verified by Psychology Today

Lilan Laishley has a solid educational background from traditional academic institutions and a rich background in the healing arts.   Her experience in the healing arts began twenty years ago in New York City where she earned her Master’s degree in counseling from Hunter College while working in holistic health clinics. She received a license as a professional counselor and was a practitioner in behavioral medicine and addiction in psychiatric, drug, and alcohol treatment centers.
Lilan Laishley, Ph.D. brings skills from over thirty years of education and experience in astrology, psychology, spirituality, and religion. She has a PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis on ritual, cosmology, and labyrinths. She has taught philosophy and religion at major universities and been a speaker at numerous conferences. She has a Master degree in Counseling with a specialization in symbols, visualization, Tarot, and the archetypal ideas of Carl Jung. She has worked in private practice as well as hospital, treatment center, and wellness settings. She has studied a variety of spiritual traditions including Native American wisdom in Arizona, mythology with Joseph Campbell, and Buddhism with the Dalai Lama. She is an Astrologer and practitioner of Western Ways as well as author, teacher, and lecturer. She is a specialist in symbol and ritual and is the author of Religious Diversity on the Labyrinth: Rituals that Engage a Sacred Cosmos, as well as journal and magazine articles. She is founding member and previous Director of Research of The Labyrinth Society, an international organization dedicated to the education and expansion of labyrinths around the world. She has traveled to over fifteen countries around the world to visit sacred sites and study spiritual practices.

As Academic, Scholar, and University Professor


Degree: She earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies in 2004 from the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in Ritual Studies. She has a Master’s degree from Hunter College in Education and Counseling.

Dissertation: Her dissertation is titled “Labyrinths in American Contemporary Religion: Rituals that Engage a Sacred Cosmos.” This manuscript contains research on American religion, cosmology, nature religion, religious diversity, symbol, and ritual. The methodology is multi-disciplinary including ethnography, history, art, anthropology, and sociology.  For information on how to order a copy and to read the dissertation abstract and table of contents go to Abstract Other research interests: She also researched alchemy, astrology, and mysticism while at the University of Pittsburgh through studies in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.

University Teaching: Lilan Laishley has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and Chatham College. Classes include: Introduction to Religion; Religion and Star Trek; Origins of Christianity; Varieties of Early Christianity; Ethics and Women’s Issues; Myth, Symbol, and Ritual. She was also a consultant for the University of Tennessee on a six week trip to India in summer of 2004. In 2005 she taught for Semester at Sea, now housed at University of Virginia. Integrating education with explorations of 8 countries, she taught two courses: Religious Traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as Myth, Symbol, and Ritual of the Vikings and Celts.

Professional Papers, Publications, and Current Research: For a list of papers and publications go to her curriculum vita LAISHLEY CV Current research on the labyrinth and cosmological systems (see Labyrinths). Also the importance of religious ritual to the American family. She is also examining the role of the Navagrahas (nine planets)in the social and religious fabric of South India. She is synthesizing the archetypal meaning of the planets with psychology, and philosophy to provide a method for individuals to work with their planetary chart using meditation, visualization, and ritual.

Training and Experience in Counseling


Degrees: BA from Marshall University, Huntington, WV in Counseling; MS from Hunter College, New York, NY in Counseling, Ph.D in Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh

License: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) current since 1992 from WV.

Inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care: Privileges at Columbia/HCA Riverpark Hospital for adults, and adolescents, individual and group. Psychotherapist for outpatient at Health Center One, WV. Including impressionistic diagnoses from DSM-IV including depression, anxiety, bi-polar, ADHD and adjustment disorder.

Chemical Dependency Therapist at Phoenix Adolescent Recovery Center (PARC PLACE) in chemical dependency and dual diagnosis. Created and implemented recovery plans and family therapy.

Instructor: Counseling and Chemical Dependency at Rio Salado Community College in Phoenix Arizona.

Continuing Education: (selected)  Energy Psychology, Spirituality and Healing, Integrating Spirituality and Counseling, Ethics, Substance Abuse, Internet Addiction, Clinical Hypnosis in Children, Body Image and Healing, Shamanic Techniques and the Therapist, Creating Mandalas, New Genetics, Menopause, Play Therapy, Sexual Abuse, Co-Dependency, Carl Jung, Mind/Body Healing, Meditation in Therapy


Training in the Healing Arts. Myth –  Studied with Joseph Campbell in New York City in the early 1980’s in programs that were offered by Theater of the Open Eye. Symbol- Research on the importance of the use of symbol and metaphor to psychology. “Symbolic Visualization” is the name and subject of Master’s Thesis for the Master’s Degree in Counseling at Hunter College in New York City. This innovative approach to counseling looks at how important the use of symbols, imagery, and visualization are to the process of healing the psyche. Drawing largely from the psychology of Carl Jung the images of the Major Arcana of the Tarot are seen as stages in the process of Individuation, the process of bringing an awareness to the spiritual Self. Ritual – Ph.D. at University of Pittsburgh in Religious Studies with a focus on ritual. Did 5 years of research on rituals as relating to cosmology, with specific interest on labyrinth rituals. Twenty years experience creating and leading rituals at workshops, retreat centers, treatment facilities, and churches. Specialist in rituals of transformation.

Past Life Therapy- Trained in Past Life Therapy as part of an internship at Hunter College for Master’s degree in Counseling. Certification in Past Life Therapy in 1982 by APPLE (Association for the Alignment of Past Life Experience). Subject of the documentary film Past Life Therapy by Billy Black in 1984.

Dream Analysis– Training in dream analysis in psychotherapy and as a means of personal growth.

Shamanism– Two years active in shamanic drumming group in Arizona. Also engaged in numerous rituals, sweats, and ceremonies during five years in Arizona desert.

Interfaith Minister– ordained in 2002 in Glastonbury, England. Still active.

As Astrologer


Astrologer– A professional consulting Astrologer since 1984. Studied with Isabel Hickey in Boston, along with multiple other teachers. Published numerous astrological articles for written publications and has been a radio guest. Teaches Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Astrology Classes. Lilan brings a unique synthesis to her clients by linking astrology to psychology, symbols, and ritual in order to illuminate the individual horoscope as a map of self knowledge and personal empowerment. Works by phone or in her office.


I have been to over 15 countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia to discover sacred sites and to teach. In addition to my personal travels, I spent 10 weeks as a Religious Studies professor on Semester at Sea, a floating university where I taught the religion of the Vikings, Celts, and Christians.

9th century Snake Temple, India