Our Mission & Core Values

Pacifica Graduate Institute is an accredited graduate school offering masters and doctoral degree programs framed in the traditions in depth psychology. The Institute has established an educational environment that nourishes respect for cultural diversity and individual differences, and an academic community that fosters a spirit of free and open inquiry. Students have access to an impressive array of education resources on Pacifica’s two campuses, both of which are located between the coastal foothills and the Pacific Ocean, a few miles south of Santa Barbara, California.

“Pacifica is a Mission with an Institute. The mission, “animae mundi colendae gratia,” (tending the soul of and in the world) has inspired a literal host of others far and wide-those who now carry the fire of the vision itself. The intensity of that calling is the seed impulse carried within the dreams of many. When cultivated, this soul spark, rooted in the animated presence of the deep psyche, opens to personal fulfillment and a more just and fertile planet. In an increasingly complex world, the scholarship and service of Pacifica’s faculty, staff, alumni, and students offers a soul centered “intelligence” integral to what is being asked of us now.”
– Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., Founding President.

James Hillman, Ph.D. discusses Pacifica Graduate Institute

Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Mission Statement

The mission of Pacifica Graduate Institute is to foster creative learning and research in the fields of psychology and mythological studies, framed in the traditions of depth psychology.

By creating an educational environment with a spirit of free and open inquiry, consistent with the recognized values of academic freedom, Pacifica is dedicated to cultivating and harvesting the gifts of the human imagination. So that these insights may influence the personal, cultural, and planetary concerns of our era, this dedication is contained in the motto: animae mundi colendae gratia – for the sake of tending soul in and of the world.

Origins & Orientation

Pacifica traces many of its central ideas to the heritage of ancient story tellers, dramatists, and philosophers from all lands who recorded the workings of the imagination. The legacies of these early men and women have evolved in multiple cultural contexts including the systematic explorations of the unconscious by Freud, Jung, and other theorists of the psychologies of this century.

The concepts of depth psychology result from this long development and are at the core of Pacifica’s orientation. These ideas – such as the importance of symbol and metaphor in personal and cultural imagery or the recognition of the dynamic interplay between the natural world and the world of the human psyche – are articulated in all of the Institute’s programs. Pacifica students and faculty contribute further to this rich body of knowledge through the intricacies of the human imagination.

Extending the concepts of psychology and mythological studies beyond the personal, beyond the consulting room, and beyond the classroom, we see psychological life as an evolutionary development within nature, alive in all the phenomena and systems of our world. In studying and working with these multidimensional exchanges, we facilitate contributions to the contemporary concerns of our world through dialogues between the psyche of the individual, the mythologies of the culture, the collective human imagination, and the living planet.

Core Values/Ideas

Through the years, Pacifica has evolved a set of Core Values/Ideas that guide institutional life, curriculum development, and assessment practices.

Logos: The idea that academic excellence is central to what informs our curriculum, research, and scholarship – demonstrated by conscious reflective regard for new knowledge resting securely on the traditions of the past that inform the development of the whole person (intellect, dream, intuition, symptoms, feeling, imagination and other ways of knowing) in relation to the larger social world.

Eros: The importance of open communication, respectful relationship, care, and a heartfelt regard for a diverse community which includes a love for learning as a noble goal of the human spirit.

Consciousness: the awareness of Pacifica as a “psychological community” with a connection to the deep psyche – mindful attention is given to personal and community introspection, the conscious tending of the shadow of consciousness, and a respect for solar thinking (reason) and lunar reflection (dream and imagination).

Integrity: the necessity for a just, psyche-centered attitude rooted in the “wisdom traditions,” and committed to cultivating an honest and caring presence among ourselves, our students, and the world around us.

Service: to ourselves as unique human beings, to others within the Pacifica community as well as to those we engage in the world through our example, talks, lectures, workshops, writing, teaching; the capacity to see through cultural forms; the art of hosting the incarnate and the invisible; and our ongoing service to our fields of Depth Psychology, Mythological Studies, and the Humanities.

Stewardship: Care of the world soul as expressed in Pacifica’s motto, “animae mundi colendae gratia,” becoming sustainable at all levels – from our way of being actively present in imaginal inquiry to our presence in the larger earth community – from work load to land use, from our way of conducting business to our model of doing business.