What is Depth Psychology?
"I find that I have access to a deep sense of compassion because of depth psychology's understanding of how the psyche is affected by every experience, by our memories, culture, ancestry and even our biology." – Tayria Ward, Alumna Ph.D. Depth Psychology
The modern field of Depth Psychology originated in the work of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, two visionaries who called attention to the importance of what lies below the surface of conscious awareness.
This dimension of psychic reality is revealed in literature, the expressive arts of different cultures, dreams, and in the collective symptoms suffered by individuals and societies. Concepts at the core of depth psychology are central to Pacifica's degree programs. Ideas such as the importance of image, metaphor, and psyche in personal and cultural expression, and the interplay between the aesthetics of the natural world and the human experience, are deeply ingrained the Institute's curricula.
"Depth psychology could be seen as a long process of exploration and listening at the margins of all collective thought that now involves practitioners on every continent." Jungian Analyst Helene Shulman Lorenz
Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D. 1:51
Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute answers the question, "What is Depth Psychology?"
A Fertile, Expanding Field
Evidence for the efficacy of depth psychological approaches is growing. Study after study has shown that depth psychology has a longer-lasting and more profound impact than cognitive or behavioral psychologies alone. The power of the field is becoming ever stronger as contemporary scholars are expanding its reach in the light of systems and ecological thinking, neuroscience and other research breakthroughs, and applications to many new fields. We believe that the psychological life is an evolutionary development, alive in all the phenomena and systems of our world. Pacifica students and graduates help dream the field forward through their scholarship, creative work, and actions in the world.