The Somatic Psychology curriculum has the following three objectives:

  • To develop skills sufficient to serve as professional psychotherapists and counselors at the MA level.
  • To integrate significant personal growth in the context of the program and will commit to personal development for effective self-use in clinical practice.
  • To actively engage in an exploration of their own social attitudes and beliefs, seek to understand differences and their attending power dynamics, and develop competencies in applying diversity sensitivity to their clinical practice.
  • To gain a broad and deep knowledge of the scholarship associated with the field of Somatic Psychology, including an understanding of historical and contemporary issues, theories, and approaches. 
  • To gain an in-depth understanding and capacity to apply Somatic Psychology theory to the clinical practice of Somatic Psychotherapy.

The Somatic Psychology curriculum provides students with a firm understanding of the theories, strategies, and transformational attitudes that are basic to psychotherapy.

Coursework combines didactic and experiential modes of learning. In addition to traditional forms of assessment, the program teaches assessment of individual and family and group dynamics through the observation of body movement and nonverbal communication. Students learn both verbal and body-based methods of intervention to facilitate change for those in therapy.

Basic courses focus on the field of psychotherapy, with a strong emphasis on developmental theory, family-systems theory and practice, sociocultural and psychodynamic approaches. Students learn how to help clients develop personal and community resources. Coursework throughout the Somatic Psychology program includes the study of a range of psychodynamic approaches including drive theory, object relations, self-psychology, Jungian, intersubjective, and relational theories.

Students study family systems perspectives, and contemporary understandings of attachment and affect. The curriculum includes the study of issues of cultural diversity, poverty, gender, sexual diversity, spirituality, and work.

Students are introduced to various body-oriented approaches to psychotherapy, and the cultivation of body/psyche in a variety of non-Western modalities is also explored. The Somatic Psychology curriculum includes a carefully supervised practicum counseling experience. Students may apply for training at the Center for Somatic Psychotherapy, which is a counseling center devoted to practicing body-oriented psychotherapy.

Students at other practicum sites are supervised by program-approved supervisors. The program emphasizes the appropriate use of movement, bodily awareness, visualization, and touch in psychotherapy. During their enrollment in the program, students must complete 50 hours of personal somatic psychotherapy. The program maintains a referral base of approved and licensed somatic psychotherapists who work in the Bay Area.

MFT LICENSURE

The curriculum is designed to prepare students for the academic requirements for the California Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license. Sixty (60) semester units are required for graduation, 6 of which must be in a field placement that meets the guidelines of California Board of Behavioral Sciences examiners.

Board guidelines also stipulate that there must be a minimum of 12 units in courses explicitly related to family therapy covering the topic areas specified by law (Section 4980.40).

Additional professional requirements include classes in psychopathology, substance dependency, professional ethics and the law, and cross-cultural counseling. While states differ in their licensure requirements, it has been our experience that California requirements overlap those of other states.

SAMPLE FULL-TIME SCHEDULE

Two-and-One-Half-Year Sequence

Fall I
MCPS 5201 Human Development and the Family 3 units
SOM 5201 The Body: Experienced, Conceptualized, and Verbalized 3 units
SOM 5607 Movement Approaches in Somatic Psychotherapy 2 units
MCPS 6104 Multicultural Counseling and the Family 2 units
Total Units 10 units (full time)

Spring I
MCPS 5501 Psychodynamics 3 units
MCPS 5622 Group Facilitation and Group Therapy 2 units
MCPS 5605 Family Dynamics and Therapy 3 units
MCPS 5609 Therapeutic Communication 3 units
Total Units 11 units (full time)

Summer I
*MCP 5101 Professional Ethics and Family Law 2 units
*MCP 5108 Psychopathology & Psychological Assessment 3 units
Total Units 5 units (full time for summer)

Fall II
SOM 6646 Theories and Techniques of Somatic Psychotherapy I 3 units
MCPS 6601 Couple Counseling 3 units
MCPS 6605 Child Therapy 2 units
MCPS 6101 Human Sexuality 1 unit
SOM 6476 Neuroscience for Somatic Psychology Practice 2 unit
Total Units 11 units (full time)

