Course Descriptions: Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices


Theory and Traditions of Depth Therapy and Healing Practices

Therapy Informed by the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences

Integrated Praxis: Research and Casework

Theory and Traditions of Depth Therapy and Healing Practices

Foundations of Depth Psychology for the Healing Professions
DPT 730, 2 units

Depth psychology acquired its name in 1910, but its lineage reaches back into antiquity across many cultures, philosophies, and disciplines of wisdom and practice. This course will trace that lineage by conversing with the ancestors of the field: ancestors from Mesopotamia, North Africa, East Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world. Students will learn the approaches they developed and see them move forward from healing and reflective arts in antiquity to include, in the present, various schools of analytical, relational, existential, humanistic, family, post-modern, and multicultural psychology. The course will also explore and appreciate what ecopsychology, mythology, and systems/complexity theory have contributed to depth psychology as we dream it onward in theory and in practice.

Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Healing I: Applied Theory and Practice
DPT 761, 2 units

Students learn classical Jungian concepts such as ego, persona, shadow, Self, complex, archetype, collective unconscious, transcendent function, and individuation. The course explores dreams, active imagination, typology, and transference/countertransference considerations in the context of Jung’s approach to therapeutic practice. Contemporary perspectives and applications of Jungian thought are demonstrated through readings that elucidate Jung’s original work and modern integrations. The course pays particular attention to how various forms of pathology can be viewed on multiple levels from the personal and cultural-historical to the archetypal, mythic, and imaginal.

Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Healing II: Engaging Complexity and Diversity
DPT 861, 2 units

Explore the phenomenon of synchronicity, a discovery that marked a new creative phase in Jung’s later work that has far-reaching theoretical and therapeutic implications. Synchronicity involves a redefinition of reality based on acausality, nonlocality, and the understanding that the inner world of psyche and the outer world of matter correspond to each other. Students examine the implications of these shifts for practice, including the centrality of the dream, visionary experiences, and the religious function of the psyche.

Sex and the Spirit: Integrating Jungian and Depth Approaches to Sexuality
DPT 961, 2 units

Sexuality holds great mysteries of pleasure and suffering, yet this aspect of human health has been split off from traditional therapy and from its connection to spirituality. Students explore the intimate relationship between Psyche and Eros, Jung’s approach to sexuality, and the important influence of sensual and sexual life to the individuation process. Sexual pathologies also illuminate the delicate relationship between Eros and Thanatos, and how pain and suffering closely follow love and sex. This course will review the dynamics between moralism and instincts, spiritual and physical experiences, as well as diverse expressions through LGBTQ culture, sexual fluidity, sex addiction, and archetypal expressions of gender.

Imaginal and Experiential Dimensions of Therapeutic Practice
DPT 962, 2 units

This course explores the traditions that comprise the field of imaginal psychology and elaborates the unique features of imaginal approaches to therapeutic work that flow from depth psychological perspectives. Students develop an imaginal approach to issues such as transference, unconscious processes, symptoms, and dreams, and foster sensitivity to the symbolic depths and metaphorical richness emerging in therapeutic relationships. In this course, one’s integrative practice is regarded as a vocational commitment in which the awakened heart is the organ of vision essential to support healing.

Relational Psychology I: Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic Practices
DPT 763, 2 units

Students are introduced to contemporary developments in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic practices, which place human relationships and mutuality at the center of the therapeutic and healing endeavor. Relational theory integrates a wide range of current therapeutic approaches, including object relations theory, self-psychology, intersubjectivity, interpersonal psychotherapy, and some aspects of modern Kleinian and Freudian thinking. The concepts and techniques of therapeutic work studied include the transference/countertransference field, the therapeutic alliance, projective identification, co-creation of the therapeutic interaction, attachment theory, the psychoanalytic frame, defense and resistance, insight and interpretation, and the mutual construction of meaning.

Relational Psychology II: Working with Narcissism, Borderline States, and Addictions
DPT 863, 2 units

Students look at approaches to specific situations and pathological structures, and foster a deeper understanding of the dynamics and presentations of various psychological symptoms including narcissist and borderline conditions, as well as the relational components of addictions and recovery. This course continues the student’s explorations of relational theorists since Freud, including Kohut, Klein, Bion, and others. It focuses primarily on current trends in contemporary psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theory with applied techniques for working with individual and group dynamics.

