"Our Hearts Open With Love" | Statement on the Thousand Oaks Tragedy by Dr. Stephen Aizenstat

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Nov 8, 2018 12:05:42 PM

By now, you've likely read or heard the news of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. Dr. Stephen Aizenstat, Founding President and Chancellor of Pacifica Graduate Institute, shared this letter regarding the tragedy with many in our community, and we wanted to share its message of hope with all of you.  

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Posted in: Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, graduate school, Trauma, Pacifica Students, relationships, relationship, love, Spiritual, collective trauma, depth psychology, Social Justice, Current Affairs

A New Therapy for Politics?

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 17, 2017 12:32:41 PM

Pacifica was honored to have Andrew Samuels, internationally recognized political commentator and theorist from the perspectives of psychotherapy and depth psychology, present at the October conference Up Against the Wall: Politics, Community Psyche. Dr. Samuels presented "A New Therapy for Politics?" and we are delighted to share that lecture with the Pacifica community.

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Posted in: politics, depth psychology, clinical psychology, Current Affairs, Pacifica Events, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Photography and Writing: Into the Heart of Traditional Cultures in Times of Global Change

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 7, 2017 9:41:44 PM

Photography: Into the Heart of Traditional Cultures in Times of Global Change. An Interview with Writer and Photographer, Michael Benanav, M.A. A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Michael Benanav is a critically-acclaimed writer and photographer who has traveled to a lot of places that are well off the beaten path, often finding himself in remote mountains and landscapes, walking, being in nature, and living quite simply. There, in the wilderness, he often runs into nomads, and he quickly became fascinated by their way of life. Benanav, whose work has appeared in publications like The New York Times, Geographical Magazine, Lonely Planet Guidebooks, and CNN.com, was naturally drawn to spending time with them.

These profoundly archetypal lifestyles inevitably appear in Benanav’s work. In his first book, a travel narrative entitled Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold (2008), he joined one of the last working camel caravans in the world, which runs an ancient salt trading route in the Sahara desert in Mali. Leaving Timbuktu, the route veers 500 miles north into the vast desert to salt mines located “in the middle of nowhere,” hundreds of miles away from any village. There's no electricity, no telephone; not even fresh water, Benanav reports.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Current Affairs, Ecopsychology, indigenous psychology, art

A Time for Community

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Oct 10, 2017 11:30:12 AM

Over the past several months our nation has faced a series of traumatizing events: catastrophic storms and fires, social upheavals over injustice, exchanges of polarizing verbal attacks, and now another horrific act of mass murder, all against a backdrop of continuing escalation of nuclear threats and posturing. Our physical, psychological, political and social ways of being have been destabilized. Taken in aggregate these events appear to be revealing a time of crisis unprecedented in recent history. Yet they need not overwhelm. Out of dark and trying times, history tells us that transformation can occur.

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Posted in: depth psychology, Pacifica News, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Current Affairs

We Must Respond

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Oct 4, 2017 10:33:47 PM

A guest post by Chancellor and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute, Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.

Today we grieve. Our hearts open and we send support and love to those family members and friends who lost loved ones in the shooting in Las Vegas, and, too, to those in places of natural as well as human made strife. Yes. It is a time of mourning.

The turmoil in the world’s soul is visceral. We are experiencing the collective trauma 24/7. No longer can we encounter our angst like a bad dream frightening us in the night, only to disappear in the morning when our eyes open to the avalanche of texts, Instagram posts, tweets, and emails alive on our phone, seducing our attention even before we get out of bed. No. The nightmare is real, here to stay, a living actuality . . . and demanding our response. Yes. We find ourselves in a time of great peril, as the world, as we know it, faces the imminent threats of ecological devastation, the sixth extinction, and technological takeover, which Elon Musk names as “the most serious threat to the survival of the human race.”