Spring II
*MCP 6102 Assessment and Treatment of Addiction Disorders 1 unit
SOM 6647 Theories and Techniques of Somatic Psychotherapy II 2 units
SOM 6202 Somatics and Society 2 units
MCPS 7601 Practicum: Individual Supervision 2 units
SOM 6659 Somatic Approaches to Trauma & PTSD 2 units
Total Units 9 units (full time)

Summer II
MCPS 7601 Practicum: Individual Supervision 2 units
*MCP 6233 Intro to Community Mental Health and the Recovery Model 2 units
Total Units 4 units (full time for summer)

Fall III
MCPS 5602 Clinical Relationship 2 units
MCPS 6401 Research Methods 3 units
MCPS 7601 Practicum: Individual Supervision 2 units
SOM 7701 Integrative Seminar 3 units
Total Units 10 units (full time)

Total Units required: 60 units
Notes: * Starred classes may be taken in any order based on preference and availability. The sequencing of your curriculum must be agreed upon in consultation with your advisor. Please note that Psychopathology & Psychological Assessment and Professional Ethics and Family Law must be taken prior to enrolling in Practicum.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS


Required Courses

MCPS 5201 Human Development and the Family (3.00 Units) 
Theories and research in life transitions, stages of development, and rites of passage, from prenatal conditions through adult experience to dying are explored from both theoretical and embodied practice. Students work individually and in groups exploring the entire lifespan, looking at both familial and social and cultural influences on development. Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 5501 Psychodynamics (3.00 Units)
This course presents a history of psychodynamic ideas and their application in clinical settings. It offers a historical perspective, beginning with drive theory through the development of relational theory, and covers basic theoretical and clinical concepts; clinical theories about the self and self- development; and the topics of transference, countertransference, and defense. The course examines relationships between psychodynamic and other clinical theories from both a traditional and an embodied stance using both text and experiential learning, such as work with movement and dreams. It takes an embodied sociocultural approach to psychodynamics, exploring cultural issues and sexuality, gender, work, creativity, ethnicity, and schooling. Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 5602 The Clinical Relationship (2.00 Units)
The relationship between therapist and client is one of the central concerns of contemporary theories of therapeutic change. This course explores the relationship between therapist and client from the perspectives of contemporary psychoanalysis, humanism, and self-psychology. Provides various perspectives on transference and countertransference and working with these dynamics in the clinical setting. Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 5605 Family Dynamics and Therapy (3.00 Units)
Covers the family life cycle, as well as the theories and methods of many of the major family theories, including strategic, brief strategic, systemic, narrative, solution-focused, family-of-origin, structural, and symbolic-experiential family therapy. Includes experiential learning processes and instructor-demonstrated family-of-origin interviews. Explores cultural difference and diversity in famiy dynamics. Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 5609 Therapeutic Communication (3.00 Units) 
This course provides an overview of key concepts and methods in therapeutic communication, integrating psychodynamic, humanistic, and other approaches. Experiential portion includes role-play and simulations. Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 5622 Group Facilitation - Group Therapy (2.00 Units)
This course provides the basic theories and practice necessary to design and facilitate: psychoeducational groups, special topic groups, peer support groups and other groups currently delivered in community mental health settings. In addition basic theories and practice in group process, including holistic intervention skills, nonverbal, and dance/movement approaches, will be presented and experieneced. Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 6101 Human Sexuality (1.00 Units) 
Utilizing the many strategies and theories of embodiment being developed within somatic psychology, this course explores personal, interpersonal, and social dimensions of sexual experience, including awareness, attitudes, meaning, expression, response, sexual counseling, gender identities, sexual orientations, and integration with personal development. Prerequisite: Priority to SOM students

MCPS 6104 Multi-cultural Counseling and the Family (2.00 Units)
This course provides an overview of counseling concepts and skills for working with diverse cultures, ethnic communities, social demographics, and embodiment practices. It looks at how cultural and racial experience forms psychological and somatic states. Students will develop an awareness of cultural variation and acquire the tools to address human difference, including consideration of sexual orientation, gender, class, race, language, immigration status, age, and ability. Prerequisite: Priority to SOM students

