East-West Psychology

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

EWP 6000: Introduction to EWP (1 unit)

This course provides new students with an introduction to the field of East-West psychology, pedagogical approaches, and departmental standards of scholarship for both MA and PhD levels. Students also become familiar with historical foundations and selected issues of the East-West-North-South encounter in psychology and spirituality.

EWP 6001: EWP Community Retreat (1 unit)

This is an off-campus retreat for all new MA and PhD students. Emphasis placed on community building, story-telling, interactive exercises, and interpersonal communication skills.

EWP 6011: Nondual Perspectives in Spiritual Counseling (3 units)

Students undergo traditional methods for the direct apprehension of nonduality, explore the effects of such understanding on their own psychology, and then translate such understanding into therapeutic schools and methods.

EWP 6015: Integrative Seminar (1 unit)

Taken during their last semester of coursework, this seminar provides the opportunity for MA students to reflect on their learning experience in the program, to create a portfolio of their most important work, and to prepare future professional goals.

EWP 6048: Deep Psychology (3 units)

Pierre Janet's explorations of dissociated trauma and William James' of "transmarginal" psychical activity opened an era of investigation for Fechner, Freud, Jung, Adler, Horney, Maslow, Rogers, May, and other explorers of the mind's relationship to itself and its environment. Students learn about and apply their key findings to inner work, relationships, organizational life, cultural life, and politics to see what we can discover about the real-life depths of the human heart.

EWP 6051: Eastern Theories of Self, Mind, and Nature (3 units)

This course discusses the spiritual tenets common to religious traditions and disciplines originating in India, such as Advaita Vedanta, Samkhya Yoga, and Buddhism. It offers the foundation necessary to understand Eastern approaches to psychology and spirituality. The course includes experiential components centering on meditation and spiritual practice.

EWP 6074: Western Mystical Traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam (3 units)

This course explores mystical traditions and contemplative practices in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Although these traditions were born in the "Middle East," they are often referred to as "Western" because of the profound influence they have had in the West. The course includes guest-lecturers from each of the traditions and a "Contemplative Practice Lab," where contemplative practices from each of these traditions are taught.

EWP 6107: Ecopsychology and Expressive Arts: Reawakening the Wild Heart of Being (1 unit)

From deep within our perceiving, sensing, feeling, and imagining body arises the knowing of the intimate indwelling of our body within the Earth body. Students in this course will engage in creative expressive modalities to evoke and celebrate an embodied, Earth-embracing consciousness. These practices will unfold within an exploration of the growing field of ecopsychology and its urgent appeal to develop an ecological self.

EWP 6108: Ecopsychology: Foundations, Applications, Frontiers (3 units)

This course provides students with an overview of the field of ecopsychology. After explicating the foundations of the discipline, emphasis is placed on contemporary applications and challenges in light of the current ecological crisis. The course includes training in wilderness practices.

EWP 6112: Wilderness Rites of Passage (3 units)

Ancient cultures performed rites and ceremonies as a way of renewing their connection with the Earth and their communities.This course introduces ancient rites of passage while giving students the opportunity to experience themselves the initiatory threshold in a safe yet challenging way with a solo vision quest in the wilderness. The ceremony follows the traditional stages of a rite of passage: severance (leaving behind what is familiar), threshold (the actual solitude and fasting), and reincorporation (return to the community with gifts and insights).

EWP 6117: Ecospirituality and Creative Expression: Touching the Sacred Within and Without (1 unit)

Enlivening and embodying our deepest spiritual apprehensions of the cosmos and our place in it might be our most urgent task indeed. This experiential course explores human intimate relationship with the fabric of the living earth, in which spirit and matter take form in the unfathomable dance of being.

EWP 6131: Planetary Psychology (3 units)

This course surveys such diverse fields as environmental psychology, conservation psychology, ecopsychology, deep ecology, ecotherapy, bioregionalism, and integral ecology to see what they can tell us (and what they cannot) about nature, culture, mind, and sustainability. It also explores how to enhance active participation in ecologically sensitized modes of consciousness that foster grounded growth in ourselves, our fellow species, and the land whose presence supports our lives and sense of selfhood.

