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

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Culture Contains the Seed of Resistance Which Blossoms Into the Flower of Liberation,
by Miranda Bergman and O'Brien Thiele
Mural designed and painted in 1984 and completely restored in 2014
Balmy Alley, Mission District, San Francisco, CA

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.

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.

Ecopsychology, Community Psychology, and Liberation Psychology

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 grass roots coalitions; arts-based community building; trauma healing; and environmental sustainability

"...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." -Paolo 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.


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.

Available Scholarships for Studying Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology (pdf)

For information about the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization please contact Alyson Alexander M.A., Senior Admissions Counselor, at 805.879.7307, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.
249 Lambert Road, Carpinteria, California, 93013 | Telephone: 805.969.3626