MA in Depth Psychology

Pacifica Graduate Institute

Program Description

MA in Depth Psychology

Pacifica Graduate Institute

MA in Depth Psychology

Community, Liberation, & Ecopsychology

Classes begin early October

To study community and ecopsychology in the light of liberation and indigenous psychologies commits us to deeply explore and address the profound effects of injustice, violence, and exploitation on psychological, communal, and ecological well-being.

Community, Liberation & Ecopsychology

About

This degree program specialization is a bold initiative to forge transdisciplinary and transformative approaches to the critical personal, community, cultural, and ecological challenges of our time. Accomplishing this necessitates a radical engagement in re-conceiving psychology as a potentially liberatory and restorative force in society, one engaged in initiatives to promote social, economic, and environmental justice, peace-building, and ecological sustainability. The specialization is committed to rebuilding fragmented cultural and ecological connections, and to co-creating democratic, dialogical, joyful, sustainable, and nonviolent living.

The curriculum places multicultural approaches to depth psychological theories and practices in dynamic dialogue with ecopsychology, indigenous psychologies, critical community psychology, and psychologies of liberation from diverse cultural settings. Students gain an understanding of the interdependence of individual, community, cultural, and ecological well-being.

Coursework nurtures creative approaches to collaboration in organizations, non-profits, community groups, and educational settings. Through community and ecological fieldwork and research, students are supported in the pursuit of their distinctive areas of interest, and in strengthening their research and practice skills so that they are able to make their own significant contributions.

Students in the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, Ecopsychology specialization:

  • Deepen insight about individual, group, and cultural life through study of depth psychology
  • Develop scholarly and creative writing skills
  • Learn innovative and historical approaches to trauma healing, restorative justice, ecological sustainability, community building, economic justice, forced migration, alternatives to violence, peace-building, and reconciliation
  • Practice participatory action research and program and organizational evaluation, while deepening ethical discernment of issues of power and privilege
  • Train in a wide variety of group approaches to cultural and ecological work
  • Heighten sensitivity to the imaginal, the metaphorical, and the mythical
  • Develop the capacity to teach in academic and community learning environments
  • Apply insights to leadership positions in a wide variety of professions, including: health services; youth, secondary, adult, and alternative education; organizational development and transformation; prison reform and restorative justice initiatives; non-profits and non-governmental organizations; social justice, advocacy and grassroots coalitions; arts-based community building; trauma healing; and environmental sustainability and justice.

“…I hope at least that the following will endure: my trust in the people, and my faith in men and women, and in the creation of a world in which it will be easier to love.”
-Paulo Freire, from Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Career Orientation

Students and alumni work in fields such as education (high schools, colleges, universities, prisons, alternative learning centers, youth programs); prison reform and restorative justice initiatives; arts-based community building; trauma healing; advocacy and grassroots coalitions; social justice; organizational development and transformation; peacebuilding and community dialogue; health services (including hospice); NGO’s (nongovernmental organizations); planning and evaluation; land preservation, peak oil planning and sustainability issues, local food initiatives; philanthropy; microlending and economic alternatives.

Scholarships

In 2015, The Peace Corps announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in partnership with Pacifica Graduate Institute’s program in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology. The program will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers who complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community while they pursue their studies.

Requirements For Graduation

Degree Requirements for Graduation

  1. Students must complete a total of 90 quarter units for the Ph.D. to fulfill the degree requirements for graduation. A minimum grade of C is required in each completed course. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained.
  2. Students must attend at least 2/3 of each course.
  3. During the second year of coursework, students must pass a written comprehensive examination. The M.A. degree is awarded when the exam is passed and 50 units of first and second year coursework and fieldwork, and 60 hours of depth transformative practices are completed.
  4. Students must petition to proceed with the third year. Faculty approval is based on a comprehensive review of coursework, exam results, writing skills, and readiness to conduct research.
  5. Students must pass an oral examination at the end of the third year of coursework.
  6. Students must submit and defend an original dissertation accepted by the faculty.

Comprehensive Examinations

The comprehensive examinations consist of a written portion at the end of the second year, and an oral portion at the end of the third. The written examination is designed to assess knowledge gained in the first two years, and is a requirement for the awarding of the M.A. degree. The third year oral examination consists of the student’s formal oral presentation addressing the ways the three years of study have informed and seeded their work leading to the dissertation.