EWP 6139: Science and Living Systems (3 units)

This course introduces the systems paradigm, with emphasis on Living Systems Theory and various excursions and explorations of cybernetics, general systems theory, Family Systems, the latest discoveries in neuroscience, chaos, fractals, and a dash of complexity theory. The course also looks at how all this applies to sense of self, family systems (including psychotherapy case examples), organizations, and ecosystems. A dominant image for this class is the resonant archetype of the Web.

EWP 6149: Animal Dreams - Visitations from the Wild Psyche (1 unit)

This course suggests a shift from an anthropocentric to an eco-centric sensibility towards the dreaming psyche as a doorway towards genuine care for the earth. When at night in our dreams we are visited by other-than-human inhabitants of our planet, the earth's psyche discloses itself to our own primal soul, our earth-soul. Animal dreams help us to reflect on what the living earth is asking of us today. Throughout our sessions, creative practices will deepen our attunement to the animals and life forms who visit in our dreams.

EWP 6153: The Evolution of Consciousness: An Embodied Inquiry (2 units)

In his magnum opus, The Ever-Present Origin, cultural philosopher Jean Gebser asserts that we have enjoyed multiple and distinct epochs of human consciousness throughout our human adventure. Gebser also suggests that a new epoch is unfolding, one by which all past epochs are rendered transparent to one another, allowing for a kind of participatory interaction between these different ways of knowing. This course engages Gebser's theoretical work through the practices of Embodied Spiritual Inquiry and Holistic Sexuality developed by East-West Psychology professors.

EWP 6156: Interreligious and Intermonastic Dialogue: From Conversation to Contemplation and Mutual Transformation (3 units)

This course explores the efforts undertaken over the last century in the field of interreligious dialogue. The first half concentrates on the history, theory, and practice of interreligious dialogue throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The second half focuses on the sharing of contemplative traditions and experiences that has characterized the East-West intermonastic dialogue.

EWP 6165: Leadership, Evolution and Transformative Change (3 units)

This course is an experiential, hands-on exploration of leadership action that arises from deep spiritual wisdom and that fosters personal, professional and planetary transformation. Students will study the following topics and apply them to a specific idea or project of their choice: a) East/West psychology, evolutionary wisdom and the "Bodhisattva Vow" as a foundation for leadership that empowers self and others toward greater service, alleviation of suffering, and a more profound expression of self in one's workplace, community and the world. b) Leadership competency that is sourced from compassion, integrity and clarity of purpose, and that solves problems, shifts systems, and can design projects for personal, professional and social well being. c) Tools for envisioning the future, creating new patterns, stories, and paradigms for the present and for manifesting desired results. d) Leadership practices for enhancing courage, empowering and motivating others, creating conversations that generate possibility, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs, walking our talk, and embodying our highest ideals in practical ways with visible results in the world.

EWP 6173: Ecopsychology and Shamanism (3 units)

The prevailing technoculture has everything it needs to avert ecological catastrophe and get back on track toward a sustainable future, and yet it fails to do so. The thinking among many in the emerging field of ecopsychology is that the key to our survival lies in forming an empathic relationship with the planet. We need to experience and care about the biosphere as home. But how exactly do we go about doing that? The practices of shamanism found in indigenous cultures worldwide were created by ancestors who understood that, for human beings, proper relations with the earth must be learned. The resulting cultural traditions and healing techniques are embedded with instructions about how to live sustainably on the earth. This class will demonstrate the critical link between shamanism and the emergence of an ecopsychological perspective at this time in history.

EWP 6199: Spiritual Agnosticism as a Way of Knowing (3 units)

Spiritual agnosticism is a philosophical system that encourages acceptance of spiritual values, yet does not embrace the belief in a personal God, somewhat dismissing the question of the existence of God as "unknowable". However, it does leave room for the possibility of personal spiritual experience, transpersonal experiences, and other altered states of consciousness. This class provides a forum for an integrative and comparative inquiry in an attempt to reconcile the principles of agnosticism with a view that integrates and embraces the existence of spiritual experience.

