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Somatic Studies

Course Descriptions

  
 

M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Emphasis in Somatic Studies

 
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 Contact Alyson Alexander, M.A.
call 805.969.3626, ext. 305
email: aalexander@pacifica.edu
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Theory and Traditions of Somatic Depth Psychology

Practices and Frontiers of Somatic Depth Psychology

Research, Writing, and Publication

Download the course list (pdf)

Theory and Traditions of Somatic Depth Psychology

Courses in this domain ground students in the psychoanalytic, Jungian, and archetypal lineages of depth psychology. In addition, connections are made across time and cultures to traditions that reconnect psyche and soma as we explore the ways that new developments in neuroscience challenge and affirm the understandings of somatic depth psychology.

Introduction to Depth Psychology 
DPS 730, 2 units
The term depth psychology evokes many associations and images yet is often difficult to define. In this course we formulate a definition of our field by investigating historical, cultural, and conceptual traditions that shape its identity. Topics include a history of soul, ancient approaches to healing and encounters with the unconcious through dreams, literature, mythology, as well as a reflection on the ways that depth psychology has both emphasized and, at times, ignored the body in the course of its own theorectical development.

Neuroscience and Somatic Depth Psychology I  
DPS 720, 2 units
Students in this course develop a thorough understanding of the functional organization of the brain and how it is relevant for healing practices. Students will familiarize themselves with the language of neuroscience in order to be able to read and interpret ongoing research in neurobiology, the neuroscience of affect and emotion, behavioral genetics, functional neuroanatomy, and developmental science. They will be introduced to the methodologies of neuroscience particularly studies using fMRI and EEG equipment.

Neuroscience and Somatic Depth Psychology II  
DPS 721, 2 units
An extensive exploration of the placebo/nocebo response will lead to a discussion of the relationship between expectation and healing and the difference between healing and cure, especially where end of life is concerned. Students will take a critical look at the medical and pharmaceutical approaches to illnesses that are most responsive to the placebo response, such as depression and anxiety disorders.

History of Healing Traditions I:  Ancient Greece: a Model of Integrative Medicine
DPS 710, 2 units
The birth of modern western medicine is attributed to Hippocrates because he was the first to define the clinical approach that today in turn defines modern medicine. Hippocrates was the first to offer causal and somatic explanations instead of attributing all sickness to divine intervention. Nevertheless, on the island of Cos and Delos, where Hippocratic medicine was put into practice, other influences prevailed. For example, the mythological figures of Asclepius and his daughters were revered as the symbol of another form of healing that Hippocrates himself found essential to restore health.  Students will examine how this model still offers inspiration for rethinking integrative medicine. 

Alchemy
DPS 750, 2 units
Marie-Louise von Franz tells us that Alchemy was born at the meeting place of the speculative mind of the west and the experimental techno-magical practices of the east. This course revisits the work of alchemy in relation to somatic studies. Students will work the Alchemical metaphor and its explicit and implicit connection to the body. Students will review the ways that neuroscience uses terms and concepts that have a long history, appearing not only in the repertoire of symbols from alchemy, but also in the concepts and vocabulary of depth psychology, including "imagination,""transformation," "dream," "symptom," and "healing."

The Psychoanalytic Tradition
DPS 760, 2 units
Students develop a working understanding of Freud's model for body/mind dynamics and how it challenged the materialism and the body/mind split of his time. They will also see how the psychoanalytic tradition is currently blended with studies in body movement and movement therapies.

Jungian Psychology  
DPS 761, 2 units
The basic concepts of Jungian psychology such as persona, anima, animus, shadow, the ego-Self axis, and others are studied. Attention is brought to the historical, philosophical, psychological, and religious influences acting upon Jung's psychology and in particular the scientific and philosophical milieu in which Jung developed his ideas about psyche and soma. Students will develop a critical perspective on this material and explore the usefulness of Jung's psychology for seeing more deeply into the issues of our time.

Archetypal Psychology
DPS 762, 2 units
Archetypal psychology, as envisioned by James Hillman, moves beyond clinical inquiry and locates its identity within the western imagination, finding affiliation with the arts, culture, and history of ideas. Its central aim is the appreciation and development of soul through the cultivation of the life of the imaginal. We investigate the history and central ideas of this rich psychological perspective, focusing on concepts such as archetype, image, seeing-through, and the soul of the world, anima mundi.

Post-Jungian Psychology: Marion Woodman and the Embodied Psyche
DPS 862, 4 units
This course focuses primarily upon the work of noted Jungian Analyst, Marion Woodman with a particular emphasis on her theories about Body Soul Integration. This intensive course emphasizes embodied learning and deep self-exploration. It blends theoretical material with experiential exercises in dreamwork, movement, voice, and creative expression. Students will also study and examine the contributions of other post-Jungian thinkers such as Hillman, Stein, Whitmont, and Perera. Pass/No Pass.