MCPS 6401 Research Methods (3.00 Units)
An introduction to the basic elements involved in clinical research: construction of surveys and basic analysis of results, qualitative interviews, tracking of the effects of interventions, reviewing the research literature related to a particular question. The model for the course is the National Institute of Health's agenda for translational research in which clinicians are trained to organize their work so that it is more readily accessible to academic researchers. Prerequisite: SOM or PDT student; Priority to SOM students

MCPS 6601 Couple Counseling (3.00 Units) 
Theoretical and therapeutic approaches to working with couples, including object relations, ego analytic, cognitive-behavioral, existential, and transpersonal perspectives, as well as family-system approaches. Students learn how to integrate the use of visual arts, music, movement, drama, and the language arts with these different theoretical approaches. Cultural difference and diversity of lifestyle are explored. Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 6605 Child Therapy (2.00 Units) 
Somatic, neurodevelopmental and relationship-based therapy techniques for children and their families. Case material introduces strategies of intervention from early childhood, school-aged, adolescence through transition-aged youth. Settings include: private practice, school-based and community mental health models of treatment. A focus will be placed on trauma-informed care as well as on engaging the child's systems of care to support resiliency and change. Modalities explored may include: play therapy, Sandtray, Neurosequentially informed treatment, Sensory-motor Psychotherapy, and ARC (Attachment, Regulation and Competency). Prerequisite: SOM student

MCPS 7601 Supervised Clinical Practicum: Individual (2.00 Units) 
Presentation and discussion of case material. Emphases upon case formulation, the therapeutic relationship, and the development of clinical skills. Cannot be registered for online. Submit 'Individual or Pre/Post Practicum Registration Form'. An "NP" [No Pass] grade will be assigned is Supervised Fieldwork Agreement is not on file by semester's end. Prerequisite: SOM student; criminal background check

MCPS 7602 Supervised Clinical Practicum: Group (2.00 Units) 
Presentation and discussion of case material in a small-group setting. Emphases upon case formulation, the therapeutic relationship, and the development of clinical skills. Prerequisite: SOM student; criminal background check

MCPS 7604 Supervised Clinical Practicum: Individual (School Setting) (3.00 Units) 
For Somatic Psychology students pursuing practicum in schools. Presentation and discussion of case material. Emphases upon case formulation, the therapeutic relationship, and the development of clinical skills. Prerequisite: SOM student; criminal background check

MCPS 7605 Supervised Clinical Practicum: Group (School Setting) (3.00 Units) 
For Somatic Psychology students pursuing practicum in schools. Presentation and discussion of case material in a small-group setting. Emphases upon case formulation, the therapeutic relationship, and the development of clinical skills. Prerequisite: SOM student; criminal background check

SOM 5201 The Body: Experienced, Conceptualized, and Verbalized (3.00 Units) 
This course is an introduction to methods for navigating the dialectic between one's experiences of the body and ideas about the body learned in one's history. It is a basic introduction to the use of transformative practices of breathing, touching, sensing, and moving that have established the experiential foundations for revisioning the theory and practice of psychotherapy in somatic psychotherapy. Prerequisite: SOM student

SOM 5606 Gestalt Therapy (1.00 Units)
Gestalt therapy will be presented as an adjunct to existential philosophy and therapy, and as a natural reflection of humanistic psychology. The elements of Gestalt therapy will be demonstrated-i.e., contact boundaries, awareness, figure formation, the Gestalt theory of neurosis, disturbances at the boundaries. The primary emphasis will be on working in the "here and now" with a process-oriented focus. Prerequisite: Priority to SOM students

SOM 5607 Movement Approaches in Somatic Psychotherapy (2.00 Units) OP Grade Option
This course teaches the use of movement approaches such as authentic movement, dance therapy, and contact improvisation in the context of psychological theory and practice. Specific approaches are emphasized by each instructor. Prerequisite: SOM student

