How Memory Tending Can Transform You: An Interview with Dr. Daphne Dodson

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 19, 2016 12:35:29 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

You may have donated that Times of Your Life Paul Anka 8-track to charity when it didn’t sell at the last neighborhood rummage sale, but the words to “Good Morning Yesterday” live on. Sometimes it is hard to find the “memories you left behind” as Anka sang in 1976. Sometimes, as Freud argued, those memories sink below the level of our consciousness, but continue to work on us in various ways even decades later. Sigmund Freud even formulated a term “return of the repressed” to explain where neurotic symptoms originate, writing that

illness is characterized by the return of the repressed memories -- that is, therefore, by the failure of the defence.... The re-activated memories, however, and the self-reproaches formed from them never re-emerge into consciousness unchanged: what become conscious as obsessional ideas and affects¹

Jung, too, expressed the opinion that our memories can torment us to a dangerous extent when he wrote,

It may be that the majority of hysterical persons are ill because they possess a mass of memories, highly charged with affect and therefore deeply rooted in the unconscious, which cannot be controlled and which tyrannize the conscious mind and will of the patient.²

You don’t have to be a depth psychologist to notice when, at times, memories of your own rise up unexpectedly out of nowhere, often instigating powerful emotions. It happens for me with a handful of certain memories show up, surprising me with their content and their intensity, making me wonder why a certain memory would arise for me when millions of others are lost.

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Posted in: Trauma, Alumni, transformative, symbol, images

Supervising in Depth: Pacifica Launches a New Certificate Training Program

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 19, 2016 10:45:24 AM

Professors Joseph Cambray, Linda Carter, Avedis Panajian, Joseph Bobrow, and Lionel Corbett have come together to co-teach in the new certificate training program Becoming a Supervisor in Depth.

The program is nine sessions over the course of 10 months on a designated Thursday evening, and teaches the skills and approaches necessary to become a supervisor from a depth psychological orientation. 

See below for a reprinted interview between Pacifica Alumni Bonnie Bright and Pacifica Provost Dr. Joseph Cambray who will be teaching in the program.


Psychotherapy is pervasive in contemporary culture. Even if you’re not a therapist yourself, if you’re taking the time to read this post, chances are good that either you or someone close to you has been involved in therapy at some point in their lives. And, while you may feel you have a good understanding of what happens in the therapy room, there may be more than meets the eye. Do you ever wonder, for example, what has to occur in the therapeutic process so that the basic experience is what it needs to be for both the client and the therapist? How does a therapist tap into the unconscious in order to help the client be more of “who they are”? How does synchronicity—and the interactive field that emerges between two individuals—serve up messages from the unconscious for the benefit of the work? More, where does the therapist her/himself turn for help in honing their own intuition and skills that ultimately contribute to their own individuation process in working with clients?

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Posted in: Therapist, C.G. Jung, clinical psychology, Psychology, depth psychology

Narcissistic Tendencies: Donald Trump and Shakespeare's Macbeth

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 14, 2016 3:53:51 PM

A new book A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump has just been released by Chrion Publications. The book features twenty articles on the subject of narcissism, written by esteemed professors and professionals of psychology and depth psychology. I recently caught up with Dr. Susan Rowland, chair of Pacifica's M.A. Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life Program who wrote "The Demonic and Narcissistic Power of the Media in Shakespeare's Macbeth" for the section of the book titled Archetypal Narcissism. Here is our dialogue about the book:

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Posted in: Current Affairs, archetypes, Pacifica News, literature

Getting Past the Threshold and Into the Classroom

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 9, 2016 1:48:48 PM

A guest post by Craig Chalquist, Ph.D.

You’ve investigated which schools offer what; you’ve found a suitable program; and you’re ready to apply. What holds you back?

You’ve applied but not completed the application. How come?

You’ve completed the application but not paid the fee. Why?

I’ve been there. Twice: when entering the master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy at CalLutheran University, and when enrolling at Pacifica Graduate Institute for my PhD in Depth Psychology. Why do we resist committing ourselves? Perhaps we can look at it psychologically.

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Posted in: graduate school, Education

The Image Making Capacity of Soul: A Conversation on Imaginal Figures in Everyday Life with Dr. Mary Harrell

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 9, 2016 12:59:49 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Every once in a while, a term emerges on the horizon of my awareness which I find strikingly beautiful. In this case, it is the “image-making capacity of soul.” The language of soul is symbol, and symbol shows itself in image—including dream images, fairy tales and myth, or even art, Mary Harrell, Ph.D., explains in her recent book, Imaginal Figures in Everyday Life: Stories from the World Between Matter and Mind. Ultimately, this language of images is soul manifesting in a way people can understand, and without that image-making capacity, people can’t come to terms with the unconscious, Harrell insists.

