M.A./Ph.D. Program in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Somatic Studies


Learn About Our Unique
Somatic Studies Specialization

About the Somatic Studies Specialization

The Somatic Studies specialization harnesses the insights of depth psychology and somatics to understand and transform our lived, embodied experience in the world. Courses include Marion Woodman and the Jungian Tradition, Body and Soul in the Expressive Arts, Trauma and Resilience, Embodied Alchemy, Neuroscience in Somatic Depth Psychology, and Body, Soul and Social Justice. The requirements for graduation include a dissertation, summer fieldwork, and a depth transformative practice component. Study in an academic learning format that brings together a community of interdisciplinary scholars for experiential learning and mutual discovery.

From a somatic perspective, bodily experience is related to physical health, interpersonal and interspecies relationships, social and cultural contexts, spirituality, and the environment. The program incorporates an interdisciplinary range of practices and perspectives, including neuroscience, integrative medicine, shamanic traditions, and cultural studies. Students are drawn from similarly diverse backgrounds, including counseling, health care, and body work.

Graduates of the Somatic Studies Specialization work at an advanced level in their chosen fields, for example, becoming trainers or supervisors in education, social services or health care. Other students publish books, start community non-profits, or develop consulting practices. Graduates may also choose to pursue academic careers, teaching in higher education or engaging in post-doctoral research. Each in their own way, students bring a highly developed understanding of the body/psyche intersection to the work they choose to pursue.

Learning Outcomes

Through rigorous, engaged scholarship, Somatic Studies students learn how to think deeply through and with the body, develop skills that strengthen their effectiveness as teachers and practitioners, and engage in transformative practices and fieldwork with the potential to change how we live in the world. Students will:
  • Read, interpret, and critically reflect upon the theories and traditions of depth psychology, remembering the body and recalling its voice.
  • Develop the capacity and skill to maintain awareness of and connection to the unconscious.
  • Learn techniques and practices of dream work, body movement, and active imagination as transformative practices.
  • Develop literacy in the emerging domain of neuroscience as it applies to depth psychology and the mind/body connection.
  • Develop skills in research and writing that support their efforts to articulate and promote new theoretical directions and practical applications.
  • Participate with interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners in an emerging field of study.
  • Create a professional portfolio to enhance existing career skills.
  • Engage in transformative practices and fieldwork projects with the potential to change how we live in the world.

“I am the poet of the body. And I am the poet of the soul.” -Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass



Somatic Studies & ISMETA


The Somatic Studies specialization in the Depth Psychology program at Pacifica Graduate Institute is an Associate Member of the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA). Selected courses in the Somatic Studies curriculum are pre-approved toward independent track application to become a Registered Somatic Movement Educator or Therapist® with ISMETA. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a list of current pre-approved courses and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information about the independent track application process. This curriculum is not necessarily intended to meet requirements for any particular state clinical licensure; applicable state regulations should be consulted. For gainful employment information, visit pacifica.edu/gainfulemployment.


Marion Woodman Scholarship

The Marion Woodman Scholarship Fund is for the Somatic Studies Specialization of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology program. A number of scholarships are offered to newly admitted students in the Somatic Studies specialization based on financial hardship and academic excellence. See the Marion Woodman Foundation for more information about her.

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For information regarding Pacifica's M.A./Ph.D. Somatic Studies Specialization, please contact Alyson Alexander M.A., Senior Admissions Counselor, at 805.879.7307, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See Academic Program Information. All of Pacifica Graduate Institute's degree programs are accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) and the Department of Education to offer financial aid.

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