AcademicsGraduate AcademicsClinical Mental Health CounselingSomatic CounselingSomatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Concentration in Somatic Counseling: 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.

Discover Career Pathways for Dance/Movement Therapy Graduates

Quick Facts






Psychotherapy or
Jeffrey Neering head shot


with your counselor

Jeffrey Neering

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Dance/Movement Therapy Courses

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:

Other Concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Learn how to put mindfulness at the center of your future counseling practice in a master’s degree program that extends your study of body and mind to an exploration of heart and soul.

Prepare for practice as a psychotherapist in both clinical mental health settings and the great outdoors through a graduate degree program that explores the transformative power of nature.

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.

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.  

Learn to guide others with humility and compassion in a master’s degree program grounded in the Buddhist contemplative wisdom tradition.

The Naropa Difference

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 tracks are designed to help students gain the certifications they need for successful careers as dance and movement therapists.

Students in either Somatic Counseling track (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 & Fulfilling Careers

Your second year in the Dance/Movement Therapy track 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.

Students Transformed

Student Transformed

What to Expect

Develop your awareness through sensations, emotions, movements, and thoughts.
Recognize and point to moments of brilliant sanity in yourself and others.
Demonstrate critical thinking, scholarship, theory, and clinical practice.
Apply techniques, skills, and interventions to help the body heal the mind.
Clinical Counseling
Recognize and appreciate others’ experiences of their bodies and movement.
Pluralism and

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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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