Jennifer Leigh Selig, PhDDepth Psychology, 2004

Where do you live?

Carpinteria, California.

What brought you to Pacifica?

I was a high school English teacher and at the time I was also teaching mythology. I found out about Pacifica through an advertisement in a myth journal and sent for a catalog, thinking I’d enroll in the Myth program. However, when I read about the Depth Psychology program, I was sold! I’d never heard of Depth Psychology, even though in spirit and soul I had been a Depth Psychologist all my life. The program allowed me a place for all of my interests in the way it combined the imaginal, the socio-cultural, the natural, the political, the mythological, the archetypal, the historical, etc. I fell in love!

How has your Pacifica degree served you professionally in your occupation or your vocation?

When I started studying at Pacifica, I was immediately able to use what I was learning in the classroom in my own classroom. I started to teach everything from a more psychological perspective. In fact, I also started a psychology course at the high school level, and had a blast teaching it. However, due to state standards squeezing out all elective courses both my mythology and psychology courses were canceled, and I felt it was time to leave the public high school system. The Ph.D. allowed me to seek jobs at the college level. My first such job was teaching in an education department at a private school in Los Angeles. They didn’t mind that my Ph.D. was in psychology — in fact, they welcomed it. After that, I came back home to Pacifica, where I have worked since 2005.

How has your degree served you personally?

What was personally the most surprising gift of the program for me was I felt like I gained my voice as a writer. I always knew I wanted to write, but at Pacifica I felt like I found both my voice and my vision. I learned what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. I also learned to be of service in my writing, to allow what wanted to be said through me to be said, and to listen to how it wanted to be said, so that I was writing from soul and writing with soul. Archetypal perspectives color all my writing, and the attention Pacifica and Depth Psychology pays to the image is invaluable for any writer.

What was a particularly meaningful or memorable part of the Pacifica experience for you?

There were many parts that were wonderful. The ritual of coming to this beautiful place every month, all the fabulous reading, being mentored by amazing faculty. But I have to say that it was the experience of my cohort that continues to be the most meaningful. To feel for the first time that I wasn’t alone, that there were other people who felt like me, saw like me, questioned like me, went “deep” like me. The friendships that we forged then, the way we supported and loved and respected each other through thick and thin, through similarities and differences, all of that stays with me now, and these people are forever etched in my memory.

What is the title of your dissertation?

Cultural Therapy: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Work With the Soul of America.

Would you like to mention any other publications?

Some books: The Soul Does Not Specialize: Revaluing the Humanities and the Polyvalent Imagination (edited with Dennis Slattery and Steve Aizenstat, 2012); Reimagining Education: Essays on Reviving the Soul of Education (edited with Dennis Slattery, 2009); Thinking Outside the Church: 110 Ways to Connect With Your Spiritual Nature(2004); Reach for the Stars (2002); What Now? A Little Book of Graduation Wisdom (2001); What Now? Words of Wisdom for Life After Graduation (1999).

And some journal articles: “Nobody really sees a flower, really, it is so small: Extolling an ethic of attention” (2011); “The teachers ‘No Child Left Behind’ leaves behind,” The One Voice International Collection of Scholarly Works, I (2010); “The content of their complexes: The wounded leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama,” Journal of Jungian Scholarly Studies, 5 (2009); “Living a three dimensional life: Martin Luther King, Jr. on the integrated personality,” Santa Barbara Therapy News (January 2008); “America’s selective remembering and collective forgetting of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, 78 (2007); “Echoes of the Suicide Girls,” The Salt Journal, 3 (2001).

What are your areas of interest?

The intersections of Depth Psychology, spirituality, and cultural; literature; education; research and writing; film; photography.

“To feel for the first time that I wasn’t alone, that there were other people who felt like me, saw like me, questioned like me, went “deep” like me. The friendships that we forged then, the way we supported and loved and respected each other through thick and thin, through similarities and differences, all of that stays with me now…”

– Jennifer Leigh Selig

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