What Does the Ph.D. Clinical Program at Pacifica Look Like?

Pacifica's Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology prepares students for the independent general practice of professional clinical psychology in the 21st century.

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." ~ Carl Jung

A unique emphasis of this program is a commitment to honoring the full complexity of psychological life in a diverse society. Toward this end, the program provides advanced training in depth psychological and human science traditions, as well as a focus on the humanities. Guided by a scholar-practitioner model, the program provides foundational education in clinical psychology in order to prepare students to become skilled professional psychologists. The program integrates theory, practice, and ethics, and stresses a broad range of perspectives on psychopathology, assessment, intervention, and research. Pacifica provides the unique opportunity for the developing clinical psychologist to study unconscious processes in clinical practice.

Students in the doctoral program obtain specialized training in depth psychological and human science traditions, as well as interdisciplinary studies in mythology, religion, and literature


James Hillman, Ph.D.

"The talk going on in depth analysis is not merely the analysis of one persons' story by the other, and whatever else is going on in a therapy session—ritual, suggestion, eros, power, projection—it is also a contest between singers reenacting one of the oldest kinds of cultural enjoyments that we humans know. This is partly why therapy pretends to being creative, and I use that word advisedly to mean originating of significative imaginative patters, poisis. Successful therapy is thus a collaboration between fictions, a re-visioning of the story into a more intelligent, more imaginative plot, which also means the sense of mythos in all parts of the story." - Hillman, Blue fire


Psyche and Soul Psychodynamic Diagnosis of Personality Disorder with Matthew Bennett and Leigh McCloskey
A workshop at Pacifica Graduate Institute, July 29-31, 2011

 Pacifica faculty and clinical psychologist Matthew Bennett and his colleague, artist and visual philosopher Leigh McCloskey have undertaken a bold, depthful, and innovative approach to personality theory where the boundaries of psyche and soul meet. Together, the psychologist and author have taken up the challenge articulated by C. G. Jung: that psychology can and must be enriched through inclusion of the autonomous spiritual principle in clinical work. The workshop, Psyche and Soul, reflects the evolving outcome of their continuing work to recapture the vibrant wisdom of Renaissance models of mind and integrate it with contemporary models of psychodynamic psychology. Based on Leigh McCloskey's tour de force master work entitled the Heiroglyph of the Human Soul, the presenters articulate a visual mythology of startling beauty and emotional resonance.

Following the ancient archetypal trajectory described the Golden Spiral, Matthew and Leigh trace the development of the nascent self as it emerges from darkness and spins itself out into increasing complexity. As the artist explores visual representations of "keys of consciousness" prevailing at different stages of psychological and spiritual development, the psychologist interprets those keys of consciousness as identifiable defensive structures and personality styles. Aided by fine arts, music, and video media, the presenters offer a compelling narrative which illuminates the human suffering arising from personality disorder in a way that inspires empathy and clinical wisdom.

The "visible" self is a constellation of emotions, perceptions, assumptions, memories, and many other psychological determinants, many of which are unconscious.


A workshop at Pacifica Graduate Institute, January 20-21, 2012. Nancy McWilliams
Psychological Health and the Whole Person: Reflections on Psychoanalytic Diagnostic Approaches

In the current era, psychotherapy has been increasingly construed in terms of overt symptom relief and behavior change, with minimal attention to the overall mental and emotional well-being of the individual reporting specific symptoms. At this three-day workshop, Dr. McWilliams argued that such a focus reflects the interests of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, each of which has a stake in defining psychological health narrowly, as the absence of observable symptoms and problematic behaviors. It may also reflect the legitimate needs of researchers to operationalize therapy outcomes in statistically manageable ways. She suggested, however, that the research paradigm has been inappropriately applied to the very different realm of clinical practice, with results that have not been in the best interests of most patients. Summarizing both traditional and more recently formulated aspects of overall mental health (e.g., ego strength, affect tolerance, security of attachment, mentalization, and capacity for intimacy), she elaborated on their implications for psychotherapy. In the process, Dr. McWilliams discussed the clinical values that underlie diagnosis and case conceptualization in the psychodynamic tradition, including the humanistic assumptions that have sometimes put it at odds with prevailing theoretical models. She provided an overview of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM), focusing on personality assessment and case formulation as described in that classification system, with attention to their relevance to treatment, . Finally, she presented clinical material that illustrates the value of a more inferential, dimensional, and contextual approach to understanding human suffering and healing.









Short videos about Pacifica Graduate Institite's Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology
James L. Broderick, Ph.D.
Chair Clinical Psychology Program
 Pacifica Faculty
Clinical Psychology Program
 Pacifica Student
Clinical Psychology Program