Doctoral Dissertation

The dissertation process involves the completion of Dissertation Development and Dissertation Writing courses. Students must have completed all requirements for the M.A. degree and have an approved concept paper before enrolling in Dissertation Writing. The Dissertation Committee is comprised of a Chair, an Internal Reader, and an External Reader. Each member of the committee must possess an earned doctorate based in part on a dissertation unless this requirement is waived by the Program Chair due to their professional expertise in the area of the dissertation research.

Other Requirements: Community and Ecopsychological Fieldwork and Research (DPC 783, 883) Students are required to arrange for community/ecological fieldwork in their home communities or other settings during the first and second summers. A minimum of 70 hours of direct participation in a setting, and 140 hours of related reading, writing, and reflection are required in the first summer. This is also true in the second summer, unless a student chooses to engage in community/ecological research, in which case hours of direct participation may be less to allow for in depth data analysis.

NOTE: The Depth Psychology Program and its specializations are designed to provide students with knowledge of theoretical traditions of depth psychology and its contemporary applications to personal, cultural, community, and ecological health and well-being. The program does not prepare students to become licensed or to practice psychotherapy. Although some students may wish to pursue licensure after gaining their doctorate in this program, the curriculum does not contain specific coursework aimed at any type of licensure, nor does it arrange or administratively support traineeships, pre- or post-doctoral internships, or other practice requirements related to licensure.

Admission Requirements: M.A./Ph.D. Program in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, & Ecopsychology

  • Applicants must also demonstrate aptitude in the following areas: a background in psychology through formal coursework or personal study and experience; a background in interdisciplinary studies, such as the humanities, sciences, and social sciences; a demonstrated interest and ability in scholarly research; and a familiarity with the perspectives of depth psychology, such as psychoanalytic, Jungian, and archetypal psychology.
  • Application Requirements:
    • Personal Statement (3-5 pages)
    • Resumé/CV
    • 8-10 page Academic Writing Sample
    • 3 letters with recommendation form
    • Official transcripts – must have a bachelor’s/master’s degree from a regionally accredited or state–approved institution of higher education

Somatic Studies Specialization

Classes begin early October

Students in the Somatic Studies specialization integrate the insights of depth psychology with a somatic perspective in order to bring body and soul into the evolving conversation about what it means to be human. Focused on real world issues across a range of academic and professional domains, students develop new understandings and create innovative practices with the potential to transform the communities in which they live and work.

Our Unique Somatic Studies Specialization

About the Somatic Studies Specialization

In a disembodied world at risk of losing its soul, there can be no more crucial task than reclaiming the sensual mystery of our bodily selves. Long recognized in indigenous cultures, the lived experience of the body is experiencing a renaissance within Western world views. From neuroscience and medicine to traumatology and the expressive arts, scholars and researchers are rediscovering the integral role of the bodymind in healing, learning, and social transformation.

The program incorporates an interdisciplinary range of practices and perspectives held within eight subject area streams. Within these streams – including Integrative Health and Wellness, Somatic Depth Counseling and Psychotherapy, Community Development, and Embodied Depth Leadership – students articulate unique fieldwork projects and dissertation research that allow them to work at an advanced level in their chosen fields. Students may also pursue qualification as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist® or Registered Somatic Movement Educator® through an articulation agreement with the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA ).

Students in the Somatic Studies specialization go on to publish books, start community non-profits, or develop consulting practices. Graduates may also choose to pursue academic careers, teaching in higher education or engaging in post-doctoral research. Each in their own way, students bring a highly developed understanding of the body/psyche intersection to the work they choose to pursue.

“I am the poet of the body. And I am the poet of the soul.”
-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

ISMETA

The Somatic Studies specialization in the Depth Psychology program at Pacifica Graduate Institute is an Associate Member of the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA). Selected courses in the Somatic Studies curriculum are pre-approved toward independent track application to become a Registered Somatic Movement Educator or Therapist® with ISMETA. Please contact Pacifica for a list of current pre-approved courses and contact ISMETA for additional information about the independent track application process. This curriculum is not necessarily intended to meet requirements for any particular state clinical licensure; applicable state regulations should be consulted. Please visit our gainful employment information section, for more information.

Learning Outcomes

The emerging paradigm for the 21st century requires individuals who can think across professional and disciplinary boundaries, who can fully embody a holistic and integrative perspective in their chosen area of interest, and know how to harness their vision and energy to tackle real world problems. In particular, we believe that leaders in this new paradigm will have the capacity to work through the body to tend the soul of the world. The Somatic Studies specialization positions our students to create and fulfill these leadership roles.

