Course Descriptions: M.A./Ph.D. Program in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies

Course Descriptions


This portion of the curriculum grounds students in the trajectory of depth psychology from its ancient roots to its modern manifestations. Students learn about the psychoanalytic, Jungian, post-Jungian, archetypal, and developmental lineages of depth psychology, paying special attention to the cultural and historical contexts in which they arose. Commentaries and critiques of these fields are discussed, and controversies are explored in order for students to develop a critical and reflective eye about depth psychology, both its strengths and its limitations.

Introduction to Depth Psychology DJA 700, 3 units

Although depth psychology formally began with the work of Freud, Adler, and Jung at the turn of the 20th century, it has multiple antecedents reaching far back into the history of human thought. This course serves as a general introduction to the background and fundamentals of depth psychology, helping to situate the field within an historical context and in relation to other areas of thought and the wider culture.

C. G. Jung in Context DJA 710, 3 units

In order to fully appreciate, understand, and critique Jungian psychology, it is necessary to understand the personal, social, cultural, religious, and historical context in which it arose. This necessarily entails studying the life and times of C.G. Jung himself, for as Jung knew, the psychology one professes can never be separated from the context and milieu of the psychologist.

Jungian Psychology: The Individuation Journey DJA 720, 3 units

The central process in Jungian psychology is the individuation process, which can be defined as the psyche’s journey toward wholeness, an embodiment of the archetype of the Self. In Jungian psychology, this is done in large part by balancing or uniting the opposites within the psyche, including the feminine and masculine principles, known as the anima and animus. This course explores the centrality of the individuation process to Jungian psychology, reviewing terms such as the ego-Self axis, the persona and the shadow, the transcendent function, and the personal and collective unconscious.

Archetypes: Universal Patterns of the Psyche DJA 800, 3 units

Considering first the place of archetypes in the history of the Western thought—especially Greek mythology, Platonism, and German Romanticism—this course then traces the evolution of Jung’s understanding of the concept, drawing especially on The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Students will explore a number of the major archetypes identified by Jung—including the shadow, anima, animus, rebirth, the wise old man, the mother, the hero, the spirit, the child, the trickster, and the Self—examining the evidence he gave in support of them from psychopathology, myth, religion, philosophy, literature, art, and culture. The course will also address the main characteristics of archetypes, and the different ways they can be conceptualized and described.

Archetypal Psychology DJA 730, 3 units

Archetypal psychology is one of the central strands of post-Jungian theory. As envisioned by its main proponent, James Hillman, it emphasizes the development of a mythic sensibility in confronting the complexity and multiplicity of psychological life. Students learn the history and central ideas of this psychology, and become conversant with its four basic moves: personifying, or imagining things; pathologizing, or falling apart; psychologizing, or seeing through; and dehumanizing, or soul-making.

Psychoanalytic Openings: Evolving Understandings of the Human Personality in Psychoanalysis and Analytical Psychology DJA 740, 3 units

The first conversation between Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung lasted over 13 hours, and explored many places of convergence and divergence. In many ways, this conversation continues today, with places of convergence and divergence in post-Freudian and post-Jungian theory and practice. Students will study the psychodynamics of early development and psychopathology and examine the influence of the object-relations, self-psychology, and other modern psychoanalytic theories on contemporary Jungian theory and practice. More broadly, this course is concerned with changing perspectives on human nature and the evolution of depth psychology over the course of the last century.

Post-Jungian Critiques and Perspectives DJA 770, 3 units

Depth psychology after Jung both has and has not exploited his deep-rooted commitment to cultural criticism as expressed as early as 1933 in the English publication of Modern Man in Search of a Soul. This course explicitly takes up this dimension of Jung’s work as it engages a range of perspectives that extend the application of Jungian and/or archetypal psychology into various fields of inquiry, which may include cultural history and cultural criticism, technology, deconstructive postmodernism, queer theory, gender theory, ecocriticism, politics, film theory, mythological studies, and more. It draws on key contributions of a selection of prominent figures in depth psychology, such as James Hillman, Jacques Lacan, Wolfgang Giegerich, Andrew Samuels, Rafael Lopez-Pedraza, Peter Cushman, Patricia Berry, and Michael Fordham. The course invites students and scholars to explore together the leading edges of depth psychology, and, thus, the specific choice of topics may vary from year to year.

