Psychotherapy as Spiritual Practice
A Week-Long Seminar for Therapists with Lionel Corbett

Psychotherapists are increasingly realizing the importance of spirituality. This seminar will describe some of the ways in which psychotherapeutic work can be thought of as a spiritual practice, and even as a sacred activity. Dr. Corbett suggests that our everyday psychological work is not separate from our spirituality, and that the human personality has a spiritual foundation as well as its developmental aspects. These suggestions have important implications for personality theory and for the practice of psychotherapy. Many therapists and people undergoing therapy would like to be able to incorporate a spiritual dimension into their therapeutic work, but they believe that traditional religions are the only form of spirituality available to them. This seminar will show that it is not necessary to import pre-existing theological notions into psychotherapy.

Problems such as despair, emptiness, hopelessness, and lack of connection to others are commonly expressed in psychotherapy, where the spiritual dimension of these difficulties can be discussed if both participants are open to the conversation. Even if one takes a position that life is just tragic and has no particular meaning except whatever we choose to give it, this too is a philosophical perspective that can legitimately be addressed in psychotherapy. While one may think of emotional difficulties as the result of a self disorder, they are also important spiritual crises, indicating the inextricable connection between one’s psychological make up and one’s spirituality. At the same time as the therapist works with such difficulties psychologically, it is important to be aware of the spiritual concerns raised by emotional problems, because the discovery of meaning in suffering is of enormous help.

Topics to be covered include:

  • What it means to say that the therapist is working with a spiritual sensitivity: psychotherapy as a contemporary form of spiritual direction
  • The expression of the sacred or the holy in psychotherapy
  • The relationship between psychopathology and spirituality
  • Psychodynamics, temperament, and spirituality
  • The problem of evil in psychotherapy
  • Spiritual development seen in psychotherapy
  • A comparison of depression and a dark night of the soul
  • Love in psychotherapy
  • The evolution of a personal God-image
  • Theories of the origins of human spirituality
  • Faith in psychotherapy
  • Spirituality as a motivational system
  • The Nondual attitude in psychotherapy

This seminar is open to all mental health practitioners and students in graduate level psychology programs.

Lionel CorbettLionel Corbett, M.D., trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and as a Jungian analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. Dr. Corbett is a core faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute, teaching depth psychology. He is the author of Psyche and the Sacred: Spirituality Beyond Religion, The Religious Function of the Psyche, and The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice. He is co-editor, with Dennis Patrick Slattery, of Depth Psychology: Meditations in the Field and Psychology at the Threshold: Selected Papers.

General Information

Location : The seminar will be held at Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus at 801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108. Located on 35 acres in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this residential retreat center provides a unique and peaceful environment for these events. This campus has lodging, dining facilities, and parking onsite.

Accommodations: A limited number of rooms are available for participants at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus.

$82.50 per night single occupancy (one twin or standard full size bed)
$115 per night couple occupancy (one standard full size bed; not a queen)
$125 per night double occupancy (two twin beds)
plus 10% occupancy tax

Accommodations are simple, dormitory-style rooms with shared bath and shower. Reservations for rooms must be made through Pacifica’s Public Programs Department.

Meals: Meals are provided to encourage ongoing dialogue and community exchange throughout the weekend. Included in your registration fee are Monday through Friday breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For late departures, the following meals are available for an additional fee: Saturday breakfast ($12.50) and lunch ($18.50). All optional meals must be ordered in advance through the Public Programs Department. No other meals will be available. Pacifica’s caterers make every attempt to provide healthful meals for our guests. Please indicate on the registration form if you need a special vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free meal or if you have other medical dietary restrictions.

Travel: Major airlines provide service into the Los Angeles International Airport located 90 miles south of Santa Barbara and into the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, approximately 18 miles from the Campus. Information on ground transportation to and from Santa Barbara will be included with your confirmation letter.

Registration: Space is limited. Register early!
To register, complete the form on this webpage or call the Public Programs Department at 805.969.3626, ext. 103. Full payment is required with your registration. An email confirmation letter will be sent within 5 days of receipt of your registration.

Cancellation: To obtain a refund on your registration fee, send a written cancellation request postmarked no later than thirty days before the event. Tuition less a $50 processing fee will be refunded. No refunds on your registration fee will be made after that time. In the event that the program is sold out with a waitlist, if you return your seat to our office, and if we are able to transfer your registration to someone on the waitlist, we will issue you a refund less the processing fee. Any registration transfers that do not go through our office will be assessed the processing fee onsite. For refund on accommodations at the Ladera Lane Campus, cancellation with full refund will be accepted up to 5 days before the event. Cancellations made 1-4 days before the event will receive a 50% refund. There will be no refund for cancellation on the day of the event.

Scholarships: A limited number of partial scholarships are available to those who find it prohibitive to pay the full cost of the program. To apply, send a letter of request with your registration and payment. Please be specific regarding your financial circumstances. If accepted, you will be contacted to approve processing payment.

Continuing Education Credit: 32.5 hours of continuing education credit are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177) and for MFTs and LCSWs (provider #PCE 2278) through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. 32.5 CE credits are available for psychologists for Psychotherapy as Spiritual Practice. Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists. Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for these programs and their content. A $15 processing fee will be charged for each certificate requested.

Disability Services on Campus: It is the policy of Pacifica’s Public Programs Department to accommodate attendees with disabilities in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Please let us know in advance if you have special needs or require assistance due to a disabling condition while you are attending a public program. If you are accompanied by a service dog, please contact disability services directly (805.679.6124), as all animals visiting campus must have pre-approval. For additional information regarding Pacifica’s policies, visit