Wide Awake MASTER CLASS Series

Dynamic Graduate Training with Advanced Teachings

Live Session Times:
June 19, 26, July 3, 17, 24, 31, August 7, 14th, 2024

Taught Exclusively by Bears (Barry Neil Kaufman) along with Samahria Lyte Kaufman,
Co-Founders of the Option Institute®

The pandemic, as we once knew, is over, yet we still face challenges and difficulties. Financial hardships, relationship breakdowns, trauma, chronic illness, pain, and death. Sometimes you say to yourself – “I can handle this,” and sometimes you say, “I can’t handle this.”

IMAGINE RECEIVING 8 STRAIGHT WEEKS OF SUPPORT… and learning that you can, and will handle anything the world throws at you.

The Option Institute® Wide Awake MASTER CLASS Series LIVE via Zoom will help you understand how to operate more comfortably and clearly as you navigate life’s obstacles. Additionally, you will learn to develop more strength, conviction, and comfort with any and every situation that comes your way.

The Option Institute Wide Awake MASTER CLASS Series LIVE via Zoom is a non-stop roller-coaster ride! At once intimate, gentle and loving, while at the same time being challenging, thrilling and life-changing. This is a hallmark of Bears’ signature style of teaching and he is joined by Samahria, who adds her wisdom, love, and humor to every class.

You will immediately dive deeply into topics and issues that you might have once considered uncomfortable or off-limits but topics that you’ll want to understand more profoundly and master. This unique masterclass provides you with an incomparable opportunity to challenge your core beliefs and the fundamentals of how you operate. In doing so, you can re-create, re-imagine and re-engineer yourself so that, in the end, you create a more centered, calm, and wiser YOU.

We invite many of our most advanced participants to attend this program… and we are also open to those less experienced with what we teach to apply through their Program Advisors.

screenshot from option institute zoom class of 19 faces
Professor and student pictured during our self empowerment class

What makes Wide Awake like no other program offered at the Option Institute?

All Bears / All Samahria, All the Time:

Taught exclusively by our Co-Founders Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman in a style all their own… done with an abundance of love and interactive group dynamics. All this combined with very personal attention. Participants feel listened to, and connected to the teacher and the teaching process. This program has included participants who have come back year after year (some for decades,) and the reason they keep coming back is because each program is distinct, unique and constructed on the spot during the activities in the class. Bears is always warm, thoughtful and loving and at the same time, he can be playfully unpredictable, dramatic, feisty and even fast paced and daring. However, when you jump of the cliff with Bears, YOU LEARN TO FLY.

Live Session Times: June 19, 26, July 3, 17, 24, 31, August 7, 14th, 2024 | 12pm – 3pm EST (UTC-5)

By invitation or application only. To apply, click the button below to contact a Program Advisor.


Program Reviews

Don’t take our word for it – here’s what our participants say:

I loved it even more than in person. It felt more personal. During one class I realized I was doing “poor me”, looking for sympathy. When I realized this, I didn’t like it. I’ve worked hard to change that, and in only 2 weeks, I’m 6lbs lighter and getting after healing my body from pain. This is not just a program for the mind, this is body-wide. A loving fun class with an amazing teacher.

Linda McGinn

Option Process Mentor, Scotland

I LOVED my experience in Wide Awake Master Classes on Zoom. I was more curious than anything about how it would be to do this class virtually and decided to suspend any expectations or comparisons to my in-person experiences at The Option Institute. By doing this, I opened myself up to an amazing intimate experience. I loved doing the class from the comfort of home and also really like the time in between to reflect and integrate what I have learned into my “real life” and day-to-day experiences and then be able to come back to the next class to take the learnings to a higher level. It was an invaluable experience for me and one that I highly recommend and would do again in a heartbeat.

Elena Caffentzis

Speech-Language Pathologist, USA

Every Wide Awake Master Class – even every individual session is the best. They ARE getting better and better for me – it is so wonderful to be loved so deeply for 3 straight hours every Wednesday. I find these classes help me really look inside at how I function and also help me see how others function AND how this is all so beautiful. I honestly feel that due to Wide Awake I am learning to accept all parts of me and grow all parts as well. I love how Bears blows things up so we really see them (and ourselves) and doesn’t just gloss things over. I love how much it is obvious that Bears and Samahria love us all.

