Skip to main content

Sufism & Psychotherapy: Love, Imagination, and the Journey of the Soul

Sufism & Psychotherapy

Program Description

Love, Imagination, and the Journey of the Soul

Sufism, the mystical path within the Islamic tradition, and depth psychotherapy, each gravitate around issues central to healing and human being – love, transformation, imagination, and the soul. Join four leading scholars, teachers, and analysts, at the intersection of these rich and diverse imaginal realms.

Rumi and the Secret of Being Human

Kabir Helminski

For Rumi, and the Sufi tradition in general, the “self,” our “I-ness,” is both the poison and the remedy. It need not be “annihilated” but transformed through ever finer levels of consciousness—seven according to one map of this journey. This transformation is made possible through a developing relationship between the individual self and Universal Intelligence. Intelligence and Love are not two, but different aspects of one higher order Reality. We will explore some of the practical aspects of this transformation and the coherent worldview and practice underlying Rumi’s heart-opening wisdom.

Sufism and the Healing Value of Love in Depth Psychotherapy

D. Steven Nouriani

Dr. Nouriani will be presenting on the healing value of love in depth psychotherapy and Jungian analysis from the perspective of Sufism. The profound deeper meaning of love from the perspective of Sufism has broad clinical applications. And, it can provide further implications for a deeper understanding of transference and countertransference issues in depth psychotherapy, which can improve the treatment process and lead to further consciousness and healing. Clinical examples will be provided.

Recommended Reading

Farid Ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds, trans. Afkham Darbandi & Dick Davis (Penguin Classics).

Encountering the Imaginal Realm of the Soul

Sherri Mahdavi

Sufism has always stressed the importance of psychological work to create an inner space within which one can come to experience the imaginal realm of the soul and the deep mysteries of the heart. In this presentation, Dr. Mahdavi will describe the process of inner transformation among Sufi mystics, which aims towards a complete transformation of one’s psychic structure. She will then share how her personal inner journey led to the integration of Persian Sufi wisdom into her clinical practice, with each further illuminating the other.

Soul’s Journey: In Sufism of Ibn al-‘Arabi & Analytical Psychology of C. G. Jung

Mansoor Abidi

This presentation introduces the basic teachings of the theoretical Sufism of Ibn al-‘Arabi using the lens of Jungian psychology. Many religious scholars versed in Islamic psychology believe that Sufism differs from the major branches of the Islamic faith, such as jurisprudence, philosophy, or Shi’ism. This is because Sufism stresses ma’rifa, a direct mode of knowing the world, the human soul, and God. Similarly, Jungian psychology, which places great emphasis on the personal shadow and the archetypal or transpersonal aspects of the psyche, has been dismissed by mainstream psychology and religious traditionalists. This talk will attempt to illustrate the Sufi path to spirituality via the Jungian approach. Identifying parallels and outlining the soul’s journey, the discussion will draw similitudes from the inverse relationship of the Sufi notion of the soul’s descent (separatiotanzih) and ascent (coniunctio, tashbih) to Jung’s model of the individuation process.

Learning Objectives for Continuing Education Credits (4 Hours):

  • Demonstrate increased skill in conceiving and implementing clinical interventions based on Sufi theories of affect.
  • Analyze transference and countertransference dynamics using symbolic thinking and demonstrate in at least one case study.
  • Assess Sufi conceptions of self and apply to psychotherapeutic practice using at least two examples.

Program Details


July 1, 2022 (Friday)
9:00am-1:30pm Pacific Time

Live via Zoom


  • $50 General Rate
  • $35 Pacifica Alumni, Full Time Students, & Senior Rate
  • $25 Pacifica Student Rate
  • $25 Continuing Education Credits (4 hours)*

Program link will be sent out prior to the event. For those unable to attend live, the presentation will be recorded and the link shared after the event.

*Live attendance is required for verification of CEC hours (no partial CEC Certificates are offered). Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs

Featured Presenters

Kabir Helminski has explored the sacred traditions of the world seeking to understand what they can teach us about consciousness and the human heart. The focus of his work is contributing to a new language of spirituality to meet the unprecedented challenges of our times. His books, Living Presence and The Knowing Heart, have been published in at least eight languages. Kabir is a respected translator of the works of Rumi and others, and co-director of The Threshold Society (Sufism.org). He has toured North America as Shaikh with the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey bringing Sufi culture to more than 100,000 people internationally.

Sherri Mahdavi, PhD, is a Jungian analyst and clinical psychologist in private practice in Irvine, CA. She also serves as an associate professor of applied clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Southern California, where she teaches courses in depth psychology.



Mansoor H. Abidi, PhD, is a Pakistani-American scholar interested in metaphysics, spirituality, depth psychology, Neoplatonism and alchemy. As an undergraduate, he majored in Biology and Religious Studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. For Graduate school, he attended Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California, earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in Depth Psychology through the program of Jungian & Archetypal Studies. He is presently an adjunct professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute and a faculty fellow at the Jung Center, Houston, teaching courses on Sufism, Alchemy, and Depth Psychology.

Steven Nouriani, PhD, MFT, is a multicultural Jungian analyst and a member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, where he regularly teaches at educational events and in the analytical training program. With a special interest in mysticism and bridging the East and West, he has published and presented on various topics in analytical psychology at conferences in the US and abroad for two decades. Dr. Nouriani is in private practice in San Francisco and San Jose, CA, where he provides analysis and depth psychotherapy to children, adults, couples and groups, in English and Persian.

General Information


Hosted Online


Cancellations 14 days or more prior to the program start date receive a 100% refund of program registrations. After 14 days, up to 7 days prior to the program start date, a 50% refund is available. For cancellations made less than 7 days of program start date, no refund is available.

Continuing Education Credit:

This program meets qualifications for 4 hours of continuing education credit for Psychologists through the California Psychological Association (PAC014) Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.

This course meets the qualifications for 4 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

For Registered Nurses through the California Board of Registered Nurses this conference meets qualifications of 4 hours of continuing education credit are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177).  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

Full-day attendance is required to receive a certificate.

CECs and Online Program Attendance: Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

For additional information, including travel, cancellation policy, and disability services please visit our general information section.

Registration Details

Friday, July 1, 2022

Payment options:
Credit Card, PayPal, Check or Phone.