We do this by:

  • Providing them with foundational knowledge in depth psychology and interdisciplinary somatic studies.
  • Engaging them in transformative practice and fieldwork projects specifically tailored to their interests and expertise.
  • Teaching skills that strengthen their professional effectiveness, and supporting them to identify and research issues with the potential to change how we live in the world.

Students will:

  • Read, interpret, and critically reflect upon the theories and traditions of depth psychology, remembering the body and recalling its voice.
  • Develop the capacity and skill to maintain awareness of and connection to the unconscious.
  • Learn techniques and practices of dream work, body movement, and active imagination as transformative practices.
  • Develop literacy in the emerging domain of neuroscience as it applies to depth psychology and the mind/body connection.
  • Develop skills in research and writing that support their efforts to articulate and promote new theoretical directions and practical applications.
  • Participate with interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners in an emerging field of study.
  • Create a professional portfolio to enhance existing career skills.
  • Engage in transformative practices and fieldwork projects with the potential to change how we live in the world.

Marion Woodman Scholarship

The Marion Woodman Scholarship Fund is for the Somatic Studies Specialization of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology program. A number of scholarships are offered to newly admitted students in the Somatic Studies specialization based on financial hardship and academic excellence.

Somatic Studies

What “Somatic Studies” Is

The term “somatic” was coined by Thomas Hanna, an existential phenomenological philosopher, in the early 1970s. Although many of the approaches now considered ‘somatic’ predate this term by several decades, they share a common focus: working with the lived, subjective experience of the body.

From a somatic perspective, body experience is always understood holistically, as part of a larger context in which that experience becomes meaningful. For example, a particular sensation or body movement may be considered in relation to the psyche, to physical health, to interpersonal and interspecies relationships, to natural or constructed physical environments, to social and cultural contexts, and to spiritual domains.

“Somatic studies” is an umbrella term that includes somatic psychology (working with the experience of the body to support mental health), somatic movement therapy (working with the experience of the body to promote improved movement functioning), and many forms of complementary and alternative medicine. A somatic perspective also flourishes within the fields of education, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, performance studies, and dance.

What Makes This Program Unique

The program at Pacifica is in depth psychology, with an emphasis in somatic studies. This means that the program is grounded in the ideas and practices of depth psychology, with its emphasis on the unconscious, imagery, archetypes, and dreams. From that ground, we explore the intersections between the body and the unconscious psyche, connect image with sensation through active imagination, and the find the movement in dreams. We consider how physical symptoms may speak for the soul, and study the body’s role in the process of individuation.

In some ways, the program here is more tightly focused, in that it works within a single approach to psychological inquiry, that of depth psychology. In other ways, it is broader. Working from the interdisciplinary umbrella of somatic studies allows us to draw from a range of ideas and practices not typically addressed in somatic psychology programs.

How Pacifica’s Somatic Studies program is different from counseling or clinical psychology

Most other somatically-oriented graduate programs are either in somatic counseling or somatic psychology. At present, Pacifica offers the only doctoral program in the broader discipline of somatic studies. As a research-based program, our degrees in Depth Psychology with an Emphasis in Somatic Studies do not lead to professional licensure as a counselor or therapist. Rather, students are given the opportunity to develop as scholar/practitioners – to become skilled in the teaching, research, and community service that engaged scholarship demands, and to take those skills into the world in a meaningful way.

Graduation Requirements

Degree Requirements For Graduation

  1. Students must complete a total of 90 quarter units for the Ph.D. to fulfill the degree requirements for graduation. A minimum grade of C is required in each completed course. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained.
  2. Students must attend at least 2/3 of each course.
  3. During the second year of coursework, students must pass a written comprehensive examination. The M.A. degree is awarded when the exam is passed and: 48 units of first and second year coursework, and 50 hours of depth transformative practices are completed.
  4. Students must petition to proceed with the third year. Faculty approval is based on a comprehensive review of coursework, exam results, writing skills, and readiness to conduct research.
  5. Students must pass an oral examination at the end of the third year of coursework.
  6. Students must submit and defend an original dissertation accepted by the faculty.

