Embracing Authenticity: A Depth Psychological Perspective on Mental Health Issues Within the LGBTQ+ Communities

Pacifica Graduate Institute cordially invites you to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride with our upcoming virtual LGBTQ+ panel on August 24th, 2023 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm PST. This event will spotlight the LGBTQ+ community with a panel discussion on queer and trans issues, depth psychology, and mental health.

We will explore the psychological and emotional experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, societal barriers to equity, how LGBTQ+ people process trauma, the impact of heteronormativity and homophobia on self-image and self-acceptance, and how LGBTQ+ people navigate identity and relationships.

The event will feature a panel discussion from Pacifica Graduate Institute students, staff, and faculty in addition to LGBTQ+ community leaders.  This event is open to all, and we encourage you to join us for this free event and to share the event with your networks!

In addition to our panel presentation, on August 26th, Pacifica Graduate Institute admissions staff will be in attendance at Santa Barbara’s Pacific Pride LGBTQ+ Festival. This event is free to the public and will open with an empowering rally,  a full line-up of live entertainment, delicious local food,  and family-friendly activities, which we encourage you to join!

We look forward to celebrating Pride with you! Please note below a personal invitation from our own Dr. Leonie H. Mattison, Ed.D., MBA, President and CEO of Pacifica Graduate Institute.

“In the summer of 2023, where we are not quite post-covid but living in a liminal place and time, we can say that we are living in a world that is post-denial of social and economic injustice and environmental destruction. I believe our society is consciously striving towards a greater level of understanding–and inclusion.  We live in a moment where all of humanity almost suffocated, quite literally, to death.  And we live in a moment where the threat of suffocation still exists.  Both emotionally and physically.  Suppose any ‘good’ or positive action came—or is still emerging—out of the covid pandemic. In that case, it appears to be this:  almost no one on this earth can deny that social, economic, and environmental threats exist, and that we must continue moving, moment by moment, breath by breath, to dissolve societal barriers to equity. At Pacifica, our collective success depends on each of us brining our unique talents and authentic selves to the work we do together. We each keep on breathing, living and thriving.  I hope you can join us for this important conversation.”

Panelist Biographies

Kristin Flickinger, Panel Host

An activist at her core, Kristin began her career in the LGBTQ+ arena as an intern for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force in the ‘90s, and cut her teeth in politics managing a field office during the same-sex marriage campaigns of the 2000s. Never afraid to voice important questions, Kristin’s style of leadership is transparent, bold, and collaborative. As Director of AIDS/LifeCycle, she led a team of high-performing fundraisers toward goals viewed as “impossible” by others, achieving a $1 million (20%) increase in fundraising in her first year.

Kristin brought her passion for advocacy and inclusion to the C-suite Director of Programs role for the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where she oversaw a portfolio that included 150 staff and a $15 million budget. In that role as a senior leader for the world’s largest LGBT organization, Kristin served as an inclusion champion, overseeing organization-wide efforts to improve services to and employment practices for lesbian and bi women, and cross-departmental collaboration among providers of services to the Trans community. Kristin also played an instrumental role in the creation of an intergenerational culinary arts training program designed to provide LGBTQ+ youth and seniors at risk of homelessness with the skills and opportunity for careers in the culinary arts – including at the Center’s flagship social enterprise, Liberation Coffee House.

In her current role as Executive Director of Pacific Pride Foundation, producer of the Pacific Pride Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, Kristin oversees a broad suite of services, including peer support programs, training and education, counseling, and harm reduction, including Narcan and fentanyl test strip distribution, as well as the county’s only syringe exchange.

Brian Stachowiak, LMFT

Brian is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a member of Pacifica’s Adjunct Faculty in the M.A. Counseling Psychology department. He is a native Angeleno, having grown-up as a gay man in the 1970s in an impoverished community of suburban Los Angeles. Brian has been a gay grassroots-psychological activist for many years. His clinical focus is on the empowerment and cultivation of LGBTQ+ personhood that honors and values the vitality, social role and visionary aspects of the LGBTQ+ experience from an affirmative and psychodynamic Jungian depth orientation. Brian has a special interest in helping to develop an archetypal understanding of same-sex love that can serve as a model for all of society and revolutionize how all people relate to each other.

Brian received his clinical training from the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood, California, the nation’s largest facility providing services to LGBT people. He has extended his analytic training at the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles and the Trauma Resource Institute, the latter of which he has also co-facilitated several training workshops to clinicians on the Trauma Resiliency Model. He is a graduate of a two-year intensive Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in West Los Angeles, where he now sits on the Board of Directors and chairs the diversities and socio-cultural committee for the institute.

Kristin Beasley, PhD

Dr. Kristen Beasley’s passion is empowering people to heal trauma and build resilience. She recently launched Leave a Lifeprint Academy – a full-service, on-demand, interactive, educational platform where you can enroll in courses and certification programs that build your competence in trauma-informed care and resilience (TICR). Leave a Lifeprint Academy is an IACET Accredited Provider.

