Alumni Spotlight: Tayria Ward, PhD Depth Psychology 2003
PGIAA proudly features Alumni Profiles toward sharing stories of the Pacifica experience. Our initial offering (‡) derives from an online collection of stories — the now defunct depthstories.com as maintained by current Core Faculty Jennifer Selig, Ph.D. (Depth Psychology, 2004). We welcome these stories, and further stories from all of Pacifica’s degree programs.
‡ Tayria Ward | Ph.D. (Depth Psychology, 2003)
Owner & Operator Bridging Worlds Retreat Center, Hot Springs, North Carolina
Where do you live?
In the mountains of Western North Carolina, a remote spot nearly an hour’s drive from Asheville.
What brought you to Pacifica?
The desire to study Depth Psychology. I was so excited when this Ph.D. was offered by Pacifica, truly a pioneering school.
How has your Pacifica degree served you professionally in your occupation or your vocation?
My study at Pacifica influences nearly everything I do, from teaching and lecturing, to group work, dream work, and oracular consultations. And the fact that I hold a Ph.D. means people trust my work more instinctively when they come to my retreats, and also I am offered lecturing opportunities in a much broader spectrum of organizations than I would without it..
How has your degree served you personally?
The study of Depth Psychology influences everything about how I see the world and its inhabitants, human and non-human, and certainly has set me on an unending path of discovery and inner work. 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.
What was a particularly meaningful or memorable part of the Pacifica experience for you?
I think there are too many to name. Working with some of the greatest minds on the planet, as well as the experience of an intelligent and lively group going through such an intensive journey for three years together, stand out. But there are many more specific memories that I cherish.
What is the title of your dissertation?
Reawakening Indigenous Sensibilities in the Western Psyche.
What are your areas of interest?
As far as indigenous studies go, I find that living among the mountain people in Appalachia is an undiscovered treasure-house of wisdom, mostly unrecorded to my knowledge. I have been living among them and respectfully learning from them, waiting to have deeper insight and perspective before I try to formulate my experience and observations into words. I have a fat files of notes. I do dream work and also have studied the Tarot (which a dream told me to do 15 years ago), and offer these readings and classes locally quite a bit.