Photography and Writing: Into the Heart of Traditional Cultures in Times of Global Change

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 7, 2017 9:41:44 PM

Photography: Into the Heart of Traditional Cultures in Times of Global Change. An Interview with Writer and Photographer, Michael Benanav, M.A. A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Michael Benanav is a critically-acclaimed writer and photographer who has traveled to a lot of places that are well off the beaten path, often finding himself in remote mountains and landscapes, walking, being in nature, and living quite simply. There, in the wilderness, he often runs into nomads, and he quickly became fascinated by their way of life. Benanav, whose work has appeared in publications like The New York Times, Geographical Magazine, Lonely Planet Guidebooks, and CNN.com, was naturally drawn to spending time with them.

These profoundly archetypal lifestyles inevitably appear in Benanav’s work. In his first book, a travel narrative entitled Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold (2008), he joined one of the last working camel caravans in the world, which runs an ancient salt trading route in the Sahara desert in Mali. Leaving Timbuktu, the route veers 500 miles north into the vast desert to salt mines located “in the middle of nowhere,” hundreds of miles away from any village. There's no electricity, no telephone; not even fresh water, Benanav reports.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Connecting Cultures, Ecopsychology, art, indigenous psychology

Pacifica represents at the 2017 Biennial Conference for the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 21, 2017 3:44:53 PM

Pacifica represents at the 2017 Biennial Conference for the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)

This team of students, faculty, and alumni largely represent the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program here at Pacifica.

We are excited to share this amazing body of work that our students, faculty, and alumni are engaging with and wish them well presenting at the University of Ottawa, in Ontario, Canada where the conference is being held.

Here is a list of Pacifica community members presenting at the conference:

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Posted in: Pacifica News, Social Justice, Ecopsychology, community psychology, Education

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Cultivating, Counseling, and Stories from Cameroon

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 4, 2017 11:13:04 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Cultivating, Counseling, and Stories from Cameroon An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Courtney McCubbin
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Nothing can substitute for experience as a way of knowing. It serves as a powerful initiation process that begins the moment you put your foot on a particular path. This appears to be the case for Courtney McCubbin, who served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon in Africa from 2001 to 2005. While McCubbin struggled mightily to learn French in order to communicate with the people there, a task that frequently brought her to tears, she took comfort her deep desire to help people, and threw herself into projects in reforestation, agroforestry, and agronomy, which contributed to the healing of the forests and the farmers there who needed help.

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Posted in: Counseling Psychology, Connecting Cultures, C.G. Jung, Ecopsychology, graduate school, depth psychology, active imagination

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Jamaica

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 21, 2017 2:22:47 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Jamaica An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ross Dionne
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

The first night Ross Dionne and his wife spent with their host family in Jamaica, they were served chicken foot soup, he remembers with a laugh—probably on purpose so the family could see their reaction. Neither his wife nor he picked up that foot and “sucked off all the skin and meat like people do when they eat chicken foot soup” he recalls. Even though he never particularly came to like things like cow skin soup much, making the effort to try the food was one of the best things they could do to build connections with people—something Dionne appreciated very much over the course of the two years he spent in the Peace Corps.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Ecopsychology, community psychology, graduate school, depth psychology, liberation psychology

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Guinea

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 15, 2017 10:45:20 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Guinea An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Hilary Braseth
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Only about one third of individuals who apply to the Peace Corps are invited to serve. For Hilary Braseth, applying to the Peace Corps in spite of the odds was a necessary step in her journey. Born and raised in a “bubble town” as she describes it, an area that was primarily white and middle class, she feels she was always aware on some level she was not being exposed to certain facets of society. She has always maintained a certain curiosity about why she was born into her particular body, which affords her certain opportunities, as opposed to others who have different ones.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Ecopsychology, community psychology, graduate school, depth psychology

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Niger

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 6, 2017 2:16:26 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Niger, An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Stephanie Steiner
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Sometimes I’m shocked to wake up and realize that it’s 2017 there’s still so much conflict and suffering in our world. We need more and better ways to provide aid, education, and support for developing countries and for those individuals who are struggling due to poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor access to clean water, disease, and violence, among many other challenges.

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy took a giant step in the right direction when he created the Peace Corps[1], whose mission today focuses on providing hands-on, grassroots-driven initiatives, including developing health campaigns, building schools, improving agricultural practices, boosting local entrepreneurship, and teaching digital literacy, just to name a few. And while there is still a long way to go to eliminate suffering and to better the lives of those in need of help around the world, hundreds of thousands of Peace Corps volunteers have stepped up in 140 different countries over more than five decades to be of service.

Some of those volunteers have found their way to Pacifica as recipients of the Paul D. Coverdell fellowship [2], providing financial assistance to returned Peace Corps Volunteers pursuing graduate work. To honor the anniversary month of the Peace Corps, Pacifica is spotlighting some of the Coverdell Fellows currently enrolled in graduate programs at Pacifica through the Discussions in Depth Psychology interview series.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Ecopsychology, community psychology, graduate school, depth psychology

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