About the Program

The Somatic Counseling programs look at the relationship between the mind and body as a dance: as one goes, so goes the other.

Grounded in the assumption that the body (soma in Greek) can be used to help individuals transform, this cohort program will give you the academic, experiential, and contemplative experience necessary to begin a compassionate, clinical practice.

Distinguished by a curriculum that emphasizes mindfulness and moving meditation as well as diversity and community engagement, Naropa’s Somatic Counseling programs will help transform you into a deeply aware therapist passionate about helping others create change in their bodies, minds, and lives.

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Philosophy of Learning

The Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy concentrations provide students with the theoretical, clinical, and professional skills to be effective psychotherapists grounded in the integration of body, mind, and movement.

The programs base their philosophy on the belief that a functional unity exists between the mind and the body and that direct, unconditional experience of the present moment is, in and of itself, healing. A vital and basic way to experience the present moment is to fully occupy one’s own body.

Combined with movement and action that expresses one’s essence and striving to be of service, health is seen as a graceful dance with one’s inner and outer worlds.

The activity of therapy, then, involves removing learned obstructions to full-bodied awareness, owning, appreciation, and action.

Holistic Study

Course offerings are designed to create a matrix of learning in which study in each area connects and complements study in other areas. While students are focusing on one class, they are challenged to address the perspectives and connections provided by other classes.

Master’s Paper

In the third year of the program, all students will write a master’s paper, a scholarly work on a topic relevant to the area of study in which you are being trained (always involving Body Psychotherapy or Dance/Movement Therapy). This process is an opportunity for self-discovery and to demonstrate your skills as a theoretician, researcher, or activist.

Practicum & Internships: Community-Based Learning

Students in the program are required to complete both a practicum and a 700-hour clinical internship that incorporates meaningful service and is an opportunity to observe and participate in the mental health community, and in the community in general, as a therapist in training. Through the practicum and internship experiences, students become acquainted with different populations as well as become more comfortable with their community.

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This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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