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 Manager Marshall Chrostowski's tenure at Pacifica

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 28, 2016 3:58:52 PM

A sense of place is central to the learning community at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Great attention has been given to creating an environment that nurtures creativity, nourishes soul, and seeks to transform. That process is guided by and enhanced by the trees, the plants, the water, and the spatial design of both the Lambert Road and Ladera Lane Campuses. And the man who has directed these efforts is heading into retirement, leaving behind a legacy of matter that will forever continue to shape our students, faculty, staff, and anyone else who has the good fortune to walk the grounds.

Pacifica co-founder and faculty member Maren Hansen asked Marshall to compile a list of his many achievements on the Pacifica campuses. Here are some highlights of Marshall’s tenure at Pacifica.

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Posted in: nature, Pacifica News, Santa Barbara

Ecotherapy: Nature Reconnection as a Powerful, Transformational Healing Practice: A Short Interview with Linda Buzzell

Posted by Erik Davis on May 10, 2016 11:25:53 AM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

If the name, Linda Buzzell, sounds familiar to you, it’s no surprise—particularly if you are moved as I am by the growing ecological crisis that is unfolding around us. Linda Buzzell, MA, LMFT, PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) has been a psychotherapist for more than 30 years and has specialized in ecopsychology and ecotherapy since 2000. She co-edited the 2009 Sierra Club Books anthology, Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. From my perspective, Linda is a true pioneer in the field, with a wonderful gift for sharing her passion for the planet in a multitude of ways that appeal to a broad audience.

In addition to writing regularly for Huffington Post, Linda generously shares her time to do interviews and events that illustrate the value (and, arguably, the imperative) of reconnecting with the natural world. Linda recently joined me as a panelist for an online event, “Earth, Climate, Dreams” sponsored by Depth Psychology Alliance, and she is leading an upcoming weekend workshop, Ecotherapy: Nature Reconnection as a Powerful, Transformational Healing Practice, at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, May 13-15, 2016.

Linda recently sat down with me to answer a few questions about the power of ecotherapy:

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Posted in: nature

Dreaming the Earth: Earthing the Dream—Depth Psychology and Appreciative Nature Practices with Dr. Pat Katsky

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 24, 2016 9:12:32 AM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Dr. Pat Katsky is a Jungian Analyst and core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and she has been a therapist for thirty years. When Pat sat down with me in a recent interview, our conversation focused on the idea that some of the most psychologically healing experiences come from the natural world, a theme derived from an upcoming certificate program, “Dreaming the Earth: Earthing the Dream” starting April 15, 2016.

Pat mused on how in the last million or so years of history, humans have always needed nature and did not feel separate from it. But with the industrial revolution and the development of society as we know it, we have lost the connectedness. It has become something we do for vacation, she observes, then we return to jobs and daily life where nature is distant.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, C.G. Jung, nature

Spirit, Soul, and the Secular: An Interview with Thomas Moore

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 17, 2016 8:49:13 AM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Depth Psychology is often associated with “soul.” Many great thinkers in the field have shared some important thoughts on the topic, and perhaps none more so than psychologist and author, Thomas Moore, whose best-selling book, Care of the Soul, is one of the most recognized and appreciated works on the topic. Thomas Moore is speaking at the upcoming Climates of Change conference in celebration of Pacifica’s 40th anniversary in April 2016.

When I sat down recently with Thomas to discuss the topic of soul and spirituality, my first request was that he elaborate on the difference between spirit and soul. Moore’s understanding of the topic is rooted firmly in the past, going back to some of the earliest teachers of soul. While he explained his perception of the difference between spirit and soul in some detail, what struck me is that soul thrives on the “holy” and that there is a “non-human” dimension to it.

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Posted in: James Hillman, Current Affairs, C.G. Jung, nature, soul

Pacifica Pledges for Climate Change Initiatives

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 30, 2015 4:17:52 PM

Faithful to its intention to tend anima mundi, the soul in and of the world, Pacifica Graduate Institute resolves to use its own educational resources to support the shift in paradigm and in human consciousness that can lead to and support actions to protect the planet’s climate and all species and habitats dependent on it.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, nature

The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 5, 2015 12:09:00 PM

A guest post by Dr. Susan Rowland. The following is excerpted from The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung

 

"A psychologist, C. G. Jung was acutely aware of the difficulty of writing about nature. To him, the unconscious is how non-human nature inhabits human beings. Unfortunately, the non-human and the unknown psyche are territories resistant to everyday language.

Here is an example of Jung's use of nature as a simile, a kind of metaphor using `like' or `as':

The moment one forms an idea of a thing. . . One has taken possession of it, and it has become an inalienable piece of property, like a slain creature of the wild that can no longer run away.
(Jung 1947/1954/1960, CW8: para. 356)

Jung is looking at the nature of the psyche and how it can be captured in writing. After all, to write about the psyche is to fall into a trap. Only the psyche itself, meaning all the properties of the human mind, conscious and unconscious, can reflect upon the psyche. There is no standpoint outside the psyche from which to view it with scientific detachment. If there is a nature of the psyche, it is one in which we are always enmeshed.

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Posted in: The Psyche, C.G. Jung, nature