SOM 6202 Somatics and Society (2.00 Units)
A study of how individual bodies, as well as individual experiences of the body, are shaped from infancy by major social institutions (education, medicine, religion, science, the media, etc.), and how that shaping process anchors the power of those institutions in our perceptions and emotional responses to authority. Focuses on how people are coaxed to neglect the sources of wisdom and decision making within the social body, and to give authority to publicly designated experts and authorities. Particular attention is given to the question "What does it mean to be a somatic therapist or educator in a world characterized by widespread abuse of both the personal and political body?" Prerequisite: SOM student

SOM 6476 Neuroscience for Somatic Psychology Practice (2.00 Units) 
This course is an overview of applied, clinical neuroscience research. Basic neuroanatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems (sensory and motor) will be addressed. The course will look at the clinical relevance of the evolutionary development of the human nervous systems, with special emphasis on Poly Vagal Theory (Porges). The interpersonal neuropsychology of Attachment (Schore, Siegel) and the underlying neural mechanisms of trauma and PTSDS will also be addressed. Prerequisite: SOM student

SOM 6646 Theories and Techniques of Somatic Psychotherapy I (3.00 Units)
This course gives in-depth exploration of somatic approaches to psychotherapy. It provides a ground for understanding intervention, therapeutic process, and good counseling practice, as well as exploring parameters of somatic psychological practice. This course introduces the work of Wilhelm Reich and derivative therapies that have been influenced by his work. It also looks at sensing, feeling, and expressive approaches in psychotherapy, as well as work with tissue state, dream, and gesture. Sociocultural understandings regarding sexualities, emotional expression and interaction, gender, work, and ethnicities are a focus of the class. Students study and work experientially with observation, breath, movement, and sound in psychotherapy, focusing on issues of transference, countertransference, attunement and resistance. Prerequisite: SOM student

SOM 6647 Theories and Techniques of Somatic Psychotherapy II (2.00 Units) 
This is the second of a series of core courses that focus on various theories and techniques in psychotherapy. This course deals with a variety of approaches and other techniques, and continues the exploration of issues of transference, countertransference, and attunement, and resistance in the application of somatic and other experiential exercises in the practice of psychotherapy. Prerequisite: SOM student; MCPS 5609; SOM 6646

SOM 6659 Somatic Approaches to Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (2.00 Units) 
This course provides an overview of somatic approaches to trauma. Major theorists and approaches using somatic approaches to trauma are discussed. Prerequisite: SOM student; MCPS 5609; SOM 6646

SOM 6709 Phenomenology of the Body (3.00 Units) 
In this seminar, we will study and ourselves develop the heritage of Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who made clear the crucial importance of a turn toward direct bodily experience. For textual underpinnings for our investigations, we will examine selected texts from Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, and from several contemporary scholars. These theoretical and practical works form a powerful corrective to the anti-body and anti-cosmos forces that are ravaging the planet. Each of you will be asked to engage in your own phenomenological investigations, taking cues from the readings in relation to areas of particular interest to you, converging upon some theme.

SOM 7701 Integrative Seminar (3.00 Units) 
This course is the final class that students take in the program. The course emphasizes the integration of somatic and other clinical approaches. Theoretical understandings of clinical applications are focused upon, and skills such as observation, diagnosis, treatment planning, and intervention are underscored and further developed. Students write a final paper and do a presentation on the theme "Toward a Theory and Practice of Somatic Psychotherapy." Prerequisite: SOM student; MCPS 7601 or MCPS 7602 or MCPS 7604 or MCPS 7605

SOM 8799 Independent Study (1.00 - 3.00 Units) 
Coursework that extends a student's field of inquiry beyond current CIIS courses. Requires a syllabus and contract signed by the student and faculty member, and approved by the program chair. Online registration not possible.

SOM 8888 Special Topics (1.00 - 3.00 Units) 
A course of study not currently encompassed in the curriculum but relevant to evolving topics of growing importance in body-oriented psychotherapy.

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