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


"Building the City" by John August Swanson

Courses are divided into four main domains:



This portion of the curriculum grounds students in the psychoanalytic, Jungian, archetypal, and phenomenological lineages of depth psychology, as well as in the contemporary flowering of these traditions that aid cultural, community, and ecological understanding and transformation.

Introduction to Depth Psychologies
DPC 730, 2 units
The term "depth psychology" evokes many associations and images, yet is often difficult to define. In this course, we formulate a definition of our field by investigating historical, cultural, and conceptual traditions that shape its identity. Topics include ancient approaches to healing, encounters with the unconscious, and soul making through literature and mythology.

Psychoanalytic Tradition: Social Psychoanalysis
DPC 760, 2 units
Freud's students, colleagues, and dissenters generated a body of work that extended the focus of psychoanalysis to the relation between psyche and culture. The works of key psychoanalysts who have made important contributions to this body of work are explored.

Jungian Psychology
DPC 761, 2 units
The basic concepts of Jungian psychology such as persona, anima, animus, shadow, the ego-Self axis and others are studied. Attention is brought to the historical, philosophical, psychological, and religious influences acting upon Jung's psychology. We explore the usefulness of Jungian concepts for understanding inter- and intrapsychic processes, as well as for seeing more deeply into the issues of our time.

Archetypal Psychology
DPC 762, 2 units
Archetypal psychology, as envisioned by James Hillman, moves beyond clinical inquiry and locates its identity within the Western imagination, finding affiliation with the arts, culture, and history of ideas. Its central aim is the appreciation and development of soul through the cultivation of the life of the imaginal. We investigate the history and central ideas of this rich psychological perspective, focusing on concepts such as archetype, image, seeing-through, and the soul of the world, anima mundi.

Hermeneutic and Phenomenological Traditions
DPC 991, 2 units
This course introduces students to hermeneutics and phenomenology, two broad philosophical traditions that underlie the theory and practice of research in depth psychology. Historical, conceptual, and methodological foundations of both traditions are examined. Critical problems and conundrums in the theory and practice of hermeneutics and phenomenology are addressed, as well as cultural and ethical perspectives and implications.

Depth Psychology and the Sacred: The Experience of the Sacred
DPC 920, 1 unit
To sense and honor the sacred in "each and every" is at the heart of apprehending interdependence and living in its light. We will explore how individuals and communities prepare for and welcome the numinous dimension of life, allowing the springs of the sacred to support, deepen, and enliven us and our relations.

Depth Psychology and the Mythic Tradition: Mythic Dimensions of Communal Life
DPC 921, 1 unit
Mythic images may be used to explore psychic and communal processes, allowing us to see more deeply into contemporary issues and archetypal realities. Students work with sacred tales from diverse cultures, opening portals into mythic ways of seeing.

Frontiers of Psyche-in-Community-and-Nature: Myth, image, and the Sacred
DPC 925, 1.66 units
In their commitment to witnessing and understanding the unconscious dimensions of subjectivity, depth psychologies have practiced an interdisciplinarity that has welcomed the imaginal, the mythic, and the sacred. In the light of liberation psychologies, it is important to attend to the decolonization of our approaches to image, art, myth, and religion as we very psychological life in the context of community and nature. This class welcomes emerging perspectives on these topics.

Frontiers of Depth Psychology
DPC 963, 2 units
Depth psychological theories and practices are placed in dynamic dialogue with ecopsychology, psychologies of liberation, and cultural studies from diverse cultural settings as we create a critical depth oriented eco-community psychology for the 21st century. Contemporary work in Freudian, Jungian, archetypal, and phenomenological schools is explored, enabling students to begin to place their own evolving scholarship in dialogue with the frontiers of depth psychology.


This domain enlists students to create a depth psychologically informed critical eco-community psychology for the 21st century. Community psychology, liberation psychologies, indigenous psychologies, and ecopsychology are placed in conversation with depth psychology to explore the interface between psyche, culture, and nature, as we seek to create paths for psychological, community, cultural, and environmental thriving.

