My name is Lucia d'Ancona (Vibhuti Jaya) and I am new to this Alliance.  I learned of it through the recommendation of Dr. Conforti, who generously recommended the Alliance during one of his recent The Red Book teleconferences.  I am very glad that this exists, and that I am able to participate.


I completed a Transpersonal Psychology Master's degree at ITP in 2009 and before that, my undergrad was conferred at Burlington College (B.A. in Transpersonal Psych, circa 2007).  I have recently been accepted to:

  1. Pacifica's Depth Psychology PhD:  Jungian and Archetypal Studies
  2. Saybrook's Psychology PhD:  Jungian Studies programs

and I am now in quite the quandary.

Through this post, I wish to engage the membership and invite commentary from the Alliance at large on the PhD experience at either school.  What I am hoping to learn is that PhD program grads at each of these institutions are sought after as educators, and that they are having professional successes in other professional arenas.  I'd also just like to invite scholarly dialogue, and will add that I am coming to these programs with an interest in research activities, and not as a licensed, practicing clinician.  I currently work in Higher Education technology, and am pursuing a shift toward more humanistic endeavors that employ the full spectrum of my talents--and that honor soul.

My goals for PhD, regardless of the school I choose, center upon engaging with the Jung corpus, and with the work of the post and neo Jungians in order to begin to make scholarly contributions to the field of eating disorders treatment from a depth perspective.  The thing I think I wish for the most is a mentor, and at the very least, some person in academe to whom I can turn for instruction in conducting exemplary research and publishing like a house afire.  :-)

My essential question is how will Saybrook or Pacifica help to mold me into a contributing member of the Jungian community? What are the advantages of choosing one over the other? What are PhD grads in both schools doing, where are they being published, etc.?


I am just so eager to begin to work in community--instead of a vacuum.  Please share with me your commentary, musings and tales of lived experience.




Lucia d'Ancona (Vibhuti Jaya)

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  • Thank you, everyone!  I'm really cheered by the varied and informative responses here.  I'm exploring the license-eligible, local clinical angle right now--which takes quite a bit of time.  I have also postponed decision-making in the short term.  I have elected instead to become active in my local Center for Jungian Studies of South Florida in order to bring a "real-time" dimension to the depth-connections that I am making here @ DPA . com.  You folks inspired me!


    My intention for this Spring is to immerse myself more fully in a dialogue with The Red Book, and to receive some blessed guidance along the way.  Things are really percolating!  My Jung Center has a new chapter forming slightly to the north of its parent location, and that is right in my BACK YARD!  [What a boon...]  Tomorrow is their inaugural chapter event, and I will be there with bells on!


    As I mentioned in my post, I have had a relatively long career in Higher Ed Information Technology, and I am now becoming very open to the number of ways in which I might migrate toward more my desired professional pursuits.  The leap from tech to depth seems insurmountable at times, but I remembered today that educational technology (which runs through my veins) is essential to Jung Centers with developed public teaching and professional training programs.  Maybe a way toward "the work" would be through the medium of the not-for-profit center (like a Jung Center), or something with similar soul-tingling leanings?  I could even relocate!  I had not considered this before posting here, so thanks for helping me along in my process with your contributions.


    One thing I haven't mentioned is that during the last few months, as I grappled with this weighing and deciding, I had been rendered dreamless--my recall frustratingly and completely blotted out.  Every evening as my head hit the pillow I would bow to the The Dream Maker, and beg Her to do Her work in the opaqueness of gouache so that I might please just remember it.  Every morning, I'd awaken to dim gray fog.  Not even a tiny dream fragment remembered!  BUT, last night the first slivers of dream slipped through to consciousness as I awakened today.  Whole scenes remembered from 3:00 a.m.!  YES!!!!!  A marvelous breakthrough!  Let the games begin!  Everybody GET DOWN AND BOOGIE!  Messages are being sent--and they are getting through.





