Pacifica Graduate Institute

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Pacifica Graduate Institute
Motto animae mundi colendae gratia- 'for the sake of tending soul in and of the world'
Established 1976
Type Private, 97% Employee-Owned Company
Chancellor Stephen Aizenstat
Location United States Santa Barbara, California
Campus Urban

Pacifica Graduate Institute is an accredited, American graduate school with two campuses near Santa Barbara, California, United States. The institute offers master's and doctoral degrees in the fields of psychology, mythological studies, and the humanities.

Pacifica Graduate Institute is affiliated with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), specifically the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. The institute first gained accreditation on June 30, 1997 and continues to be accredited through WASC.[1]


Entrance to Pacifica's Lambert Road Campus.
The Lambert Road Campus at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Pacifica traces many of its central ideas to the heritage of ancient story tellers, dramatists, and philosophers from all lands who recorded the workings of the imagination. The legacies of these early men and women have evolved in multiple cultural contexts and perspectives including the systematic explorations of the unconscious by Freud, Jung, and other scholars of the inner life.

The concepts of depth psychology resulting from this long development are at the core of Pacifica's orientation. These ideas—such as the importance of symbol and metaphor in personal and cultural imagery or the recognition of the dynamic interplay between the natural world and the world of the human psyche—are articulated in the institute's programs.

Mission Statement and Core Values[edit]

The mission of Pacifica Graduate Institute is to foster creative learning and research in the fields of psychology and mythological studies, framed in the traditions of depth psychology.

By creating an educational environment with a spirit of free and open inquiry, consistent with the recognized values of academic freedom, Pacifica is dedicated to cultivating and harvesting the gifts of the human imagination. So that these insights may influence the personal, cultural, and planetary concerns of our era, this dedication is contained in the motto: animae mundi colendae gratia - for the sake of tending soul in and of the world.

Core Values:

  • Logos: The idea that academic excellence is central to what informs our curriculum, research, and scholarship – demonstrated by conscious reflective regard for new knowledge resting securely on the traditions of the past that inform the development of the whole person (intellect, dream, intuition, symptoms, feeling, imagination and other ways of knowing) in relation to the larger social world.
  • Eros: The importance of open communication, respectful relationship, care, and a heartfelt regard for a diverse community which includes a love for learning as a noble goal of the human spirit.
  • Consciousness: the awareness of Pacifica as a "psychological community" with a connection to the deep psyche – mindful attention is given to personal and community introspection, the conscious tending of the shadow of consciousness, and a respect for solar thinking (reason) and lunar reflection (dream and imagination).
  • Integrity: the necessity for a just, psyche-centered attitude rooted in the "wisdom traditions", and committed to cultivating an honest and caring presence among ourselves, our students, and the world around us.
  • Service: to ourselves as unique human beings, to others within the Pacifica community as well as to those we engage in the world through our example, talks, lectures, workshops, writing, teaching; the capacity to see through cultural forms; the art of hosting the incarnate and the invisible; and our ongoing service to our fields of Depth Psychology, Mythological Studies, and the Humanities
  • Stewardship: Care of the world soul as expressed in Pacifica’s motto, "animae mundi colendae gratia", becoming sustainable at all levels – from our way of being actively present in imaginal inquiry to our presence in the larger earth community – from work load to land use, from our way of conducting business to our model of doing business.

Degree offerings[edit]

Six degree programs are offered through monthly, three or four-day learning sessions:

Jungian and Archetypal Studies (online/hybrid format)[2]
Somatic Studies
Combined Emphasis in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology

Academic formats[edit]

In most of the degree programs, students join their classmates once a month for three or four-day learning sessions on campus, except for the summer quarter which consists of one longer residential session of five days. For the two hybrid/online programs, students primarily work from home online and come to campus once a quarter for a four day session.


Pacifica Graduate Institute dates its life as an educational institution from the 1976 inauguration of a nine-month, para-professional Counseling Skills Certificate program offered by the Human Relations Center.[3] The Institute's original name was the Human Relations Institute.

The M.A. in Counseling Psychology was initiated in 1982 under the direction of Gary Linker and Marti Glenn.[3] In 1984 the Institute announced a new M.A. Counseling Psychology program with an emphasis in depth psychology. The program was launched in 1984 by Stan Passy, who drew on his doctoral work in archetypal psychology with James Hillman at the University of Dallas. Faculty and visiting lecturers have included Marion Woodman, Thomas Moore, Robert A. Johnson, and Marija Gimbutas.[3]

In the Fall of 1987, the Human Relations Institute inaugurated a fourth phase – a Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology with emphasis in Depth Psychology. Much care and attention took place in the development of a rigorous curriculum that offered a strong academic background in the theories, ethics, methodology, and historical foundations of clinical psychology, as well as providing course work in the effective development of therapeutic skills.

The name of the school was changed to the Pacifica Graduate Institute in 1989 under the leadership of president Stephen Aizenstat.[3]

One of the supporters of the Institute's vision in the early years was the late mythologist Joseph Campbell. He offered guidance to the school's founders and appeared many times as a guest speaker in the Institute's public conference series. After his death, his widow, Jean Erdman Campbell, felt that Pacifica would be able to carry Campbell's work into the future and, thus, would be the most appropriate home for his archives. After careful consideration, she donated his 3,000-book library and archival collection to The Center for the Study of Depth Psychology, an independent non-profit organization housed at the Pacifica campus. The Joseph Campbell Archives and Library were installed in the school's Seminar Building, and the home of the collection was formally dedicated in 1992.[4]

The mythological studies program was created in 1994 by Jonathan Young, building on his work as founding curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives.[5] The program combines folklore, literature, creative studies, and archetypal psychology.[6]

In 1995, following several years of careful design efforts, Pacifica announced the development of an innovative and unprecedented doctoral program in Depth Psychology, which examines the philosophical, cultural, and experiential foundations for the depth perspective. Over the years these commitments led to a branching of interests that call for a further diversification of coursework and training. Beginning in 2010 students have the option between three specializations: Somatic Studies, Jungian & Archetypal Studies, and the Combined emphasis in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology.