Introduction to Critical Community Psychology
DPC 700, 2 units
Students will be introduced to the history of community psychology and the application of critical theory to examine its concepts, methodologies, and frameworks within diverse socio-cultural, economic, and political contexts (i.e., social and human services, schools, youth development, the health care system, non-governmental, governmental, and community-based organizations). The process and outcome of the community mental health movement will be examined, showing how a depth psychological understanding of community assets and stressors, coping strategies, social networks, and social support contributes to the application of community-based approaches to holistic community health and well-being. Discourse on key concepts such as oppression, social class, ethnicity and racism, social justice, and social change will lead to the acquisition of practical skills in assessing community health and in utilizing lessons learned for social change and policy development.

Psychologies of Liberation
DPC 781, 2 units
This course places Euro-American approaches to depth psychology into conversation with psychologies of liberation arising from Asia, Africa, Central, and South America. By focusing on dialogue as their common methodology, we reflect on how one can integrate psychologies that have focused primarily on the individual and the intrapsychic with psychologies that look at the psychological through the lens of culture. How does this integration lead us to work with dream, symptom, image, and calling? How does it help us imagine depth psychological work with psychological suffering and well-being through small group and community participatory fieldwork and research? We examine the development of dialogical capacities across the intrapsychic, interpersonal, and group domains. This course lays the theoretical and practical foundation for depth psychologically oriented community and ecopsychological fieldwork and research.

Liberation Studies and Action
DPC 965, 2 units
Roderick Watts coined the term "liberation studies and action (LiSA)" reminding liberation psychologists that psychology is not sufficient for the challenges we face. We need to work in a transdiciplinary manner (i.e., arts, spirituality, economics, history, philosophy, civil resistance) to create the social movements that are needed to achieve greater justice, dynamic peace, and sustainability. This course will distill lessons learned from liberatory social movements that can be used in our current and future work.

Indigenous Psychologies I
DPC 710, 2 units
The goal of this course is to initiate the student into the practice of seeing culture and cultural variation through a depth psychological lens, and into the practice of seeing depth psychology as a cultural phenomenon in itself. Students will learn how psychoanalysis has been applied in diverse cultural settings, integrating disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, religion, mythology, and philosophy. Students will apply depth psychological methods and approaches to conduct cultural analysis of rituals, symbols, myths, magic, and healing strategies from indigenous cultures. Critical reflection will be used to nurture awareness of cultural counter-transference and wrongful appropriation in understanding depth psychological cultural phenomena.

Indigenous Psychologies II
DPC 860, 2 units
Psychological knowledge with scientific ambitions has primarily emerged in the Western World. New movements around the world are seeking to create ownership of psychological and cultural knowledge in an expanded sense as a means of liberation from centuries of intellectual imposition. As a result, indigenous psychologies are proposing emic versus etic research, ethno-cultural methodologies, ethno-semantics, and ethno-epistemologies. These movements are furnishing the making of a promising Ethno-Depth Psychology. This course will address the plurality of perspectives and voices representing cultural analyses of Depth Psychology and psychological phenomena in diverse geographical settings. Students will critically apply indigenous psychologies' methodologies, tools, and approaches and discern the interplay of intersubjectivity in the description of depth psychological cultural phenomena, as well as in the interaction of self-subject-culture-ecology.

Community Building and Empowerment
DPC 720, 2 units
Students will analyze studies on community participation and empowerment, learning to assess (diagnose) pathways of community change, and designing interventions to foster community health. Students will learn to apply community capacity building strategies, interventions, and assessments to promote community empowerment, organizing, mobilization, and social activism. Lastly, students will be exposed to the analysis and development of participatory community visioning, planning and action models, and community learning, fostering a sense of community efficacy to strengthen holistic community health.

