Official Bio

Introductory summary:

Michael Mayer, Ph.D. has devoted the last three decades to researching, teaching, and writing about integrating ancient sacred wisdom traditions with psychotherapy and Western bodymind healing methods. Dr. Mayer is a licensed psychologist who is now in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in self-healing methods for physical and mental health. He has three private practice offices in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Orinda, and is a member of the California Psychological Association. Dr. Mayer has written various peer-reviewed articles and has served as a peer reviewer for The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. He presents his approach to bodymind healing at professional conferences, national/international workshops, universities, and hospitals; and he is a keynote speaker.

Early Years:

Michael Mayer, grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. Michael’s father, Abraham I. Mayer, was a prominent New Jersey attorney. Michael enjoyed spending time in his youth at his favorite place in the woods, sitting and listening to the sounds of two streams joining. Native Americans teach that the elements of nature that draw us in our early years symbolically express a calling, leading towards our future destinies, or our “medicine ways.” For Dr. Michael Mayer this proved to be true as his next three decades have been spent integrating in his professional work the streams of ancient/modern, mind/body, and East/West. Michael graduated cum laude from Syracuse University, his masters degree in psychology was obtained at The New School for Social Research in New York, and his doctoral degree in clinical psychology was granted by Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco.

To see more about Michael’s Personal Journey please click on this article written about his life from his local newspaper,Orinda Living Magazine (2020) Michael’s Biography-Feature Article

University Teaching: Dr. Mayer taught at various graduate and undergraduate universities over a twenty year period.

Montclair State College, Montclair, NJ, 1970, graduate Developmental Psychology.

Laney College, Oakland CA, 1971-1974, The Psychology of Consciousness.

Antioch College West, San Franciso, CA, 1974-75, Symbolic Process in Psychotherapy.

John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, CA, 1978-1991, co-founding faculty member of the Transpersonal Psychology Program and taught various masters level psychology courses including: Symbolic Process in Psychotherapy;  Psychopathology; Foundations of Depth Psychotherapy; Effective Therapeutic Communication; Astrological Counseling and Depth Psychotherapy; Tai Chi, Qigong and Psychotherapy, and many Clinical Case Seminars.

California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, Ca, 1996-1977, taught the first doctoral psychology course in the integration of Qigong and Western mind-body healing methods.  He taught Tai Chi, Qigong and Psychotherapy, in the East West Psychology Doctoral Psychology Program, 1996; and Energy Medicine: East and West, in the Graduate Doctoral Psychology Program, 1997.

San Francisco State University, San Francisco CA, 1998-2000, Health Education Department, Holistic Health, courses on Eastern Perspectives on Healing.

Sofia University, Transpersonal Psychology: Transformative & Healing Dimensions, 2015-2016.

Writings and Contributions to the Field: 

Dr. Mayer is the author of twenty publications on bodymind healing including six books, and various articles. His peer reviewed article on Qigong and hypertension appeared in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, and is updated as an article called “Qigong Clinical Studies” in the book Healing, Intention and Energy Medicine, by Dr Wayne Jonas, past director of the National Institute of Health, Office of Alternative Medicine. Dr. Mayer has served as a peer reviewer forThe Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dr Mayer’s Books:

The Mystery of Personal Identity (Mayer, 1984; updated 2012) won the world astrology prize in 1979 from the Astrological Association of Great Britain for making the following contributions: A.)  It set forth a new theoretical basis for astrology which makes astrology palatable even to skeptics. Unlike those who proclaim a scientific relationship between cosmos and personality Mystery …put forth a theoretical orientation of astrology to be alignment with phenomenological psychology (Fingarette, 1963). thereby removing the causal theoretical bias of astrology, and making astrology a metaphorical tool to self-explore one’s life’s meaning, like a psychological Rorschach tool.  B.)  Mystery…  was the first book to integrate astrology and depth psychology. C.) The book shows psychotherapists how to use astrological symbols to help a client explore his life’s meaning, and shows astrologers how to use psychological methods to deepen astrological counseling. D,) Much criticism has been leveled against psychology for labeling people with a pejorative language; less emphasis has been placed on offering a viable alternative. Here is such an alternative. In this book the reader is led on a journey beginning with the author’s forty night vision quest in the woods alone, to Native American and other pre-modern traditions of personality description that offer a positive alternative to the medical model of personality description. The book puts forth the viewpoint that modern psychotherapy’s lost lineage is from an ancient tradition of “name givers,” and how reconnecting with this tradition can revitalize our relationship with the wider whole of which we are a part. As a  student of Dane Rudhyar Dr Mayer’s book added a depth psychotherapeutic and phenomenological theoretical perspective to Rudhyar’s(1970, 1975) work.

