From Marketing Executive to Therapist

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 15, 2015 12:38:22 PM

A guest post by alumnae Stacey Shelby, Ph.D.

divergence.jpgMy first career was as a marketing and communications executive for 15 years prior to coming to Pacifica.  When I enrolled, I was in the throes of a full-scale “midlife crisis,” which included being finished with my marketing career, but I was lost and bewildered about what I wanted next.  I initially dipped my toe in at Pacifica by taking the Dream Tending intensive public course with Dr. Aizenstat, founder and then-president of Pacifica.  During that time, I became enamored with Pacifica and was drawn to the MA/PhD Depth Psychology Program.  I remained perplexed as to what might manifest after, but being at Pacifica felt like coming home – both to myself and to my tribe, that feeling was my compass. 

Every quarter during the three years of coursework we reflected on how we might bring depth psychology into the world – at times, I had a vague but glimmering idea that I might lead therapy groups and have a private practice, maybe I would teach, and most certainly I would write.  Honestly, it felt like a mirage, although, I was certain that my soul was being nourished through the process.  I consciously chose the Jungian and Archetypal Specialization, even though the clinical program appeared more “practical” with these wispy images of private practice.  On completion of the Masters portion of the program, I contemplated finishing the Ph.D.  It would stretch me financially, I was hazy about what I wanted vocationally, and I did not yearn for the sense of achievement – so why do it?  I chose to for myself – because, within the alchemical container of the program, I was transforming into a more profound, grounded, and expanded woman and this was exciting and enlivening my being.

stacey_shelby.jpgIn October 2014, I defended my dissertation titled: Tracking the Wild Woman Archetype: a Process in Individuation.  I loved the engagement with the deep psyche through this process, and I continue to.  What clarified because of my journey at Pacifica is that my life is purposeful and meaningful when I live in service to Beauty, Love, and Soul; I have developed a capacity to fully experience the vicissitudes of life; and I am home in my body.

What is currently my vocation with the MA/PhD in Depth Psychology with a Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies?  Well, three months prior to my doctoral defense, I was invited to visit the (Deepak) Chopra Addictions and Wellness Center in my town, Squamish.  They were delighted with my depth psychology orientation and I was contracted as a full-time therapist primarily for individuals and also leading therapy groups and psychotherapeutic educational groups.  I simultaneously launched my private practice.  Having an alternative academic orientation for clinical work has proven beneficial for finding holistic and ideologically aligned clients who are called to work at deeper levels and participate in a transformative process.  My practice blossomed effortlessly and is thriving.  I still have goals and flickering ideas of writing and teaching, but for the moment I am grateful and gratified with my vocation and the on-going soulful engagement with others.

Please note: Shelly is a Registered Clinical Counselor in British Columbia so has the legal credentials to practice psychotherapy there. This alumni is a great example of someone who has both licensure & a Ph.D. in DJA. Please also note: The DJA program does not lead to licensure.

Dr. Shelby currently lives and works in British Columbia. To learn more about her practice and work visit her website

Topics: Alumni, vocation