Advocacy and Policy Development
DPC 886, 2 units
This course will address processes and outcomes of community advocacy that address policy development for sustainable systems change. Students will learn skills in analyzing the social, cultural, economic, and ecological impacts of policies. Strategies and interventions that mobilize communities to participate in advocacy and policy development from the bottom up will be highlighted. Further, students will understand, analyze, and evaluate diverse procedures such as rapid response briefs, bills, and ordinances to influence legislation. Depth psychological factors that influence community mobilization will shed light into conscious and unconscious dynamics that emerge in the process of coalition and partnership formations to effect sustainable policy change. Important lessons learned from community case studies will bring these strategies and techniques into real life scenarios from which students will learn how to apply skills to influence policy development for social and environmental justice.

Individual and Collective Trauma
DPC 923, 2 units
The ever-enlarging literature on personal and community trauma is reviewed. The trauma literature is linked to the social and cultural environments that historically produced depth psychologies as well as contemporary perspectives. We explore the roles of victim, oppressor, collaborator, bystander, witness, and ally in relation to traumatic events. Approaches to the healing of collective trauma are discussed.

Depth Psychology of Violence and Its Prevention
DPC 731, 2 units
With the hope of deepening our capacities for both the prevention and treatment of violent behaviors, we will explore the archetypal foundations of violence in various myths, cultural beliefs about violence, and psychological theories that account for it. Innovative community treatment and prevention programs will be presented.

Ecopsychology I: The Ethics of Place
DPC 732, 2 units
Our human selves are part of a vast nexus that includes other selves, animals, plants, earth, and sky. The psychological is always already ecopsychological. The collective unconscious as well as conscious being-in-the-world are continuous with the natural world. We shall move from Jung's writings on nature and spirit to new approaches to be found in contemporary ecopsychologists, anthropologists, poets of place, environmentalists, and ecologists. The aim is to rethink nature and psyche at once and together, and to illuminate our place as humans within the surrounding environment.

Ecopsychology II: Environmental and Earth Justice
DPC 847, 2 units
Ecopsychology introduces into Euro-American psychology knowledge common to Indigenous environmental justice leaders and their communities: the idea that all living beings are part of a complex web of interconnection, and that culturally embedded strategies for ecological sustainability are critical to the Earth's future. Knowledge in this area can provide insights and opportunities for dialogue with Westernized modes of thought that not only separate humans from other-than-human nature, but segregate some communities from others and needed resources, disproportionately exposing them to toxicities, and other forms of violence. This course connects structural violence imposed on human communities with violence against other-than-human nature, emphasizing the role of racial disparities, neoliberal corporate and state interests in undermining local economies and ecologies, and environmental and earth justice movements that address this destruction.

Frontiers of Ecopsychology
DPC 832, 1 unit
This course explores ecopsychological approaches to selected environmental issues, such as climate change, environmental justice, urban and regional design, interspecies communication, sustainability, addiction to consumerism, and the human/earth interface.

Phenomenology and Communication of Depth Psychological Cultural and Ecological Work
DPC 880, 2 units
Students orally present their community and ecological fieldwork and research, examining how depth, community, ecopsychology, and liberation psychologies oriented their work. Through reflection on the array of fieldwork, students work toward discerning a phenomenology of depth psychological cultural and ecological work. Scholarly and community based communication is explored, including approaches to oral presentation, development of posters and short videos, and community publication venues.

Reconciliation and Peace-building
DPC 740, 2 units
This course explores how cycles of violence, revenge, oppression, and exploitation can be interrupted, as well as how efforts of reconciliation and reparation in post-conflict situations can pave the path to ongoing and sustainable peace. The limits of peace-building in the aftermath of violent conflict will be confronted.

Frontiers of Liberation Psychologies
DPC 964, 1 units
This course offers theoretical and experiential study of various participatory, dialogical, and restorative approaches being developed throughout the world to foster critical consciousness, build community, reconcile divisive differences, heal community trauma, transform oppressive social conditions, and imagine utopic possibilities.

Liberatory Pedagogy
DPC 992, 2 units
In this culminating course, students create their philosophies of teaching, and then embody them as they teach the work that draws them into their dissertations and professional work beyond the dissertation. This course fulfills the oral exam requirement. Pass/No Pass.