EWP 6204: The Body in the Transformation of Consciousness-Awakening Joy at the Heart of Being (1 unit)

In this course, students engage body, mind, emotions, and imagination in creative practices such as expressive movement, kinesthetic awareness practices, and active imagination as dialogue with the body, poetic writing, enactment, and painting. They reflect on the role of the body in psychotherapy and explore skills and practices to attend empathically to the movement of joyful transformation in
self and other.

EWP 6205: Embodied Spiritual Inquiry (3 units)

An introduction to the practice of embodied spiritual inquiry in the context of participatory and cooperative research paradigms. Students go through cycles of experience and reflection on collaboratively selected spiritual questions.

EWP 6219: Integrating Sex and Spirit: An Embodied Inquiry (1 unit)

This course explores the importance of integrating sex and spirit in order to foster the unfolding of our deepest potentials in our daily lives. The course includes "interactive embodied meditations," which involve structured and respectful physical contact among participants. Through these meditations, students explore the personal aspects that shape them in either connecting to or separating from their sexuality and spirituality, as well as open a path of self-reflection aimed at their integration.

EWP 6230: Psychology of Consciousness: An Integral Approach (3 units)

This course explores the variety of scholarly approaches that have contributed to the contemporary understanding of consciousness. The integral perspective is crucial in terms of the methodologies we apply, the levels of explanation that are appropriate, and-most important-our personal sense of exploration. The course integrates material from areas as diverse as cognitive neuroscience, quantum physics, philosophy, depth psychology, and mysticism in arriving at these conclusions.

EWP 6231: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening (2 units)

Psychological transformation and spiritual awakening are inseparably one process. The emergence of an unprecedented amount of spiritual possibilities in the Western world has been accompanied by an equally unparalleled amount and variations of spiritual pathologies. This course surveys the key spiritual pathologies, as well as the integrative possibilities that emerge in contemporary spirituality. Students are exposed to cutting-edge psychospiritual technologies, as well as important evolutionary understandings in contemporary spirituality.

EWP 6248: Archetypal Mythology (3 units)

This course explores the role, weight, and significance of life's mythic dimension from the standpoint of depth psychology. Freud, Jung, Hillman, Campbell, Downing, and a host of theorists and thinkers and writers have claimed that mythic presences, events, and situations are not dead or extinct, but alive and addressing us continually. This course examines this claim through discussions, dreamwork, film, and other media that disclose deep myth-making layers of the psyche.

EWP 6261: The Psychology of Death and Dying: An East-West Exploration (3 units)

This course allows students to develop a deeper understanding of death and dying and, through that exploration, a more mindful experience of living. Emphasis on the study of East-West theories of death and dying, the spiritual potential of life-threatening illness, and psychospiritual counseling for the dying and their caregivers.

EWP 6273: Ethnoautobiography as Indigenous-Based Research (2 units)

Ethnoautobiography is an indigenous-based research method that decolonizes the modernist self. It takes ethnic origins (genealogy) as a pivotal starting point for critical autobiographical inquiries; it grounds itself in time (smaller and larger planetary and celestial cycles), place (ecology, history of place), history (stories and myths), ancestry, and stories of origin and creation. Ethnoautobiography is moral and politico-historical discourse, enlivened by the subjectivity of the inquirer, as it strives to overcome modern strictures and reimagine a native sense of self-actualization and sovereignty during its transformative learning process. This course explores the applications of ethnoautobiography to the deconstruction of Whiteness, ecology, society, gender, shamanism, and transpersonal psychology.

EWP 6274: Poetic Participation as Indigenous Practice (3 units)

This course is a creative dialogue between the "participatory turn" in academia and the indigenous practice of poetic participation. After an examination of the foundational tenets of the participatory turn, the focus of the course turns to look at both Western and non-Western poetic traditions studied by Malidoma Somé. The course's invitation to re-engage mythology can be understood as a critical diagnosis and constructive prescription for our modern diseases and some of our more static spiritual traditions.

EWP 6288: Contemporary Transpersonal Theory: The Participatory Turn (3 units)

This advanced course in transpersonal theory provides an in-depth study of the participatory turn in contemporary spirituality. The course explores the impact of the participatory turn on transpersonal and religious studies, transpersonal anthropology and indigenous studies, integral education and methodology, and contemplative studies. The final section of the course focuses on the theory and practice of participatory spirituality.