Trials of the Heart: Healing the Wounds of Intimacy (Mayer, 1993) presented psycho-mythological tales and solutions to intimate relationship’s trials through the elements: fire, earth, air and water. Just as Joseph Campbell,  used myths to aid the evolution of consciousness in the individual, so does Trials of the Heart explore how ancient myths, fairy tales and stories can help us in our quest for a better understanding of human relationship and the psycho-mythology of intimacy.

Secrets to Living Younger Longer: The Self Healing Path of Qigong, Standing Meditation and Tai Chi (Mayer, 2004b) Secrets… is based on Qigong, a many thousand-year-old method of cultivating the energy of life (Qi) through movement, breath, touch, sound, imagery, and awareness. Scientific research documents how Qigong can lower blood pressure, increase balance and help with a wide variety of chronic diseases. But this is more than a book on Qigong exercises. Building upon those in the forefront of the mind-body healthcare revolution, Dr, Mayer has created a unique blend, combining Chinese Qigong and Western psychological methods with cross-cultural anthropological research. Secrets… is enlivened by mythic tales and imaginative teaching stories from ancient sacred wisdom traditions.

  Secrets to Living Younger Longer contains: A.) Health and longevity practices which are a synthesis of thirty years of Dr. Mayer’s training with some of the most respected Tai Chi and Qigong masters which include practices to simultaneously relax and energize your body , strengthen immunity, reduce hypertension, limber your joints, release computer shoulder tension relieve chronic illnesses, prevent falls, alleviate insomnia and anxiety, find relief from arthritis and fibromyalgia, B.) Building upon the work of Tomio (1994) and Goodman (1990), this book presents intriguing historical research which includes how Tai Chi and Qigong have roots in Shamanism and a lost, integrative Self-healing lineage which includes self-healing, spiritual unfoldment, self-defense, and changing your life stance. Rediscovering these underpinnings helps to deepen the healing potentials of these arts. C.) Standing Meditation: The key to making Qigong most effective. D.) Transforming your Life Stance: Realizations and examples from a psychologist from his life, and from his patients and students.

Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health (Mayer, 2004b). Drawing from 30 years of training in Tai Chi and Qigong with some of the most respected masters of these traditions, this book shows how to integrate the essence of these practices into psychotherapy and into our healthcare without ever doing a Tai Chi/Qigong movement, and without mentioning a word about Qigong. Using case illustrations from his work in an integrated medical clinic the book shows how ancient and modern, East and West, psychotherapy and mind-body medicine cam be  amalgamated to make a stronger integrative medicine. Theory, research, and case illustrations are blended to show how bodymind healing methods can help alleviate hypertension, chronic pain, insomnia,  anxiety, depression,  trauma., and other common issues plaguing the modern world. This book, endorsed by major leaders in mind-body healthcare makes significant contributions to the field of psychotherapy, behavioral healthcare, Qigong, and energy psychology.

Energy Psychology: Self- Healing Practices for Bodymind Health (North Atlantic/ Random House, 2009a).

The new field of energy psychology is a controversial new addition to psychological traditions. Research is beginning to accumulate to validate its efficacy in dealing with trauma (Feinstein 2008a) and other psychological issues (Feinstein 2008b).  Dr Mayer’s approach in his book, Energy Psychology expands the field of energy psychology from the well known energy psychology methods such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques by presenting an integral, comprehensive approach (Mayer, 2009b) to healing that combines leading-edge Western bodymind psychological methods with a broad system of ancient, sacred traditions. Incorporating his integral approach called Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy, the book Energy Psychology draws on Chinese medicine approaches, including Qigong and acupressure self-touch; kabalistic processes; methods drawn from ancient traditions of meditation and postural initiation (Goodman, 1990; Tomio, 1994). Dr Mayer’s adds to the field of  energy psychology several processes for inducing and anchoring internally generated energy such as Dr Gendlin’s, “focusing” method, psycho-mythological storytelling techniques that involve somatic and symbolic process methods from depth psychology, and naturally arising somatic movements that occur at a moment of “felt shift.(Gendlin, 1978).”