Depth Psychology – Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examinations consist of a written portion at the end of the second year and an oral portion at the end of the third. The written examination is designed to assess knowledge gained in the first two years and is a requirement for the awarding of the M.A. degree. The third year oral examination consists of the student’s formal oral presentation addressing the ways the three years of study have informed and seeded their work leading to the dissertation.

Doctoral Dissertation

The dissertation process involves the completion of Dissertation Development and Dissertation Writing courses. Students must have completed all requirements for the M.A. degree and have an approved concept paper before enrolling in Dissertation Writing. The Dissertation Committee is comprised of a Chair, a Reader, and an External Reader. Each member of the committee must possess an earned doctorate based in part on a dissertation unless this requirement is waived by the Program Chair.

Other Requirements: Somatic Studies Fieldwork and Practice

Students are required to arrange for somatic-based depth psychological fieldwork in their home communities or other settings during the first and second summers. A minimum of 70 hours of direct participation in a setting and 130 hours of related reading, writing, imaginal engagement, and reflection are required in the first summer. This is also true in the second summer, unless a student chooses to engage in somatic-based depth psychological research, in which case hours of direct participation may be less to allow for in-depth data analysis. This will provide students with the opportunity to integrate the theories, ideas, and experiences they have gained in their coursework, while furthering their own professional goals.

NOTE: The Depth Psychology Program and its specializations are designed to provide students with knowledge of theoretical traditions of depth psychology and its contemporary applications to personal, cultural, community, and ecological health and well-being. The program does not prepare students to become licensed or to practice psychotherapy. Although some students may wish to pursue licensure after gaining their doctorate in this program, the curriculum does not contain specific coursework aimed at any type of licensure, nor does it arrange or administratively support traineeships, pre- or post-doctoral internships, or other practice requirements related to licensure.

Admission Requirements: M.A./Ph.D. Program in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Somatic Studies

  • Applicants must also demonstrate aptitude in the following areas: a background in psychology through formal coursework or personal study and experience; a background in interdisciplinary studies, such as the humanities, sciences, and social sciences; a demonstrated interest and ability in scholarly research; and a familiarity with the perspectives of depth psychology, such as psychoanalytic, Jungian, and archetypal psychology.
  • Application Requirements:
    • Personal Statement (3-5 pages)
    • Resumé/CV
    • 8-10 page Academic Writing Sample
    • 3 letters with recommendation form
    • Official transcripts – must have a bachelor’s/master’s degree from a regionally accredited or state–approved institution of higher education

Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies

Classes begin online early November

This rigorous, creative exploration of Jungian and archetypal psychology provides students with a range of theories, skills, and practices they can apply directly to their professional, personal, and creative lives, while addressing the collective challenges and opportunities of our moment in history.

Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies at Pacifica

About This Program

For those called to explore the deeper dimensions of the human psyche, this program of study provides a unique opportunity to engage with, apply, and advance depth psychological theories and practices within the Jungian and archetypal traditions. Building on the work of C.G. Jung and James Hillman, students will consider approaches to the psyche that foster healing, transformation, self-expression, creativity, and the development of consciousness.

The Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies specialization moves depth psychology from the clinical consulting room out into the wider world. By stimulating and supporting the scholarship and creative research of its students, it promotes the crucial task of advancing depth psychological ideas and practices as catalysts for individual and cultural transformation.

The faculty is comprised of esteemed international scholars with a broad range of areas of expertise. They introduce students to foundational theoretical constructs in the field while helping them to engage critically and creatively with the course material. The coursework itself is aligned with Jung’s emphasis on the “ineluctable psychological necessity” of individuation, the process by which one might attain deep self-knowledge, further the development of consciousness, and better understand the unconscious factors shaping human experience.

Students in the Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies Specialization

  1. Critically explore a range of topics central to our understanding of the role of the unconscious psyche in human experience, such as healing, myth, dream, film, soul, spirit, ecology, religion, creativity, personal transformation, individuation, the development of consciousness, and more.
  2. Deepen the capacity for imaginal, symbolic, mythic, critical, theoretical, and archetypal thinking and being in the world.
  3. Engage with the creative, dynamic unconscious in both its personal and collective dimensions.
  4. Hone the expression of their unique voice and vision through courses in research, writing, publication, and presentation.
  5. Study side-by-side with Jungian scholars and practitioners interested in envisioning new possibilities for extending contemporary thought and practices into the world.
  6. Read deeply and broadly from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Jung’s Red Book, and other core texts in the depth psychological tradition.
  7. Evaluate the limitations and potentials of Jungian and archetypal psychology within contemporary contexts.

