My Orientation and Philosophy
I teach courses on various aspects of adult development. My orientation in everything is developmental in the broadest sense: how do we grow, change, and live creatively in adulthood? How do various theories of development help us understand ourselves and our society? How does attention to our deepest selves help us in transformation and creativity? How do emotions tap into our transformational process? Can we work symbolically to help us understand our growing edge? What kinds of environments and people help us in this? How does this impact our relationships, our work, our society? Do women and men have different issues and questions in their lives, different tasks? How can we understand this?
My orientation is one of questioning, attending, listening, formulating new questions and understanding. I see my teaching as part of an ongoing process of developing voice in myself and those around me, and making a commitment to living creatively: allowing the seeds of ourselves to grow and develop. I try to make my classes be a place where students can encounter new information, can think new thoughts,can have their worldviews challenged and opened up, can venture out into new avenues of expression and experience.
My orientation over the years is increasingly Jungian. Jungian psychology is an approach which helps us understand the deep movements of the psyche: why we behave the way we do, what deeper influences affect us, what mystery lives within each of us. Jungian psychology provides methods for working with one's own unique essence, and developing toward the person who one, in essence, is. This is Jung's notion of individuation.
As I am an educator, I believe that my place in the University is to help students in their own individuation process: to help them develop knowledge of how to work with their own great inner capacity; to assist them in becoming what they in essence are. In this sense I carry in my own way the founding spirit of the Department, which was one of humanistic psychology, self-actualization, and creativity.
While I am not an artist, I use art process and art techniques in many of my classes. They are symbolic media for exploring the hidden aspects of the self; they provide another venue, other than the linguistic, for contacting and knowing oneself.
Depth Psychology M.A. Program
In 1996 and 1997 I began a series of conversations with students and colleagues that resulted in the formation the Depth Psychology Master's program. The program took in its first students in 1999, with its first graduating class in 2001. This small gem of a program is a 2-year Master's program that provides education in the theory of Jungian psychology, as well as training in what I call the methods of depth inquiry. Depth inquiry uses the skills developed in therapeutic work by Jungian analysts, and applies them to educational investigative inquiry. These skills include active imagination, dreamwork, art process work, work with myth and story, work with ritual, mask work, work with sound, movement, and breath. At its broadest, all of these are techniques in symbolic work: they work with aspects of oneself via a symbolic holder or container.