Valerie Malhotra Bentz, PhD, MSSW, is a Professor in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University, where she served as Associate Dean for Research. Her current interests include somatics, phenomenology, social theory, consciousness development, and Vedantic theories of knowledge. Her books include: Transformative Phenomenology: Changing Ourselves; Lifeworlds and Professional Practice (with David Rehorick); Mindful Inquiry in Social Research (with Jeremy Shapiro); and Becoming Mature: Childhood Ghosts and Spirits in Adult Life. She is the also the author of a philosophical novel, Flesh and Mind: The Time Travels of Dr. Victoria Von Dietz.
She is a Fellow in Contemplative Practice of the American Association of Learned Societies. Valerie was editor of Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (1994-1998). She has served as president and board member of the Clinical Sociology Association, the Sociological Practice Association and the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences. She founded and co-directed an action research team and center in Mizoram, India.
Valerie was co-founder of the Creative Longevity and Wisdom program at Fielding. She has 20 experience as a psychotherapist, and is a certified yoga teacher and certified massage therapist. She is a member of the board of the Carpinteria Valley Association, an environmental activist group over 50 years old. She supports numerous environmental organizations and plays bassoon and piano.
She is currently writing an article for a book of international scholars who are pushing the boundaries of the social and human sciences. Her article will bring in somatic and phenomenological ways of knowing. She is also working on a book on human development over a 35-year span using data to follow up on her first book, Becoming Mature: Childhood Ghosts and Spirits in Adult Life.
Industry Expertise (8)
Health and Wellness
Mental Health Care
Professional Training and Coaching
Writing and Editing
Areas of Expertise (9)
Social Theory and Practice
Human Development and Consciousness
Society, Culture and Systems
Lillian Dean Award—First Place for Novel (professional)
(2010) Awarded by the Central Coast Writer's Conference.
(2005) Conferred by the American Council of Learned Societies, Contemplative Practice.
Social Justice Award (professional)
(2002) Awarded by Fielding Graduate University.
Honored Scholar (professional)
(1999) Conferred by the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences.
Faculty Publication Awards (professional)
(1996) Awarded by Fielding Graduate University in 1996 and 1998.
Southern Illinois University: PhD, Psychology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: MSSW, Social Work
- Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences : Member
- Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy : Member
- American Sociological Association : Member
- Body Therapy Institute : Certified Advanced Massage Therapist
- Integrative Yoga Therapy Institute : Certified Yoga Therapy Institute
- Vedanta Society of Southern California : Initiate
- Member Board of Directors Carpinteria Valley Association
- Associate Member World Business Academy
Event Appearances (2)
Presentation on Transformative Phenomenology
(November, 2012) Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences Rochester, New York
Swami Vivekanada's Message for World Peace
(February, 2012) Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Cambria, CA
Knowing as Being: Somatic Phenomenology as Contemplative PracticeFielding University Press
(2016) Chapter in Bentz & Giorgino, eds., Contemplative Inquiry: Caring for Self, Being, and Lifeworld
Contemplative Social Research / Caring for Self, Being and LifeworldFielding University Press
(2016) BOOK: Contemplative Social Research brings together a range of current ideas and theories by top international scholars, who question existing theories of self, mind, culture and society, and instead focus on emerging new forms of Being. Contemplative inquiry moves disciplines toward recognition of the deep oneness of humanity and interdependence with other living beings. With a foreword by Rick Moody and Sander Tideman, this volume moves the social and human sciences forward to a deeper level, blurring boundaries between disciplines and cultures in search of the true nature of beings.
Alfred Schutz and his Intellectual PartnersSchutzian Research: A Yearbook of Lifeworldly Phenomenology and Qualitative Social Science
(2010) Hisashi Nasu, Lester Embree, George Psathas, and Ilja Srubar (eds.)--The editors of this extraordinary volume are lifelong intellectual partners, perhaps brothers, devoted to promoting the heritage of their philosopher father, Alfred Schutz. These are four among the twenty-seven authors, creators of the treasures found in this volume. The chest ...
From Playing Child to Aging Mentor: The Role of Human Studies in my Development as a ScholarHuman Studies
(2002) Human Studies, the official journal of the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (SPHS), has been with me as a beacon, guide, comfort, and joy for more than twenty years. I first came to know of the journal and SPHS in the 1980s from Professor ...
“Body‐As‐World”: Kenneth Burke's Answer to the Postmodernist Charges Against SociologySociological Theory
(1997) Postmodernism charges that sociological methods project ways of thinking and being from the past onto the future, and that sociological forms of presentation are rhetorical defenses of ideologies. Postmodernism contends that sociological theory presents reified constructs ...
Husserl, Schutz,“Paul” and me: Reflections on writing phenomenologyHuman Studies
(1995) This paper is a reflection on the boundaries of academic discourse as I came to be acutely aware of them while attempting to teach a graduate seminar in qualitative research methods. The purpose of the readings in Husserl and Schutz and the writing exercises ...