    • Boy, do you know how to leave a smile behind! When I read that your dreams are coming back all I could do was break out in a grin!! :) I've been thinking about the Red Book and have an idea I'll share with the Jung in the South group. As to technology and soul, we just had a lively debate along these lines at Pacifica with folks coming down on both sides, primarily that technology is numbing soul or technology is the expression/allows the expression of soul. However, you have hit on a wonderful use of technology to enhance the dissemination of Jungian thought through a more visible presence on the web ( Can you hear the Alliance folks saying, Amen?) :)

      Keep us up on your journey, we will all be richer for it.


  • Lucia, so glad to drop in on the discussion; a wealth of sharing.  I am finishing up my academic portion towards my PhD in Depth Psychology at Pacifica in a few months.  

    A really big question that is the first cut came up repeatedly.  That is, do you want to be able to accept insurance with all the "stuff" that goes with that?  If so, then this steers you in a particular direction for which there have been good suggestions. 

     If you want to write your own path without trying to fit your practice into government and insurance regulations and mindsets, while understanding that practitioners still can wiggle some freedom within those frameworks,then you are looking at another field of possible schools.

    I chose Pacifica after a grueling, very long, intensive unaccreditated depth psychology clinical program through a non-profit graduate school. I wanted accredited but NOT an APA program as APA requirements omit the core of where my interests lie.  I also decided not to try for licensure.  This is from my past and current experience and frustrations with dealing with insurance and governmental regulations. This means I am creating my own "field" in a way; it requires a great deal of creativity, yet it also is very exciting!  It is right for me.  I have done enough of the more practical and safer paths in life--for me.    

    I chose Pacifica after watching and discussing accredited psychology programs with friends and colleagues of mine. I did look at Saybrook, as well as ITP, and others. I was particularly drawn to Saybrook and Pacifica.  I ultimately chose Pacifica because of people close to me who had successfully completed PhD's there and loved it; smart people and experienced clinicians who were impressed with the scholarly rigor of Pacifica. Secondarily, I liked the face-to-face aspect of my program.  

    Pacifica's depth program is a rigorous and in-depth academic program with many, many hours of study on Jung, Freud, as well as more current thinkers plus a good chunk of psychologies of liberation theory and fieldwork and more.  As mentioned, the exact program I am in, no longer is offered.  Now the depth program has been split into 3 specialty tracks with overlaps.  The faculty is impressive and I have found them accessible.  I have completed both for-profit and non-profit programs and I am comfortable with either, if the program fits. 

    My only issue with Pacifica has been with their administration but it was worse in a public university I attended for undergraduate studies.


    I also have many friends and colleagues who went through Union's PhD programs, both before it changed and more currently.  There were criticisms about the changes in the last decade but I decided against it mostly as it is much more self-directed and I wanted more structure.




    Joy Brown

  • Lucia wrote: @ Julie - That was just the most helpful and encouraging account of your experience gathering clinical training in a traditional setting!  I am cheered and want my Demeter!  Merci beaucoup!  :-)

    Glad to be of service to your process... and the Demeter in me sees the Demeter in you! just as the Persephone in me sees the Persephone in you! and just as we see her works in the world and in us during this vernal emergence.


    Julie in the budding beauty of the valley of the Shenandoah

  • @ Bill - thanks for garnering input from those friends of yours!  As has been said in comments that followed yours, Pacifica is WASC accredited, which is as Cliff stated, one of the regional accrediting bodies that accredits colleges and schools.  Many thanks!  :-)


    @ Ed - thanks for the reminder about insurance and how it attempts to structure care with its world of allowable amounts, carefully metered visits, and co-pays.  It's all coming back to me now!  :-)


    @ Cliff - Wow!  I didn't know that Pacifica wasn't accredited when you went there!  I would not be able to handle the little thing called "cost of attendance" without the gift of Federal loans.  I really appreciate your candor, and I am wary of many of the things you mention as detractors.  I work in Higher Ed, and the for-profit status, the lack of APA accreditation have loomed large in my conversations with faculty and administrative peers of mine.  You mentioned "bringing up the question of your education's quality" and that is a very REAL thing.  Ahhh, academe!!  (Tsk-tsk-tsk...)   Muchas gracias!  :-)


    @ Julie - That was just the most helpful and encouraging account of your experience gathering clinical training in a traditional setting!  I am cheered and want my Demeter!  Merci beaucoup!  :-)


    @ bob - You opened up this Pandora's box of local, clinical, traditional, wise 'ol bob that you are!!!  Grazi!  :-)

  • Pacifica has regional accreditation. Stupidly, I didn't know the school was not accredited when I began attending classes there. The most significant effect of this was that you couldn't get federal loans.