EWP 6496: Indigenous and Shamanic Traditions (3 units)

This course explores indigenous knowledge and traditions from the perspective of ancient and current life practices and beliefs of indigenous peoples from all over the planet. Shamanic techniques that arose from indigenous worldviews are studied along with modern day neo-shamanic practices. The animistic belief systems shared by most earth-based peoples is explored as a way to understand not only indigenous spiritual traditions but also ourselves.

EWP 6499: Shamanic Counseling: An Integration of Shamanism and Psychotherapy (3 units)

This course explores the bridging of shamanic medicine work and a holistic model of growth and healing. Shamanic journeys require a phase of integration to ground and integrate these transformations in the different aspects of life. Students reflect and explore the ways their psychological, physical, and spiritual levels of experiencing have been touched in such settings and how they can apply these changes in their lives. A model for a sound and meaningful personal medicine practice are discussed.

EWP 6537: Entheogenic Shamanism (3 units)

This course explores the fundamentals of shamanic traditions whose practices are based on sacred visionary plants, with a deeper focus on Amazonian ayahuasca shamanism. Cultural, philosophical, and psychological questions are addressed, concerning, for example, the "dark side" of entheogenic shamanic practices, the ontological status of visionary experiences, the spread of entheogenic shamanic practices into the West, and the issue of integration.

EWP 6544: Alchemy as Gnosis of Nature, Elements, and Landscapes (2 units)

This course begins by introducing the basics of Jung's understanding of alchemy, emphasizing how he translated the major operations of alchemy into psychological language. Then it discusses what the alchemists themselves had in mind with their explorations: deep transformation of human consciousness toward matter and, by extension, things, Earth, and cosmos.

EWP 6565: Kabbalistic Psychology (3 units)

This course examines and evaluates psychological insights found within the corpus of kabbalistic texts. Such insights may be seen to comprise two related aspects: the challenge to understanding the nature of mind and the development of techniques and practices directed at attaining a transformed level of being. The course draws on scholarly approaches to mysticism in general, analysis of kabbalistic texts in particular, and those lines of research in transpersonal psychology that enable effective evaluation of the psychological basis of mystical phenomena.

EWP 6751: Cross-Cultural Spiritual Psychology (3 units)

Cross-cultural psychology is a comparative study of psychologies of different cultures. This course surveys contemporary cross-cultural research on important aspects of psychological functioning: sense of self, values, thinking, perception, emotions, development, relationships, and spirituality.

EWP 6752: Transpersonal Psychology (3 units)

Discusses the historical origins and theoretical foundations of transpersonal psychology, drawing from the main representative authors and models: Jung, Assagioli, Maslow, Grof, Wilber, Washburn, Almaas, and others. Students learn the nature and significance of transpersonal phenomena and work with experiential exercises to integrate this understanding.

EWP 6900: Thesis or Dissertation Proposal Completion (0 units)

Provides support for thesis or dissertation proposal writing after all coursework and research colloquia are completed.

EWP 7011: Indigenous Traditions: Ancestral Consciousness and Healing (3 units)

Indigenous traditional knowledge is every person's birthright. This course provides students with an opportunity for reclaiming their indigenous heritages, allowing them to make breaks with beliefs, tradition, extended family, community, and homeland. Students focus on aspects of their individual ancestral heritages and family lineages that call for healing.

EWP 7034: Qualitative Research Methods (3 units)

This class offers an introduction to methods of qualitative research, with special emphasis on including the personhood of the researcher as an integral part of the research process. Heuristics, phenomenology, case study, and theoretical are a few of the approaches surveyed and explored through various exercises and work with film.

EWP 7300: Narrative Research (2 units)

Covers methods of working with narratives in research context-interviewing, analyzing, and reporting-and looks at the methodological, theoretical, and ethical issues of doing life-history research.

EWP 7311: Jungian Psychology and East-West Spirituality (3 units)

Examines Jung's historic contribution to the study of East-West psychology and religion, and the significance of Jungian psychology for a contemporary understanding of spirituality.

