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Welcome to

Studio Sessions

Creative Learning Communities

Studio Sessions are a chance to be part of a small, on-line community that comes together for a 4 - 8 week season, to study a particular theme from both a depth psychological and creative perspective. This learning model prioritizes group discussion and creative engagement along with theoretical  study.

Group Enrollment is limited to 15 people and sessions tend to fill quickly.

Shadow Vows

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Start Date:  Wednesday,

January 26th, 2021

Number of Classes:  6

Frequency: Weekly - Wednesdays 

Time: Noon - 1:oo PM EST

Class Length:  1 hour

What You Receive:

- Weekly on-line learning community

- 30 minute teaching with faculty each week

- Teaching sessions are recorded for you to watch as often as you'd like

- 30 minute group discussion (Not recorded)

- Creative Resource Guide with films, books, Youtube videos and other material to engage with

- Private on-line forum for sharing and discussion

- Complimentary mentoring session with Elizabeth 

Studio Session Registration: 

Non-member: $278

Early Bird Discount: $250

Circle Member:  $200

Profound relationships such as marriage and friendship inspire us to bring our best selves forward, yet lurking in the shadows are thoughts, feelings, and behaviors we would prefer to hide or deny. That is why accompanying every vow is a shadow vow, representing our unacknowledged assumptions, agreements, images, and expectations. Shadow vows—rarely conscious or voiced—bind the partners to each other and to the relationship until the pain of feeling trapped, crippled, or exhausted from trying to live by them forces its way into awareness.


   In this six-week Studio Sessions series, Dr. Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson, author of Psyche's Knife (Chiron, 2012), shows how a much-loved, much-discussed tale in the Western tradition, Eros and Psyche, has something fresh to offer anyone interested in the vicissitudes of love. She presents a complex and compelling analysis of Psyche who is far more than a simple, naïve, and beautiful young woman. Through examination of key moments in the tale, an authentic portrait of the soul emerges in which love and power are not the opposites conventional thinking supposes them to be. We shall see that Psyche embodies kinds of power necessary in loving another, without which love is anemic.


   The sessions will offer a blend of theory and experiential work to stimulate participants’ thoughts, challenge their assumptions, and create a kind and loving space to question when and why they fall silent rather than speak up in personal relationships. We also borrow an idea from David Whyte to creatively explore the idea that marriage is a metaphor for other durable commitments in one’s life—to a job, an organization, a home, a community—and that shadow vows are present there, too. By the end of the six weeks, participants will be more fully and disturbingly aware of the invisible and unvoiced promises they make, which bind them as tenaciously as the vows they speak aloud.


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Elizabeth Nelson, Ph.D.

Elizabeth is core faculty and Chair of the Graduate Research Council at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she has been teaching since 2003, and a Senior Faculty Member of The Sophia Center. She lectures in a broad range of courses in research process, methodology, scholarly writing, and dissertation development along with classes in dream, literature, and cultural studies. Dr. Nelson’s own research interests focus on the shadow, gender, and power with a particular interest in how women discover and express a vibrant, embodied authority. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. in depth psychology and has undergraduate degrees in Economics and Political Science, a Master’s degree in English Literature, and an abiding interest in feminist studies. As a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, she coaches aspiring authors across a variety of genres and styles.

Our Mothers, Our Selves

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Our relationships with our mothers comprise some of the most psychologically complex and intertwined dynamics of our lives. In this 10 week Studio Sessions series, we will explore some of the archetypal feminine identities that are often repressed or ignored, but which may contain the key to genuine transformation in ourselves and in our relationships.  Some of the archetypal identities we will explore are:


- The Caged Bird

- The Muse

- The Rejected Lover

- The Bag Lady

- The Recluse

- The Revolutionary

- The Visionary

In this 10 week on-line series of studio sessions, we will explore some of the archetypal motifs of the mother-daughter relationship and how this affects self-identity through a process of both lecture and art making. Using the book, Meeting the Madwoman, by Linda Schierse Leonard, as a key text in addition to supporting material from Jung's Collected Works, Erich Neumann's, The Great Mother and Marion Woodman's writings, each week will focus on a specific theme in both the lecture portion and the art sharing portion of the session. Each 30 minute recorded studio session is focused on an illumination and amplification of themes from the text.  Follow each recorded session with a chapter from the Creative Resource guide for a deep engagement with this material.

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