Practices and Frontiers of Somatic Depth Psychology

Courses in this domain focus on training in particular therapeutic and healing practices and on extensions of theory and knowledge that derive from connecting depth psychology with somatic psychology. Students will prepare and present material and casework drawn from their fieldwork or from their own healing practices.

Imagery in Somatic Studies I: The Technique of Active Imagination and the Practice of Dream Tending 
DPS 770, 2 units
This course will offer an introduction to Jung's technique of active imagination and how it has evolved into contemporary applications, such as the Dream Tending approach of Dr. Stephen Aizenstat. Students will start by reviewing the experimental evidence of the impact of imagery on the healing process. Students will learn to apply active imagination and Dream Tending as therapeutic measures for coping with medical illness and emotional disorders.

Imagery in Somatic Studies II: Embodied Dreamwork
DPS 970, 2 units
Students will study and learn to practice a contemporary approach to the ancient practice of dream incubation, now called "Embodied Dreaming" by Robert Bosnak. Based upon the phenomenological perspectives of C. G. Jung, James Hillman, and Henry Corbin, the supposition in this practice is that all psychological events can be best understood as embodied phenomena. 

Trauma, Pain, and Dissociation
DPS 850, 2 units
This course reviews new approaches to trauma therapy, the treatment of PTSD, ADHD, and other symptoms that are now being looked at from the perspective of a holistic integrative approach. The course also focuses on the nature of the healing process, including a review of health care practices within diverse cultural systems and historical contexts.

Human Sexuality
DPS 925,  2 units
This Human Sexuality course will take a distinctively depth psychological approach by emphasizing the inextricable interconnections between psyche and soma, soul and body. This course will explore sexuality's relation to pleasure, connection, and generativity, and to transcendence--and look at the interconnectedness of sex, gender and sexual orientation.   This Human Sexuality course brings in the perspectives of myth, anthropology, depth psychology, and cultural studies.

Chronic Illness, Terminal Illness, Conscious Dying  
DPS 951, 2 units
The culturally dominant allopathic medical approaches for treating chronic and terminal illnesses are increasingly criticized as being inefficient, cost prohibitive, and failing to contribute to the overall well-being of the patient.  Students will review the alternatives to traditional practices, reviewing new practices for the training of nurses, doctors, and support personnel working in hospices and hospitals for the chronically ill.

Eros, Isolation, and Relationship
DPS 953, 2 units
In this course students examine the ways that the dynamics of love and relationship may produce or prevent symptoms and contribute to healing. Students will learn to use a depth psychological approach which goes beyond the symptom, treating the pain of betrayal and abandonment, for example, as a push from nature to evolve into a new form of loving and relating. Instead of "treating" the heartbreak, the client is offered an initiation into the darker aspects of the Lover's archetype.

Non-Western and Indigenous Healing Practices
DPS 952, 2 units
This course will focus on the theories and techniques of several different healing practices including shamanic practices from a variety of cultural contexts: curanderos, plant medicine healers, diviners, spirit healers, and others. As with similar reviews of western healing traditions, students will also examine these practices for clear connections to, and enrichments for, depth somatic psychology.

The Body in Literature: Mythopoetic Approaches to Sickness and Health
DPS 950, 2 units
Stories from literature and from worldwide oral traditions abound with metaphorical and literal references to the symptomatic and wounded body as a rich context for suffering and remedy. As such, the body becomes a narrative in its own right. Students will examine various works of myth and literature and learn how to critically interpret them from the perspective of somatic depth psychology. In addition they will critically reflect on the cultural role of these works in forming ideas about the body. The intention of this course is to develop an aesthetic approach that will reconnect the mythopoetic imagination with the art of healing.

Depth Psychology and the Sacred
DPS 920, 2 units
When Jung said that all psychological problems are essentially religious problems, he was calling attention to the spiritual function of the psyche. In this course we examine the psyche's capacity for sacred experience as it finds expression in religion, ritual, and encounters with the numinosum. Students will examine non-medical approaches for managing pain and symptoms due to mourning, heartbreak and the loss of meaning in life that comes from an impoverished sense of the sacred.

Ecopsychology: The Body on the Earth
DPS 732, 2 units
The evolution of homo sapiens, both body and mind, is inextricably connected to everything on earth. Carl Jung even suggests that the collective unconscious is patterned from the body's contact with the seasonal rhythms, textures, sounds, and shapes of the natural world. Thus, to be a psychological being is to be an embodied being: to be firmly placed on terra firma, the ground from which all of us have emerged. Through lecture and experiential exercises, this course concentrates on the embodied psyche in nature as an important means for dissolving the artificial boundaries between body and earth.