EWP 7347: The Soul as Artist: Jungian Art Therapy (1 unit)

This course unfolds within a conversation of Jung's unique insight into the nature of the psyche, this shared creative energy at the core of our being that finds expression in images, is purposeful in its mystery, and is lucid in its unfathomable depth. Students in this course establish personal relationships with this creative spirit by expressing themselves in painting, movement, creative writing, enactment, and other media.

EWP 7510: The Psychology of Advaita Vedanta (3 units)

Focuses primarily on the Vedantic concepts of self and mind, and the nature of bondage and liberation.

EWP 7516: Sexuality as a Transformational Path: Exploring the Holistic Dimensions of Human Vitality (3 units)

The aim of this course is to inquire into the role that sexuality, when understood as a creative force of life energy, plays in human development. The course introduces a holistic approach to human growth that begins, not with factual information about sexuality, but with an inquiry into the experience of sexuality itself. The course includes "interactive embodied meditations," which involve structured and respectful physical contact among participants.

EWP 7515: Holistic Sexuality (3 units)

This course offers the foundations of holistic sexuality, an integral approach to psychospiritual growth and healing that works experientially with the body, sexuality, heart, and nature.

EWP 7592: Nonduality and the Self (3 units)

The purpose of this course is to give students a traditional experience of Advaita Vedanta as a means of self-knowledge, as well as an academic understanding of the basic tenets of Advaita Vedanta, with emphasis on the meaning and lived experience of nonduality. The course is designed to be personally useful to students in their understanding of themselves and their psychology.

EWP 7606: Integral Psychology (3 units)

An in-depth examination of the implications of the work of Sri Aurobindo, the Mother, and Haridas Chaudhuri for psychology and psychotherapy. Integral philosophy provides an integrative framework for the divergent schools of Western psychology, as well as a synthesis of Eastern psychological perspectives. Integral psychotherapy is a psychospiritual method of working that is relational, embodied, and transformational.

EWP 7731: Dreaming the Soul: Dancing the Dream-A Jungian Dream Catcher (1 unit)

This course offers a reflective and experiential exploration of dreamwork from a Jungian ecopsychological perspective, as a process of befriending the soul. The soul, in turn, is understood as world soul in which the human psyche dwells. Students engage their dream images through creative movement and painting, enactment, story making, active imagination, and a creative dream journal. Through such creative embodied engagement, dream images disclose new insights; evoke rich, intuitive resonances; and instill the experience of a deeper belonging.

EWP 7792: East-West Spiritual Counseling (3 units)

Explores the meaning and purpose of spiritual counseling and the ways in which it complements, coincides with, and differs from psychological counseling. Theoretical emphasis is given to understanding the belief systems within which the counselor works and the impact they have on the counselor, his or her clients, and the counseling relationship. Eastern and Jungian perspectives are integrated into the spiritual counseling model.

EWP 7793: Spiritual Counseling Skills (3 units)

This course explores-through experience and reflection-the meaning, purpose, and practice of the transformative art of spiritual counseling. This inquiry unfolds within a creative dialogue about Eastern wisdom traditions, Jungian psychology, and the evolving perspectives of ecospirituality and integral spirituality, characterized by the celebratory awareness of human embeddedness in the community of Earth and the sacredness of being.

EWP 7800: Auroville: Spirituality, Community, and Multiculturalism in South India (3 units)

Against the rich living tapestry of the universal township of Auroville, India, this course provides an opportunity for deep inquiry into the nature of integral spirituality. Topical areas of study include the East-West encounter, the relationship between spirituality and religion, integral spiritual practice, spiritual authority, and community and spiritual transformation.

EWP 7815: Heuristic Research (2 units)

In-depth study of the heuristic method applied to psychological inquiry. Emphasis is on the development of research skills, heuristic inquiry, and practice with a pilot study. Students practice self-inquiry, focusing, immersion, and heuristic data analysis.

EWP 7878: Phenomenological Research (2 units)

In-depth study of the phenomenological method applied to psychological inquiry.

EWP 7900: Thesis or Dissertation Seminar (0 units)

The advanced student's research and writing of a dissertation progresses with the mentorship of, and in close consultation with, his or her dissertation chair and committee. Prerequisite: Advancement to candidacy.

