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

Wolf Conservation and the Arts: A Community and Ecopsychological Perspective

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 5, 2016 5:03:25 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Susan Grelock has been busy lately—albeit busy in a way that many of us have probably not contemplated in lives filled with jobs, family, and a daily dose of media, be it via Internet, TV, or on-demand series we can binge-watch at will. Susan has been speaking with artists and biologists who have an interest in wolf conservation. During her research, she got really interested in the Yellowstone-Teton region because it's a focal point for wolf conservation, especially with their fairly successful wolf re-introduction project that is now nearly three decades old. Wolves are also crossing down from Canada and breeding with local populations, so wolves are now “crossing paths with humans” in that area in ways they haven’t done in North America for almost a century. Artists there also seem to be focused on depicting wolves to instigate interest and to spur conversations about them, perhaps in new ways.

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Posted in: nature, The Psyche, Ecopsychology

Depth Psychological Approaches to Suffering

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 27, 2016 9:31:49 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran

We are all intimately familiar with suffering. And, while we might wish it away when it is painfully present, it is a normal part of human life, Dr. Lionel Corbett, M.D., Jungian analyst and professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute reminded me when I recently sat down for a depth discussion with him on the topic.

Etymologically, the word “suffering” comes from two Latin roots: sub—meaning “under”—and ferre, meaning “to carry or bear,” as in “to bear a burden.” But suffering is not necessarily pathological, Lionel insists. The root of the word “suffer” is also the root of the English word “fertile,” so it is also related to the idea of bearing fruit. Psychologically, then, suffering can produce something; it’s not random or meaningless, nor merely something to get rid of. In reality, it can act as either a fertilizer or a poison. It can be harmful or it can be helpful, but we need a framework by which we can understand it.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Trauma, Pacifica Events, Psychology

Dr. Tina Stromsted, a scholar and practitioner integrating body, mind, & spirit

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 18, 2015 2:23:13 PM

For the November, 2015 Public Program Coming Home to the Body: The Legacy of Marion Woodman, a conference co-sponsored with the Marion Woodman Foundation, Pacifica welcomed a group of scholars and practitioners who honor the connection between the body and psyche. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in lectures, movement workshops, and connect with like-minded individuals who hold sacred the dynamic interplay between body, soul, and mind. One of the scholars and speakers from the weekend was Dr. Tina Stromsted, who is involved in many organizations working to bring this work out to the wider community. The following is the introduction speech from Dr. Rae Johnson, Chair of Pacifica's Somatic Studies Specialization, welcoming Dr. Tina Stromsted to the stage for her plenary session Stars Beneath the Sea: The Gifts of Marion Woodman.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Pacifica Events, somatic bodywork

The Wandering Heroine: A Quest of a Different Kind

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 26, 2015 3:00:00 PM

A guest post by Jody Gentian Bower, Ph.D. The initial quote is from her book Jane Eyre’s Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine Story.

"The Aletis represents a feminine archetype every bit as important as the masculine archetype of the hero. This is why people keep writing her story, trying to put down in words something felt and understood unconsciously, something important about women."

Ever since Joseph Campbell published The Hero with a Thousand Faces in 1949, the story of the Hero’s Quest has informed the thinking and writing of countless authors, scriptwriters, folklorists, mythologists, and depth psychologists. Campbell’s work forms one of the pillars of education at Pacifica Graduate Institute and continues to be amplified by and inspire the work of many Pacifica students and faculty.

The Hero is almost always male, however, and so there has been a concurrent effort to either re-vision the Quest story from a female perspective, or to find another story that fits a woman’s journey to individuation better. Works such as The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock and The Bridge to Wholeness by Jean Benedict Raffa fall into the former category, while Christine Downing, Jean Shinoda Bolen, and Clarissa Pinkola Estés are examples of authors who have sought wisdom in myths and folktales featuring goddesses, princesses, and witches.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, The Psyche, literature

Psyche's Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 28, 2015 1:06:00 PM

A guest post by Elizabeth Éowyn Nelson. The following is excerpted from her book Psyche's Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power.

1

LOST KNIFE

Simple things are always the most difficult.

—C. G. Jung, Alchemical Studies

At dusk, the silence of the lonely rooms grows thick. A young woman walks down the broad stone corridor, caressing the smooth glass of the oil lamp in her hands. The viscous liquid sloshes lazily from side to side as she enters their room. She knows he won’t arrive for many hours yet, not until it is dark. It has always been this way. With trembling hands, she sets the lamp behind the luxurious bed and gently touches the cold black wick. Then she turns her attention to the knife.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Psychotherapy, Mythology

Are Immediate Response Technologies Psychologically Damaging?

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Apr 22, 2015 5:27:00 PM

There are all these tweets, but no one stops to listen to the birds song. -Mark Kelly, Pacifica's Lead Reference Services Librarian

I feel guilty sometimes working in the social media space of marketing. I wonder if I am I just flooding the internet with more babble, creating 'noise'. Am I a modern day Hermes only producing "instant forms of secular messages rather than spiritual or mythic messages"? And the truth is sometimes I myself want to unplug from my own social media accounts because it's overwhelming.

Sigh.

The immediate response technologies that we have today are amazing though. 

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Posted in: The Psyche, Technology