Teaching Interests
Research Interests
Educational Background

Charter College of Education

Betsy Perluss
Associate Professor

Office: KH C4030
Phone: 343-6355


My full-time teaching career began in the fall of 2001 with the Charter College of Education in the Division of Administration and Counseling. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and a credentialed school counselor. Prior to coming to CSULA, I worked in public school settings as a traditional school counselor and as a family therapist. I have a doctorate in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

My interests are interdisciplinary, ranging from philosophy and religion to literature and art. I am particularly interested in how these disciplines intersect with, and inform, our understanding of human psychology. From a depth psychological perspective, cultural artifacts, ideas and beliefs can be viewed as symbolic manifestations of deep-rooted psychic content. I am also on staff with the School of Lost Borders, a training center for wilderness rites of passage, located in Big Pine, CA. This work is one of my greatest pleasures and it has provided invaluable sources of insight into my understanding of human nature, as well as into the often forgotten, but fundamental, human relationship with nature.


Although I teach a wide variety of counseling courses, my goal for each class is similar: to facilitate critical thinking and promote self-directed learning. I imagine education as an avenue to greater self-awareness, self-respect, and thus, to more meaningful community participation. I particularly enjoy teaching human development as this course provides ample opportunity to explore the nature of cognitive, social and moral development, and how these concepts can be applied to our personal and professional lives. I believe that dialogue within a supportive environment is essential to good learning, and therefore, I integrate “council” into my teaching. Within this model, students are free to speak their ideas without being trapped in the dichotomous “I’m right/you're wrong” paradigm. Council allows ideas from diverse perspectives to be spoken freely resulting in non-judgmental understanding of self and others. Council has been practiced in many situations, in all levels of education, and is a model program at Palm’s Middle School in Los Angeles Unified School District.


Currently, I am working on a book on psyche and landscape. This work weaves together insights from depth psychology, ecopsychology, nature literature, and wilderness experiences. For more information see my personal website at Psyche and Nature.

Representative Professional Activities


Selected Publications/Presentations

2008 Climbing the Alchemical Mountain: A story of Initiation. Psychological Perspectives (51-1).
October, 2008 The Hospital Environment and the Nature Connection. Planetree Annual Conference, Williamsburg, Virginia.
2007 Touching Earth, finding spirit: A passage into the symbolic landscape. Spring Journal. Issue 72, Part 2.
March 2007 Where Psyche Glides along Mountaintops and Rivers flow Deep within the Valley of the Soul: Thresholds and Liminality in Wilderness Rites of Passage. Conference of Nature and Human Nature, Pacifica Graduate Institute and the Institute for Mythological Studies, Carpinteria, CA.
September 2007 Ritess of Passage as a Foundation for Wilderness Therapy. 5th Annual Wilderness Therapy Symposium, Naropa University, Boulder, CO.
April 2006 Landscapes and Archetypes: An Investigation of Carl Jung’s Theory of Archetypes and their Relatedness with Nature. “Exploring Religion, Nature, and Culture” the Inaugural Conference of the Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl.
2005 Desert dreaming: Tracking psyche through the landscape. Psychological Perspectives (48-2).
February 2004 A Depth Psychological Inquiry into the Relationship Between Psyche and Landscape. Fourteenth North American Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment and Community. Empire State College, State University New York, Saratoga Springs, NY
May 2002 An Ecological-Depth Psychological Approach to Working with Teenage Youth in a School Setting. Creating Community with Youth: Perspectives from Liberation and Depth Psychologies, Conference: Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA
September 2000 Re-membering Ourselves to Place. International Symposium of Archetypal Psychology: Santa Barbara, CA


Ph.D. Depth Psychology 2004
Pacifica Graduate Institute

Santa Barbara

M.S. Counseling 1991
California State University

Los Angeles

B.A. Religious Studies 1984
Westmont College

Santa Barbara