Certificate Program In Oceanic Therapeutics

The College Of Certified Psychophysiologists offers a Certificate In Oceanic Therapeutics. This is the practice of Surf Therapy or Ocean Therapy in which combined with other physiological educational elements, it involves the practice of taking people into the ocean and teaching them how to surf as a modality of removing physiological symptoms associated with traumatic stress.


About Oceanic Therapeutics

Surf Therapy is an adaptive surfing program to assist individuals coping with mental and physical illness in accessing the water environment. Surfing has long been a sport associated with freedom and independence and has the ability to support individuals with special needs in increasing their self-esteem and self-confidence.

The purpose of this program is to increase perceived self efficacy in individuals with physical, mental and developmental disabilities through engagement in physical activity in a water environment, specifically the activity of surfing. The program can be a one-time activity or ideally an ongoing program where growth and healing can be seen and measured.

The initial idea for a therapeutic surfing program came from Dr. Carly Rogers; her personal experience working with children with special needs at a beach as an ocean safety instructor with the Los Angeles County Lifeguards. Carly found that the therapeutic benefits of surfing were obvious in the emotional reactions of children during and after their experience in the water. She later wrote the ocean therapy program utilized worldwide today while earning her master's degree at USC in Occupational Therapy.

Surfing, a sport practiced outdoors in medium that is in constant motion, appears to be an asset compared to traditional sports. It has a broader approach, covering several areas of occupational performance as well as various physical and psychosocial skills of the individual, and it does it in one all encompassing activity. It can have a significant role to play in the life of children with disabilities as well as in children without it can promote physical well-being, combat discrimination, build confidence and a sense of security, as well as play an important role in the healing and rehabilitation process for all people affected by crisis, discrimination and marginalization.

Surfing therapy programs that are well designed can offer important opportunities for leadership development, discipline, teamwork, and personal and professional growth. Advances in technology ranging from wet suits to surfboards make participation in surfing more inclusive.
Occupational therapists consider that people are occupational beings inserted in a social context. As occupational therapy's domain stems from professional interest in human beings; ability to engage in everyday life activities, the broad term that occupational therapists use to capture the breadth and meaning of everyday life activity is occupation.

An occupation is defined as:activities of everyday life, named, organized, and given value and meaning by individuals and a culture. Occupation is everything people do to occupy themselves,including looking after themselves, enjoying life, contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities.(Law et al.,1997)

Surfing can be a complete and integral activity, taking into account the huge amount of features associated with not only performance in areas of human occupation and performance skills, but also characteristics of the context Lopes, 2006).



In order to successfully be awarded the Certificate In Oceanic Surf Therapy candidates must have obtained prior or at the end of their program Certification in (ISA)International Surfing Association Water Safety Course Certification and First-Aid C.P.R. and either ISA Surf Rescue or ISA .

MBM 5511 Basics of Psychophysiology 2 credit(s)
MBM 5595 Basics of Psyspirology 2 credit(s)
OST 2001 Principles Of Oceanic Therapy 2 credit(s)
PSY 3178 Occupational Trauma 1 credit
MBM 5511 Graduate Colloquium 1 credit
OST 2002 Capstone Essay 2 Credit(s)

Additional Requirements

OST 1001 Basic First Aid/C.P.R
OST 1002 ISA Water Safety Course Certification
OST 1003 ISA/ILS International Surf Aquatic Rescue and Safety Course
OST 1004 ISA/ILS International SUP Aquatic Rescue and Safety Course




1. Aquatic Environment (Water Physical Properties) Important in the functional rehabilitation (balance, strength, flexibility);stimulating and relaxing effect; absence of gravity, improves mobility; improves cardiorespiratory capacity; integral muscular work; pleasure.

2. Environment Individual interaction (Sensory Integration in an environment rich stimuli): Environmental rich in sensory stimuli (water, sand, seaweed, rocks, aquatic fauna);Awareness for the environmental protection; Help find healthier ways of interaction with the surrounding world;

3. Individual Coach/Therapist Interaction (works concepts like expression of feelings and emotions): The trust relationship between teacher/therapist allows the individual to explore their intra-personal conflicts and find solutions; the expression of emotions; look/gaze, physical presence, touch, movement; sharing feelings; working the intra personal and interpersonal concept; improved self-esteem.

4. Group Interaction (works concepts such as socialization, Leadership, Inter-help) Contribute in a playful way, to the motivation of a group; establishing a suitable climate for interpersonal interaction; develops social skills; develops concepts of leadership, mutual respect, and mutual help. .

ENSORY INTEGRATION THROUGH SURFING Surfing offers a wide range of sensory stimuli(Lopes, 2010) Visual reflection and refraction of light on the water surface associated with the constant motion of the waves. Gustatory/Olfactory The intense smell of the water, and the smell of water and algae. Tactile/Proprioceptive Buoyancy, sliding over the surface of the water, and the simple passage of the hands through the water distal movements as they drop into the wave, or tactile stimulation of the foot on the sand. Auditory The sound of the waves and movement of the water. Vestibular Constant imbalance and rebalance inherent to the activity. In short, surfing can and should be seen as an added value in the prevention and treatment of many pathological conditions, contributing to social inclusion, avoidance of a sedentary lifestyle and stress, improvement of self-esteem and encourage teamwork as well as to stimulate protection of the environment and quality of life