In this book, drawing on thirty years of training in Tai Chi and Qigong, Dr. Mayer shows how integrating the essences of these traditions and methods can help to restore vitality and give the average person self-healing tools for physical and mental health. Unlike the quick-fix books on energy restoration, this book uses time-tested, age-old practices from sacred traditions in combination with well-established clinical approaches. Dr. Mayer teaches readers bodymind healing methods to treat anxiety, chronic pain, addictions, hypertension, insomnia, trauma, and other prevalent conditions. Energy Psychology includes real-life case studies that highlight the effectiveness of his techniques, which are supported by endorsements from leading figures in mind-body medicine. In Energy Psychology Dr Mayer discusses how Qigong can add to the fields of psychology and energy psychology (Mayer, 2007, 2009a). {See above in section on Tai Chi/Qigong}.

The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician: Stories and Practices for Troubled Times (Bodymind Healing Publications, 2012).

Are you a Reluctant Metaphysician? A career change, an upsetting external event, a serious illness, a painful breakup, or an unravelling culture can all be invitations to enter a deeper world behind the world. You may not have chosen to go there, but you evolve thereby. This book weaves together stories and reflections to introduce teachings and practices from ancient wisdom traditions that illuminate our unique life path. (68 words)

The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician speaks to the importance of a holistic spiritual philosophy in our current times of the “great unraveling” of our political, economic, cultural, and ecological world.  Here you will find an approach to finding your life stance in such troubled times. The metaphysical path is an “all vector approach” that incorporates both “spiritual” and “soulful” pathways, traditions of postural initiation such as Tai Chi, mythology, depth psychology, bodymind healing methods, a non-deterministic approach to astrology, and a multi-dimensional approach to the political sphere.

The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician won a silver medal Ben Franklin Award in the Mind-Body-Spirit category.

Dr Mayer’s Written and Media Publications:

• Mayer, M. (1977). A holistic language of meaning and identity: Astrological metaphor as a language of personality in psychotherapy. Doctoral dissertation. San Francisco: Saybrook Graduate School.
• Mayer, M. (1982). The mythic journey process. The Focusing Folio, 2(2).
• Mayer, M. (1984). The mystery of personal identity. San Diego, CA: ACS Publications.
• Mayer, M. (1993). Trials of the heart: Healing the wounds of intimacy. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.
•  Mayer, M. (1996). Qigong and behavioral medicine: An integrated approach to chronic pain. Qi: The Journal of Eastern Health and Fitness, 6(4), 20–31.
• Mayer, M. (1997a). Psychotherapy and Qigong: Partners in healing anxiety. Berkeley, CA: The Psychotherapy & Healing Center.
• Mayer, M. (1997b). Combining behavioral healthcare and Qigong with one chronic hypertensive adult. Mt. Diablo Hospital-Health Medicine Forum. Unpublished study.(Video available from Health Medicine Forum, Walnut Creek, CA,
• Mayer,  M. (1999). Qigong and hypertension: A critique of research. Journal ofAlter-native and Complementary Medicine, 5(4), 371–382. (Peer-reviewed).
• Mayer, M.(2000). Bodymind healing Qigong(DVD). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Center.
• Mayer, M. (2001a). Find your hidden reservoir of healing energy: A guided meditation forcancer (Audio cassette). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
• Mayer, M.(2001b). Find your hidden reservoir of healing energy: A guided meditation for chronic disease (Audio cassette). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
• Mayer, M.(2003). Qigong clinical studies. In W. B. Jonas (Ed.), Healing, intention, and energy medicine (pp. 121–137). London, England: Churchill Livingston. (Peer-reviewed).
• Mayer, M. (2004a). Qigong: Ancient path to modern health (DVD of keynote address to National Qigong Association). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
• Mayer, M. (2004b). Secrets to living younger longer: The self-healing path of Qigong, standing meditation and Tai Chi. Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
• Mayer, M. (2004c). What do you stand for? The Journal of Qigong in America, Vol. 1, Summer, pp. 2-4, 13.
• Mayer, M. (2004d). Walking meditation: Yi Chuan Qigong. The Empty Vessel: A Journal of Comtemporary Taoism, Summer.
• Mayer, M. (2005). Qigong: An age-old foundation of energy psychology. The Energy Field, Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, Vol. 6, (4), Winter, p. 8.
• Mayer, M. H. (2007). Bodymind healing psychotherapy: Ancient pathways to modern health.Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.

