Counseling Psychology: A Treasured Undertaking

Posted by Angela Borda on Aug 18, 2020 2:10:00 PM

by Jemma Elliot, MA, LMFT, LPCC, Co-Chair, Counseling Psychology Department


As Co-Chair of the Counseling Psychology Department at Pacifica, it is my joy to support our students as they navigate their education in our MA and PsyD Counseling Psychology Programs. Our program is unique and meaningful – a cauldron of ideas where incredibly diverse individuals, yet like-minded in spirit and focus, come together with an overarching goal to become helping professionals who impact the collective.

My path to a rich clinical and academic career began as a graduate of the MA Counseling Psychology Program myself. Like so many who come to Pacifica, I was always deeply called to be of service. As a survivor of 9/11 in Manhattan in 2001, I learned early in my adulthood about the textures of collective trauma and was propelled on a path to uncover healing ways of being with others. I decided to return to school to pursue an undergraduate degree specifically in Psychology, focusing my research on trauma, and then was led to graduate study at Pacifica, which allowed me to incorporate the tenets that felt most crucial in healing work to me – tenets inclusive of the whole organism, including, importantly, the unconscious.

students_lambertStudents at our Lambert Campus

My time in the MA Counseling Psychology Program was transformative, and I entered the professional arena prepared and invigorated. I was blessed to work clinically in several county-granted programs in Los Angeles County, working with some of our most vulnerable populations. I worked to achieve both LMFT and LPCC licensure in the State of California and balanced my time between community and private practice work.

My clinical and research areas of interest include depth psychological aspects of and responses to collective trauma, the intersection of depth psychology and astrology, and the often extrasensory and otherworldly experiences of those with PTSD. As an adult adoptee, I also have a clinical focus on the lifelong process of adoption and enjoy researching and presenting on the unique experiences of adult adoptees.

Jemma Elliott (1)Though it was not in my original career plan, I was also called back to Pacifica, this time, to transcend to the role of teacher, and eventually administrator. Over the last eight years, I have served as a Research Associate and Director of Research for the program, overseeing the vital thesis and research aspects of study, eventually moving into the roles of Core Faculty member, and now Co-Chair of the Counseling Psychology Department. This latest endeavor has been so meaningful, as it allows me the opportunity to participate in shaping and maintaining the very fabric of our program. While I had no idea that I would eventually include educator as one of my professional titles, it has by far been my most treasured undertaking.

My journey has reminded me, as I hope it does you, that what is coming next may surprise you, taking you down roads you may not have originally intended, but which offer you crucial development so long as you are willing to stay present and curious! I can’t wait to see where your journey will take you next, too, and look forward to seeing it unfold.


Topics: Counseling Psychology