The Alchemy of Transformation DJA 865, 3 units

When Jung realized that the arcane texts of alchemy symbolically portray the process of transformation inherent to individuation, he called it “a momentous discovery,” one that provided an historical precedent for his model of individuation and a framework within which to better understand his “confrontation with the unconscious.” This course explores Jung’s interpretation of alchemy through a detailed study of three volumes of his collected works: Psychology and Alchemy, Alchemical Studies, and Mysterium Coniunctionis.

Synchronicity and the New Sciences DJA 855, 3 units

Jung’s exploration of synchronicity or “meaningful coincidence” was of critical significance for him personally, preoccupying him throughout much of his life. Indeed, the concept of synchronicity is arguably among the most important and controversial theoretical contributions of his life’s work, with far-reaching implications not only for depth psychology, but for the basis of the modern Western worldview and our understanding of the nature of reality. In this course, students will examine the complex relationship between synchronicity and the so-called new sciences, including modern physics (relativity theory and quantum theory), systems theory, complexity and chaos theory, organicist biology, and the “new cosmology.”


These courses focus on the theories, concepts, and principles primarily arising from the Jungian and archetypal traditions which are most applicable to working with the individual and collective psyche today. Here the psyche is envisioned as having mythological, spiritual, political, archetypal, creative, mystical, erotic, and embodied dimensions. Students are exposed to practices of working with these multiple dimensions of psyche, such as dream-tending, active imagination, typology, authentic movement, art-making, and image work. Mentored by faculty and with the support of their peers, students are encouraged to adapt or refine these practices, or develop new practices most suited to their work in and with the world.

Mythopoetic Imagination: Viewing Film, Art, and Literature from a Jungian Perspective DJA 805, 3 units

Symbols are one of the ways the unconscious speaks to us and through us, its visual language for conveying the deep mysteries of life. After exploring the psychological importance of symbols, we turn our focus to the manifestation of symbol-making in literature, film, and art. In addition, students will explore and amplify a symbol that speaks to their psyches through artistic creations of their own.

Complexes: Jung’s “Royal Road” to the Unconscious DJA 810, 3 units

In his seminal essay “A Review of the Complex Theory,” Jung calls complexes the via regia, or royal road, to the personal and collective unconscious. The course explores complexes on multiple levels—personal, familial, group, workplace, cultural, and political—looking at their phenomenology, their autonomy, and their biology. Jung’s and Freud’s relationship and subsequent separation will be viewed in light of the complexes that gripped the men, leading to a discussion of the relationship between the psychological theories we may develop or be drawn to and our personal complexes. Andrew Samuel’s concept of the political psyche will be discussed, and the theory of cultural complexes laid out by Thomas Singer and Samuel Kimbles will be applied to a particular cultural or organizational group of interest to the student, and assessed for its efficacy in depotentiating the complex.

Depth Psychology and the Mythic Tradition DJA 815, 3 units

James Hillman wrote,” Psychology shows myths in modern dress and myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress.” Understanding the connection between mythology and psychology, Jung argued that it is important to our psychological health to know the myth we are living. The course will focus on archetypal motifs in fairy tales and myths as they appear in our personal and collective psychological lives. Students will study Jungian and post-Jungian mythological theory and interpretation; in addition, they will choose one author who has successfully brought the mythological psyche before the public eye, such as Joseph Campbell, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Marion Woodman, Robert Bly, etc., critically reviewing his or her contribution.

Imaginal Ways of Knowing: Active Imagination, The Red Book, and Psychic Creativity DJA 820, 3 units

Active imagination is the name given to the technique Jung pioneered for working with unconscious material in the psyche, often through working with an image or through dialogue with an inner figure. The Red Book contains 16 years of Jung’s active imagination within its covers, and thus is the text par excellence for exploring this powerful technique and its relationship to psychic creativity and consciousness.

Dreamwork: Tending the Living Images DJA 825, 3 units

Ever since Freud released The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, these mysterious nocturnal visitors have been of seminal importance to the field of depth psychology. In this course, students learn historical and cultural approaches to dreams, and practice a variety of dreamwork methods including working with dreams in groups, drawing upon Freudian, Jungian, post-Jungian, and archetypal theories.

Psychological Types DJA 835, 3 units

Jung is probably best known in mainstream culture for his theory of psychological types, the basis for the Myers-Briggs Type IndicatorTM which is now known and used throughout the world. Students learn about Jung’s theory, including the rational and irrational functions, the eight basic types of people, and the importance of developing the inferior function. Various typological assessment tools are introduced, and discussions center around their reliability and validity, ethical use, and their contemporary and cross-cultural applicability. Attention will be paid to primary applications of typology, such as increasing self-awareness, decreasing stress by living “in type,” increased understanding of and appreciation of others, type development over the lifespan, and fostering tolerance in groups and organizations.

