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
The Somatic Psychology program follows a scholar-practitioner pedagogy, while also emphasizing deep personal inquiry.
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.
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.
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
- 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
Application Deadline for Fall 2022: April 15, 2022
February 15, 2022 - 1st priority deadline. Submit by February 15th at 11:59pm PT for guaranteed review. After this date, some programs may be full and only interview for waitlist spots or not be able to further review applications.
March 15, 2022 - 2nd application deadline: pending program space availability. Applications after this date are considered on a space-available basis and may not be considered if you miss this deadline.
April 15, 2022 - 3rd application deadline: pending program space availability (after the priority deadline). After this date, some programs may be full and only interview for waitlist spots or not be able to further review applications. Applications will be considered on a space-available basis and may not be considered if you miss this deadline.
May 15, 2022 - 4th application deadline for programs still accepting applications (after the Feb 15th priority deadline). After this date, some programs may be full and only interview for waitlist spots or not be able to further review applications.
The Somatic Psychology program has received many more applications than we have seats available and are reviewing applications on a space-available basis, most likely only for a waitlist spot.