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 
ITP 7186 Critical Thinking With Integral/Transpersonal Psychologies (3 units)
ITPS 7182 Origins of Somatic Psychology (3 units)
ITPS 7192 Somatic Praxis (1 unit)

Semester 2 | Spring 
ITPS 7183 Spiritual Traditions of Embodied Practice (3 units)
ITP 7188 Scholarly Writing With Integral and Transpersonal Studies (3 units) 
ITPS 7193 Somatic Praxis II (1 unit)

Semester 3 | Fall 
ITP 7201 Qualitative Research Methods With Integral and Transpersonal Psychologies (3 units) 
ITPS 7185 Further Reaches of Somatics/Somatic Psychology (3 units)
ITPS 7194 Somatic Praxis III (1 unit)

Semester 4 | Spring 
ITP 7228 Quantitative Research Methods With Neuroscience of Consciousness (3 units) 
Or ITP 7197 Embodied Inquiry (3 units)
ITPS 7190 Advanced Topics in Somatic Psychology Disciplines (3 units)
ITPS 7195 Somatic Praxis IV (1 unit)

Semester 5 | Fall 
ITP 7197 Integral Research Methods With Creative Expression (3 units) 
ITPS 7186 Embodied Social Justice (3 units)

Semester 6 | Spring  
ITP 6898 Proposal Writing (3 units) 

Semester 7 and beyond - Dissertation Research and Writing 
Dissertation Proposal (0.1 unit)
Dissertation Seminar (0.1 unit)

Two comprehensive exams are required. The first is a comprehensive exam in general psychology that is to be completed no later than the first day of Semester 4. The second exam is a 30-page publishable quality paper graded by an Integral and Transpersonal Psychology faculty member that must be completed no later than one semester prior to enrolling in ITP 6898 Proposal Writing course.

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.

Questions? Contact us.

We are here to help! If you have any questions about applying to a program or registering for an Info Session, please contact the Admissions Office at 415-575-6154 or .

Stay Connected to CIIS