Psyche and Eros: The Psychology and Mythology of Relationships DJA 840, 3 units

Romantic relationships are often laden with psychological expectations of mythic proportions. This course examines key relationship fairy tales and myths, including the myth of Psyche and Eros, as it mines the treasures of depth psychological thinking about love, desire, sexuality, and marriage. Concepts such as libido, anima and animus, projection, transference, and the influence of typology on relationships will be discussed.

Somatic Studies: The Psyche-Soma Connection DJA 845, 3 units

Jung wrote, “The spirit is the life of the body seen from within, and the body the outward manifestation of the life of the spirit—the two really being one.” This course explores this interrelationship between psyche and soma. Topics may include the body as shadow in depth psychology; the body as a site of trauma, healing, and contact with the divine; bodywork practices like dance, authentic movement, yoga, and breathwork; non-Western and indigenous healing traditions; the relationship of the body with the collective unconscious, including concepts like cellular memory, morphic fields, and archetypes as bodily-based inherited images; an exploration of various depth psychologists who have championed the importance of the psyche-soma connection; or the current interest in the intersection of neuroscience and psychology.

Depth Psychology and the Sacred: Approaching the Numinous DJA 850, 3 units

This course begins by contrasting Freud’s and Jung’s views of the psychology of religion. Though Freud was dismissive of religion, Jung explored it extensively from the beginning to the end of his life, arguing unequivocally for its psychological importance, going so far as to declare that all psychological problems are essentially spiritual problems which can be cured through an encounter with the numinosum, or god-image. This course focuses on the spiritual function of the psyche though key Jungian and post-Jungian works, exploring the variety of ways people approach and experience the divine.

Ecopsychology: The Psyche in Nature DJA 860, 3 units

As Jung saw it, “Natural life is the nourishing soil of the soul.” In this course, students will explore archetypal and mythological motifs that emerge from the ensouled world, including differing natural landscapes and the animal world. The importance of place to the psyche will provide rich discussion material, including an observation of the natural world as it appears in our dreamscapes. Means of (re)connecting psyche and nature will be discussed, including traditional and contemporary wilderness rites of passage and nature-based healing practices from indigenous cultures. This course also includes an experiential engagement with nature.

The Poetic Basis of Mind DJA 870, 3 units

This course addresses a pivotal dimension of archetypal studies, which Hillman called the poetic basis of mind, as well as the closely affiliated aesthetic dimension of soul. The topic requires attention to modes of expression characteristic of soul’s interiority and to the style of language we employ in soulful writing, in order to catch psyche in the act. The course will forge connections between archetypal perspective and the work of poets, artists and visionaries of the instructor’s choice.

Archetypal Cosmology and Astrological Hermeneutics DJA 880, 3 units

With connections to virtually every aspect of Jungian psychology, astrology was envisaged by Jung as an example of “synchronicity on a grand scale,” a form of divinatory practice, and a symbolic interpretive system for portraying and illuminating the workings of the psyche. This course critically considers Jung’s lifelong interest in and study of astrology, exploring its relevance to the traditions and future directions of depth psychology as a hermeneutic practice and archetypally informed cosmology.

Working with examples from religious and literary texts, individual experience (personality, biography), cultural history, and the arts, the course introduces astrology as symbolic approach to understanding the movements of the psyche. Students will learn to apply astrological techniques to inform the “archetypal eye” and consider astrology’s relevance to individuation and soul making as a form of spiritual practice and an aid to psychotherapy. The course traces the development of psychological and mythic approaches to astrology in the twentieth century, in relation to Jungian thought, and explores the emergence of the academic field of archetypal cosmology, with its roots in myth and Platonism and modern antecedents in archetypal and transpersonal psychology.

Technology and Psyche DJA 882, 3 units

Technology, the application of knowledge that leads to mechanical order, has determined the shape of modern existence. In the post-industrial Information Age, the artifacts of technology are less elective tools and more necessary facets of reality, giving rise to significant psychological implications. This course applies Jungian depth psychology to our relationship with machines. It engages topics such as the archetypal roots of invention, the coincidence of modern depth psychology and industrialization, the ties between automation and existential disorientation, and the overlap of postmodernism and the advent of cyberspace. Such topics background an exploration of the psychological impact of present and prospective innovations.

