Mindfulness, Compassion, and Social Justice; An upcoming training at Pacifica

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 9, 2016 3:01:23 PM

A guest post by student/alumnae Hala Khouri, M.A.

Graduating from Pacifica’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology Program in 2004 gave me a foundation that has nurtured my work since then. Today things have come full circle. This year, not only have I begun the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization of the Depth Psychology Program, but also the non-profit organization that I co-founded in 2007, Off the Mat, Into the World ®, will be offering a training intensive entitled, Mindfulness, Compassion, and Social Justice at Pacifica this December, 2016.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, Social Justice, somatic bodywork, leadership

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

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

Community Reparations for Victims of Jon Burge's Torture Techniques

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 10, 2015 1:47:00 PM

Community Reparations

A guest post by Liz Diligio, a 2nd year student in the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program (C.L.E. program)

In May of 1972 Jon Burge, a Vietnam veteran, was promoted to police detective on Chicago’s south side. For the next twenty years Burge and other officers used torture techniques Burge learned in Vietnam to force confessions from men arrested in the neighborhood. Jon Burge eventually sent over 200 hundred men to prison based on confessions obtained through torture. The practice finally came to light during proceedings before the Police Board in 1992, when City lawyers admitted that the evidence of Area 2 (Burge’s district) use of torture established "an astounding pattern or plan… to torture certain suspects… into confessing to crimes.”

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Trauma, Connecting Cultures, Social Justice

Becoming an Embodied Ally

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 9, 2015 8:45:00 PM

A guest post by Rae Johnson, Ph.D.

Like many of us over the past several months, I’ve listened, read, and talked a lot about the issues arising from the recent tragic deaths of black men at the hands of police – about systemic racism, institutionalized violence, and intersecting forms of oppression.  Although the words exchanged in these important conversations have been necessary to my developing understanding of the issues, it is the images that have haunted me. I've found myself poring over photographs of hundreds of people lying down in Harvard Square as part of a "die in" mass protest, replaying the surveillance video footage of Tamir Rice’s sister running to his aid, and returning again and again to the photograph of Devonte Hart hugging Portland Oregon police officer Bret Barnum. The potency of these simple bodily gestures strikes a chord inside me that the words alone don't quite reach. 

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Posted in: transformative, Social Justice, somatic bodywork

The Work of Creative Maladjustment: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 6, 2015 2:38:00 PM

" Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word 'maladjusted.' This word is the ringing cry to modern child psychology. Certainly, we all want to avoid the maladjusted life. In order to have real adjustment within our personalities, we all want the well‐adjusted life in order to avoid neurosis, schizophrenic personalities.

But I say to you, my friends, as I move to my conclusion, there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good‐will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self‐defeating effects of physical violence…"

On Sunday, January 18, 2015, Pacifica Graduate Institute hosted a lecture and panel discussion honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Ladera Lane Campus. The event was co-sponsored by Pacifica’s Alumni Association and the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara. Below is the taped live event.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Social Justice