EWP 8100: Research Colloquium (1 unit)

Ongoing seminar with advisor. Students' presentation of their work in progress leading to the completion of dissertation proposal.

EWP 8510: Theoretical Research Methods (3 units)

Introduction to the logic of theoretical research and overview of different theoretical approaches, such as hermeneutics, comparative analysis, critical theory, integrative studies, deconstruction, and feminist research. Emphasis is placed on approaching research and writing as transformative spiritual practices.

EWP 8799: Independent Study (1-3 units)

Coursework that extends a student's field of inquiry beyond current CIIS courses. Requires a syllabus and contract signed by the student and faculty member, and approved by the Program Chair.

EWP 8888: Special Topics (1-3 units)

A course of study not currently encompassed in the curriculum but relevant to evolving topics of growing importance in East-West psychology. =

EWP 8990: Supervised Fieldwork (1-3 units)

Applied psychological work in an approved off-campus setting under individual professional supervision.

EWP 9002: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and East-West Spirituality (3 units)

This seminar explores changing psychoanalytic views of spiritual experience and religious traditions, including Vedanta, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and mysticism. It offers doctoral students the opportunity to present their own research on the relationship between psychology, spiritual experience, and religion in the light of contemporary psychoanalytic thinking.

EWP 9003: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Transformational Practices: Eastern, Western, and Indigenous (3 units)

This seminar covers transformational practices in the global north and south, Eastern and Western practices, and indigenous earth-based practices. It focuses upon epistemological issues, ontological underpinnings, as well as critical deconstruction of the term "transformational practices". Students present their ideas on an integration of two of the three families of EWP Spiritual Traditions: Eastern theories and practices, Western mystical traditions, and indigenous-shamanic traditions.

EWP 9004: Advanced Seminar: Jung and the East (3 units)

Jung's writings on Psychology and the East along with relevant secondary literature will be discussed in this Advanced Seminar. Students will be asked to write paper on this topic and present it to the group. Jung had an ambivalent relationship with the East. He was concerned that the Western psyche was not in a position to embrace its wisdom, and at the same time, he acknowledged its profundity, saying that we had to come to the understandings of the East through a Western route. Prerequisite: EWP doctoral student

EWP 9104: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Principles of Healing (3 units)

An in-depth study of the principles of healing as practiced by therapists, shamans, artists, and spiritual counselors. Spiritual, emotional, philosophical, and psychological perspectives on healing are discussed. Students participate in a selected experiential healing method.

EWP 9405: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Contemporary Transpersonal Theory (3 units)

This seminar provides an exploration of the state of the art of transpersonal studies. The history of participatory thought and the implications of participatory spirituality for transformative practices, integral education, personal identity, and modern and indigenous cultures are discussed.

EWP 9406: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Jung's Red Book (3 units)

Started in 1914 when Jung entered a four-year spiritual crisis, the Red Book served Jung as a journal contains dreams, fantasies, intuitions, calligraphy, artwork, and the seeds of what grew into Jungian psychology. This seminar offers a transdisciplinary tour of Jung's Red Book, examining it from the vantage of several fields, including depth psychology, Freudian psychoanalysis, Complexity Theory, deep ecology, history, mythology, and ecopsychology.

EWP 9411: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Spiritual Counseling (3 units)

This advanced seminar is designed for students who have completed Spiritual Counseling I and/or II, the Psychology of Spiritual Guidance, or other equivalent courses approved by the instructor. Students develop and explicate their own model of spiritual counseling, and present their model to the class and demonstrate the model in role-plays.

EWP 9431: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Jung (3 units)

The purpose of this advanced seminar is threefold: first, to increase students' knowledge of Jung by immersion in his writings; second, to create a forum that allows for an in-depth inquiry personalized to the Jungian interests of each student; and third, to give students an opportunity to present their research and facilitate group inquiry and discussion.

EWP 9566: Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Comparative Mysticism (3 units)

An examination of the different models in the field of comparative mysticism: perennialist, constructivist, feminist, contextualist, and participatory. Students select and compare two mystical traditions, applying one of these models or developing their own comparative approach.