My Teacher Kenneth Bradford Brown

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Kenneth Bradford Brown PhD, informally known as Brad, was my beloved teacher from 1992 until his death in 2007. Brad was born of humble origins in Nevada, USA. He left high school to start up in business in Berkeley, California, and within a few years had developed a network of dry cleaning franchises, married, become a jazz band leader, returned to university, completed a PhD in Psychology, immersed himself in the early civil rights movement, and undertaken a fellowship at the University of Oxford. He studied directly under Carl Rogers, Viktor Frankl and Alan Watts, three major contributors to the philosophy and practice of psychology in the last century.

Frankl, who survived Aushwitz said, “The last of the human freedoms is to choose your own attitude in any given situation, to choose your own way.” This simple, profound truth underpins the methodology that became Kenneth Bradford Brown’s life’s work. His mission was to advance and modernise transformative learning, making it accessible to anyone who wanted to change their lives and enabling them to walk a conscious, courageous and sacred life path through an asleep, fearful and secular world.

In the mid-1970s Brad founded the Institute for Family and Human Relations in Los Gatos, California, with his wife Dr Anne Brown. By 1979 he had evolved a new methodology that he called ‘the work’ (a name later chosen, coincidentally by Byron Katy), but never wrote a book about. He believed transformation could not be understood, only experienced, so he co-founded an educational programme in 1984 (originally called The Life Training and now called More To Life) which has touched the lives of thousands of people across four continents.

In 1994 Brad joined Sophie and another visionary called Janet Jones to bring his work to the corporate world through their company, Interaction. Sophie was blessed to work in close partnership with her extraordinary mentor for thirteen years and conducted his last Board meeting at his home in California three months before he died.

In addition to the thousands of individuals his work has reached top retailers, banks, airlines, penal institutions, domestic violence shelters and pioneering educational and charitable institutions – from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in South Africa to the Prince’s Trust in the UK and in school and university programmes on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

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A servant leader in many ways, Brad grew a cadre of other leaders to take the work forward. He resisted being in the limelight or hailed as a guru and steadfastly refused to write ‘the book’, claiming that reading about his work would be counter-productive – it could transform only through practice. Brad travelled widely and was a voracious reader and prolific journal writer whose work has been excerpted and published by others wanting it to be shared. Much of his methodology is also supported by written, audio and filmed material.

Brad died on 10 August 2007, survived by his wife Anne, their children and grandchildren. His legacy lives on through people like Sophie who loved him like a father, misses him daily and is profoundly sustained through her cancer journey by the central tenet of his teaching:

“There is no event by which and through which Life itself is not trying to awaken you to your highest and noblest self.”