Holding the Tension: One Woman’s Journey from Immigrant to Therapist

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 13, 2017 10:48:54 AM

An Interview with MFT Consortium Stipend Recipient, Naris Kesheshe
A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When she was 13 years old, Naris Kesheshe—who recently finished her third year in the Counseling Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute—was dramatically uprooted from her native culture in Iran and forced to start anew as an immigrant to the United States.

The culture shock she experienced from moving from an all-girls school in her native country to a school in the U.S. where both genders were integrated was just one of several catalysts for her, and the ultimately, the trauma of her entire experience eventually led her to study whole group dynamics, sociology, and the psychology of the person and the whole psyche.

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Posted in: Counseling Psychology, C.G. Jung, soul, depth 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: Current Affairs, Trauma, Pacifica Events, soul, mythological

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, alchemy, soul, images, dreams, individuation

Counseling and Community Mental Health: A Soul-Based Calling

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 5, 2017 10:36:26 PM

Counseling and Community Mental Health: A Soul-Based Calling An Interview with MFT Consortium Stipend Recipient, Minh Tran
A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

In his senior year of college, Minh Tran, a “first and a half” generation Vietnamese immigrant who moved to the U.S. as a child, started volunteering community organizations doing lay counseling work, including HIV testing, harm reduction and substance abuse counseling, and outreach. Tran spent much of his time focusing on harm reduction, a specific approach to counseling which tends to bring the unconscious to the fore by restoring choice or changing thoughts and behavior. Harm reduction attempts to reduce harm by any means, especially by addressing an individual’s strengths, Minh states. Whatever one is already doing in their life that's working—such as exercising, for example—can be engaged.

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Posted in: Counseling Psychology, C.G. Jung, soul, depth psychology

Trauma and the Soul: Psychoanalytic Approaches to the Inner World

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 23, 2017 4:27:05 PM

Trauma and the Soul: Psychoanalytic Approaches to the Inner World An Interview with Jungian Analyst Donald Kalsched
A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Trauma is an injury to the capacity to feel, says Jungian analyst Donald Kalsched, who has specialized in the field of trauma for decades. He describes trauma as something that occurs when we are given more to experience than we can consciously bear, especially if we lack resources to help metabolize the feelings that emerge. For example, a child in an emotionally illiterate family who has no place to turn for support may be traumatized by certain events.

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Posted in: Trauma, Pacifica Events, clinical psychology, soul, dreams

The Problem with Yoga

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 4, 2017 10:39:51 AM

A guest post by Alanna Kaivalya, Ph.D.
Dr. Kaivalya will be presenting at the July Retreat Center Program Yoga Meets Psyche

Yoga is often praised for its far-reaching effects on nearly every aspect of the human being. The physical practices create health in the body. Breathing practices can alleviate stress and anxiety. Devotional practices inspire community and meditative practices can help to calm the mind. It sure seems like a one-stop-shop for all things awesome. But, years ago, I discovered a glitch in the system.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Pacifica Events, Mythology, soul, depth psychology, psyche, meditation

The Power of Self-Actualization Revealed by Historical African-American Leaders

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Apr 27, 2017 10:23:18 AM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

One of the benefits of depth psychological traditions is that they can be applied to understanding what it means to be a self or soul in this world, and to think about others who have led the way. “We stand on the shoulders of so many giants,” insists William James Jones, who completed his dissertation research on the process of self-actualization to receive his Ph.D. in the Clinical Psychology program at Pacifica last year.

In the process, Jones realized he was interested in self-actualization long before he knew the term for it. As a young boy from the streets of Chicago who didn’t really have his father growing up, he looked up to some of the strong figures in his community—including his mother, teachers, coaches, pastors, and priests—for inspiration. He was keenly interested in what it means to be a man with excellence—to really lead the life he is capable of, he realized. That desire sparked his curiosity about who exhibits the kind of traits he aspired to, prompting him to ask, “Who am I at the deepest levels, and what's my purpose in life? What's the meaning of all this?”

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Posted in: transformative, C.G. Jung, clinical psychology, soul, depth psychology

Ministry: Where Religion and Psychology Find Each Other

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Apr 5, 2017 3:39:19 PM

A guest post by professor Maren Tonder Hansen, M.Div., Ph.D.

My professional training and interests gravitate toward the many intersections between psychology and religion. As a young woman, I studied for the Unitarian ministry, earning a Master of Divinity. Through coursework at the Graduate Theological Union, I explored not only religion, but also the psychology of Jung, dream analysis, and devoted a semester to training in hospital chaplaincy. In my experience, the depth dimensions of psychology and religion enriched and informed each other.

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Posted in: Therapist, graduate school, soul, depth psychology

Emerging Myths, Emerging Archetypes: Everyday Life in the Quantum Universe

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 17, 2017 10:54:22 AM

On Friday, March 3, 2017 Jean Houston came to Pacifica to present Emerging Myths, Emerging Archetypes: Everyday Life in the Quantum Universe for the Friday evening salon series. The Friday evening salon series takes place the Friday evening before a Saturday The Pacifica Experience: A One-Day Introduction to Pacifica's Graduate Degree Programs.

We are excited to offer the full recording of Dr. Houston's lecture.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Social Justice, leadership, soul

Tonight in Dreamland: a New Play co-written by Award-Winning TV Writer Cheri SteinKellner & Visionary Jean Houston

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 28, 2017 3:21:36 PM

Tonight in Dreamland: Archetypal Perspectives a New Play co-written by Award-Winning TV Writer Cheri SteinKellner & Visionary Jean Houston
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

The hit television series, Cheers, was a staple for many of us in the 1980s and early 90s. Sitting down in the front of the TV to catch a good laugh was sometimes the highlight of a busy week. Little did I know that decades later, I’d be having a conversation—about depth psychology—with on one of the award-winning writers of the series who is pursuing a degree in the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Cheri Steinkellner has an impressive number of awards, including Emmys, Golden Globes, and Tony among them as a writer/producer on a number of shows, including the Broadway hit, “Sister Act, the Musical.”

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, Santa Barbara, creativity, soul, symbol, dreams, theatre