The Ladera Lane Campus at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Reaching full capacity for Santa Barbara County permitted operations at the Lambert Road campus in 1999, Pacifica began offering additional sections of existing programs at La Casa de Maria's newly established Ladera Lane Retreat Center (site of a former Jesuit Novitiate). Pacifica became a two-campus school by purchasing the Ladera Lane center from La Casa de Maria in September of 2005.

The Engaged Humanities & Creative Life program, along with the Jungian & Archetypal Studies specialization of the M.A./Ph.D. program are the two online/hybrid programs Pacifica offers, with the majority of coursework accomplished online by students. The online studies are combined with quarterly four-day visits either on campus or at the New York Open Center. All other degrees are completed in monthly three-day or four-day retreats and one summer week annually.[7]

On the weekend of June 16-18, 2006, members of the Pacifica community gathered at the new Ladera Lane campus to celebrate the school's 30th Anniversary.

Public programs[edit]

Public Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, led by Marion Woodman.

As with the Graduate Degree Programs, Pacifica's Public Programs explore the fields of psychology and mythological studies through the lens of depth psychology. Programs cover a wide range of topics from humanities and culture to counseling and clinical psychology. Most of the public programs offer continuing education units for professionals in the field. These events are open to the general public with the intention of bringing Pacifica's educational resources to the wider community. Held at a variety of locations throughout Santa Barbara County, the programs feature Pacifica faculty and well-known guest presenters.

Past presenters include Joseph Campbell, Jean Houston, Michael J. Meade, Huston Smith, Malidoma Patrice Somé, Sonu Shamdasani, Thomas Moore, Marion Woodman, James Hillman, and Robert Bly.[8]


Pacifica’s two campus locations are located within three miles of each other in the foothills of the Santa Barbara suburbs. They are retreat settings with views of the Pacific ocean. The 13 acre Lambert Road Campus is the former Max Fleishman estate[1]. The Ladera Lane campus is 35 acres (14 ha) with views of the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands. Each campus contains multiple gardens, while the Lambert Campus hosts the larger Organic Garden. The Organic Garden, consisting of 7 acres (2.8 ha), is farmed year round, producing vegetables and fruits available to the community.

Graduate Library and Bookstore[edit]

Both campuses have a graduate research library and bookstore. The Research Library houses collections in depth psychology, mythology, religious studies, and clinical and counseling psychology, as well as the humanities and related fields. Both bookstores contain materials in Depth, Jungian, and Archetypal Psychology, religion, mythology, philosophy, Joseph Campbell, Marija Gimbutas, James Hillman, and selections from the Pacifica Faculty and Alumni. The Ladera Lane bookstore is open to the public.

Joseph Campbell Collection at OPUS[edit]

Archival stacks of the OPUS Archives and Research Center.
Joseph Campbell Library on Lambert Campus.

Joseph Campbell's papers and collections have been entrusted to the OPUS Archives and Research Center on the campuses of Pacifica Graduate Institute. The renowned author, scholar, and mythologist was a long-time friend of Pacifica and a frequent guest lecturer. After Campbell's death, Jean Erdman Campbell and the Joseph Campbell Foundation donated his papers, books and other effects to the Center for the Study of Depth Psychology at Pacifica. The center became OPUS Archives and Research Center and is the home of the collection.[9] The founding curator, Jonathan Young, worked closely with Ms. Erdman to gather the materials from Campbell's homes in Honolulu and Greenwich Village, New York City.[10] The Campbell Collection features approximately 3,000 volumes and covers a broad range of subjects, including anthropology, folklore, religion, literature, and psychology. The collection also includes audio and video tapes of lectures, original manuscripts, and research papers. The mission of Opus Archives and Research Center is to preserve, develop, and extend to the world the archival collections and libraries of eminent scholars in the fields of depth psychology, mythology and the humanities. The Center is a living archive, supporting interdisciplinary dialogue, education, grants, research opportunities and public programs.[9] The Director of the OPUS Archives and Research Center is Dr. Safron Rossi. The current special collections librarian is Richard Buchen. OPUS Archives & Research Center is free and open to the public and also hosts the Joseph Campbell Mythological RoundTable, a monthly discussion group in Santa Barbara.

Marija Gimbutas Collection at OPUS[edit]

OPUS holds over 15,000 slides utilized by Marija Gimbutas in her lectures and books on Neolithic Civilizations and the Goddess, thousands of research catalogue cards in numerous languages handwritten by Gimbutas, and extensive texts on the subjects of history, archaeology, and the humanities.

James Hillman Collection at OPUS[edit]

James Hillman's collection includes first draft manuscripts of his books, including Re-Visioning Psychology, which earned him a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. Hillman's prolific career is well documented through correspondence, personal notes, and unfinished projects that are available for pursuit by scholars of the next generation.[11]


External links[edit]