Integration: Chinese Medicine, Somatic Studies, and Depth Psychology

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 22, 2017 10:48:38 AM

Integration: Chinese Medicine, Somatic Studies, and Depth Psychology. An Interview with Brian Falk
A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Chinese medicine has a long history based in a philosophical tradition, with its roots in Daoism, and later, Confucianism. Above all, it's essentially a system that's rooted in nature, explains Brian Falk, who has a clinical practice in Chinese medicine, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Somatic Studies at Pacifica.

The Chinese spent thousands of years developing a very comprehensive way of looking at humans in relationship to the cosmos, therefore, Chinese medicine can also be viewed as a type of cosmology, Falk notes. The way in which the Chinese conceptualize disease and health has a very different philosophical frame than that of Westerners. Using primary treatment tools like acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, and cupping, Chinese medicine differentiates itself from allopathic medicine in the sense that it focuses on maintaining health and preventing illness.

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Posted in: images, dreams, Connecting Cultures, depth psychology, The Psyche, somatic, the body

The Art of Transformation: Images, Dreams, and Alchemy

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 23, 2017 4:03:21 PM

The Art of Transformation: Images, Dreams, and Alchemy—An Interview with Jungian Analyst, Stanton Marlan
A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

For Stanton Marlan, a Jungian analyst and author of the iconic tome, The Black Sun: The Alchemy and Art of Darkness, his interest in alchemy may be traced in some part to his childhood stone collection. As a child, Marlan used to use his stones to “write” in wonderful colors, and delighted in the way each had a certain capacity to express themselves in a unique way without crumbling in the process.

The stones, which he kept in front of his grandmother’s house where he lived, became a very early “image” for Marlan, carrying a great deal of meaning. When his grandmother determined the stones were cluttering the front yard and threw them away, it resulted in a sense of profound loss for the boy whose colorful stones were so rich and valuable to him. In some deep way, Marlan reflects, the search for the philosopher’s stone, or the search for meaning in stones, was an early imprint on his mind as a young child.

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Posted in: C.G. Jung, individuation, alchemy, soul, images, dreams

Dream Tending and Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 24, 2017 1:41:21 PM

A guest post by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.

I just offered a seminar in Dream Tending to our students in the Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices Specialization of the Depth Psychology Ph.D. Program. What a delight it was to do so. This community of diverse professionals came to “the work” with a passion and background in the Healing Arts. On this day they brought their empathy, creativity, and experience into the classroom. The imaginal field in South Hall at the Lambert Road Campus activated in generative ways. The “inner-subjective imaginal field” opened widely, including dream images, dreamer, and dream tender, an essential dimension of hosting the embodied, living images of psyche. When the relational field, in this case a specific learning environment, resonated with care, curiosity, and high regard, the figures in dream became particularly vital and presented themselves in potent ways.

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Posted in: The Psyche, images, graduate school, active imagination, creativity, imaginal

Mythological Studies and Dream Tending

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 19, 2017 10:09:28 AM

A guest post by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.

At Pacifica, Joseph Campbell once said, "dream work can be a yogic practice." I'll never forget him sharing that with us. To this day, his insight informs my practice of Dream Tending. Touching into the same loam, the mythic imagination, Dream Tending opens a way to listen to the movements of psyche as she tells the stories that implicate us in larger mythological motifs. To tend a dream is to befriend the living images, each with an intelligence of its own, each with a story to tell.

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Posted in: The Psyche, images, graduate school, active imagination, Mythology

Counseling Psychology and Dream Tending

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 12, 2017 12:27:41 PM

A guest post by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.

Pacifica's first Graduate Degree program was in Counseling Psychology, an extension of Pacifica’s then named Counseling Skills Certificate Program with roots in community mental health. Next to the University of California Santa Barbara, we offered outreach peer counseling to returning veterans coming back from Viet Nam as well as working with individuals dealing with drug and alcohol related challenges. What a time it was! All of us were learning the newest "treatment" strategies and methods, just then evolving out of the "Human Potential Movement." Our mentors were folks like Virginia Stair, Erik Erikson, Fritz Perls, and all kinds of leaders in the emerging fields of couples and family therapy. Combine this with a sprinkling of Ram Dass, the Grateful Dead, and too many others to count, we developed increasingly sophisticated counseling skills that to this day form the core of what we now know as a professional M.A. Counseling Psychology Program with emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Clinical Counseling, and Depth Psychology.

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Posted in: The Psyche, images, graduate school, active imagination, Counseling Psychology

Dream Tending and Pacifica’s Academic Programs

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 10, 2017 4:06:16 PM

A guest post by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.

Just over forty years ago, in Isla Vista, California, at a small community counseling center, an image began to push itself forward. At that time, I along with others felt this "presence" more as a "motivation" than a "known vision" with direction, let alone visibility.

Now, looking back, the essential "soul spark" moving through us at that time had a life of its own. Destiny was unfolding in ways not yet seen. Living images are like that. They make their intentions known through "hints" at first, "intimations," not yet clear patterns of what or how the future will be shaped.

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Posted in: The Psyche, images, graduate school, active imagination

On Memoir, with Maureen Murdock

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 23, 2017 5:01:10 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Some of the best memoirs you can read are those that are reflective, those which are informed by dreams, myth, and synchronicities, maintains Maureen Murdock, a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist and the author of multiple memoirs and books about memoirs. In other words, there’s a depth psychological perspective that can facilitate, enhance, and deepen the telling of one’s story in a profound way.

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Posted in: writing, images, dreams, Pacifica Events, creativity

Working with the Ancestors: A Jungian Perspective with Sandra Easter, Ph.D.

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 28, 2016 2:37:47 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

For Sandra Easter, author of Jung and the Ancestors: Beyond Biography, Mending the Ancestral Web, her journey toward ancestral healing has been filled with synchronicities. Growing up, Sandra always heard from her mother that they were descended from Roger Williams, a man who is credited with founding Providence, Rhode Island, in 1636. Synchronistically, the very same day Sandra’s own daughter decided she wanted to write a school report on this alleged ancestor, Sandra received a document which surprised her by actually confirming direct ancestry on her mother’s side from Roger Williams.

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Posted in: C.G. Jung, images, imaginal

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: images, symbol, Trauma, Alumni, transformative