The Grieving Tree: Offering a Public Space to Express Grief

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Jun 7, 2019 12:11:08 PM

A blog post by Melissa Ruisz Nazario based on an interview with Heesun Kim, LMSW. 

About five or six years ago, Heesun Kim, LMSW, a student in Pacifica’s Ph.D. Program in Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices, was on the subway in New York City, and she noticed a woman sitting in front of her with tears streaming down her face. She was trying so hard to hold in those tears. It was a face that felt very familiar to Heesun, and she thought about the many times she had been in a similar situation.

“So I remember I was, a couple times, I ended up in the public bathroom, so I had to cry there,” she says. “And then I thought, you know, my grief, my sadness or all this sorrow needs to be respected, not in the corner of a public bathroom.”

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Posted in: The Psyche, transformative, Psychology, depth psychology, images, Pacifica Graduate Institute, narrative, somatic, relationship, relationships, interview, Integrative Therapy & Healing Practices

Archetypal Cosmology, Part II: Studying Archetypal Cosmology and Depth Psychology at Pacifica

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Apr 11, 2019 11:51:01 AM

A blog post by Melissa Ruisz Nazario based on a webinar presented by Keiron Le Grice, Ph.D.

What is archetypal cosmology, and why might you want to study it? Check out the post Archetypal Cosmology, Part I: Beyond Outer and Inner Space for a more in-depth description that gives background on the field.

To summarize, archetypal cosmology is a new discipline but rooted in the ancient practice of astrology. It is based on the idea that the celestial bodies like the solar system’s planets and the sun and their relative configurations reflect the deep order of the psyche—the psyche being the totality of psychological experience, according to C.G. Jung.

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Posted in: The Psyche, James Hillman, archetypes, Psychology, soul, depth psychology, psyche, humanities, Pacifica Graduate Institute, sacred, cosmology, symbolism, Spiritual

Archetypal Cosmology, Part I: Beyond Outer and Inner Space

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Apr 5, 2019 2:19:29 PM

A blog post by Melissa Ruisz Nazario based on a webinar presented by Keiron Le Grice, Ph.D.

Astrology is the ancient practice of looking at the relative positions of celestial bodies and their relationship and influence on earth, the natural world, and humans. [1] Depth psychology has to do with psychologies and therapies involving “the exploration of the subtle, unconscious, and transpersonal aspects of human experience.” [2] 

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Posted in: The Psyche, James Hillman, archetypes, Psychology, soul, depth psychology, psyche, humanities, Pacifica Graduate Institute, sacred, cosmology, symbolism, Spiritual

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.

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

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] 

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

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

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. 

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

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: The Psyche, Connecting Cultures, depth psychology, images, dreams, 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.”

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

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, Current Affairs, Trauma, collective trauma