The Soul Stands Ajar: Aesthetic Encounters as Portals to Wonder & Meaning

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Nov 26, 2018 3:18:33 PM

A guest blog post by Mary A. Wood, Ph.D., co-Chair of the M.A. Program in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life at Pacifica Graduate Institute

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” —Emily Dickinson

There are moments in life when time seems to stand still—moments when we find ourselves transfixed, and eventually transformed. These moments can be cosmic in scale, as reflected in the awe that we feel when beholding a rare solar eclipse, or an approaching storm. These moments may also be quite intimate, but no less moving, such as when we witness an animal emerging from hiding or when we hear an exquisite song. We recognize, and always remember these moments because they are announced by bodily sensations; we gasp, our hearts beat faster, and tears often flow.  Our bodies tell us that the ordinary has given way to the extraordinary.  These experiences are best described as “aesthetic,” as we find ourselves living, at least for a few moments, as creatures that are gloriously and achingly alive.

Read More

Posted in: Psychology, depth psychology, archetypes, Spiritual, mythological, soul, transformative, The Psyche, symbolism, sacred, humanities, symbol, art, C.G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, James Hillman

Gratitude and the Path to Wholeness

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Nov 22, 2018 7:05:50 AM

A blog post by Melissa Ruisz Nazario

At this time of year in the northern hemisphere, the earth’s axis orients away from the sun, temperatures cool, and many of us celebrate with loved ones some form of thankfulness and respite from work–modern iterations of our ancestors’ harvest festivals.

Though the concept of gratitude is also ancient, it has become a bit of a modern buzzword. So, is gratitude really as beneficial as the masses say it is? Actually, yes. Robert A. Emmons and Robin Stern, researchers known for their work in studying gratitude, reviewed studies on the subject and list several of the physical, emotional, and psychological outcomes of cultivating gratitude in “Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention.” [1] 

Read More

Posted in: Psychology, depth psychology, archetypes, Spiritual, mythological, soul, transformative, The Psyche, resources

Bears, The Wild Woman Archetype, and the Road Toward Individuation

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Nov 5, 2018 11:01:00 AM

A blog post by Melissa Ruisz Nazario, based on an interview with Stacey Shelby, RCC, Ph.D., conducted by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Listen to the full audio interview with Stacey Shelby here. (approx. 30 minutes)

At first, Stacey Shelby, RCC, Ph.D., didn't want to explore the Wild Woman Archetype for her research while in the M.A./Ph.D. Program in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Part of it was due to the type of research she would conduct and the effect it would have on her life. When authoring the book Tracking the Wild Woman Archetype: A Guide to Becoming a Whole, In-divisible Woman published earlier this year, she used a research methodology called alchemical hermeneutics, as described by Dr. Robert Romanyshyn, Pacifica Graduate Institute Professor Emeritus, in his book, The Wounded Researcher: Research with Soul in Mind.

In the introduction to Tracking the Wild Woman Archetype, Stacey defines alchemical hermeneutics as “an unconventional methodology not readily found in traditional academic institutions, and it acknowledges that researchers are often called to their work through personal wounding and complexes. This research methodology is an alchemical process that affects the researcher.”

Read More

Posted in: Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, depth psychology, relationships, Pacifica Students, dreams, clinical psychology, The Psyche, Psychotherapy, Therapist, relationship, jungian, individuation, symbol, archetypes, nature, alchemist

Helping Foster Children Through Dream Work and Other Depth Psychological Tools

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Oct 29, 2018 11:00:00 AM

A blog post by Melissa Ruisz Nazario, based on an interview with Mai Breech, conducted by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Listen to the full audio interview with Mai Breech here. (approx. 27 minutes)

Mai Breech, a Psy.D. doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, has a long history of working with orphans and foster children. In 2007, she founded the Children’s Art Village, a grassroots non-profit organization providing art and music to children in Ghana, India, and Nepal so that they can express their creative selves through a means that doesn’t require language, but rather utilizes their creativity. Over the years, the Children’s Art Village has served over 3,000 children annually, and continues to do so. Typically, the programs are summer programs, offering art and music camps for these children in very different orphanages that she partners with. 

Read More

Posted in: Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, depth psychology, graduate school, Trauma, relationships, Pacifica Students, dreams, creativity, clinical psychology, The Psyche, Psychotherapy, Therapist, relationship

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.

