Somatic: Body Psychotherapy Students in Class

Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a concentration in
Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy

Naropa offers one of only a few programs in the country with somatic psychotherapy degrees. The Body Psychotherapy track in the Somatic Counseling concentration focuses on synchronized and integrative psychotherapy through experience and expression on physical, emotional, cognitive, energetic, and spiritual levels.

Naropa’s holistic psychotherapy degree program combines clinical mental health theory and practice with mind-body therapy. As you explore the relationship between mind, body, and movement, you’ll learn to grow, develop, and support the wellness and sanity in yourself and your clients using powerful somatic psychotherapy techniques. 

This three-year cohort program is based on the belief that a functional unity exists between the mind and body and that therapeutic change occurs through direct experience of the present moment. Our graduates are prepared with theoretical, clinical, and professional skills, as well as contemplative experience, necessary to begin a compassionate, clinical practice as informed, effective psychotherapy counselors.

Quick Facts

  • 60 Credit Hours
  • 115 Practicum Hours
  • 700 Clinical Internship Hours


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in Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy

Our integrative psychotherapy approach emphasizes mindfulness and moving meditation, as well as diversity and community engagement. You’ll explore the current understanding of multicultural competence, as well as the historical impact on the bodies that are present in counseling, through the critical lenses of cultural identities, power, and privilege. You’ll also learn how to use mindfulness training, breathwork, interceptive awareness, and other somatic psychotherapy techniques to ease suffering, support mental health, and sustain change in minds, bodies, and lives. The rich and rigorous curriculum will help transform you into a deeply aware somatic psychotherapist.

Courses within the Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy concentration include:

See Full Course Catalog



Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy

Design a career around your love for dance in a master's degree program that will develop your clinical skills in healing through movement.


Transpersonal Art Therapy

Build a life of service by channeling your artistic passion with this master’s degree that combines transpersonal counseling and studio art with a deep contemplative practice.


Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy

Immerse yourself in the natural world, acquire wilderness skills, and explore the transformative power of nature in a graduate program that prepares you for skilled, compassionate clinical practice.


Contemplative Psychotherapy & Buddhist Psychology

Discover your ability to guide others with grace and compassion while developing a deep self-awareness in this master’s degree program offered by the country's first Buddhist-inspired university.


Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling

Explore human mental and emotional health to help future clients — and yourself — live the most fulfilling life possible in a graduate counseling program that draws from mindfulness and Gestalt awareness practices.




Based on the belief that understanding and working with others is ultimately based on understanding and working with one's own personal dynamic, we approach somatic psychotherapy as a system process involving self, environment, and the interaction between both.


Community-Based Learning

Naropa’s somatic psychotherapy degree program allows you to gain hands-on experience working in the community through practicum and internship placements. The 200-hour practicum involves a fieldwork placement. The 700-hour clinical internship incorporates meaningful service through observing and participating in the mental health community. Both experiences introduce you to different populations and help you become more comfortable with your community.

During your third year of graduate study, you may serve the Boulder community as a supervised intern at the Naropa Community Counseling Center. Offering contemplative and mindful healing services, the center makes cutting-edge mind-body psychotherapy affordable for low- and middle-income people.

Professional Certification

Graduate students who successfully complete coursework to earn a master’s degree in somatic counseling fulfill the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) requirements for professional certification as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and/or Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME).

Program Faculty

Learn from licensed and certified professional counselors with a variety of clinical, teaching, and research experience working with diverse populations.

“The Naropa experience offers an alternative approach to better connect with others’ — starting with ourselves. Contemplative education cultivates a particular kind of intelligence. An opportunity to metabolize the gaps — the difference between ’doing’ and ‘being’ — while infusing a practice that strengthens the present moment awareness muscles. The essence of the learning process at Naropa blends responsive communication with paring down to the basic goodness of being.” -Diane Bartko, Clinical Instructor, Core Faculty



“I feel incredible! I have dreamed of working as a body psychotherapist with children for as long as I can remember. The richness of the material has astounded me, especially the focus on diversity and inclusion. I feel like I am shifting every day from the program and the school, and through my personal shifts I will have more ways to affect positive change in the world.”
Keira Cristobal, Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy, 2017


“The coursework at Naropa provided cutting-edge academic theories about the neurobiology of the mind as both embodied and relational and led me to feel exceptionally prepared when I later pursued my doctorate in clinical psychology.”

Arielle Schwartz, Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy, 1999





Clinical Counseling

Apply techniques, skills, and interventions to help the body heal the mind.

Integrative Psychotherapy

Demonstrate critical thinking, scholarship, theory, and clinical practice.

Pluralism and Multicultural Competency

Recognize and appreciate others’ experiences of their bodies and movement.

Moment-to-Moment Embodiment

Develop your awareness through sensations, emotions, movements, and thoughts.

Mindfulness Meditation

Explore opportunities for contemplative self-reflection and transformation.