These didactic-experiential classes introduce students to a wide variety of dialogical, arts, and image based approaches to community and organizational issues and dynamics.

Council Practice
DPC 871, 2/3 units
Circle and council practices build on ancient traditions of many cultures. They draw upon practices of deep listening to self and other, the honoring of contributions of all participants, and the sharing of leadership. Attention will be given to the use of council in educational and organizational environments.

Appreciative Inquiry
DPC 872, 2/3 units
This is an innovative approach used to guide communities in visualizing their community assets and how these can contribute to community health and well-being. Using participatory methodologies, students will learn to identify and map community assets and their impacts as well as design individual, group, and community applications.

Community Theater
DPC 873, 1-1/3 units
Theater of the Oppressed, Legislative Theater, and Playback Theater will be explored for their potential to raise awareness, to build community, and to support community visioning and future planning.

Community Dreamwork
DPC 874, 1-1/3 units
This class will reclaim dreams as a community resource and practice methods (i.e., social dreaming, cultural dreaming, dream theater, communal vision questing) that allow us to hear the metaphorical resonance between dreaming and waking life, and to widen our perception to include imaginal dimensions.

Restorative Justice
DPC 875, 2/3 unit
From Gacaca rituals in Rwanda to juvenile restorative justice courts in the U.S., people are exploring both old and new alternatives to retributive justice. In the hope of re-including perpetrators into the human community, practices are developed to share the effects of the action in question and to search for ways to make human recompense, opening the path for forgiveness and mutual understanding.

Public Conversation
DPC 876, 2/3 unit
Students will learn approaches to working with groups when there is a history of divisive conflict. Structured conversation to promote mutual understanding and conflict transformation will be practiced.

Somatic Approaches to Trauma Healing
DPC 877, 2/3 unit
Community based somatic approaches to healing trauma (i.e., CAPACITAR), re-establishing a sense of trust, and engendering resilience will be explored.

Social Network Analysis
DPC 878, 1 unit
Students will learn the theory and methodological approaches to conduct Social Network Analysis. They will learn how to assess group and community relations and to determine pathways to improve community health, identifying key organizational and community assets to design and evaluate community and group interventions.

Depth Transformative Practices DPC 997, 0 units
Various schools of depth psychology have created therapeutic contexts for personal transformation and/or healing. These practices are related to transformative rituals and rites across cultures and history. Ecological, cultural, and organizational work has also created transformative practices. During the first two years of the program, students are expected to engage in a minimum of 60 hours of depth transformative practice within a relational context. Latitude is given to students to choose the form of this practice in accordance with their needs and interests. Examples of such practice may include, but are not limited to: individual depth psychotherapy; group dialogue work; community theater; facilitated vision questing; rites of passage; arts based community work; and appreciative inquiry. Students are invited to use this requirement to gain experience and further training in a group or community modality they hope to use in their work. Students are required to submit a proposal in advance of beginning and a log recording the hours they complete. Pass/No Pass.


Through participatory and dialogical fieldwork and research, students learn how to apprentice to community groups and issues, to be a witness to the ongoing work of such groups, to work collaboratively toward mutually desired transformations and actions, and to evaluate to what extent these goals have been reached. Research approaches—such as hermeneutic, phenomenological, critical, participatory action, and feminist—enable students to deeply engage a group's questions and concerns, while deepening ethical discernment around issues of power and privilege.

Foundations for Research in Depth Psychology: Participatory Qualitative Research
DPC 881, 2 units
Students are provided with the theoretical perspective and methodological tools to engage in community and ecological fieldwork and research. This form of research draws on the critical theories of feminist, third world, and indigenous research practices. It requires that researchers participate collaboratively with those in their research community to foster individual and community self-reflection, knowledge, and empowerment for transformative social change.