Read More

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

Psyche and the Sacred

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 8, 2017 4:16:41 PM

Psyche and the Sacred: An Interview with Dr. Lionel Corbett. A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

"You can't define the sacred," insists Pacifica professor and author, Dr. Lionel Corbett. "We can only talk about how we experience it. When C. G . Jung contemplated the sacred, he used the criteria of German theologian, Rudolf Otto, who described the experience of the sacred or the holy as “numinous”—that is, something that is mysterious, tremendous, or fascinating, having a powerful emotional quality beyond the ordinary or the everyday ego."

Corbett, a Jungian analyst who also trained in medicine and psychiatry, offers some stories from Biblical myth that exemplify such qualities of this experience. Rather than attributing such transformational events to the Judeo-Christian God, Corbett attributes them to what Jung calls the “objective psyche” or the “autonomous psyche.”

Read More

Posted in: psyche, The Psyche, sacred, mythological, C.G. Jung

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.”

Read More

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

Where Politics, Psyche, and Community Converge

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Sep 11, 2017 1:55:50 PM

Where Politics, Psyche, and Community Converge: An Interview with Andrew Samuels
A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

U.K.-based psychotherapist and activist, Andrew Samuels has a long history as a consultant to political clients on the presidential and prime ministerial level. While Samuels first published Politics on the Couch in 2001 and The Political Psyche in 2015, his newest book, A New Therapy for Politics? [1] delves ever more deeply into the intersection between psychotherapy and politics and lends a critical eye to his own chosen profession in an effort to bring the two together.

Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, both pioneers in the field of psychotherapy, wrote about politics over the course of their careers, Samuels points out, but psychotherapists have generally been “magnificently unsuccessful” in creating a significant contribution to the political arena.

Read More

Posted in: The Psyche, clinical psychology, C.G. Jung, Psychotherapy, Therapist

Depth Psychology in the World: New President Joseph Cambray on Extending the Vision for Pacifica Graduate Institute

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 31, 2017 10:41:41 AM

Depth Psychology in the World: New President Joseph Cambray on Extending the Vision for Pacifica Graduate Institute
A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

As the newly appointed President and CEO of Pacifica, Dr. Joseph Cambray is no stranger to the Institute. With a long history as a Jungian analyst, he began teaching as adjunct faculty in the Depth Psychotherapy Program (now the Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices) at Pacifica in 2010, and started serving as provost in 2015. During his tenure as president of the IAAP (International Association for Analytical Psychology), which ended in 2013, Cambray had become increasingly interested in the diversification of depth or analytical psychology (often these two terms are used interchangeably) that he was witnessing on the worldwide stage as it moved into new communities. He was drawn to Pacifica in part because he perceived the powerful opportunities it offered to pursue new directions in depth psychology and to help grow depth psychology on the world stage.

Read More

Posted in: depth psychology, Pacifica News, The Psyche, Pacifica Graduate Institute

The Core Complex of a Traumatized Psyche

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 7, 2017 4:50:43 PM

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

“The false God changes suffering into violence. The true God changes violence into suffering,” begins Jungian analyst Donald Kalsched, quoting Simone Weil, French philosopher, mystic, and political activist [1], at the “Response at the Radical Edge” conference at Pacifica Graduate Institute. That day, Kalsched was up in the dark hours before dawn reworking his talk, which he gave a new title, “Healthy and Unhealthy: Hatred in the Psyche and In the Country.” He noted that the “false god” is abroad in the country at the moment, and while many in the field of Depth Psychology are working hard on behalf of “the true God” who turns violence into suffering, they are finding it difficult in a culture that supports the “false God” in this scenario.

Paul Russell [2], a respected analyst who taught in Boston, defined “trauma” as an injury to our capacity to feel. When our capacity to feel is injured, we cease to be able to imagine, because imagination depends on emotional literacy. In the process, archetypal aspects attempt to do the feeling for us, notes Kalsched, who has deemed this process the “self-care” system, which, in its attempt to sequester and protect can also end up persecuting us and keeping us from experience in order to preserve our innocence. However, we need to experience: the world actually needs suffering, Kalsched insists, citing poet John Keats along with archetypal psychologist James Hillman who loved to quote him, saying, “The world is a veil of soulmaking.”

Read More

Posted in: Trauma, Pacifica Events, The Psyche