The goal of the course is to employ theories of the unconscious and the archetypal basis of mind in the study of such pressing phenomena as artificial intelligence, living online, virtual and augmented reality, and post humanism. Special emphasis is placed on exploring utopian and dystopian fantasies associated with these and other expressions of the urge to remake the world and redesign ourselves.


The curriculum incorporates a number of courses specifically designed to cultivate essential skills in deep reflection, critical thinking, and research that prepare students for dissertation writing and their future vocations.

Our Soul’s Code: Depth Psychological Views of Vocation DJA 910, 3 units

Freud claimed that love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness. And yet, compared to love, relatively little has been written in the depth psychological literature about our work in the world, with the exception of James Hillman’s most popular book, The Soul’s Code, where he views work as vocation, our calling in the world. This course explores Hillman’s seminal text, then asks, what other depth psychologists have contributed to our thinking about vocation? Turning to the vocation of depth psychology itself, this course also asks, outside of psychotherapy, what vocations call to/call for a depth psychologist, and how does one work with the psyche of others both efficaciously and ethically?

Reflective Studies I: Foundations for Research DJA 920, 3 units

This course introduces students to the distinctive theory and practice of research in depth psychology, with its unique demands-and rewards-that come from working in partnership with the autonomous psyche. This course raises the all-important question: if we take seriously the existence of the personal and collective unconscious, what are the implications for our research? Special attention is paid to the vocational and transferential aspects of research, as research is conceived as a path to both personal and collective healing and transformation. Students are introduced to the dissertation process at Pacifica, and begin exploring potential ideas for research topics and learning about a variety of qualitative research methodologies. The course encourages reflection in three main ways: students will integrate the coursework they have completed in the past, reflect on their learning process in the present, and articulate how they are being called to work with the material in the future. Pass/No Pass

Reflective Studies II DJA 930, 3 units

Taken in the final quarter of the of the second year, this course serves as the container for the written comprehensive examinations, which assess how well students have met the program’s learning objectives. Students wishing to advance into the third year must meet the required standard of examination pass. In addition, during this course students make an oral presentation of a scholarly journal article developed from a term paper from a previous course, and then turn in the written article for formal evaluation. To take this course, students must have successfully completed six full quarters of coursework during the first two years of the program. Prerequisite: DJA 920. Pass/No Pass

Reflective Studies III DJA 940, 3 units

Taken in the final quarter of the third year of the program, this course serves as a container for the oral comprehensive examination where students articulate the conceptualization of their dissertations based on their concept papers (see Dissertation Development, below). During this course, students continue to develop their concept papers, incorporating faculty feedback from the oral examinations, as they submit their concept papers for final approval—a prerequisite for beginning dissertation writing. Prerequisite: DJA 920, 930, 950. Pass/No Pass

Dissertation Development DJA 950, 3 units

Writing a dissertation is arguably the most rigorous and ultimately rewarding work of any doctoral student’s academic life. This course prepares students for the task, guiding them through the crafting of a research project, with the aim of developing a concept paper for approval in Reflective Studies III, the next quarter. In Dissertation Development, students learn how to navigate through the dissertation landscape, including forming a committee, organizing a project of such magnitude, and confronting psychological roadblocks along the way. Prerequisite: Student must be in good academic standing and have successfully remediated all failing grades prior to beginning to this class.

Dissertation Writing DJA 960, 15 units

During this course, the student assembles a committee, submits a proposal, writes the dissertation, and defends the dissertation in a public forum. This course traditionally follows the completion of all other coursework and successful completion of the comprehensive exams. However, a student who demonstrates readiness may choose to apply for this course while enrolled in regular coursework. This option requires approval from the Program Chair. Additional fees are required for this course. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisites: Successful completion of the three years of coursework and an approved concept paper.

Self-Directed Studies DJA 970, 3 units

The purpose of Self-Directed Studies is to allow students to explore areas of interest in depth psychology outside the boundaries of the curriculum. This may take the form of attending conferences, workshops, lectures, and/or seminars; engaging with an analyst or other practitioner/s for personal therapy or healing work; or seeking training in a modality that augments their practice of depth psychology. Students must complete a total of 30 hours and submit a reflective paper; this may occur anytime during the course of the program, and is required for the awarding of the Ph.D. All hours must be pre-approved through discussion with the program’s self-directed studies coordinator. Pass/No Pass