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

The Value of Multi-Cultural Perspectives in Depth Psychotherapy: An Interview with Dr. Matthew Bennett

Posted by Erik Davis on Jun 22, 2016 2:41:33 PM

A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Counseling is an applied healing art that helps us address suffering, enrich personal lives, activate our potential, to live more fully, and to develop more adaptive capacities to life in the view of Dr. Matthew Bennett, a psychotherapist and lecturer who teaches in the M.A. Counseling Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. More, psychotherapists and counselors that have a depth psychological orientation are prepared for a “broad spectrum slice of the human experience,” which for Bennett, includes the ability to be emotionally present in difficult emotional circumstances or even to simply better hold and tolerate emotionally powerful situations.

Depth psychology is grounded in the humanities, Bennett reminded me when we connected for an interview on the topic, and therefore it can contribute to an individual experiencing a fuller and richer life. Being able to identify with different kinds of people and to accommodate varying perspectives are just some of the advantages that depth training can contribute to a therapeutic practice. In addition, if one is willing to be a student of the human mind, and of the context provided by mythology and literature, it all serves to “broaden us out”—in a depth psychological way.

Jung spoke of his own work in archeological terms, which does imply a depth that is “going toward the center,” Matthew points out. All depth psychological orientations anchor us, and mythology, storytelling, dreams—even reading fiction—each express some dynamic of what it means to be human. Each contains energetics that are useful in reconciling opposing points of view. That’s how depth becomes breadth, Matthew says. It enables us to countenance the deeper or chthonic layers of life and to draw closer to the archetypes, where things become not only more dynamic and more irrational, but also more powerful.

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Posted in: Counseling Psychology, Psychology, depth psychology

The Therapy Room and the Interactive Field: Dr. Joseph Cambray on Becoming a Supervisor in Depth

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 18, 2016 3:59:23 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

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 Psychological Approaches to Suffering

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 27, 2016 9:31:49 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran

We are all intimately familiar with suffering. And, while we might wish it away when it is painfully present, it is a normal part of human life, Dr. Lionel Corbett, M.D., Jungian analyst and professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute reminded me when I recently sat down for a depth discussion with him on the topic.

Etymologically, the word “suffering” comes from two Latin roots: sub—meaning “under”—and ferre, meaning “to carry or bear,” as in “to bear a burden.” But suffering is not necessarily pathological, Lionel insists. The root of the word “suffer” is also the root of the English word “fertile,” so it is also related to the idea of bearing fruit. Psychologically, then, suffering can produce something; it’s not random or meaningless, nor merely something to get rid of. In reality, it can act as either a fertilizer or a poison. It can be harmful or it can be helpful, but we need a framework by which we can understand it.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Trauma, Pacifica Events, Psychology

Xenophobia, the growing international prejudice toward immigrants

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 16, 2015 2:22:30 PM

A guest post by Dr. Oksana Yakushko, Chair of Pacifica's two doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology.

Xenophobia or prejudice toward immigrants appears to be exploding in political and cultural landscapes around the world. Although the prejudice has been around and part of historical narratives in the past, the current refugee crisis in Europe, as well as migration into the “developed” world by individuals seeking economic and political stability, has resulted in open vitriolic discussions of “dangers” of immigrants and immigration. My recent interviews with the Atlantic and Discovery News are among many contributions, discussions, arguments, and public dialogues on immigration.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Social Justice, Psychology

What Archetype are you when it comes to Managing Money?

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 10, 2015 3:55:10 PM

A guest post by Dr. Jennifer Leigh Selig. Dr. Selig was recently featured in the New York Times article Financial Advice for Women, From Women. Dr. Selig provided the research and methodology to produce the new archetypal indicator according to how we manage our money.

What does a geeky academic do on her three month sabbatical? More geeky academic things, it seems! At least, this is what happened to me on my sabbatical this summer, which landed me square on the front page of the New York Times Business section on Saturday, November 7th.

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Posted in: archetypes, Psychology, money

Students have access to new videos by Virginia Satir

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 4, 2015 2:37:00 PM has added three new videos by Virginia Satir to our online streaming collection: Blended Family with a Troubled Boy, A Family at the Point of Growth, and A Step Along the Way: A Family with a Drug Problem. The Pacifica Library's Exclusive Collection now contains 136 titles (220 hours), including several by prominent psychologists such as James Hillman, Irvin Yalom, Carl Rogers, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Albert Bandura, Peter Levine, Virginia Satir, Ernest Rossi, and more. The database allows you to view videos online, with each video broken down by chapter for quick navigation. Synchronized transcripts and subtitles are available for many of the videos, with the spoken words highlighted on a transcript as a video plays. Many videos also come with instructor's manuals. We welcome you to explore the collections and contact the Pacifica Graduate Research Library with any questions. 

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Posted in: Therapist, Pacifica News, Psychology

The Legacy of John B. Watson: On Voodoism and The Unexamined Influence of the Father of Behaviorism on American Psychology

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 2, 2015 10:05:00 PM

A guest post by faculty member Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D.

Who Was John B. Watson and What Did He Contribute to Mainstream Psychology?

In the early 1900s, John B. Watson, relatively unknown research psychologist from Johns Hopkins, delivered the “Behaviorist Manifesto” to an audience at Columbia University. He decried the psychology’s misguided infatuation with “introspection” and consciousness, neither of which could be measured or objectively defined. Psychology, in his view, mired by what he called Freud’s unscientific “voodoism,” has gone in the wrong direction. In contrast, Watson proposed a psychology that is a true “scientific” discipline, seeking to understand and control human behavior in “physico-chemical” terms. Introspection, he argued, has no place in this scientific endeavor..

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