• Mayer, M. (2008, Summer). Mind-Body treatment for anxiety and panic disorders. California State Journal of Oriental Medicine, . Vol. 19, #1, pp.16-17, 27.
• Mayer, M.H. (2009a). Energy psychology: Self-healing practices for bodymind health, North Atlantic/Random House, 2009.)
• Mayer, M. 2009b (Winter) Bodymind Healing in Psychotherapy: Towards an integral, comprehensive energy psychology, The Energy Field: The International; Energy Psychology News and Articles, p13.
• Mayer, M. (2009c) Energy Medicine, The Qigong Institute, Article available online,
• Mayer, M. (2010) Hypertension: An Integral Bodymind Healing Approach, Natural Standard, February, (Peer Reviewed).
• Mayer, M. (2012). The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician : Stories and Practices for Troubled Times (Bodymind Healing Publications, 2012).
• Mayer, M. (2012b). Tai Chi Chuan: A Postmodern, metaphysical point of view, Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental Arts, Summer, 2012,

• Mayer, M. (2012b). Tai Chi Chuan: A Postmodern, metaphysical point of view, Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental Arts, Summer,

• Mayer, M. (2015). Transforming energy psychology into a comprehensive transpersonal psychotherapy, solicited Blog for the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, psychotherapy/

• Mayer, M. (2020) Chapter: Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy, pp. 164-181, in {ED} Krippner, S. Fracasso C., Friedman, H., Holistic Treatment in Mental Health: A Handbook of Practitioner’s Perspectives. McFarland & Company, 2019.

•Mayer, M. (2022). Tai Chi Chuan: Four Dimensions of Purpose, a twenty session online, on-demand video training program in Tai Chi Chuan.

• Mayer, M. (2024). Bodymind Healing in Psychotherapy, on demand, online course 3 CEUs available from


Distinguished Achievements:

The American Tai Chi and Qigong Association certified Michael as a master Tai Chi Instructor, 2015.

The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician, won a silver medal in the Body, Mind & Spirit category in the Independent Book Seller’s Association’s Ben Franklin awards (2013). The book also won an honorable mention award in other book contests across the country: The Spiritual Books category in the New England Book Festival, the Great Southwest Book Festival, and the Hollywood Book Festival.

Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Integral Health: Bodymind Healing Approaches for Troubled Times, October 4, 2012.

Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine, (their highest honor), Springfield, Missouri, 2009, www.

Diplomate from the College of Behavioral Health, American Association of  Integrative Medicine, 2009. North Atlantic Books/ Random House published Dr Mayer’s book, EnergyPsychology, Self-healing Practices for Bodymind Health (Spring, 2009) which was given glowing endorsements by top leaders in mind-body healthcare.
Eleventh World Qigong Congress, Dr Mayer chosen to do one of the Masters of Qigong all day workshops, September 19- Sept 21, 2008, San Francisco.
Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathway to Modern Health, (Bodymind Healing Publications, 2007). Dr. Mayer’s second volume of the Tao of Bodymind Healing series gets glowing endorsements from ten top leaders in the field of mind-body medicine, and a very positive review from PsycCritiques, which is described as, “the most comprehensive and authoritative publisher of bibliographic reference sources that cover scholarly and peer-reviewed publications in psychology and related disciplines.”
Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Peer-reviewer for the article, “Qigong Yangsheng as a non-pharmacological approach for the treatment of essential hypertension with a muscle relaxation therapy control group: a randomised controlled pilot study,” Manuscript Reference Number CTIM03/033, Elsevier Science Ltd., August, 2006.
Annals of Internal Medicine, chosen to peer- review the article “Clinical Effect of Qigong Practice on Essential Hypertension: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trails, by Xinfeng Guo, Bin Qhou, Tsutomu Nishimura, Satoshi Teramukai, Masonori Fukushima from National DME Training Center, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Division of Clinical Trial Design and Management, Translational Research Center Kyoto University Hospital. December, 2006.
Esalen Institute, sponsors Dr. Mayer’s Certification programs: Bodymind Healing Qigong Level I and Bodymind Health Professionals Certification, 2005 and 2006.
Dr. Wayne Jonas, Past Director of the National Institute of Health, Office of alternative medicine chose Dr. Mayer’s Bodymind Healing Qigong method to represent Qigong in his upcoming book on Optimal Healing Environments.

Keynote Presentation: Qigong: Ancient Path to Modern Health, Eastern Regional Conference, National Qigong Association, Albany NY, Oct 2004.
Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, MD, Medical Director, The Trauma Center, Boston University School of Medicine chose  Dr. Mayer’s  Bodymind Healing Qigong DVD to use in his trainings of trauma specialists. (2004).

