An Interview of Juliet Rohde-Brown, Ph.D., by Angela Borda: Part III of III
What do you most enjoy about teaching at Pacifica?
Juliet: The active engagement of the students who come here. They truly care and they are really interested. It created this reciprocal loop of learning that’s not passive. So I enjoy the level of depth that people come in with already, so we’re jumping off from a different point than you might find at other places where people just want a surface experience that will get them a job. We have people who are clinical supervisors, people who are very experience in clinical settings but they come to broaden their capacity to articulate what they already have a sense of knowing. It’s not exclusive to Pacifica, but we have people here who are making quite a difference in the world.
How would you describe Pacifica’s culture? Do you see students forming lifelong friendships? How does Pacifica stay with people after they graduate?
Juliet: They often stay in touch and become like family. When they’re here it’s so intensive that they connect on an intimate level, which never goes away. People are still in contact with their cohort years later. And then they come back here for public programs, some end up teaching here, giving talks. A lot of times we have students who come here because their therapist was from here or they had a teacher somewhere else who was from Pacifica and they got inspired and that’s what led them here.How do you observe students grow and change over the course of their Ph.D.?
Juliet: I notice that people transform on a personal level. For instance, if they’d been someone who’s a little reactive, they become less so because they integrate the different parts of themselves as they’re integrating the learning material. They become scholars in their own right, contributors to the literature at large; they come out with books. The growing experience at Pacifica is a mixture of personal transformation and becoming a confident scholar. It’s both, not just the personal, there’s some really good work that comes of here.Why is the work done here, the work of tending the psyche, investigation the self, why is that important? What do we gain from that?
Juliet: It opens us to the consideration of the power and relevance of the symbolic of metaphor. It brings us back to our indigenous roots and also to the mystical strains of the world’s religions and myths, and the foundation of myths. So psyche and asking the larger questions of Self are relevant to the future not only humanity but Earth itself. We have to come to terms with the fact that we’re interconnected at a profoundly core level. If we don’t, and we get stuck in our own narrow versions of reality, we will ultimately destroy ourselves and Earth. So the questions of psyche are crucial. It’s not a choice. It’s not just one avenue, it is the avenue. If people are working in the therapeutic and healing traditions, they must broaden their contextual bandwidth to include what feels like otherness and to be curious and open to what is not known and what is newly emerging. So psyche is crucial, in any of the human sciences, crucial for working with human beings and included in psyche is the nonhuman, not just human. What we’re doing to this planet collectively is horrendous, and yet there is a force of humanness that comes to this with a great deal of fierce compassion that includes what may feel foreign into their heart.What are you researching or working on now? Do you have a forthcoming books?
Juliet: I have a book chapter coming out in the Humanistic & Multicultural Book by Routledge, about humanistic perceptions of disability. I’m also working on a chapter on the inner child in psychoanalyses for a book looking at childness in psychology. When you look at the archetype of the inner child and how we are in relationship with that, we can bring in developmental pieces, spiritual ideas, child icons. My chapter is titled “Exploring Disability from a Humanistic Lens.” Humanistic psychology absolutely incorporates depth psychology.