Student and Alumni Experience
"It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings."
– Wendell Berry
RICH MCCUTCHAN, Ph.D., M.F.T.
Psychotherapist in Private Practice
After being an established Marriage and Family Therapist I had a deeper knowing that something was missing. I wanted to do soul work within the context of community. My cohort life at Meridian provided the opportunity for my desires to manifest. The program’s curriculum, which emphasizes expression through ritual, imagination, and creativity within the complexities and challenges of community-making, invited the awakening of my soul. I engaged in relationships in ways I had not known in my family. This experience has opened my heart, freed my spirit, supported my growth, and allowed me to be more effective in my work as a healer.
DIANNA GRAYER, M.F.T.
Psychotherapist in Private Practice
Years after completing my doctorate, the education I received at Meridian continues to offer me guiding principles, as well as deepened capacities for self-awareness and tolerance, which I draw upon each and every day; my education feels like a living organism that continues to ripple forth. Furthermore, the power of Meridian's learning community structure catalyzed me to bring my psychological training into the political realm, towards work I never imagined myself doing: the healing of my own, local community.
MARY FULLWOOD, Ph.D., M.F.A.
Co-Director of the Terra Foundation, Los Osos, California
The Meridian experience was about more than just getting a degree. It was an invitation to explore and connect deeply with what matters most in this world, and to get grounded in the fundamentals of what it means to be alive as a human being. By answering this call to adventure, I found much more than an education. I found myself.
JOSHUA HOLCOMB, M.A.
President, Eclectic Health
As an older student with an advanced degree from a traditional institution, I sought an interactive, experientially oriented Ph.D. program. The Institute's gifted faculty delivered an evocative curriculum, exceeding my expectations, providing me with the canvas on which a deeply transformative experience was created. The initiatory nature of my educational journey at the Institute not only broadened my therapeutic skills, but it also deepened my personal capacities. As I finish my clinical hours toward my licensure as psychologist, I draw on my training on a daily basis. The program provided me with practical therapeutic interventions and strategies, but its most lasting and profound gift was the development and expansion of my empathic imagination. I am grateful that I chose the Institute of Imaginal Studies to pursue my dream of earning a Ph.D. I can think of no other experience, outside of having my child, that has so profoundly affected my personal growth and maturation process.
Joy Policar, Ph.d.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice
Meridian provides an extraordinary curriculum that has benefited me both personally and professionally. Community learning was completely transformative, catalyzing capacities in me which were previously undeveloped. Because of Meridian’s excellence, my education did not stop at graduation. I have bone knowledge and wisdom that continues to inform, guide, and inspire me in my work as a psychotherapist and educator. I am excited for anyone choosing Meridian for their graduate education because I know they will receive a rigorous yet meaningful education and expansive understanding of psychology and its true purpose of caring for the soul.
IRENE IVES, PH.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
The school’s cohort learning model has deeply affirmed my sense that transformative learning is dependent on community; and the school’s emphasis on cultural leadership has enabled me to bridge my work in organizations with my yearning to support social change. Mary Oliver’s line — ‘One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began’ - applies to me as a result of my experience here. The combination of theory, a learning cohort, and faculty who embody the teachings, created an environment in which I transformed my capacity to experience life and to practice my vocation. I went to ‘great’ schools before this but this is where I truly learned what I needed to live in the world and serve my community.
MARK NICOLSON, MA, MBA
Co-Founder, Leadership DNA and Ventana Group
Take a moment to imagine the most meaningful educational experience possible. Then, like me, imagine embarking on the life changing journey of going to Meridian. Engaging in the educational process at Meridian provided me the invaluable opportunity to enhance my willingness to participate in daily life as both a learner and a teacher. In a unique and compelling fashion, Meridian’s staff and faculty mentor students towards developing those capacities necessary to become a powerful and effective psychological practitioner who can serve the larger community with compassion and respect. Embracing Meridian’s encouragement of its students to strive towards cultural leadership in both professional practice and personal life, continues to be a challenging experience fully worth its immeasurable reward.
SUSAN J. GULBE WALSH, PH.D.
Counseling Psychologist, University of California, Santa Cruz