Wendy Edwards

Pediatrician, Canada

The Wide Awake Master Class was the whipped cream on the top of all the Option courses I have taken. Bears and Samahria were the cherries on top. The exploration was as diverse as the experiences of the participants. Option principles were taught in a fun-loving, safe, nonjudgmental environment. The personal examples of real-life challenges and victories shared brought us together. Our lives forever changed by changing beliefs.

Sandra Ricks

Caregiver, Idaho, USA

I was super skeptical about taking Wide Awake Master Class online. I thought no way could it be as beneficial as when I took a week out of my life to relax, get away and be at the Option Institute’s campus. Much to my utter surprise, it’s been the most meaningful Option Process course I have ever taken! I am using the principles and topics discussed in class far more effectively and efficiently than I ever did when I was on campus, attempting to cram everything into myself during a week and then bring it home and implement it. Wow!


Son-Rise Program Mom

I think the Wide Awake Masterclass Series is the best thing that has happened for our household during Covid. From the start of the course the belief busting and self-investigation has been transforming my daily life. The transformation of new beliefs into acted reality I found easier as I never left my home. I have so enjoyed these master classes and the homework between classes really waking me up to see things differently. I am experiencing much more creative energy, peace and insights since taking the classes.

Helen Rachel Cherry

Retired, United Kingdom

The course helped me further my understanding of what it means to live genuinely curious, blissfully liberated, both in my work and in the world. I immediately applied everything I learned in the course in a session with a client the morning after, and I was more confident, trusting, and playful than ever before. The expansiveness of the work was amazing. The level of skill development was exceptional, providing real-life opportunities to practice our dialogue acumen with couples who were living real-life challenges; doubling the stimuli, responses, beliefs, and fun. It was exhilarating to experience the changes they made in real-time, while we, the students, explored the myriad of options in the questions, we enthusiastically offered to them and honed. And, as always, it was taught in the true spirit and commitment of the Option Institute, by an extraordinarily masterful faculty. The virtual, online class was no less intimate or effective, and in many ways, more so, given that we were able to see everyone’s faces up-close, either in a grid or in speaker mode. I am grateful for the ease and accessibility of this and other Option Institute programs that continually help me grow personally and professionally. Thank You to all for putting the work into it and giving us the opportunity.

Roe DiBona

Executive and Life Coach, New Jersey, USA

Teacher Reviews

Extraordinary! Bears keeps our class vibrant and deeply meaningful for 3 straight hours. Not only is he teaching; at the same time, he watches participant’s non-verbal language on the zoom screen and responds to what he is seeing. What a masterful teacher.

Julie Flaherty

Disability Coach/Attorney, Minnesota, USA

Having Bears as a teacher has always been the best – he challenges me and all of us, in very daring ways that others in the world would never do. He speaks consistently with reality, authenticity and playfulness!!! That is a gift for me. He is, for me, “blessings upon blessings, upon blessings!

Wendy Edwards

Pediatrician, Canada

Bears is a gift to the world and the twinkle in his eyes reminds me of the blissfully endless possibilities in my life. He is a creative genius, and it’s so fun to watch him lead this course.

Lauren Brackman

Finance, Texas, USA

I love Bears. His passion, commitment, love, and authenticity are always present. He gives 100% of himself (maybe 200%) all of the time. I choose to always feel loved and pushed in his classes to dig deeper into myself in the knowledge that it helps me live my life in a more loving and happy place.

Barbara Beckmeyer

Faculty Tech Consultant, CA

I love you Bears! It is fabulous to have you facilitate an entire week with what seems like limitless passion, energy and enthusiasm. I love how you make connections between all different kinds of class material, stretching the imagination and relating unrelated comments to how we may live our lives. I love how you can take the class so quickly and expertly from one direction to another, whether it is a humorous to a serious moment or a recurring on a tangential topic.

Rachel Jacobson

Psychology & Neuroscience Student, United Kingdom

I respect your integrity and willingness to go the distance. Presence, humor, wanting the best for us, being outrageous and creative. Your ability to make everything important and meaningful. I have learned so much from you about how to be in my own power. Thank you.

Honey Friedman

Chiropractor, NY

Contact Us

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Or send us a message or question and we will get back to you as soon as we can.



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