Betsy Perluss, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist, Teacher, Guide
I specialize in Jungian and depth-oriented psychotherapy, dream work, and nature-based healing practices. My work is guided by non-hierarchical and anti-oppressive perspectives. For me, depth psychotherapy is an exploration of the rich resources of one’s inner life, along with a critical examination of the forces that silence what we instinctively already know. Together we will listen carefully to the psyche’s timeless wisdom to midwife the new story that wants to emerge. READ MORE >
“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination”
— Mary Oliver
Photo by Ernesto Rodriguez
Rites of Passage
Big Pine, California
May 15 – 20th, 2023
September 25 – 30th, 2023
I have known, loved, and admired Betsy for many years, and am always impressed by the creative and poetic depth of her wisdom. Fed by her wonderful curiosity, she reaches understandings that are relevant and necessary for the times we live in. And always she is guided by her caring for the people and for the land.
Betsy has this extraordinarily powerful seeing which catches the medicine in each person, raising them into their own healing, to encompass more of who they are on this earth. She holds the sacred and profane, the beauty and the grit, in such a unique and embodied way that opens the doorway for each person to step into the unknown, and to take the hand of their own journey. In her holding you feel boundless love and welcome and yet she has this exquisite ability to cut through that which doesn't serve to reveal the gold. She has been an integral part of my life, in her welcoming, grounded, inspiring presence- I felt free for the first time in my life to greet myself fully. She gave me the courage to be seen.
Permeating her quiet presence and inspired writings, Betsy’s soulful authority springs from her intimate resonance with wilderness wisdom. Such life-long dedication has created a pathway of possibility for others.
A midwife like no other, Betsy Perluss supports the emergence of the wild soul that naturally and authentically moves towards healing and wholeness. A deeply inspired and compassionate guide, she helps individuals lean into the mysterious unfolding of life’s intention unique to them. Whether through ceremony or psychotherapy, those who have the opportunity to work with Betsy are blessed, and in turn are better equipped to offer their gifts to this world.
Betsy Perluss is the real deal: a woman of heart, a woman of the wild, a woman of service. I have known Betsy for nearly twenty years, and during the past twelve of those years we together have co-guided the School of Lost Borders’ California Summer Fast. I have gotten to witness firsthand how much Betsy's life – her very being – is rooted in ceremony and rooted in the natural world. She channels that soulful connection to ceremony and nature into all the work she does in the human world. Those who choose to work with her – in groups or individually – are sure to benefit.
"Betsy is a remarkable guide and teacher! I have worked alongside her in wilderness trainings, academic conferences, and leadership roles in one of the world’s most respected nature-based rites training organizations. Her intelligence, wisdom, sensitivity, and warmth continually comes through in her guiding and teaching. She has an inspiring capacity to see what is hidden, and she is comfortable being with others in difficult places without judging or needing to “fix” them. What stands out most, however, is her personalness. In the best sense, Betsy is a real human being.
My trust in Betsy as guide, mentor, and navigator of the mythopoetic realms is unequivocal. I have witnessed and experienced the transformational influence of the space she holds and the mirroring offered through her. She embodies an exquisite and trustworthy blend of humility, compassion, care, and deep seeing.
Over many years of knowing Betsy, what I know is that she loves the earth with a passion, and that she is a vibrant, loving and deeply soulful woman. She is a teacher, a rites of passage guide, a psychotherapist, an author, musician, and explorer of many landscapes and horizons, inner and outer. With Betsy, you know you will be seen, honored and loved. And to top it all off, you know you can really laugh with her, and even let that wild side out a bit.
Betsy’s wisdom brings a unique gift to those that work with her. It comes through a mixture of whole system intelligence, humility, integrity, endless curiosity, creative capacity and honest compassion. I have experienced her time and time again bring people back into relationship with the fullness of themselves and their gifts and birth an expanded view of the world around them. I have developed a deep trust and respect in her approach and choices.
