MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Somatic Counseling

The 60-credit Somatic Counseling Dance/Movement Therapy Concentration and Body Psychotherapy Concentration provide students with the theoretical, clinical, and professional skills to be effective counselors grounded in the integration of body, mind, and movement. The program integrates personal and professional learning in a contemplative and somatic framework, stressing the interwoven nature of culture, identity, sensation, emotion, thought, and movement. Focusing on awareness practices, inclusivity, movement disciplines, creativity, counseling techniques, multicultural perspectives, and scholarly pursuits, the curriculum prepares students to be of service both to themselves and others.  

Both the Dance/Movement Therapy and the Body Psychotherapy concentrations cover the foundational principles of the Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP), Laban Movement Analysis (LMA), and Body-Mind CenteringTM (BMC) as evaluative tools that establish a language for assessing the body at rest and in motion. In addition, students are required to complete thirty hours of counseling in a counseling/therapy relationship with a qualified psychotherapist of their choice (cost of sessions is not included in tuition cost). This component emphasizes the importance of self-reflection, external monitoring, and firsthand experience as a client in individual and group counseling or psychotherapy.


Students in the Somatic Counseling program are required to complete a 215-hour clinical practicum placement (100 hours of which must be completed before program entrance) and a 700-hour clinical internship. This requirement involves 70 hours of both group and individual clinical mentorship by a registered dance/movement therapist or body psychotherapist. If the student has not completed the clinical practicum after completing the required course work or is completing clinical internship hours at a site during the summer, the student must enroll in CNSS877, for every semester (including summer) until degree completion or clinical internship completion.

Master's Project Paper

Students in both concentrations are required to complete a scholarly master's project or paper, which is a written document that demonstrates the student's clinical excellence, academic scholarship and understanding of research concepts, and writing proficiency. The master's paper must be written in APA format and approved by the program in order for the student to complete their degree. The paper is submitted to a peer-reviewed professional journal for potential publication. If a student has not completed the master's paper after taking the required master's project course work, the student must enroll in CNSS882 every semester (including summer) until degree completion.

Program Support and Student Success

It is essential that students understand that acceptance into the program does not guarantee its completion. Over the course of a student's journey, the student and/or the program faculty may find that the student is not able to meet or sustain the level of clinical skill, personal development, or professionalism that the program or the field requires. While the program has structures to support students' efforts to achieve success, it cannot be guaranteed.


Learners are strongly encouraged to carefully research the educational requirements for the intended licensure or certification in the state(s) where they intend to seek licensure or certification. Please see the Licensure section of the Graduate School of Counseling and Psychology page for further information about the curricula of the various Graduate School of Counseling and Psychology counseling programs and licensure/certification eligibility.

Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam

All GSCP students, regardless of concentration, are required to take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) in the fall of their third year. This exam is designed as a "practice" experience for state board licensing exams, and will help the student to identify areas of strength and challenge in their theoretical knowledge before taking any LPC or NBCC state licensing exam. The current expense is $50 and will be paid by the student directly to the Center for Credentialing & Education. Proof of taking the exam is needed to pass fall internship course work.

International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association

It is possible for a student graduating from the Somatic Counseling Department to use course work 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).