Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization

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Community Psychology

Liberation Psychology


Indigenous Psychologies

This specialization is a bold initiative to forge transformative approaches to the critical challenges of our time. Our goal is to further develop the roles that psychologists can undertake to assist in reimaging and restoring connected individual, community, cultural, and ecological life. This necessitates a radical engagement in re-conceiving psychology as a potentially liberatory force in society. The new geography for psychological work that arises from these efforts is transdisciplinary. We are committed to the development of psychologies that are more adequate to the problems we face, and to the realization of the dreams and hopes we harbor for a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.CLE catalog download button

At Pacifica Graduate Institute, we have forged our specialization in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology with these values in mind. They guide our efforts toward rebuilding fragmented connections in our culture and environment, and to creating forms of democratic, dialogical, joyful, and nonviolent living.

While grounding students in depth psychology, our curriculum places Euro-American approaches to depth psychological theories and practices in dynamic dialogue with ecopsychology, indigenous psychologies, critical community psychology, cultural studies, and psychologies of liberation from diverse cultural settings. To study community and ecopsychology in the light of liberation psychology is to commit to the exploration of the profound effects of injustice, violence, and exploitation on psychological, communal, and ecological well-being. It is a commitment to recognize and address the collective and historical nature of trauma and to create paths to peace, reconciliation, reparations, and justice. Through community and ecological fieldwork and research, students work in the area of their calling, while deepening their ethical discernment, reflecting on their own positionality, and widening their repertoire of dialogue and arts-based approaches.

Praxis classes mentor students in a variety of approaches to working with groups: council/ circle, appreciative inquiry, theater of the oppressed, public conversation, open space technology, community dream work, liberation arts, restorative justice, somatic approaches to trauma healing, conflict transformation, and imaginal and ritual approaches to community health and healing. Students gather the theoretical insight and practical skills to conduct participatory action research and community program evaluation.

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

  • Deepen insight about individual, group, and cultural life through study of depth psychological concepts and practices
  • Develop scholarly and creative writing skills
  • Learn innovative approaches to trauma healing, restorative justice, ecological sustainability, community building, economic justice, forced migration, alternatives to violence, peacebuilding, and reconciliation
  • Practice participatory action research and program and organizational evaluation, while deepening ethical discernment regarding 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 a wide variety of professions and leadership positions

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.

2015 News: 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.

Please contact Diane Huerta, Admissions Consultant and Former Pacifica Admissions Director, at 805.969.3626, ext. 306 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about the program.
For Academic Program Information CLICK HERE. All of Pacifica Graduate Institute's degree programs are accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) and the Department of Education to offer financial aid.