somatic class

Somatic Counseling:
Dance/Movement Therapy

What if you could combine your love for dance and movement with the skills to help yourself and others transform? 


As a student in Naropa University’s Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy concentration—part of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master's degree program—you will have the chance to weave dance and creative expression with the study of approaches to psychotherapy that emphasize multicultural competence, mindfulness, inclusivity, and the body.

This rigorous, experientially based program integrates the study of classical as well as innovative forms of dance/movement therapy—particularly the Gestalt-based Moving Cycle, Authentic Movement, and current models of sensorimotor tracking—with mindfulness practice and 800 hours of clinical work.

Naropa’s graduate Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy concentration alumni have created compelling careers as individual and family therapists, case managers, clinical mental health center directors, movement therapists, dance therapists, authors, professors, outpatient psychotherapists, and more.

It is possible for a student graduating from the Somatic Counseling Department to use coursework to fulfill the requirements for the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association’s (ISMETA) certification as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and/or Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME).

Marissa Angeletti

Alumni Highlight

“I feel like a bigger, brighter, fuller version of myself today. As a student in the somatic program, I was asked to process what I was learning multi-dimensionally. Every bit of learning and growth required somatic expression and embodiment, intellectual understanding, and emotional and energetic processing. It also required unconditional positive regard, an acceptance of what was arising in the moment. This has influenced how I work with my students and clients now: that each individual is whole and embodied, inherently good and loved.”

— Marissa Angeletti


Three Years

The master’s degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with the Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement concentration is a 60-credit-hour, three-year program that offers theoretical grounding in Dance/Movement Therapy along with rigorous clinical and mindfulness training.

Degree Requirements


Students learning in the classroom

Student Highlight

“After every class, every meeting, and every conversation that I have at Naropa, I feel learning crackling within me, stirring me, causing storms, luscious conflict, and countless opportunities for growth. My ability to be a strong and supple family member, community member, and future professional is continuously growing exponentially.”

— Amanda Moran
Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy, 2017

More student/alumni stories


Approved by the American Dance Therapy Association

Approved by the American Dance Therapy Association since 1987, the Somatic: Dance/Movement Therapy concentration focuses on counseling, the healing potential of the creative experience, and the therapeutic properties of conscious movement sequencing. Naropa is one of only seven currently approved programs in the nation.



Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students demonstrate knowledge of core counseling curriculum.Students demonstrate proficiency in clinical counseling skills.
  • Students demonstrate professional competence in counseling.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to research and write about Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) and Body Psychotherapy (BP) in a way that shows critical thinking, scholarship, and the integration of theoretical material with clinical practice.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to develop and use appropriate counseling and DMT/BP interventions when working with clients.
  • Students demonstrate the knowledge of and ability to practice the professional ethics and standards for DMTs/BPs and professional counselors, including the ability to self-regulate and self-evaluate; accept and integrate supervision; and address power and privilege both in the therapeutic relationship and within the institution.
  • Students internalize and manifest pluralism and multicultural competency as an integral part of clinical practice, including an ability to recognize and appreciate differences in people’s experiences of their bodies and their movement patterns.
  • Students develop a moment-to-moment embodiment of their experience, which includes feeling sensations, awareness of emotions, occupying the body, and tracking movements and thoughts.
Wendy Allen

Faculty Highlight

“I find that the skills I use as a therapist are the same skills I use as an artist. To develop themes in an organic and authentic way, I rely on spontaneity, creativity, awareness, and play.”

— Wendy Allen, LPC, BC-DMT, PhD candidate
Assistant Professor, Somatic Counseling

Meet Somatic Counseling Faculty

Somatic Arts Scholarship Concert

Move Your Body in Support 
Perform with your peers and professors while also raising money for Naropa scholarships. The annual Somatic Arts Scholarship Concert gives you a chance to demonstrate the healing power of movement in a performance context.



Intern While You Help Heal 
Serve the Boulder community as a supervised intern during your third year of graduate study at the Naropa Community Counseling Center. Offering contemplative and mindful healing services, the center makes cutting-edge psychotherapy affordable by providing it to low- and middle-income people on a sliding fee basis.