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


Detail, "Building the City", John August Swanson

This specialization is a bold initiative to forge interdisciplinary transformative approaches to the personal, community, cultural, and ecological challenges of our time.

While grounding students in the psychoanalytic, Jungian, archetypal, and phenomenological lineages of depth psychology, this specialization places Euro-American approaches to depth psychological theories and practices in dynamic dialogue with ecopsychology, indigenious 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 the exploitation of others and nature on psychological, communal, and ecological well-being. It is a commitment to create paths to peace and reconciliation, justice, and sustainability.

Hearing Voices, CLE Vol. 2 Spring 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, widening their repertoire of dialogue and arts-based approaches. The C.L.E. Newsletter, Volume 2; Hearing Voices

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 will also 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.

Herman Warsh Scholarship Program

The Herman Warsh Scholarship is a needs based scholarship that provides assistance to students who have experience in and a commitment to working in community-based settings on environmental, community, and/or cultural issues. Funds awarded are renewable each year through the recipient's dissertation phase. 

The Herman Warsh Matching Scholarship (CLE Matching Grant) enables any student who has a tuition sponsor (i.e., workplace, foundation, nonprofit group, faith group, or individual) to apply for a matching tuition grant from Pacifica (up to $12,500 per year). Applications are accepted through the year as long as funds remain.

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.