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Posted in: soul, symbol, imaginal, dreams

Encountering Sabina Spielrein: Forging Paths To and Through Powerful Women in Depth Psychology

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 29, 2016 12:49:16 PM

In 2011, Sabina Spielrein became something of a household name due to the debut of a mainstream film called A Dangerous Method, starring well-known actors including Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen. The film purported to tell the story of Sabina Spielrein, a young woman psychiatric patient and acquaintance of the infamous doctors Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, pioneers of the modern psychoanalytical and depth psychology movements.

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Posted in: C.G. Jung, history of psychology, Psychology, gender, depth psychology

Psychology According to Dr. Seuss (and at Pacifica Graduate Institute)

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 24, 2016 4:33:44 PM

A guest post by Clinical Psychology faculty member Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Dr. Yakushko delievered this speech at the 2016 commencement ceremonies for the Psy.D. and Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute

At the time of this academic new year—a transition into endings and beginning—I wanted to reflect about the meaning of training in psychology, including the divergent perspective we offer here at Pacifica. In contrast to psychological treatments and scholarship, as they stand right now, which emphasize positivity, solutions, self-control, and ridding oneself of all internal and external problems.

In this blog I wanted to bring out the true and tried, the old time favorite by… Theodore Geisel: Oh the Places you Go by the incomparable Geisel aka Dr. Seuss.

I love the book. I own it, read it to my kids. I’ve heard it and have been moved. I like its sense of wonder and openness and adventure.

But… I would like to yank us all out of that perpetually happy place, a fantasy of old that life will just get better and better, and re-frame the book in light of studying or practicing psychology today…

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Posted in: Psychology, Dr. Seuss

How Depth Psychology Found Me

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 17, 2016 4:18:05 PM

Dr. Joseph Cambray’s journey to becoming a depth psychologist finds its roots in a childhood affliction that prevented him from playing sports, prompting him to devour world mythology instead. After three years, the illness spontaneously and inexplicably remitted and never returned, launching him into his first depth psychological kind of experience, Cambray acknowledges.

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Posted in: Education, depth psychology

Lionel Corbett: The Value of a Depth Education

Posted by Erik Davis on Aug 11, 2016 1:38:11 PM

A depth education has value for any individual because it fosters the journey of individuation, and allows you to get to know yourself. To “know thyself” is one of the greatest injunctions in the history of our thinking, suggests Dr. Lionel Corbett, Jungian analyst and professor of depth psychology at Pacifica, because the more we know our shadow, the less we project it onto others, and the more understanding and compassionate we will be.

If you are a therapist, it enables you to realize that when a client presents with a specific problem, that problem is not the main area of concern. Rather, it is the attempt of the personality to deal with the problem. Dealing with a problem at a superficial level is like ripping out a warning light and not dealing with the issue at a deeper level, notes Corbett. A depth approach enables us to deal with the deeper level of the problem.

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Remembering the Role of the Body in Culture, Trauma, and Everyday Dynamics: An Interview with Dr. Rae Johnson

Posted by Erik Davis on Aug 1, 2016 11:30:20 AM

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, The Power of Myth

If you’ve ever had the experience of being fully in your body, you can likely relate exactly to what Campbell meant when he referred to the “rapture” of being alive. I remember hiking through a rain forest in Belize a few years ago in a mighty tropical rainstorm, boots sliding on slick, wet, red clay earth as I grasped at vines to pull myself up embankments. My leg muscles felt infinitely powerful as they worked in perfect harmony with deep rhythmic breaths that seemed to form in perfect accord with the sound of the rain beating giant fronds all around me. I felt lithe, powerful, sleek—almost panther-like—I remember thinking at the time. And, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I was truly fully embodied in the midst of one of the most powerful places in nature that I have ever been, and I have never felt so euphoric, nor so alive.

This powerful image of my felt experience while in the jungle re-appeared instantaneously for me when Dr. Rae Johnson reminded me of this powerful quote by Joseph Campbell when we recently sat down for a conversation together. Rae is a somatic movement therapist, educator, and researcher, and also the Chair of the Somatic Studies Specialization of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, and she offered some captivating examples of just how transformational embodied awareness can be—especially if it’s grounded in a depth psychological context.

Click here to Listen to the full interview with Rae Johnson (Approx. 37 mins) 

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Posted in: Trauma, Social Justice, somatic bodywork