children
  • Mentoring Couples (Dialoguing Two People In Tandem)
  • The Role of Individual Consultation/Coaching Sessions
  • Discipline Required to Be of Service
  • Comments During Sessions to People Unfamiliar with the Process
  • Usefulness of Dialogue-Style Questions Outside of the Dialogue Setting

Chapter 38: Commonly Asked Questions

Chapter 38 contains the most commonly asked questions about the Option Process® Dialogue, all answered by Barry Neil Kaufman. Below is a sampling of the questions answered.

  • What do you do when you have personal perspectives on an Explorer’s dynamics?
  • Why does it require so much study and practice to learn to be an Option Process® Mentor/Counselor?
  • Can people just decide to be clear and be effective Mentors?
  • How long does it take to become an Option Process® Mentor/Counselor?
  • What are the biggest roadblocks to becoming a Mentor, and what shift can be made to make the learning process easier?
  • How can we learn to live the attitude more fully?
  • How do you mentor children who will not answer questions?
  • What activities, in addition to classes and reviewing your own taped dialogues with Mentor/Counselor trainers, would be useful for Mentors-In-Training?
  • How important is the Mentor’s body posture and body language?
  • You suggest communicating love and acceptance to an Explorer. Could touch, as a way to demonstrate this, be distracting, even detrimental?
  • I’m confused about the dialogue question, “What do you think would happen if you didn’t believe that, or if you weren’t unhappy about that?”
  • How does a person qualify for Senior Apprentice status?
  • You talked about a quantum leap to happiness. Anything you can say to inspire us to take such an evolutionary step?
  • What are the most important points that you would want to convey to a student of the Option Process® Dialogue?

PART V: Sample Dialogues

PART V of PowerDialogues features eleven sample Option Process® Dialogues. Actual dialogues have been transcribed in their entirety, complete with all of the Explorer’s statements and all of the Mentor’s questions. Follow the exciting unfolding of each exploration, learning the nuances of the dialogue by being privy to this first-hand account of eleven individual’s transformations using the dialogue. 100 pages.

Chapter 41 -Daring to Follow a Dream

Chapter 42 -Moving Beyond Abuse

Chapter 44 -Aging and Divorce

Chapter 46 -Fear of Commitment

Chapter 47 -Power of Beliefs From the Past

Chapter 48 -Body Issues/Weight Issues

Chapter 50 -Holding Onto Anger

Chapter 51 -Dealing with a Seriously Ill Parent

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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