Archetypal Psychology: Re-Visioning Approaches to the Psyche  
DPT 762, 1.5 units

Focusing primarily on the work of James Hillman, this course describes the Jungian roots and core ideas of archetypal psychology, including the reality of the psyche, its plural nature, and the importance of the image. Students examine Hillman’s critique of clinical psychology and analytical practice and his call to enlarge the frame of practice to include myth, metaphor, and culture. Using practice material provided by students, lectures and discussions explore how archetypal psychology calls for a re-vision of many traditional therapeutic strategies and approaches.

Depth Approaches to Psychopathology
DPT 760, 2 units

This course explores the original formulations of psychopathology and its diverse expressions. Students study theories of character formation and look at the major character disorders, neuroses, and states both from the point of view of their phenomenology and their unconscious underpinnings. Students explore the ways in which theorists of different schools have approached disorders and have offered distinctive therapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on depth-oriented contributions.

Interpersonal Neurobiology, Affective Neuroscience, and Depth Psychology
DPT 870, 2 Units

Contemporary research across a number of disciplines, ranging from systems theory and depth psychology to neuroscience, are leading to a paradigm shift in our understanding of the mind/brain. These new research findings illustrate the principles of transformation common to living systems, including various hypotheses concerning the evolutionary role of ancient subcortical, emotional, bodily, and imagistic processes. Students explore embodied models emphasizing intersubjectivity, nonlinearity, and self-organization, centering on the prototypic concept of regulation. Using our current neurobiological understandings of subjective states, consciousness, and the self, the course will describe contemporary issues such as the nature of the self and the radical interdependence of psyche, nature, and culture.

Therapy Informed by the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences

Eco-Spirituality and Eco-Therapy: Nature as Healer
DPT 732, 2 units

C. G. Jung wrote, “If one touches the earth one cannot avoid the spirit.” Nature is the bedrock of spirit, and spirit the life force of the natural world. Based in the tradition of depth psychology, this course explores the union of nature and spirit and the healing that comes about through conscious engagement with these two profound aspects of our existence. In this course, we depart from the modernistic fantasy of separation of humankind from nature and explore a psyche that is rooted in nature, infused by spirit, and at the same time deeply personal. By bringing mind/spirit, body/nature into dialogue, this course fosters an integral approach to healing that addresses the large and important scope of the societal and environmental issues we face today. 

Cultural Dimensions of Psychological Life: Engaging Collective Trauma, Cultural Healing, and Social Justice
DPT 830, 2 units

An integrative approach to the healing of collective trauma and issues of social justice requires a collaborative study between important contemporary approaches and indigenous traditions of healing. Moreover, psyche and culture are interdependent and co-arising phenomena. To nourish this understanding, theorists who have focused on the cultural dimensions of the psyche will be studied. Students will look at emerging research on the impacts of various forms of trauma, from natural disasters to the effects of genocide and war. The causes of psychosocial and collective trauma, such as racism and the oppression of specific communities, will be thematized and examined. Students will explore the necessary work for justice (social, economic, and environmental) and study techniques designed to address the critical peace-building efforts needed to support healing on individual and group levels.

Special Topics I: Digital Life and Emerging Cultural Phenomena
DPT 974, 1.5 units

Contemporary culture has seen the human-machine interface decisively dissolve to such an extent that few people can exist without their technology, be it smart phones, titanium joints, or Facebook pages. People now work, love, and play in cyber culture, unwilling and, in some cases, unable to retreat from it. This course examines the benefits and the costs of becoming cyborgs—enhanced humans—an image of both horror and hope. Students explore their own dependence upon technology and discuss how digital life manifests in contemporary psychological symptoms.

Special Topics II: Religious Fundamentalism, Terrorism, and the Problem of Evil
DPT 992, 2 Units

This course will discuss the problem of evil from a variety of social and depth psychological perspectives. The course will explore the main features of fundamentalism, including its underlying psychodynamic, social, and historical features. Students will examine the connections between political and religious violence and fundamentalism, and the relationships between fundamentalism and terrorism. The course will describe what is known about the psychology of the terrorist and the terrorism-prone individual, based on terrorists’ published ideological manifestoes and memoirs combined with inferences from the empirical observation of terrorists’ behavior. The class will examine terrorist organizations and the importance of their leadership, the covert factors of self-destructiveness, and the externalization of the terrorists’ sense of victimhood. Students will look at the religious underpinning and justification for terrorism and contrast this with secular, politically motived and ethno-nationalist forms of terrorism. This course will also examine the phenomenon of children and adolescents in terrorist groups, their psychology, and the allure of ideology, violence, and group influence over young people. In addition, the class will examine the attack-revenge-counter-revenge cycle, and look at the possibility of forgiveness and reparation.