“By stimulating and supporting the rigorous scholarship and creative research of our students, we hope to further the crucial task of advancing depth psychological ideas and practices as catalysts for individual and cultural transformation.”
-Keiron Le Grice, Ph.D., Chair of the Jungian and Archetypal Studies Specialization

Graduation Requirements

Degree Requirements for Graduation

  1. Students must complete a total of 90 quarter units for the Ph.D. to fulfill the degree requirements for graduation. A minimum grade of C is required in each completed course. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained.
  2. Students must attend at least 2/3 of each course.
  3. During the second year of coursework, students must pass a written comprehensive examination. The M.A. degree is awarded when the exam is passed and 48 units of first-year and second-year coursework are completed.
  4. Students must prepare and submit a scholarly article suitable for publication.
  5. Students must pass an oral examination at the end of the third year of coursework.
  6. Students must submit and defend an original dissertation accepted by the faculty.

Depth Psychology – Written Comprehensive Examination

In the Jungian and Archetypal Studies specialization of the Depth Psychology program, the written exam is taken after successful completion of at least six quarters of the first two years of coursework. This exam is an evaluation of the student’s understanding of the fundamentals of Jungian depth psychology and archetypal psychology covered during the first two years of the program, in accordance with specific program learning outcomes. The exam serves two main purposes:

  1. To ascertain the student’s readiness and ability to continue on into the third year of coursework, and beyond this to undertake dissertation work for the successful completion of a Ph.D.
  2. To provide an opportunity for students to integrate and consolidate the first two years of coursework.

Depth Psychology – Ph.D. Oral Examination

Jungian and Archetypal Studies doctoral students who have passed the written comprehensive examination are eligible to take the oral examination in the final quarter of the third year (in the summer or winter, depending on the track). The oral examination is the final evaluation of students’ ability to integrate academic coursework, and it serves as partial fulfillment of the degree requirements. The purpose of this assessment is to raise critical questions pertaining to the proposed dissertation project. Students must successfully incorporate the critique of this consultation into their dissertation concept papers in order to be advanced to candidacy.

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

A student will earn the designation of “doctoral candidate” after he or she has successfully completed all coursework, passed written and oral comprehensive exams, and a dissertation concept paper has been accepted by the Institute.

The Dissertation

The Depth Psychology program has a Dissertation Handbook which includes a set of guidelines and forms for the dissertation process.

Students must have passed their written comprehensive exam and an approved concept paper to register for dissertation writing. With the approval of the program, students may register for dissertation writing concurrently with other courses.

In order to work with the dissertation committee, the student must officially enroll in the two consecutive academic year period of dissertation writing. This is often referred to as the two-year dissertation “clock.” To begin the dissertation clock, the student must: a) have completed their third-year coursework, b) have an approved concept paper, c) be in good academic standing and have no outstanding failing grades, d) submit a Dissertation Registration Form to the Dissertation Office by the registration deadline, and e) be in good financial standing with the Business Office.

For a full description of all requirements, consult the current edition of the Pacifica Student Handbook.

NOTE: The Depth Psychology Program and its specializations are designed to provide students with knowledge of theoretical traditions of depth psychology and its contemporary applications to personal, cultural, community, and ecological health and well-being. The program does not prepare students to become licensed or to practice psychotherapy. Although some students may wish to pursue licensure after gaining their doctorate in this program, the curriculum does not contain specific coursework aimed at any type of licensure, nor does it arrange or administratively support traineeships, pre- or post-doctoral internships, or other practice requirements related to licensure.

Admission Requirements: M.A./Ph.D. Program in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies (hybrid)

  • Applicants must also demonstrate aptitude in the following areas: a background in psychology through formal coursework or personal study and experience; a background in interdisciplinary studies, such as the humanities, sciences, and social sciences; a demonstrated interest and ability in scholarly research; and a familiarity with the perspectives of depth psychology, such as psychoanalytic, Jungian, and archetypal psychology.
  • Application Requirements:
    • Personal Statement (3-5 pages)
    • Resumé/CV
    • 8-10 page Academic Writing Sample
    • 3 letters with recommendation form
    • Official transcripts – must have a bachelor’s/master’s degree from a regionally accredited or state–approved institution of higher education
This school offers programs in:
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Last updated March 7, 2018
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3 years
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Nov. 2018
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Oct. 2019
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