The Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Somatic Psychology is a 2-3 year graduate program that incorporates a mandatory retreat in the first year.

The curriculum is designed to meet the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirements for the California Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license including: 60 total semester units, 6 units of practicum, 12 units in courses explicitly related to family therapy, and classes in psychopathology, substance dependency, professional ethics and the law, and cross-cultural counseling. While states differ in their licensure requirements, California requirements often meet or exceed those of other states.

Personal Psychotherapy Requirement
You are required to complete 50 hours of personal psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional during your course of study.

Course of Study

Three-Year Sequence (60 units total)

Semester 1 | Fall 
MCPS 5201 Human Development and the Family (3 units)
SOM 5202 The Body: Experienced, Conceptualized, and Verbalized (2 units)
SOM 5607 Movement Approaches in Somatic Psychotherapy (2 units)
MCPS 5609 Therapeutic Communication (3 units)

Semester 2 | Spring 
MCPS 5501 Psychodynamics (3 units)
MCPS 5622 Group Facilitation and Group Therapy (2 units)
MCPS 5605 Family Dynamics and Therapy (3 units)
MCPS 6104 Multicultural Counseling and the Family (2 units)

Semester 3 | Fall 
SOM 6646 Theories and Techniques of Somatic Psychotherapy I (3 units)
MCPS 6601 Couple Counseling (3 units)
*MCP 6102 Assessment and Treatment of Addiction Disorders (1 unit)
MCPS 6102 Human Sexuality (2 units)
SOM 6476 Neuroscience for Somatic Psychology Practice (2 units)

Semester 4 | Spring 
*MCP 5108 Psychopathology & Psychological Assessment (3 units)
SOM 6647 Theories and Techniques of Somatic Psychotherapy II (2 units)
SOM 6202 Somatics and Society (2 units)
*MCP 5101 Professional Ethics and Family Law (2 units)
SOM 6659 Somatic Approaches to Trauma & PTSD (2 units)

Semester 5 | Summer 
MCPS 7602 Practicum: Group Supervision (2 units)

Semester 6 | Fall 
*MCP 6233 Intro to Community Mental Health and the Recovery Model (2 units)
MCPS 6401 Research Methods (3 units)
MCPS 7601 Practicum: Individual Supervision (2 units)
MCPS 6605 Child Therapy (2 units)

Semester 7 | Spring 
MCPS 5602 Clinical Relationship (2 units)
MCPS 7601 Practicum: Individual Supervision (2 units)
SOM 7701 Integrative Seminar (3 units)


  • Starred (*) classes may be taken in any order based on preference and availability. 
  • Psychopathology & Psychological Assessment and Professional Ethics and Family Law must be taken prior to enrolling in Practicum.
  • The sequencing of your curriculum must be agreed upon in consultation with your advisor.


All students are required to participate in a year-long practicum in their final year of study. The practicum affords students the opportunity to apply learned clinical skills under the supervision of a licensed therapist and to integrate feedback into clinical practice.

For those on the MFT track, 225 practicum hours are required for graduation. For those on the LPCC track, the requirement for graduation is 280 practicum hours.

During year two of the program, you will work with our Field Placement Office to research, apply to, and secure a placement that matches your therapeutic interests.

The Center for Somatic Psychotherapy, one of CIIS’ six award-winning community mental health clinics, is one option for practicum. Others include schools, hospitals, hospice, community mental health, and child/family settings.

Center for Somatic Psychotherapy

The Center for Somatic Psychotherapy is a professional training facility for CIIS students who are pursuing a somatic orientation in their therapeutic work. As a community service, the center offers affordable psychotherapy based on an integral perspective.

Using didactic and experiential training sessions and group process exploration, the center provides students a rich experience integrating body-oriented psychotherapy approach with other therapeutic modalities.

Each trainee works with a specified number of clients in individual, couple, family, or group counseling situations. Center outreach programs include work with homeless, school, and prison populations.

Students work at the center for at least three consecutive semesters. Licensed counselors and psychotherapists from the professional community and University faculty provide supervision.

Learn more about the Center for Somatic Psychotherapy.

Curriculum Highlights

The Somatic Psychology program curriculum combines didactic and experiential modes of learning. It teaches assessment of individual, 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.

SOM 6476 Neuroscience for Somatic Psychology Practice (2 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 Polyvagal Theory (Porges). The interpersonal neuropsychology of Attachment (Schore, Siegel) and the underlying neural mechanisms of trauma and PTSD will also be addressed.

SOM 5201 The Body: Experienced, Conceptualized, and Verbalized (2 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.

SOM 6202 Somatics and Society (2 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?”

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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