Program Requirements

The Designated Emphasis in Somatic Psychology is a 36-unit online degree program situated within CIIS' Integral and Transpersonal Psychology Ph.D.

The Somatic Psychology Emphasis explores the implications for understanding human complexities that emerge from serious, prolonged cultivation of direct bodily experience: breathing, touching, sensing, moving.

The program welcomes existing professionals in the field of somatics/somatic psychology, or people who have a substantial background in one or more practices for understanding bodily experience. Students bring their expertise in the material from previously conducted trainings, workshops, or certificate programs that apply to professional practice. 

Students are required to attend five-day residential intensives each fall and spring. The remainder of coursework is completed online.

The course of study consists of core requirements, research courses, 18 units in the Designated Emphasis, two comprehensive exams, and a dissertation written using original research.

Course of Study

Semester 1 | Fall (6 units)

ITPS 7182 Origins of Somatic Psychology (3 units)
ITP 7188 Scholarly Writing (2 units)
ITPS 7192 Somatic Praxis I(1 unit)

Semester 2 | Spring (6 units)

ITP 7222 Foundations of Research (2 units) (shared with ITP)
ITPS 7185 Further Reaches of Somatics/Somatic Psychology (3 units)
ITPS 7193 Somatic Praxis II (1 unit)

Required, self-directed, online exam in General Psychology for students who do not enter with psychology degree or courses of study. Students with psychology degree or course of study may request exemption. Due by the start of Semester 3.

Semester 3 | Fall (6 units)

ITP 7201 Qualitative Research Methods (2 units) (shared with ITP)
ITPS 7183 Spiritual Traditions of Embodied Practice (3 units)
ITPS 7194 Somatic Praxis III (1 unit)

Semester 4 | Spring (7 units)

ITPS 7197 Embodied Inquiry (3 units)
*Can be substituted with another approved research methods course inside or outside ITP
ITPS 7190 Advanced Topics in Somatic Psychology Disciplines (3 units)
ITPS 7195 Somatic Praxis IV (1 unit) 

Written Comprehensive Exam is completed between semesters 4 and 5 and due at the start of semester 5.

Semester 5 | Fall (6 units)

ITPS 7188 Embodied Pedagogy/Oral Exam (3 units)
ITPS 7186 Embodied Social Justice (3 units) 

Semester 6 | Spring (6 units)

ITP 6898 Proposal Development (3 units)
Elective (3 units)

Semester 7 and beyond - Dissertation Research and Writing 

Dissertation Proposal (0.1 unit)
Dissertation Seminar (0.1 unit)

Residential Intensives also required (0 units):

ITP 7001     Residential Intensive I                                                               
ITP 7002     Residential Intensive II                                                              
ITP 7003     Residential Intensive III
ITP 7004     Residential Intensive IV                                                             
ITP 7005     Residential Intensive V
ITP 7006     Residential Intensive VI

Curriculum Highlights

ITPS 7182 Origins of Somatic Psychology (3 units)
This course will explore the revolutionary movements in the Western world such as European phenomenology, American pragmatism, and the analytic psychologies, which were designed to heal the deleterious effects of the radically dualistic approach to understanding human beings crafted during the European Enlightenment. Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Elsa Gindler, Marion Rosen, Gerda Alexander, Moshe Feldenkrais, Mary Starks Whitehouse, and others were among the pioneers during the early 20th century whose works impacted our own developments. The course emphasizes unifying core teachings often obscured by public representations of the different methods.

ITPS 7183 Spiritual Traditions of Embodied Practice (3 units)
Intersections between somatic practices and transpersonal psychologies occur in many spiritual disciplines: breathing practices, ritual movements and postures, chants, tracking sensations and energy flows. This course offers the opportunity to study and work with examples of embodied practices in the context of their spiritual traditions, with an appreciation for what can be learned from such traditions as well as what cannot be imparted to practitioners who are not themselves embedded in a tradition.

ITPS 7186 Embodied Social Justice (3 units) 
Recognizing the embodied dimensions of oppression is key to transforming the damage it inflicts on all members of society across intersecting social locations and identifications. This course provides a conceptual framework, research evidence, and practical skills for working critically with power and privilege in and through the body to support personal, relational, and social change. 

ITPS 7187 Embodied Inquiry (3 units) 
In this course, students develop practical skills in the use of somatic approaches to scholarly inquiry. Students learn how to develop a research question grounded in embodied experience, how to conduct interviews and facilitate focus groups that draw out the felt experience of the body, and practice somatic strategies for transcribing, coding, analyzing, and presenting data.

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