Community & Ecological Fieldwork & Research
In the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, Indigenous Psychology, and Eco-Psychologies specialization, we underscore how initiatives to promote social, economic, and environmental justice, dynamic peace and reconciliation, and ecological sustainability help to build the foundations of psychological and community health. We also acknowledge the personal and community restorative and supportive work that is required in the face of ongoing violence, exploitation, and injustice. We are keenly aware of the importance of dialogical relationships, consensus building, and the arts to nourishing critical resistance.
Each student, in conversation with a fieldwork mentor, discerns the area(s) of their passionate interest, and engages in two fieldwork immersions (one each summer) to deepen their understanding of work being pursued in the area of their interest and to contribute to the ongoing work of their setting. We hope students’ participation in these contexts will make contributions to individual, community, and cultural restoration, and that they will help us revise and refine our theory and practice of a critical and libertory eco-community psychology. We situate such explorations as dialogical collaborations between the depth psychologically-minded student and those in the fieldwork context one is invited to join, not as an “application of depth psychology” from “outside” or “above.” The coursework curriculum supports students in developing the insight and skills that allow them to move between levels of organization: i.e., the intrapsychic and personal, the interpersonal, group, intergroup, city, bioregion, and policy levels.
Close attention is given to the historical, cultural, and ecological contexts of the issues and the group one is working with. Students learn to witness and to work with the transferential aspects of their relationship to the fieldwork they are doing, and to observe and reflect on the images, defenses, and borders that are stirred up through their community work in its social, historical, and ecological context. During the second fieldwork experience, students are encouraged to engage in a piece of research, hopefully of a participatory nature, contributing to addressing an issue or concern which the community and they think is important to study. This work enables students to contribute and to hone research and program evaluation skills, including asset mapping and appreciative inquiry.
Multi-Media Presentations of Student Community Fieldwork and Research
For the last twenty years the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program has been committed to nourishing the public practice of psychology that arises through an understanding of the interdependence of psychological, familial, community, environmental, and cultural well-being. Students have externed in 100’s of community settings, acting as bridges between the knowledge developed by ecological and cultural workers and the theories of depth psychology, community psychology, indigenous psychologies, liberation psychology, and ecopsychology.
Lizzie Rodriguez, a third-year student in the program worked with the non-profit organization Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC). Here is a video presentation of her work with the organization in an effort to provide community healing to areas afflicted by genocide.
Student Soula Pefkaros choose to do her fieldwork at the Haley House Bakery Cafe, a nonprofit organization based in Boston that is dedicated to “helping those made vulnerable by the harshest effects of inequality….”
Traveling to Costa Rica for a week for her fieldwork, student Elizabeth Burton-Crow worked with the Ara Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the two native macaw species of Costa Rica: the great green macaw and the scarlet macaw.
For her fieldwork Susan Grelock posed the question “How can we be storytellers and advocates for another species?” Susan worked with the sanctuary Mission Wolf located in the remote Colorado mountains in an effort to address the diminshed population that occured in this species in the last century.
Samantha Gupta, a third year student, presents a video about her work with the “Unmasking Whiteness Institute” sponsored by the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere – Los Angeles (AWARE-LA). She says, “White affinity group spaces represent one location where dominant paradigms of racial identity development can be stretched by indigenous and critical community psychology perspectives that understand the “self” as embedded, contextual, and relational and oppression as structurally determined, influencing the interpersonal and intrapersonal levels of an embedded self.
Juana Ochoa, a second year student, presents her work at Renewable Farm’s Aquaponic Garden in Los Angeles. Ochoa says, “Aquaponic systems are an alternative, sustainable gardening design that uses the symbiotic relationship between plants and aquatic animals to maximize food production in urban communities. Aquaponics is a system that models resilience through its multi-faceted benefits that mirror the social, ecological models (SEM) which describe the exchangeable characteristics of the individual, interpersonal, community, organizational and societal levels.
In her fieldwork–Indigenous Resiliency in the Face of Settler Colonialism: Cultural Accountability and Traditional Tattoo Revitalization Amongst California Indian–Skye Innerarity explored the lived experiences of California Indian women who participate in the healing practice of traditional facial tattooing.