Body, Mind, and Soul in the Healing of Trauma: Somatic, Neurological, and Archetypal Approaches           
DPT 975, 2 units

Attachment theory, developed by Bowlby and Ainsworth, is now confirmed and extended by contemporary neurobiological research, and points toward the complex interconnections between the body and the mind. This course examines the renewed emphasis on somatosensory awareness in therapeutic practice, a reversal of the cultural legacy of Cartesian dualism that continues to affect many healing modalities. Kalsched’s archetypal perspective extends awareness of the healing process and dimensions of traumatic experience, including a careful exploration of the means necessary to support the individuation journey. Students learn core principles and skillful use of a whole-person approach to trauma, and develop a felt sense of the embodied psyche in their professional practice.

Psyche and the Sacred: Psychology and Spirituality in Dialogue
DPT 920, 2 units

The psyche’s capacity and affinity for sacred experience, as expressed in religion, ritual, and encounters with the numinosum, continually remind us of the importance of a spiritual consideration in all psychological work. Jung once said that all psychological problems are essentially religious problems. If true, this idea becomes especially interesting to practitioners in the ways it calls for a revision of our notions of self, suffering, pathology, and of approaches to treatment. This course explores ways that many therapists and helping professionals might work with the religious function of the psyche.

Working with Illness and Death: East-West and Depth Perspectives on Suffering
DPT 894, 2 Units

This course will integrate critical perspectives on working with terminally ill patients from both depth psychological perspectives and eastern traditions. Students will explore aspects of their own transference, beliefs, and potential roles in serving the needs of those suffering from chronic or long-term physical and psychological ailments, as well as those transitioning between life and death.

Integrated Praxis: Research and Casework

The Inner Landscape of Dreams and Active Imagination
DPT 780, 1 units

Throughout time and across cultures, dreams have opened the door to the psyche, offering contact with the transcendent and nourishment for the soul. This class considers Jungian and post-Jungian approaches to the dream and explores their careful integration into therapeutic work. The main focus of the class is on developing personal ability and style in relating to dreams. We invite a lived experience of dream consciousness to be present by sharing our own dreams and images throughout the class.

The Art of Scholarly Inquiry and Writing
DPT 784, 2 units

This course invites students to contemplate how the fathomless psyche affects the process of research. Taking seriously the core philosophical assumption of depth psychology, the reality of the unconscious, introduces profound shifts in one’s ontology, epistemology, and methodology. In light of this, what can researchers claim to know and how do they know it? This course introduces students to some of the key ideas that affect research including psyche, archetype, image, and the imaginal. The course explains Jung’s technique of active imagination, and teaches close reading and textual analysis as part of a general introduction to the practice of hermeneutics. It also sharpens students’ ability to critically evaluate and write scholarly prose, identifying the key characteristics of a well-argued academic essay, article, or dissertation.

Healing Narratives: Writing Compelling Practice Studies and Client Stories
DPT 785, 2 units

Writing about clients and conveying their compelling stories is critical to depth practitioners who understand the power of narrative for healing and advancing professional knowledge. This special seminar course will support students in exploring their own creativity and imagination, and will support them in honoring their work with clients through advanced writing skills specifically attuned to the work of healing professionals.

Dissertation Development I: Imagination, Calling, and Rigor in Doctoral Scholarship
DPT 832, 2 units

Working with image, dream, symptom, and synchronicity, this course helps students attune themselves to the vocational nature of depth psychological inquiry, and then refine the topic into a focused research question. Lecture and discussion introduce the dissertation handbook and explain the research process at Pacifica in terms of its key milestones: concept paper, proposal, final draft, and the oral defense. Students critically review Pacifica dissertations to understand the scholarly form and also to augment their background knowledge of the topic. Through a thorough, systematic critique of their own work, students expand their knowledge of scholarly writing and learn the central importance of re-visioning their ideas and language to explore the deep psyche.

Dissertation Development II: Qualitative Methodologies and Mixed Methods Research
DPT 782, 2 units

This course compares and contrasts key qualitative methodologies, including their origin, history, epistemological assumptions, and theoretical basis as well as their practical and ethical implications. In addition, students learn how to blend qualitative and quantitative studies in a mixed-methods research study. Discussion focuses on contemporary critiques of traditional methods to address their limitations and biases. Students learn how questions of methodology are organically related to the research topic and affect the research design, procedures, and outcome of the work. The course is intended to guide students in choosing a possible methodology for their dissertation topic.