    The school did become accredited during my second year there. (And, considering my loan debt, I might have been better off had it not!)

    The school's clinical doctoral program does not have APA accreditation but has been in the process of application. Curious about its status, I Googled and found this report from APA. It's dated Mar. 1 and reports Pacifica's status as "application voluntarily withdrawn." I have no idea what that means, but it clearly doesn't mean Pacifica has been denied accreditation yet. Perhaps it's behind or was advised it needs to make changes. But it's not accredited.

    The most you will learn about current status on the Pacifica site is here.

    The significant thing about this in my understanding is that some states will not consider an application for licensure as a clinical psychologist without graduation from an APA-accredited school. I believe the US government requires APA-accreditation to work for it. (But please research this if it's an issue for you. It is vague in my understanding.) I don't think this is an issue at the master's level.

    I note, in any case, that Lucia is not considering application to a clinical program at Pacifica.

    This is all just another example of the way licensure is constructed to standardize practice and protect financial turf. That was the issue that screwed up my own licensure qualifications at the master's level.

    I did the MA program at the University of West Georgia. Its faculty was a blend of people from Duquesne's phenomenology program and refugees from Duke's parapsychology faculty. And it was considered a break-through school in humanistic psychology in the '70s. There were also transpersonal-oriented classes.

    All of this made for a fascinating education, but under the new mandatory, stricter licensure laws, nobody with a degree from there could get a license at the time I graduated. Even if you added a bunch of standard clinical classes from the counseling program in the school of education, as I did, you couldn't get one, for ridiculous, petty reasons.

    I feel like I'm bashing Pacifica and I really don't want to, although I think it should be much more upfront with students about its for-profit status, the effect of not being APA-accredited, etc. But I did enjoy most of my classes there. It was wanting to study archetypal psychology in particular that took me there (and, yes, I was disturbed that we only had one class in it and it turned out to be an ASTROLOGY class). So, I wasn't looking for the standard education.

    But if you are looking for a doctoral-level degree that's going to earn you licensure, not limit your employment possibilities, not inhibit finding university-level teaching jobs and -- I'm sorry -- not frequently bring up the question of your education's quality, Pacifica is not the place to study.




  • Bill and Lucia,

    If I remember correctly, Pacifica's clinical program is accredited. As to licensure, each state has its own criteria. Lucia, you may want to check what Florida asks for accreditation and make sure the school you attend can give you the subject matter and hours needed. My experience is that once you have a license in any field of mental health, you can pretty much do whatever you need once the office door is closed. This, of course, is limited if you are accepting third party payment from insurance companies who will limit your number of sessions and accepted approaches. Good luck.


  • Thanks folks, for your generosity, interest and great suggestions.  I'm postponing major decision making for the time being, while I gather information, so please, if there are any more of you out there with opinions on this, do SHARE!  :-)


    @ Julie - Union looks great, wish I could manage the residency.  VT & OH are not so friendly to FL.  Thank you.  I forgot about them!


    @ Ed - I wouldn't want to run into that old Sallie Mae in a dark alley, I'll tell you that!  :-)


    @ Cliff - I don't know if "people don't seem to realize" that Pacifica is for-profit, for I too have noticed that this fact either seems to sort of get overlooked or that it somehow does not matter, and I am not sure which phenomenon it is.  It does of course matter when it comes to matters of reputation, and how the Pacifica PhD is regarded.  And Saybrook, by the way, is not-for-profit!


