"I feel let loose in a candy store!"
This is probably the most frequent comment I've heard year after year from enthusiastic students who find our program. I can see why. I'm happy with my graduate education, but had I known about our programs I would have studied in them myself.
I began teaching at CIIS in 2009 as an adjunct faculty member. After serving as core faculty and acting department chair at John F. Kennedy University, I was promoted to core faculty at my new home base, CIIS, where I taught three of my favorite topics: Qualitative Research, Archetypal Mythology, and Planetary Psychology, the last being a survey course that studies perspectives that bring together various environmental studies and psychological approaches. At CIIS I have also taught depth psychology, alchemical psychology, phenomenology, Systems Theory, our research colloquia, and Jung's Red Book, a record he left of four years of immersion in the depths of his psyche.
I came to CIIS because of the opportunity to teach what I was passionate about to students eager to learn. Today I have the honor as department chair of overseeing how EWP is evolving to offer what the local and global challenges of our day require. Adaptation to climate change, integral education, participatory and embodied spiritual approaches, techniques of reconnection with ancestry and tradition, the impact of scientific advances like artificial intelligence and epigenetics on consciousness and community: these are a few of many topical areas of inquiry you hear about in our classrooms.
Although EWP serves as a kind of alchemical hub where spiritual and psychological traditions intermix, that should not be misunderstood as an intellectual cafeteria. We hold our students to strict academic standards. Scholars who teach for us help interested students get published. The transformative skills we offer prepare our learning community not only for current professional opportunities, but for future ones still on the horizon.
True adaptation requires self-reinvention without losing one's essential purpose. As one of the oldest programs at CIIS, EWP began as a series of conversations between Western psychology and Eastern spiritual disciplines, Indian in particular. To these ever-deepening conversations we have added voices from the North (ecopsychology, Systems and science) and the South (shamanism, indigenous knowledge and practice). We are also expanding our portfolio of certificates and planning to open some of our courses to participation via webcam.
In closing I should mention the second most frequent comment I hear from satisfied students, a comment that speaks volumes about the largely unfulfilled hunger for depth of community in our time of distraction, uprootedness, and turbulence: "I have finally found my tribe."
Stay tuned, have a look at the East West Psychology webpage, check out what our students & alumni are up to, visit our East West Psychology Facebook page, explore the interests and backgrounds of the faculty, and feel free to contact us with whatever questions occur as you seek the graduate education that aligns with what your soul desires.
Craig Chalquist, PhD
Department Chair, East-West Psychology