Dissertation Development III, IV, V
DPT 942 A (1 unit), B (.75 unit), C (.75 unit) per quarter

These seminars span the second and third years of coursework, slowly and organically guiding students toward the completion of an approved dissertation concept paper. Each student, in consultation with the instructor, sets individual learning goals. The course answers questions concerning dissertation writing at Pacifica, including how to refine a research question, select and review relevant literature, choose an appropriate research methodology, articulate a thoughtful approach to research ethics, and form a dissertation committee. By the end of the winter quarter, most or all students will emerge with an approved concept paper. Prerequisites: DPT 942 A for DPT 942 B and DPT 942 B for DPT 942 C. Pass/No Pass

Enacting the Oral Tradition: Oral Comprehensive Presentation
DPT 994, 2 units

A key aspect of doctoral studies is the gradual movement from the realm of student to the realm of professor. Whether or not a student ultimately becomes a teacher, each must still give back to the world in a depth-oriented way a synthesis of what he or she has learned. In this course students develop effective presentation skills to prepare them for speaking and teaching. In particular, this course helps to prepare students for the important capstone in the doctoral journey at Pacifica, the oral defense of the dissertation. The course is conducted like a professional conference, in which the presentations are timed and followed by a question and answer session. In addition, instructors will use their observations to discuss the principles of effective speaking and philosophies of teaching. Pass/No Pass

Practice Consultation Groups I, II, III, IV, VII, VIII, IX
DPT 750, DPT 850, DPT 951 (1 unit each)
DPT 751, DPT 851, DPT 952, and DPT 957 (1.5 units each)

The goals of the practice consultation courses are to integrate theoretical learning with practical experience, and to demonstrate a variety of approaches to practice from a depth perspective. Students present a case for depth supervision at least once per quarter. In addition to practice consultation, each course will address a particular theme that typically mirrors specific material in other coursework including topics such as maintaining a mythic sensibility, working with image, dream, and story, issues of race and cultural diversity, socioeconomic forms of suffering including poverty, oppression, and alienation, the challenges of technology, depth approaches to assessment and pathology, transference, and ethical problems. During the two quarters of the third year of coursework, students present a control paper to examine their practice work with one client in depth. Pass/No Pass

Practice Consultation Groups V
DPT 852, 1 unit

This course combines lecture and small group discussions that focus on various processes of becoming a supervisor of other practitioners in their field. Topics may include establishing the supervisory frame; issue of authority, competency, certainty and shame in beginning to conduct supervision; differentiating supervision from therapy (teach/treat dilemmas, etc.); building a supervisory relationship; models of supervision (psychoeducation/mentor/developmental/interpersonal/intersubjective/self-psychological/Jungian and archetypal, etc.); transference/countertransference concerns, parallel process, enactments, impasses, evaluation and termination of supervision. Special topics such as dreamwork, active imagination, psychodrama, group process, ethics, and uses of other therapies such as body work, and pharmacological treatments within the supervisory context are also topics for considerations. Pass/No Pass

Practice Consultation Groups VI
DPT 950, 1.5 units

This course, which is experiential in nature, helps students become the most effective supervisor they can be through the use of self rather than only considering technical mastery of a skillset. It emphasizes recognizing and engaging unconscious processes as they enter supervisory relationships, including parallel processes, enactments, and resonant and synchronistic phenomena. Students who already function as supervisors in their work will bring supervisory dilemmas to the class for reflection and discussion.  Students without this experience will work with classmates, taking turns practicing the supervisory knowledge learned in Practice Consultation V. Everyone will have an opportunity to present a supervision experience; exploring and developing competency in supervision through group discussion facilitated by instructors who have long, established careers as supervisors.  Pass/No Pass Prerequisite: DPT 852

Written Comprehensive Examination
DPT 899, 1 Unit

Dissertation Writing
DPT 999, 15 units

Under the supervision of a Dissertation Committee, the student submits a proposal, conducts original research, writes, and defends the doctoral dissertation. This course traditionally follows the completion of all other coursework and successful completion of the comprehensive exams. However, students who demonstrate readiness may choose to apply for this course while enrolled in regular coursework. This option requires approval from the Chair of the specialization. Additional fees will be assessed for this course. Pass/No Pass

Pacifica does not provide the supervision of practice hours that may be required for licensure or any similar purpose. Students must provide for their own insurance coverage for professional liability. This curriculum does not contain any license-specific coursework and should not be considered as helpful in that regard. Also, although students will engage in some form of therapeutic practice while in this specialization, and may consult with faculty about their practice, Pacifica does not authorize, monitor, or supervise that practice for licensure purposes, nor do we arrange or administratively support traineeships, pre- or post-doctoral internships, or other licensing practice requirements. The curriculum may vary depending upon changing academic needs. Selected courses may have online components. The required two-year dissertation period, following coursework, focuses on scholarly research and writing.

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