Community/Ecological Fieldwork Practicum: Tending the Soul of the World
DPC 783, 5 units
This summer externship helps students to create a bridge from their growing theoretical knowledge of depth psychology, ecopsychology, and indigenous and liberation psychologies to cultural and ecopsychological fieldwork that supports psychological, community, and environmental well-being. Through participatory and dialogical work in community settings, students gain experience in how to deepen their knowledge and skills to contribute to a contemporary cultural, community, or ecological issue that interests them. Pass/No Pass.

Community/Ecological Fieldwork and Research Practicum
DPC 883, 5 units
In this externship students either return to the site of their original fieldwork or choose a new one. Some fieldwork may involve the student in the ongoing work at that site; some may involve work that is initiated by the student in consultation with members of the community. This summer, students also have the option to engage in a pilot piece of research to assist a community in an area of inquiry they desire to pursue, and in order to hone research skills that will assist them in the work of their dissertation. Through deep listening to and in dialogue with the community members where they are working, students generate research questions that may be explored using various methodologies that contribute to participatory action research approaches. Pass/No Pass.

Community Consultation and Research
DPC 884, 1 unit
Students will learn skills in proposing and conducting research and advocacy in non-governmental and community-based organizations. Further, students will acquire grant-writing and evaluation skills to help organizations and grassroots groups find economic means to conduct their own projects.

Coalition Building and Resource Mobilization
DPC 885, 1 unit
A resource mobilization approach to community organizing emphasizes the critical study of structural and natural ecologies that both enable and constrain the availability and equitable distribution of existing and future assets and their impact on the sociopolitical and built and natural environments. It examines these assets and resources, the existing and potential social networks, and the necessary strategies and opportunities to mobilize them for social justice, peace building, and sustainability. In this course students will gain foundational skills in community organizing to mobilize community assets to attain desired community and/or ecological goals, and in the critical discernment of conscious and unconscious dynamics of collective action and solidarity. Students will acquire skills in strategy development to identify key community organizations and groups to build coalitions for sustainable, ecological systems change.

Community Program & Organization Evaluation
DPC 879 2 units
Students will learn to conduct community program and organizational evaluations using depth psychological frameworks, for example, collecting and analyzing symbols, rituals, myths, and collective dreams, interpreting results and applying lessons learned for community and organizational healing and development. Particular emphasis will be given to the role of worldview and political ideology in addressing evaluative inquiry and the framing of an evaluation approach. Students will learn to design evaluations, develop evaluation plans, and align evaluation questions to program and organizational learning needs. In addition, students will conduct needs assessments, define and prioritize program goals and objectives, and develop procedures and techniques to identify evaluation data sources and target population. Emphasis will be placed on participatory and empowering evaluation approaches that increase program sustainability.

Imaginal Ways of Knowing
DPC 882, 2 units
One way of gaining access to understandings, knowledge, desires, and visions is to invite ourselves and those we work with to welcomes images, symbols, metaphors, reverie, aesthetic sensibility, active imagination, and somatic experiences. This class will explore research approaches that encourage both researcher and co-participants to be aware of the imaginal level of their work together.

Dissertation Development I
DPC 932A, 2/3 unit
The Dissertation Development two-course sequence provides the framework for writing the concept paper, which serves as the basis for the dissertation proposal. The focus of the first course is on crafting a research question/area and choosing a methodological approach that is appropriate to it. Pass/No Pass.

Dissertation Development II
DPC 932B, 2/3 unit
Students complete a concept paper and learn to craft a literature review. Prerequisite: DPC 932A. Pass/No Pass.

Research Writing: Conceiving the Dissertation
DPC 933, 5 units
For students who do not yet have an approved concept paper, this course provides another opportunity to have their concept paper submitted and approved. Students begin to craft their dissertation literature review. Prerequisites: DPC 932A, DPC 932B. Pass/No Pass.

Dissertation Writing
DPC 980, 15 units
During this course, students assemble their dissertation committees, write their proposals, complete the dissertation process, and defend their dissertations in a public forum. This course may be taken concurrently with other courses. Additional fees are assessed for this course. Prerequisites: DPC 932A, DPC 932B, DPC 933. Pass/No Pass.

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