    @ bob - BRILLIANT suggestions!  I was so inspired by your contribution that I toted myself down to Nova Southeastern University's Information Session tonight, (serendipity would have that it was scheduled for today) just to investigate what it would take for me to magically transform into a clinician.  Apparently Mental Health Counselor program is 60 credits, about $40K, takes 2.5 - 3 years to complete in one-weekend-a-month, face-to-face classes and leads to an LMHC state license after the practicum of my choice.  Just thought it would be an worthwhile investigation, and it was!






    • I did my PhD at Union, graduating in 2004. During the time I was there, it changed a great deal and became much more traditional, jettisoning much of what attracted me in the first place. You can't really design your own program any longer, the student has far less control over the whole program than when I was there, and the range of options for field of study is far more limited. Union is not the same Union now that it was when Michael Conforti, Clarissa Pinkola Estes among others, got their degrees their.

      It is possible to do a good program there but you should be aware that many people there are doing their programs to get their tickets punched for their career advancement and have very little interest in scholarship per se. I was on a quality assurance committee that evaluated over 100 dissertations and we found more than 2/3rds did not actually meet standards for doctoral work. Things have improved since then but I have heard that quality is still an issue.

      I was very active while there. I served on a number of committees, including the student governance committee and I started a Yahoo group for students as at the time there was no place, virtual or literal, for students to gather and share experiences and information. That group still exists as a few people who started around the time I finished are still there. I offer this to let you know that I had a good bit of experience seeing how the sausage at Union is made, to use an unfortunate metaphor.

      I went to Union with an undergraduate degree in psychology from Duke and was ABD in clinical psychology from UConn. I went back to complete my doctorate, something which was important to me personally and which I knew would help me professionally. I knew I did not want a faculty position so the fact that Union grads often have a tough time on the academic market was not an issue for me.

      If I had it to do again, I would have scrambled more to find a way to do the distance PhD in Jungian Studies from the University of Essex in England. Andrew Samuels chairs the program and it is excellent for a self- directed student. The residency requirement is lower than for Union. And the program is of much higher quality and rigor.
    • Lucia wrote: Apparently Mental Health Counselor program is 60 credits, about $40K, takes 2.5 - 3 years to complete in one-weekend-a-month, face-to-face classes and leads to an LMHC state license after the practicum of my choice.  Just thought it would be an worthwhile investigation, and it was!



      I just completed a 60 credit program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and am working toward my 4000 hours for licensure as an LPC. Perhaps like you, I had dreams of studying at Pacifica, Naropa, TUI, IIS, etc. but in the end chose practical - my local university offered a three year program (It took me 3.5 years because I took a summer off) leading to a degree that will allow me to become licensed as a mental health provider.

      The coursework was sometimes stimulating and sometimes stultifying... and as with many academic programs - there was a system and I was a cog in that system which wasn't always in service to my growth as a clinician... and yet... I did find pockets in which to express my passions for depth work... and I did bring an awareness of depth work to many of my fellow travelers.

      I made lifelong friends in the process of sharing the journey so even though the academic component had some disappointments, the interpersonal environment was enriching. That interpersonal container was actually as important or more important than the academic piece of my training. The clinical experience - for me - was the most important piece - and my setting excelled at offering lots of clinical hours.

      The best part of the journey for me was that I was able to have a two semester practicum where I worked in a counseling center getting experience under close supervision. This was followed by a two semester internship at an agency where I deepened my experience and had the amazing experience of being nurtured by a circle of wise women clinicians - ancient and newly minted - both/and.


      Now that I am in in my Residency, I am able to both work with the general day to day clinical issues that clients bring and also weave in my depth approach where it is in service to the client's process. And even though I don't do depth work with all my clients, what matters most to me is that I am doing my own Inner Work which makes me more effective as a therapist.


      It sounds like your local university might be just the vehicle to take you to your next destination!


      I look forward to hearing more about your journey.


      Julie in the Valley of the Shenandoah watching Persephone emerge from the underworld


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