Created Bodymind Healing Qigong, a synthesis of 10 systems of Qigong synthesized from 30 years of training with some of the worlds most respected Tai Chi/Qigong teachers including Master and Sifu for three decades Fong Ha; and also teachers and masters Han Xing Yuan;Cai Song Fang; Sam Tam; Ken Cohen, Dr. Alex Feng, Brian O’Dea, Kumar Francis, Luke Chang, Zhi Gang Sha, Han Jing Chen (1974 to present).Sixth World Qigong Congress. Chosen to lead the plenary session of Qigong students, teachers and assembled international Qigong masters in Bodymind Healing Qigong exercises. (2003)

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, chosen to be a peer-reviewer for an article by Garret Yount, Ph.D. of California Pacific Medical Center, on “Simulated Infrasound Component of External Qigong may Enhance Gliuoma Cell Response to Chemotherapy,” (July, 2003).

Qigong Clinical Research, peer-reviewed article appeared in Healing, Intention and Energy Medicine, 2003,  by Dr. Wayne Jonas, former Director of the National Institute of Health Office of Alternative Medicine.

Co-founded The Health Medicine Institute, a multidisciplinary health clinic where Western Doctors and complimentary health professionals work together in integrated healing teams. 2001-to 2005. This integrated medical clinic, where Dr Mayer is a staff psychologist, is now called The Health Medicine Center, in Walnut Creek.

Fifth World Congress on Qigong, chosen to give a Master’s level Workshop, on Qigong and Bodymind Healing: An Integrated Psycho-physiological  Approach to Self Healing. Continuing Education accreditation for Nurses Nov. 2002, Dec. 2003.

First World Symposium on Self-Healing. Award for outstanding research and contribution to the advancement of mind-body medicine, Woodbridge New Jersey, 2001.

Special Invitation by Dr. Wayne Jonas, former Director of the National Institute of Health Office of Alternative Medicine to do a presentation at the Healing: State of the Science Conference and a Position paper for NIH consideration on Qigong and Hypertension, October 27, 2000.

White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, Invitation to present on the Clinical, Educational, and Research Methodology Considerations for Incorporating Qigong into National Public Health Policy, San Francisco, Sept 8, 2000.

Produced video and audio tapes on self -healing methods for health problems. Video  Tape: Bodymind Healing Qigong (2000) . Audio Tapes: Find your Hidden Reservoir   of Healing Energy A Guided Meditation for Cancer. Find your Hidden Reservoir of Healing Energy A Guided Meditation for Chronic Disease (2001).

Bodymind Healing, Qigong and Cancer, two television shows shown on TCI- Contra Costa Cable, February 2000.

Associate Director of the Health Medicine Forum, a multidisciplinary group of Western doctors and complimentary health practitioners practicing and educating the public about integrated healthcare.1998-1999.

Dr. Mayer was a Focusing Training Coordinator for the San Francisco East Bay Area for 10 years.  Focusing is a method of mind body healing developed by Dr. Eugene Gendlin Ph.D., who won the most distinguished professional psychologist of the Year award from the American Psychological Association.  It’s  being used by the Simonton Cancer Clinic, in preventative medicine, and biofeedback research as well as in psychotherapy. Dr. Mayer’s Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy approach expands Focusing to include Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, hypnosis and cross cultural approaches to healing.

The Contra Costa Sun (Feb 2, 2000) Thwarting Heart Disease, article by Jennifer Shaw on Dr, Mayer’s wok with bodymind healing and heart disease/hypertension. The Contra Costa Sun ( January 11, 1989 ) also did a feature article on Dr. Mayer’s integration of oriental and western approaches to healing, focusing on his work with Tai Chi, qigong, hypnosis and psychotherapy

Co-founding member of John F. Kennedy University’s Transpersonal Psychology Program 1978. Taught graduate psychology courses there for 12 years. 1978-1991.

Trained internationally recognized expert and scholar Ken Cohen in Yi Chuan Standing and Walking Meditation. Ken Cohen describes this method as “the million dollar secret of Qigong.” (Ken and Michael mutually exchanged many traditions.) 1980-1981 ( approximate date).

World Astrology Prize, (1979) awarded from the Astrological Association of Great Britian, for Dr. Mayer’s dissertation, “A Holistic Perspective on Meaning and Identity: Astrological Metaphor as a Language of Personality in Psychotherapy.” This dissertation was turned into the  book, The Mystery of Personal Identity (ACS Publications 1984; updated 2012),” the first book to integrate astrological metaphor and depth psychotherapy, and set forth a new phenomenological theoretical framework for astrology to make it palatable even to skeptics.

adminmmOfficial Bio