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Posted in: The Psyche, collective trauma, Current Affairs, Trauma

Hurricane Harvey

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 31, 2017 1:22:23 PM

A message from President Dr. Joseph Cambray to Pacifica Graduate Institute students, alumni, and faculty affected by Hurricane Harvey 

Dear Pacifica Community,

This past week we have witnessed devastating weather along the coast of Texas brought by Hurricane Harvey. The unparalleled rainfall has surpassed all records for a single storm in the United States and has caused tremendous flooding, filling our daily news with images of disaster and heroic rescues. There are more than 40 members of our Pacifica community who may have been impacted by the storm in the Houston area. Over 200 alumni and current students live in Texas, as well as a few faculty, and many of us have friends and family in the state.

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Posted in: Pacifica News, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Current Affairs

Pacifica Doctoral Student Harry Grammer named CNN Hero

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 14, 2017 4:02:51 PM

We are excited and honored to announce that Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization doctoral student Harry Grammer has been named a CNN hero.

Harry is founder and president of New Earth, an Los Angeles based organization "provid[ing] youth with mentor-based creative arts and educational programs including poetry, music production, gardening, and fitness. New Earth currently serves 500 young people per week who are incarcerated in Los Angeles County detention facilities and placement homes and in the Orange County Juvenile Hall.

Upon release from incarceration, young people join our New Earth Arts & Leadership center in Culver City, CA where they receive career training, jobs, a fully accredited High School education program, mentorship, case management, nature expeditions, arts programming and wrap-around services that help them re-enter their communities with all the support and nurturing they need to make a successful transition." [1]

Please enjoy the two videos below, produced by CNN, featuring Harry Grammer.

You can also read more about Harry and his own story of being on probation in his youth, and how he came to found New Earth at pgiaa.org.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Pacifica Events, Pacifica Students

Displacing Boundaries of Race and Politics of Space in Los Angeles

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 30, 2017 3:36:39 PM

This article first appeared in the 2017 edition of Hearing Voices. Displacing Boundaries of Race and Politics of Space in Los Angeles by Alisa Orduna, Dissertation Student in the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization.

As the Mayor’s Director of Homelessness Policy, our City’s homeless community of 28,000 residents is my primary constituent base. For far too long, L.A. has addressed homelessness and poverty through policies of containment- isolating persons with severe mental illness, substance use disorder, sexual minorities, and African Americans – in “designated” spaces of the City. Homelessness and poverty were also addressed through therapeutic models that focused on assimilating the individual into a biased model of a “productive citizen” of society.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Pacifica News, Pacifica Students, community psychology

Touching the Soul of the World: A Mythological and Soulful View of Chaotic Times

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 26, 2017 9:59:12 PM

Opening Keynote presentation by Michael Meade, Response at the Radical Edge: Depth Psychology for the 21st Century
Summary article by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

In a 4000 year old poem, a weary man argues with his ba soul (the unique spirit of a person) because the man feels deeply troubled by the increase of injustice, greed and unrest in the culture, which makes him want to end his life, begins mythologist Michael Meade, in a compelling keynote address at the recent "Response at the Radical Edge: Depth Psychology for the 21st Century" conference at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

When there is wounding in our culture, there is wounding to the soul of the world. Many may be feeling “world weary” at this moment in our modern world, and in fact, we are seeing an increase in suicide in all ages right now. But this mood of despair has happened before, Meade points out. This poem is an ancient story. A distortion in the culture, whenever it occurs, weighs on everyone in the culture—but people have survived this before.

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Posted in: Trauma, soul, Pacifica Events, mythological, Current Affairs

Racism, Cultural Violence, and Conscious Change: How The Truth Telling Project is Transforming Society

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 12, 2017 2:09:18 PM

Racism, Cultural Violence, and Conscious Change: How The Truth Telling Project is Transforming Society
An Interview with The Truth Telling Project Co-Founder, David Ragland, Ph.D.
A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Historic African American Malcolm X, leader who spoke out for black nationalism famously said, 'I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against.” This quote, featured on the home page for The Truth Telling Project speaks volumes about the mission of this unique and important organization.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Current Affairs, Social Justice, Pacifica Events, community psychology