Dr. Kristin Beasley (aka. Dr. B) is the founder of Dr. B~Leave a Lifeprint Coaching and Consulting, Inc.  Throughout her professional career, Dr. B has trained community-based professionals to effectively and compassionately work with vulnerable populations. She has taught early childhood education to thousands of people. She has performed research and wrote her dissertation on infant-toddler resiliency. Dr. B has also trained educators, medical and mental health advocates and law enforcement professionals across the country.

She came out later in life and has three adult kids, and two are partnered. She loves having millennials in her life. She has one granddaughter, Charlie, who is her favorite person. She is a pet person and has two dogs, Mavericks Soul,  Riley Brave, and two cats, Pacific Blue, and Sunshine Sweet. She works with all marginalized communities, not just the LGBTQ+ but has a passion for this population. She contributes to DEI work and calls it JEDI Warriors:  Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Equality, and BELONGING!

Marieke Cahill, MA

Marieke (they/them) is a transdisciplinary and multi-modal artist, author, speaker, and activist focusing on Jungian Arts Based Research with two core areas of research: queering Jungian concepts, and the use of “vocal archetypes” as an integrative and holistic approach to healing and liberation. They regularly present Jungian Arts-Based Research that explores gender identity, queerness, and polyamory, in addition to their work using the voice as a somatic healing practice.

They hold a Master’s degree in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life with emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and are currently studying towards a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with emphasis in Jungian and Archetypal Studies. Marieke’s undergraduate degree is in Classical Vocal Performance and they have been a voice teacher and coach since 2010.

Lauren Lastra, MPH

Lauren Lastra, MPA, is Director of Student Services and Accreditation Deputy at Pacifica Graduate Insitute who is committed to a just and mission-centered approach to organizational life. She has served as a member on several councils and committees, including Pacifica’s Diversity Task Force focused on Student Matters, the Diversity and Inclusion Council, and the President’s Task Force on Campus Climate and Employee Moral. Lauren was nominated and voted as the inaugural Staff Representative on Pacifica’s Board of Trustees (2020-2022).

She has worked at Pacifica since 2009 in various capacities, including as the Institute’s Sustainability Coordinator and in the Office of the President. Prior to coming to Pacifica, Lauren lived in the Valparaiso region of Chile where she worked as an Educator for the United Nations Development Program. Lauren actively serves as the current President of Santa Ynez Valley Pride and as a Board Director of People Helping People in Solvang, CA. She is a mama, outdoor enthusiast, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She studied multicultural literature (B.A.) at University of California, Berkeley and public policy and administration (M.P.A) at California Lutheran University.

Amber Whittington

Amber Whittington, also known as AmbersCloset, is an Activist, Social Media Influencer and Host; who believes in changing the world by changing within. Her goal is to empower everyone through positivity, self-love, and self-confidence; so that they feel inspired to show up as the best, most authentic, version of themselves. Amber’s mission is to create content that will represent her community, as well as show the world that we all have more similarities, as human beings, than differences. She acts as a bridge between her audience and the political realm, by making important topics such as: Racial Justice, LGBTQ+ Rights, Women Empowerment and Equality, more digestible. Also making fun, relatable content that connects to her audience & more.

Amber is a big part of the LGBTQ+ community, often hosting parties of all types, volunteering at the LGBTQ+ Center, and speaking on LGBTQ+ panels. Last year, she was featured in Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the most influential creators in the country. She also won “LGBTQ Influencer of the Year” by the LA Blade magazine. Amber was most recently honored at the State Capital by The State Legislature as a 2023 Pride Honoree that took place during the historical passing of Resolution 33. Amber Is also a board member for the longest running LGBTQ Civil Rights group LAMBDA Legal, a Commissioner for West Hollywood City Council and sits on the LGBTQ Council for Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon.

Douglas Thomas, PhD, LCSW

Douglas Thomas, PhD, LCSW has a private Jungian-based psychotherapy practice in Pasadena, California, specializing in LGBTQ+ issues, alternative sexualities, and dream therapy. He teaches as adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. He has presented workshops and talks throughout the state of California and he was the first Jungian-based therapist to present on BDSM and kink at an International Jungian Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2017.


He has authored articles for the International Journal of Jungian Studies and the Jungian Journal of Scholarly Studies. His essay “My Kinky Shadow” is featured in Routledge’s recently published Spectre of the Other in Jungian Psychoanalysis, and the publication of his own book on depth psychology and BDSM is expected later in 2023 from Routledge. Dr. Thomas holds a masters degree from the USC School of Social Work, and a PhD in Depth Psychology with an emphasis in psychotherapy from Pacifica Graduate Institute. For more information, visit Dr. Thomas’ website at Drdouglasthomas.com.