Happiness Hits

Inner Strength: Why Criticism Hurts

Raun K. Kaufman, the Director of Global Education and a senior teacher at The Option Institute, explains the fundamental concepts behind why you feel hurt when someone criticizes or judges you and the way to use it as tracking system to learn more about yourself and your own personal self-judgments.

Love Is A Choice

Barry Neil Kaufman introduces the concept of choosing to love as a way to increase your own happiness and generate more love and happiness in the world.

Imagine learning to invoke love in an instant, with anyone…before you say anything or take any action so that you are grounded in the priority to love. This is truly a position of peaceful strength and gentle power.

Emotional Freedom: Victim No More — Option Institute

Raun K. Kaufman, an international speaker, writer and teacher for The Option Institute and The Son-Rise Program® at the Autism Treatment Center of America®, offers an empowering perspective.

Many of us feel like a victim of people and events around us. Happiness seems random, evasive, fleeting — dependent on circumstances outside of our control. This need not be the case. By taking ownership of our own thoughts and feelings, we need not ever be a victim of outside events again. Taking ownership puts us in the driver’s seat of our own experience of life!

Empirical studies have shown that people who are happy perform better at work, have healthier relationships at home, make clearer decisions about their lives, exhibit greater self-control and coping skills, have healthier immune systems, live longer… the list goes on and on. Yet, for many, happiness seems random, evasive, fleeting…

Self Help and Being Your Own Best Expert

In the first of this series, Barry Neil Kaufman offers the idea that you can know and understand yourself deeply. In fact, he believes that you are your own best expert and if you want to, you can access everything you want to know about yourself.

We live in a society that worships the opinions of others. We look for our answers from experts, institutions, the media, and the people around us, everyone but ourselves. At The Option Institute, we believe that you possess all of your own answers to the personal issues that mark your life. We can teach you to access and rely upon your own internal insight. In this brief, clear, delightful video, Bears explains the value of bringing up your own knowing, your own wisdom and how to do it.

Happiness Is A Choice: Keys to Happiness

Barry Neil Kaufman introduces the powerful concept that you choose and create your own happiness.

The Inner Strength Program, exclusively available at The Option Institute, will help you become indestructible from the inside out – take charge of your own experience, put yourself in the driver’s seat and learn concrete techniques for overcoming fear, building self-esteem, and choosing happiness.

Healthy Love: A Workable Definition

Barry Neil Kaufman shares his journey and insights on what it means to love and how to expand your personal experience of love and happiness.

The Power Dialogues Program is not only about learning a very impactful and effective Socratic dialogue process to help yourself and others (you can even become certified in this process), but fundamentally it’s about establishing a relationship with another person in which your heart is open, acceptance abounds and love becomes the bond that enables you to facilitate another’s process.

Personal Empowerment & Happiness: Be An Empowered Person

Barry Neil Kaufman offers a clear and powerful look at the key attributes of an empowered person and concrete actions and perspectives you can take and hold right now as you begin to move towards greater personal empowerment and happiness.

These concepts and much more are explored and expanded in the personal development program, Empower Yourself, given only at The Option Institute. Over the course of this 5 day interactive, experiential program you will develop the confidence and skills to bring your greatest dreams to life — dreams that you may never even have been willing to acknowledge previously.

Happiness & Personal Development: It’s All About Beliefs

In this video Bears (Barry Neil Kaufman) explores the idea that our personal beliefs are powerful in supporting or limiting our happiness and personal development. Whether dealing with life challenges such as the diagnosis of a child with autism, or cancer, or simply wanting to be happier and more confident, the beliefs we hold create the lens through which we perceive the world. Change your beliefs – change the world! The programs at The Option Institute and The Option Process® Dialogue will help you do just that.

Imagine being able to maintain an inner quiet and strength in the face of challenging and seemingly incomprehensible events. Not by hiding from them or ignoring them, but by facing them unflinchingly and with ease. In the Personal Peace Program you will develop a foundational system of interlocking beliefs that enable you to stand easy in the face of whatever the world throws at you.

Happy Negotiations for Couples, Parents for Any Relationships

Barry Neil Kaufman provides the principles for happy negotiations for couples, or parents, or any relationship.

Does your relationship seem like a lot of hard work? Or, are you and your partner completely on autopilot? Perhaps you have a great relationship that others envy, but still want more.

The course is built on a simple yet profound concept: your partner doesn’t make you happy or unhappy. You have the power to decide how you feel, regardless of what your partner does! Imagine a relationship liberated from the blame game. No more “You don’t care”, “You hurt me”, “You don’t appreciate me”. When partners take ownership of their own feelings and experiences, the door swings open for limitless expressions of love and affection — without conditions, without blame and without manipulation.

Parenting: Is Your Child Running Your Life

Samahria Lyte Kaufman suggests that we may actually be teaching our children to use whining, tantrums, begging, persistent pushing and other unhappy/uncomfortable behaviors to get what they want…

She further explains that it’s OK to feel comfortable when our children are displaying unhappy/uncomfortable behaviors and it’s OK to feel good about sticking to our choices without judging ourselves as parents.

Releasing Fear & Anxiety: The Anatomy of Fear – Option Institute

Barry Neil Kaufman clearly explains why and how we use fear to take care of ourselves, even though this often creates limiting beliefs and anxiety.

Fear can be an ever present, incapacitating emotion that prevents you from completing the simplest tasks. Or it can be a rare occurrence out of nowhere catching you at just the wrong time. Or it can be a background anxiety just below the surface that you can’t put your finger on. Big or small, fear can impact every facet of your life from your career, to your health, to your relationship.

How To Show More Love for Others – The Option Institute

Raun K. Kaufman is an international speaker, writer and teacher for The Option Institute and The Son-Rise Program® at the Autism Treatment Center of America™ In this short video, Raun exposes the truth about feeling bad for others.

Although we think it is a sign of caring, feeling bad for others is actually a highly self-involved experience and not helpful when others are having a challenging time. Being loving, caring, and the calm in the storm is actually the most helpful thing you can do when someone you care about is having a hard time. Tuning in to our inner voice and inner wisdom is one way to be clear and comfortable in the face of others’ stresses and challenges.

Overcoming Addictions: You’re in Charge! — Option Institute

In this video, Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman, suggests that the fundamental difference between discipline and addiction is a judgment.

If you habitually work out, you’re disciplined. If you habitually smoke cigarettes, you’re addicted. You look at both activities through a filter based on your own personal beliefs, therefore putting your stamp of approval on one activity and not the other. Bears further explains how each moment offers you the opportunity to choose and how easily you can make profound changes in your habits by simply identifying the beliefs that fuel your so-called “habitual” behaviors.

Love: Myths and Misconceptions – The Option Institute

Raun debunks the myths, such ‘love is risky’, ‘love makes you weak’, ‘love means sacrificing who you are’...

Personal Empowerment: No More Apologizing for What You Want

Raun K. Kaufman lays out clear and compelling reasons to stop apologizing for what we want. Apologizing actually disempowers us and holds us back from going for and getting what we want. When we STOP apologizing, we empower ourselves to live a much more fulfilling life.

How many times have you set your sites on something huge, something amazing, knowing that this is it, that you’re really going for it . . . only to find yourself back in the same situation? Perhaps it’s the job that you didn’t apply for because you “knew” you wouldn’t get it, or the date that surely would have turned you down or the lifelong dream to be a musician, a writer or an entrepreneur but you never got around to it.

In the personal development program, Empower Yourself, given only at The Option Institute. you will develop the confidence and skills to bring your greatest dreams to life — dreams that you may never even have been willing to acknowledge previously.

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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