Jung, Art, and Transformation: On Charlotte Salomon's "Life? or Theater?"

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 9, 2017 4:41:07 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Lisa Pounders has always had an interest in art and poetry, and has long been inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell—even painting his directive, “Follow your own bliss” above a window in her art studio years ago. Her story is not unlike that of others who have attended Pacifica Graduate Institute: when she enrolled in the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life program, she felt she was responding to a “mysterious sense of calling” that many other students and alumni have also reported. Her own sense of summons had to do with the sense that creativity and what she initially learned about C. G. Jung’s ideas about the unconscious were intrinsically linked. Making the connection explicit (especially through a Master’s degree in Creativity) seemed a powerful way to move her own life forward.

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Posted in: transformative, C.G. Jung, art, theatre

How Memory Tending Can Transform You: An Interview with Dr. Daphne Dodson

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 19, 2016 12:35:29 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

You may have donated that Times of Your Life Paul Anka 8-track to charity when it didn’t sell at the last neighborhood rummage sale, but the words to “Good Morning Yesterday” live on. Sometimes it is hard to find the “memories you left behind” as Anka sang in 1976. Sometimes, as Freud argued, those memories sink below the level of our consciousness, but continue to work on us in various ways even decades later. Sigmund Freud even formulated a term “return of the repressed” to explain where neurotic symptoms originate, writing that

illness is characterized by the return of the repressed memories -- that is, therefore, by the failure of the defence.... The re-activated memories, however, and the self-reproaches formed from them never re-emerge into consciousness unchanged: what become conscious as obsessional ideas and affects¹

Jung, too, expressed the opinion that our memories can torment us to a dangerous extent when he wrote,

It may be that the majority of hysterical persons are ill because they possess a mass of memories, highly charged with affect and therefore deeply rooted in the unconscious, which cannot be controlled and which tyrannize the conscious mind and will of the patient.²

You don’t have to be a depth psychologist to notice when, at times, memories of your own rise up unexpectedly out of nowhere, often instigating powerful emotions. It happens for me with a handful of certain memories show up, surprising me with their content and their intensity, making me wonder why a certain memory would arise for me when millions of others are lost.

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Posted in: Trauma, Alumni, transformative, symbol, images

Alchemical Active Imagination

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 12, 2016 12:14:49 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

The brilliant use of alchemy as a symbolic language and process for psychological and spiritual development is arguably one of C. G. Jung’s greatest contributions to the field of depth psychology. While alchemy may appear to be a mystical—and mysterious—domain, Jung developed a powerful and inspired method for accessing it by entering into dialogue with the rich manifestations of the unconscious and applying it to our daily lives for transformation and growth.

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Posted in: transformative, C.G. Jung, alchemy

Failing in Order to Succeed; Recognizing the role of the Shadow

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 29, 2016 1:53:46 PM

A guest post by Somatic Studies student Cacky Mellor

The Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Somatic Studies program at Pacifica was recommended to me during my senior year of undergrad. From research online and talking with mentors, I knew immediately this was my dream program. This belief was reaffirmed three years later when I stepped onto campus for the first time on the first day of classes.

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Posted in: Alumni, transformative

The Hero's Journey: Creating My Own Star Wars Adventure

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 23, 2015 2:48:56 PM

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a box office hit. The excitement over the film brings us back to the original 1977 Star Wars film and its popularity. Star Wars was iconic. Why was it so popular? Aside from changing the way films were made (see Time's latest article with director J.J. Abrams) the story of the orginial Star Wars film closely follows Joseph Campbell's formula of The Hero's Journey.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, transformative, film

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

Human Vocation: 4 Resources for Discovering Your Dharma

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 26, 2015 1:03:00 PM

Are we following our inner calling and giving our best self to society?

Dr. Bernardo Nante, founder and president of the Fundación Vocación Humana (Human Vocation Foundation) was a recent guest lecturer at Pacifica. This fifteen-minute lecture from Dr. Nante explores the meaning of vocation and how a person can begin to 'hear' their inner calling. Utilizing forgotten resources Dr. Nante attempts to recover the wisdom of our elders of the past helping us to follow our dharma and reach the full potential of our being.

Click the read more button to view the video. 

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Posted in: The Psyche, transformative

Going for the Gold: A Psyche-Centered Education

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 13, 2015 12:48:00 PM

A guest post by Dr. Aaron Kipnis, Ph.D.

For many people, a graduate degree marks one of their greatest achievements. As the first in my family to gain one, some described my journey from high school dropout to PhD as, “going for the gold.” How did high attainment come to be associated with gold? Why don’t we tell Olympic athletes to: “go for the stainless steel?” It’s shiny too—but gold prevails.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Mythology, transformative

Free Lecture-Epiphanies: Big Dreams and Transformative Meetings

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 25, 2014 10:24:00 AM

Epiphanies: Big Dreams and Transformative Meetings

A free audio lecture from Pacifica Graduate Institute. The audio files are from the fall 2014 workshop Epiphanies: Big Dreams and Transformative Meetings with Christine Downing, Ph.D.

"Epiphanies are sudden realizations or flashes of recognition. Although their significance may be apparent immediately or only in retrospect, these are the moments that give depth and meaning to our lives. This workshop by Dr. Christine Downing explored the role played in our lives by such transformative events, beginning with our earliest childhood memories, whether consoling or terrifying, and then going on to honor the life-changing impact of intense engagements with others.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, transformative