Counseling Practitioners and Healing Arts
Anna Joyce, Phd
The Women's Spirituality Program, PhD Alum
Anna Joyce is a passionate lifelong learner who returned to get her PhD in women's spirituality after twenty years as a psychotherapist in private practice. With additional background in religious studies, Afro-Brazilian spiritual traditions, and meditation, she found herself intuitively drawn to the study of the Mexican-American body of healing arts known as curanderismo, the topic of her dissertation. "The Sixth Sun: The Spiritual Path and Practice of Mexican-American Curanderismo" explores the ways in which curanderismo is a fully developed worldview and spiritual practice. Years of participant observation in New Mexico and California resulted in the creation of lifelong community with many of these curanderas, and a deepening of Anna's own spiritual practice as an herbalist, gardener, and medicine maker.
The grandmother of four grandchildren, Anna spends her free time growing organic vegetables and medicinal herbs, knitting for her children, and travelling between Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Brazil. Since completing her dissertation in 2009, Anna has been a co-organizer of the Curanderismo Series at Sol Collective in Sacramento—an educational program that empowers people to take charge of their own health and wellness, and that of their families and communities, through traditional indigenous medicinal practices.
Of her time with the program, Anna says:
"This degree resulted in enormous changes in the way I felt about my work. Through spending time with the curanderas and observing their healing work with people, the way I worked began to evolve as well. The fact that all life and growth take place within a spiritual journey was more prominent in my assessment of and solutions to client challenges. I began to view my work as a true healing art. And for the first time in all the years of practice, I truly loved it! My work works me as I hold the sacred stories of my clients' lives, in a continuous practice of mindfulness and compassion, session by session."