Program Overview

CIIS' Somatic Psychology graduate program is one of three accredited academic programs in the United States that prepares students to use both conventional and holistic, embodied approaches to psychotherapy. This program integrates Western and non-Western philosophical and spiritual traditions, reflecting the founding vision of the University. 

A forerunner in the discipline of somatic psychology, the program draws on developmental and sociocultural perspectives that explore how embodied emotion, expression, identity, and interaction are formed in individuals, families, and communities. The pedagogy is also whole-person-oriented, combining academic rigor, experiential learning, and community engagement.

Students in the Somatic Psychology program learn how to work with somatic approaches to psychotherapy, as well as traditional counseling practices. You will become part of a community of scholars and practitioners developing the field of psychotherapy.

Our graduates are trained as conscientious and culturally-aware experts in approaches to psychotherapeutic embodied cognition. Our faculty have a wide range of research interests, including early childhood mental health, somatic and movement therapy in foster and adoptive care systems, refugees and immigrants, underserved communities, depth psychology, queer theory, neurodiversity, and creative transformation.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Somatic Psychology

Length of Program
Number of Units
60 or 71
 MFT             LPCC  
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Our Approach

The Somatic Psychology program follows a scholar-practitioner pedagogy, while also emphasizing deep personal inquiry.  

Intellectual Rigor
Students in the Somatic Psychology program develop an integral approach to counseling psychology that includes evidence-based modalities and a broad understanding of individual and family systems. A range of disciplines are explored, including neuroscience, traumatology, Jungian psychology, and socio-cultural approaches. 

In addition to our emphasis on clinical skills, students are also invited to hone their academic skills, through dyadic learning, writing research papers, and giving presentations both in class and at national conferences.

Personal Development 
Experiential learning and the importance of self-knowledge and self-development is at the heart of our program. We affirm that to be a successful practitioner, you must have knowledge of your own responses, reactions, and senses of meaning as you work with others.

Students are expected to enter deeply into their own bodily experience, exploring the capacity for empathy, feeling, and expression. The program also examines the familial, social, and cultural roots that affect each person.

Career Paths 

The field of somatic psychology has been in existence for decades, but only recently has it begun to gain prominence, in large part due to the proliferation of research on trauma and the body. Somatic therapists are increasingly becoming highly sought out. 

The Somatic Psychology program prepares students for licensure as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or a professional clinical counselor (LPCC). CIIS graduates boast a 92% pass rate on the MFT licensure exam and have held the #1 position in California for pass rates over the last six exam cycles.

Graduates are not only mental health counselors, but also experts in embodied cognition. They are prepared to work in private practice and agency and community settings:

  • City government 
  • Homeless outreach programs
  • Prisons
  • Agencies dealing specifically with children's and women's issues
  • Agencies addressing the treatment of addictions
  • Schools and other education-oriented settings

How to Apply

Fall 2023 applications opened on November 15th

January 15th, 2023 - 1st deadline for the Drama Therapy program.

February 15th, 2023 - 1st priority deadline for all other programs.

March 15th, 2023 - 2nd priority deadline for all programs with space still available.

April 15th, 2023 - 3rd priority deadline for all programs with space still available.

May 15th, 2023 - 4th priority deadline for all programs with space still available.

Application Link

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 reach out to the Admissions Office

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