somatic class

Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a concentration in
Dance/Movement Therapy

Integrate body, mind, and movement in one of only seven dance therapy degrees approved by the American Dance Therapy Association. Since 1987, Naropa's somatic counseling master’s degree program has helped future therapists harness the transformative potential of the mind-body relationship.

Naropa's Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers two concentrations in Somatic Counseling. The Dance/Movement Therapy concentration combines movement therapy with contemplative practice and clinical counseling, while the Body Psychotherapy concentration explores the body’s role in helping the mind develop and grow. 

Students in the dance therapy master’s program gain clinical counseling skills and experience firsthand the healing potential of conscious movement sequencing. Graduates go on to become movement and dance therapists, individual and family therapists, outpatient psychotherapists, educators, and more.

Quick Facts

  • 60 Credit Hours
  • 800 Hours of Clinical Experience
  • 2 Pathways: Body Psychotherapy or Dance/Movement Therapy


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Graduate Student International Student



in Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy

Experience both classical and groundbreaking forms of dance/movement therapy as you dive into studies of self-psychology, the Gestalt-based moving cycle, clinical neuroscience, and Laban Movement Analysis. 

In addition to its intellectual rigor, the master’s dance therapy curriculum provides opportunities for physical, spiritual, and emotional growth. You'll be asked to engage deeply in the creative techniques you'll be using with clients, employing improvisation, rhythm, and metaphor to discover and express your authentic self. 

During your three-year exploration of somatic movement therapy at Naropa, you'll also learn to embrace inclusivity and sharpen your awareness of how socio-cultural experiences affect movement, expression, and the therapeutic relationship. 

Courses within the Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy concentration include:

See Full Course Catalog



Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy

Immerse yourself in the natural world, acquire wilderness skills, and learn to draw from the healing power of nature in the therapeutic relationship. 



Transpersonal Art Therapy

Channel your artistic passion into a life of service with a master’s degree that combines studio art, transpersonal counseling, and deep contemplative practice. 



Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy

Gain clinical experience in applying techniques for helping the body to heal the mind. This pioneering somatic counseling program prepares psychotherapists to integrate mind, body, and movement. 



Mindfulness Based Transpersonal Counseling

Help future clients — and yourself — live the most fulfilling life possible. This graduate counseling program explores human mental and emotional health and draws from mindfulness and Gestalt awareness practices. 



Contemplative Psychotherapy & Buddhist Psychology

Develop deep self-awareness and discover your ability to guide others with compassion and grace at the country's first Buddhist-inspired university.




Naropa's graduate dance therapy program is grounded in the belief that humans are already whole and primed for growth. Using a contemplative, integrated approach, students will use body movement therapy as a means of helping themselves — and future clients — support and expand their existing wellness.


What is Dance/Movement Therapy at Naropa?

The body (soma in Greek) has powerful potential for healing the mind and spirit. As you earn your dance therapy degree at Naropa, you'll learn to view the relationship between the mind and body as a fluid exchange in which one influences the other. This dance of energy and insight between body and mind is at the root of the somatic experience. 

Graduate dance therapy students gain a strong theoretical foundation in somatic movement therapy. They also practice mindfulness training and gain rigorous clinical experience. The ultimate goal is for each of our graduates to become self-aware, compassionate therapists who nurture mind-body synchronization.


Movement Therapy Certification

Naropa's Somatic Counseling concentrations are designed to help students gain the certifications they need for successful careers as dance and movement therapists. 

Students in either Somatic Counseling concentration (Dance/Movement Therapy or Body Psychotherapy) can apply their coursework towards earning their International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association’s certification as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and/or a Registered Somatic Movement Educator. 

Upon graduation, students in the dance/movement therapy concentration will have fulfilled the requirements for the American Dance Therapy Association's initial registration as a Registered Dance Movement Therapist (R-DMT). Program graduates can apply for the R-DMT credential as soon as their degree is completed.


Clinical Experience and Fulfilling Careers

Your second year in the Dance/Movement Therapy concentration begins with supervision and mentoring during a 100-hour practicum. You’ll then begin your 700-hour internship journey in your third year, participating in collaborative team meetings and receiving clinical supervision as you lead dance therapy sessions and groups. Naropa faculty will fully support you in your transition from student therapist to professional, practicing dance therapist. 

Upon graduation from the dance/movement therapy program, our alumni work as individual and family therapists, program coordinators, dance and movement therapists, and more. Wherever your professional life leads you, your clinical internship experience will serve as a strong foundation for a future of compassionate, mindful service.



After every class, every meeting, and every conversation that I have at Naropa, I feel learning crackling within me, stirring me, causing storms and countless opportunities for growth. My ability to be a strong and supple family member, community member, and future professional is growing exponentially.
Amanda Moran, Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy, 2017



What to Expect

Clinical Experience

Transition seamlessly to professional counseling after a clinical internship.

Foundation in Theory and Practice of Dance/Movement Therapy

Learn to use effective dance/movement therapy interventions with clients.

Strong Professional Ethics

Exercise self-evaluation and learn to integrate supervision. 

Multi-Cultural Awareness

Recognize the role of socio-cultural experience in the clinical relationship.

Contemplative Practice

Use self-reflection as a tool to serve others with greater compassion.