Elephants, Ethnography, and Somatic Psychology: On Trans-Species Fieldwork with Elephants

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 18, 2017 2:42:45 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When Jonathan Erickson entered the M.A./Ph.D. program in Depth Psychology with a Specialization in Somatic Studies at Pacifica, he probably never imagined he would end up working with elephants in Cambodia as part of his curriculum. Admittedly, he has always been interested in highly intelligent animals, and he had encountered the Elephant Valley Project in Cambodia[1] during some prior travels in southeast Asia. Elephant Valley focuses on conservation and rehabilitation of elephants, maintaining a highly ethical stance. Eco-tourists who flock to the area are not allowed to ride the elephants, for instance, as the elephants are not there to serve humans, but rather to live their lives in peace, notes Jonathan. When it came time for Jonathan to conduct requisite summer fieldwork in the Somatics program, he found himself contemplating what it would be like to conduct his doctoral fieldwork in a sanctuary where elephants were treated with respect, and it seemed like a natural fit.

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Posted in: nature, somatic bodywork, Ecopsychology, animals

Wolf Conservation and the Arts: A Community and Ecopsychological Perspective

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 5, 2016 5:03:25 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Susan Grelock has been busy lately—albeit busy in a way that many of us have probably not contemplated in lives filled with jobs, family, and a daily dose of media, be it via Internet, TV, or on-demand series we can binge-watch at will. Susan has been speaking with artists and biologists who have an interest in wolf conservation. During her research, she got really interested in the Yellowstone-Teton region because it's a focal point for wolf conservation, especially with their fairly successful wolf re-introduction project that is now nearly three decades old. Wolves are also crossing down from Canada and breeding with local populations, so wolves are now “crossing paths with humans” in that area in ways they haven’t done in North America for almost a century. Artists there also seem to be focused on depicting wolves to instigate interest and to spur conversations about them, perhaps in new ways.

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Posted in: The Psyche, nature, Ecopsychology

Land, Language, Silence: A Depth Psychological Perspective on Working with the Navajo at Black Mesa

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Oct 19, 2016 4:38:54 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When Jonathan Rudow goes into a community to conduct research, he is highly conscious of the fact that he arrives with a particular lens—a lens we each develop individually over the course of our lives evolving from our personal experiences, family values, and cultural conditioning. That lens never allows for the full picture, Jonathan insisted when he sat down with me recently to discuss his work with the Navajo (or the Diné people, as they refer to themselves) at Back Mesa in Arizona. The term “Diné,” meaning—“the people”—is a preferred descriptor for the tribe, Jonathan learned, because in the worldview of the Diné, amongst the many varied animals and “figures” in the world, “the people” are considered just one more of those figures that make up the world. The name “Navajo” was never a name the Diné took upon themselves.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Ecopsychology, community psychology

Ecopsychology: Eco-Grief felt from the 2015 Refugio Oil spill

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 1, 2015 11:42:00 AM

Pacifica Graduate Institute professors held an Eco-Grief Gathering and Ceremony in response to the Refugio Oil Spill. Also featured in this post is drone video footage of the oil spill, captured two days after the ruptured pipe line began spewing oil into the Pacific Ocean.

May 28, 2015 –Santa Barbara, CA.

Linda Buzzell, M.A., LMFT, and Maren Hansen, M. Div., Ph.D., from Pacifica Graduate Institute hosted an Eco-Grief Gathering and Ceremony yesterday, in response to a recent oil spill at Refugio Beach. 

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Santa Barbara, Ecopsychology