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


Instruction begins late September

The Ph.D. program in clinical psychology provides a challenging education that nurtures intelligent and creative capacities in those who seek to practice psychology in a complex and rapidly changing world. Inaugurated in 1987, the program integrates theory, research and clinical practice within human science & depth psychology traditions.

The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program

Students are prepared for professional practice as scholar-practioners whose clinical training is enhanced by scholarship and enriched by the analytical and interpretative skills developed through research. Our curriculum is designed to lead to licensure as a clinical psychologist (based on educational requirements for psychologists in the state of California).

Pacifica's Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Program is currently accepting applications for Fall, 2016.


I want psychology to have its base in the imagination of people rather than in their statistics and their diagnostics.
James Hillman


Human Science Model

Our commitment to a human science model of psychology – a viable alternative to conventional psychology’s natural science approach - emphasizes meaning as the fundamental component of psychological life. This focus on human meaning, carried out in both qualitative research and clinical practice, yields an in-depth understanding of how things matter for people within their life-situations.

Acknowledging the cultural and historical character of meaning, human science psychology is deliberately affiliated with the humanities and cultivates multiple ways of knowing, such as imagination and meditative awareness, beyond the instrumental reason employed by the natural sciences. Accordingly, our curriculum is infused with the study of mythology, history, religion, philosophy, and the arts.

Depth Psychological Perspective

Within a human science model, the Ph.D. program focuses on the traditions of depth psychology. Found in multiple cultural contexts and perspectives, including the groundbreaking explorations of Freud and Jung, depth psychologies are distinguished by their recognition of a latent or unconscious dimension of psychological life. This unconscious element, the depth dimension inherent in human experience, is understood as essential to the transformative character of the therapeutic relationship.

Our program is inspired by psychoanalytic, Jungian, and existential-phenomenological perspectives in their historical and contemporary formulations, including archetypal, relational, and hermeneutic psychologies. Significant attention is given to dialogue with related disciplines such as multiculturalism, postmodernism, feminist theory, gender studies, indigenous psychologies, complexity theory, post colonialism, ecological studies, and Eastern thought.


We need images and myths through which we can see who we are and what we might become.
Christine Downing


Clinical Training

By emphasizing the importance of scholarship in the education of psychologists, the program continues depth psychology’s longstanding approach to clinical practice. The clinical orientation that infuses our curriculum, facilitates the engagement of theory and research in addressing individual, community, and global concerns.

Students receive comprehensive clinical training that is informed by Jungian, psychoanalytic, and phenomenological psychologies as well as contemporary depth approaches to psychotherapy.

Clinical instruction emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship, particularly transference and counter-transference dynamics, the significance of dreams, attachment and trauma in early development as well as developmental stages across the lifespan, individuation as a process of psychic transformation, and the cultural context of healing.  A critical dialogue is maintained with contemporary developments in the field, such as neuroscience.


Psychological life in its texture, structure and function is a metaphorical reality.
Robert D. Romanyshyn



Our strong research curriculum is guided by depth psychology’s understanding of psychological phenomena. Hence, the courses focus on qualitative research methods that affirm the interpretative dimension of description as well as the unconscious dynamic between researcher and what is being researched. Student research  encompasses the pursuit of knowledge, personal transformation, and the practice of social engagement.


Clinical Ph.D. Student Shares Why
He Chose Pacifica

Our goal is to prepare students to become constructively engaged in diverse clinical, academic, and community settings as researchers and clinicians who are grounded in deeply humane, theoretically sophisticated, and socially conscious approaches to clinical psychology.

The engaging beauty of the campus, an intense residency format & class cohort configuration all lend themselves to an experience of scholarly and personal development keenly attuned to Pacifica's forty year mission of  "caring for the soul in and of the world." 

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For information regarding Pacifica's Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, please contact Diane Huerta, Admissions Consultant and Former Pacifica Admissions Director, at 805.879.7306 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See Academic Program Information. 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.

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