Transference and Counter-Transference in Somatic Healing Practice
DPS 851, 2 units
This course has an experiential component in which students develop a subjective awareness of the body and a capacity to constantly monitor and interpret their own somatic responses to clinical situations. Students learn to listen with an awareness of fluctuations in somatic cues during the narrative meaning-making process. Therapeutic skills and dynamics such as transference and counter-transference, diagnosis, interpretation, intervention, timing, and others are reimagined from an embodied perspective.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine I, II, III  
DPS 740, 840, 841, 2/3 unit each
Western medicine has developed alongside many other systems of thought and many types of therapies that have been shown to be effective as either complementary or alternative approaches to healing and wellness. Some of these approaches, such as hypnosis, art therapy, aromatherapy, bioenergetics, biofeedback, music therapy, dance therapy, breath work, ayurveda, meditation, yoga, naturopathic medicine and many others, have begun to be shown as efficacious even when standard medical practice has exhausted its options. This sequence of short courses is available for engaging with practitioners in such diverse healing traditions.

Fieldwork, Practice and Case Presentation I, II, and III  
DPS 901, 902, 903, 2 units each
Throughout the third year of coursework students will participate in at least 60 hours of fieldwork or therapeutic practice that will further their own learning goals and provide an opportunity to integrate the theories, ideas, and experiences they have gained in the first two years. Fieldwork will involve entering into a particular community setting with the intention of studying some aspect of community experience that relates to the learning goals of this program. Practice will involve actually practicing therapeutically with clients or patients in a mode in which the student is qualified. 

Students must formally propose their work in fieldwork or practice and have it approved by the faculty prior to beginning the first class in this sequence (unless the work being proposed is part of work the student already has underway). Students submit a log of completed fieldwork or practice hours and make formal case presentations during the on-campus portion of this course.

Integration of Theory, Practice, and Teaching (Oral Comprehensive Examination)
DPS 992, 2 units
Students develop and articulate individualized approaches to a practice of Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Somatic Studies, and prepare and deliver a presentation to faculty and students which will serve as the oral comprehensive examination.

Depth Transformative Practices
DPS 997, 5 units
Various schools of depth psychology have created therapeutic contexts for personal transformation and/or healing. These practices are dynamically linked to transformative rituals and rites across cultures and through time. The provision of a witness, a guide, or teacher has been seen as essential to the containing vessel for such transformative experiences. During the first two years of the program, students are expected to engage in a minimum of 50 hours of depth transformative practice within a relational context. Latitude is given to students to choose the form of this practice in accordance with their needs and interests. Examples of such practice may include, but are not limited to, body work, breath work, individual depth psychotherapy, group dialogue work, facilitated vision questing, rites of passage, meditation, artistic engagement, or other psycho-spiritual practices.  Students will be required to submit a log of recording the hours they complete, and a reflective essay addressing their experience of Depth Transformative Practices.

Research, Writing, and Publication

There are three primary goals of the research domain.  First, students learn to read and critically evaluate current research literature in the areas of depth psychology, somatic psychology, and in neuroscience. Second, students learn to use a variety of quantitative, qualitative, and hybrid methodologies typically employed in such research.  Third, students will acquire the necessary skills in order to engage in their own research and write for a scholarly and scientific audience.  Ultimately, this domain guides students to design, propose and complete an original doctoral dissertation.

Foundations for Research in Somatic Psychology
DPS 782, 2 units
Students read and interpret current research in somatic psychology, neuroscience, and related research in depth psychology.  This serves needs for literacy in the field as well as the development of a resource guide for the student's ongoing research.  Examples of theoretical, qualitative, and quantitative research will be addressed.

Research Methods I: The Phenomenology of Fieldwork Inquiry
DPS 883, 2 units
This course will provide an introduction to the design and methodology of quantitative research projects and clinical studies.  The emphasis will be on the role of this type of research in the emerging field of somatic psychology and its relationship to research in neuroscience that is increasingly important in studying the efficacy of various approaches to treatment.

Research Methods II: Qualitative Methods
DPS 884, 2 units
Students learn how to integrate significant shifts in ontology, epistemology and methodology required by depth psychological research.  They develop literacy and capability in the use of various qualitative methods and approaches including hermeneutics, case study, ethnography and phenomenology.

Dissertation Development I: Hermeneutic and Phenomenological Traditions
DPS 832, 2 units
This course will survey phenomenological and hermeneutical methods utilizing texts from such philosophers as Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer with a central focus on Merleau-Ponty's theories about the body. Students will explore how these theoretical approaches can be integrated into a dissertation research design employing a Depth Psychology lens.

Scholarly Writing and Publication
DPS 812, 2 units
Students will develop skills in scholarly research aimed at publication.  They are guided in choosing a field, topic, and approach required to produce a publishable paper.  This will include writing or revising a paper, and exploring options for publishing both online and in print media.

Dissertation Development IIA, B, C  
DPS 932A, 932B, 932C, 2/3 unit each
Students master the elements of a research concept paper and its relationship to the proposal and final draft of a dissertation.  This course will result in the writing of a complete and approved concept paper.

Dissertation Writing
DSP 980, 15 units
During this course, students assemble their dissertation committees, write their proposals, complete the dissertation process, and defend their dissertations in a public forum. This course may be taken concurrently with other courses. Additional fees are assessed for this course. Pass/No Pass

Written Comprehensive Examination
DPS 892, 0 units