Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Depth Psychology

In the Ph.D. program, students are prepared to become constructively engaged in diverse clinical, academic, and community settings in the roles of researchers and clinicians, grounded in deeply humane, theoretically sophisticated, and socially conscious approaches to clinical psychology.
Defining Perspective
In alignment with Pacifica’s 40-year history, the Ph.D. program is devoted to the traditions of depth psychology, integrating theory, research and clinical practice within a human science, scholar-practitioner model. A strong clinical orientation frames the curriculum and facilitates the engagement of theory and research in addressing individual, community, and global concerns.

Courses draw from three areas of study:


As an alternative to conventional psychology’s experimental, natural science approach, human science psychology emphasizes meaning—how things matter for people within their life situations—as the fundamental component of the psyche. To assist in this understanding from a cultural and historical perspective, the curriculum is deliberately affiliated and infused with the cross-disciplinary study of humanities such as mythology, the arts, history, religion, and philosophy.

At the same time, depth psychology—distinguished by its recognition of a latent or unconscious dimension of psychological life—cultivates multiperspectival ways of knowing that take precedence over reason and five-sensory perception. This unconscious element, or depth in human experience, is understood as essential to the transformative character of the therapeutic relationship. Hence, courses focus on qualitative research methodologies that affirm the interpretative or hermeneutic dimension of description as well as the unconscious dynamic between researcher and what is being researched.

The Ph.D. program’s strong research curriculum is guided by depth psychology’s human scientific understanding of psychological phenomena. Accordingly, students in this program:

• Build a foundation for professional practice by extensive clinical training, enhanced by scholarship and enriched by the analytical and interpretative skills developed through engagement with research.

• Receive comprehensive clinical training that is informed by both Jungian and Psychoanalytic traditions, as well as contemporary depth approaches to psychotherapy.

• Learn the importance of the therapeutic relationship, particularly transference and counter-transference dynamics, the significance of dreams, early development including attachment and trauma, developmental stages across the lifespan, individuation as a process of psychic transformation, mind-body integration, therapeutic presence, and the cultural context of healing.

• Engage in critical dialogue regarding contemporary developments in the field of psychology, such as neuroscience.

• Study Psychoanalytic, Jungian, and Existential-Phenomenological perspectives in their historical and contemporary formulations, including relational, archetypal, and hermeneutic psychologies.

• Explore related disciplines such as multiculturalism, postmodernism, feminist theory, gender studies, indigenous psychology, complexity theory, post colonialism, ecological studies, aesthetic perception, imagination, and mythic sensibilities, inclusive of Western and Eastern spirituality.

• Frame research within the pursuit of knowledge, personal transformation, and the practice of social engagement.

The program's curriculum draws on the scholarship of the depth psychological tradition, which served as a foundation of Western clinical psychology.  Specifically, the program focuses on the contributions of S. Freud and C. J. Jung as well as subsequent dynamic developments of these traditions, including contemporary analytic and psychodynamic theories, archetypal and imaginal approaches, integrative indigenous and mind-body practices, and human science (phenomenological) methods. In addition, such disciplines as neuropsychology, anthropology, philosophy, ethno-cultural studies, literature, critical and liberation approaches, mythology, religious studies and narrative medicine also contribute to program's emphases and clinical training opportunities.

The program's goal is to prepare students as researchers and clinicians, who are grounded in these traditions and integrate them within diverse clinical, academic, and community settings. In addition, the program's curriculum as well as its learning methods encourage students to engage in an educational process that is personally transforming as well as keenly attuned to the needs of "the soul in and of the world," as stated in Pacifica's mission statement.
Career Orientation
One of the oldest and most established programs at Pacifica Graduate Institute, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology has a successful history of preparing licensed clinicians, academicians, scholars, writers, researchers, and consultants. The coursework is designed to prepare students for licensure in the state of California as well as other states.
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. Pacifica Graduate Institute's Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs are accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) and the Department of Education to offer financial aid. Pacifica's doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology are not accredited by the American Psychological Association.