Betsy has a rare gift of deep listening, which truly feels like it is offered from a place of love and service. Her ability to see the wholeness in others when they can’t see it themselves, and to point to the light in the darkness, are invitations to show up authentically and with self-acceptance, even in the most challenging times. She holds threshold spaces of transformation with skill and compassion and is one of the most gifted guides in deep soul work that I’ve had the opportunity to work with.
Sitting in circle with Betsy is a privilege. Betsy sees sharply, brings a bright twinkle and ferocious clarity to each interaction, and plunges into the depths of archetypal knowledge and deep familiarity with the lands where she guides. She's a gifted mentor and guide who I've trusted with parts of myself I don't often share.
Betsy truly honors the multi-faceted wholeness of the human experience in her work. She is grounded and intentional in her approach, and her wealth of experience in the study and praxis of myth, dreams, Jungian analysis, and rites of passage guiding, coalesces into an undeniably unique and powerful environment for deep inquiry. Guiding together was profoundly transformative for me and I witnessed a similar experience in the participants. I would highly recommend working with her to anyone who longs to deepen into their own journey of soul and psyche.
A person who is fully committed to the emergence of the psyche as it manifests in the body and in dreams and externally in our natural, living world, is someone to trust as a guide. I know Betsy to have made that sincere pact as an educator, a therapist, and as a wilderness rite of passage guide. I am the better for having witnessed her skill and compassion over many years.
Betsy’s teachings, shared in a very clear, powerful yet humble way, are full of wisdom, depth and such a source of inspiration. We are deeply grateful for her guidance and for her commitment to support us and help us grow as guides. We were also very touched by Betsy’s quality of presence, her wisdom and depth, her strength, her deep listening skills as well as her generosity, love and care.
I am so fortunate to have worked with Betsy over the last 2 decades. Betsy brings so much wisdom and depth which is deeply rooted in soil and earth. Betsy is such an inspiring, passionate, and gifted teacher and I continue to learn from their thoughtful and compassionate presence.
It is incredible how powerful, how clear and at the same time how gentle and respectful Betsy can speak to you, how her deep love for others allows her to find the way to the heart of each person, no matter how complex or individual her or his personal situation appear to be in that moment.
I have had the pleasure of working with Betsy in multiple capacities over the last 9 years. She was a guide on my first wilderness fast, witnessing and mirroring my story in ways that gently changed my life. Years later, Betsy was a guide of a rites of passage program that I assisted. Once again, she showed up as witness and mentor as I stepped into another potent phase of life. It is challenging to put into words Betsy offered in these two huge milestones of my life. She brings deep experience and knowledge, drawing from her deep well of love and patience, while also inviting playfulness and newness to a field that she has been in for decades. Betsy's presence allowed me to tap into my own truth and live my journey in a gently held container.
Betsy guides with the presence and patience of an old old tree, the dynamic creativity of the wind, and the timeless, rooted wisdom of a mountain. She combines humble compassion for the most mundane and ugly aspects of being human with a deep literacy of mythology, archetypes, and the languages of nature in a way that helps people make meaning of our stories. She is a steadfast guide and ally who looks unafraid into shadows and supports us to find the gifts in the wounds, the magic in our weirdest dreams, and the potent relevance of the mirrors of nature. Betsy receives us with open arms and heart, whether we're returning from the high mountain peak or the stinging dung pile, eager to help us alchemize the strange things we've found into treasures that support our wholeness.
I will never forget you! You were my wilderness guide in 2013 and 2014. You helped me find meaning and connection in nature. Your honest insightful mirroring still speaks to me when I need to remember. Ecopsychothearpy has really saved my life. Thank you for being my teacher/racoon.
Dr. Perluss' expert guidance contributed immensely to both my academic and inner understanding of the relationship between psyche and nature. I am forever changed as a result.
Betsy is a guide, teacher and mentor for our times. I have been deeply impacted by sitting in ceremony with Betsy over the years. Her ability to call forth years of deep study of the land and humans and her capacity to cut through to the very truth of things makes Betsy not only a great guide but the kind of true wisdom-keeper our earth most deeply needs right now.