contemplative psychotherapy classroom conversation

Frequently Asked Questions

For more Frequently Asked Questions, visit the Graduate Admissions FAQ page.

"I know that this program places strong emphasis on the Buddhist understanding of mind and on meditation practice. Do I have to be a Buddhist to do this program? Do you expect me to become one?"

Not at all! Of the students who have a contemplative practice, many different traditions are represented. Students from other spiritual traditions, and those who feel no special connection with any tradition, are part of our community. Applicants who do not have prior experience with sitting meditation are strongly encouraged to gain experience with meditation to help determine whether or not this program would be a good fit for them.

"Can I do this program part time?"

Unfortunately, no. One of the most powerful aspects of the program is the community of classmates who journey together for its three year course. One’s classmates provide support and challenge. They provide continuity and a reference point as one goes through the process of working with oneself and others. The curriculum has recently been re-visioned; visit the degree requirements page for details.

"What if I have children?"

Having a family and being a graduate student is often quite a balancing act. Students with younger children can find it especially challenging to balance their children’s needs with the demands of the program, especially around arrangements for the Maitri retreats. At the same time, the program tries to be responsive to the needs of parents and many parents have successfully completed the program. Some of the ways that have been arranged are for parents to visit their children at selected times during the retreats and, in rare cases, a parent is allowed to bring a child. The parent must then provide a full-time "nanny" for the time that the child is at the retreat.

"Are there prerequisites for this program? I haven’t studied psychology before." 

We do not have any specific prerequisites for the program. We have found that some of our most effective students have come from backgrounds other than psychology. Significant life experience seems to be the most valuable prior "work" one can have done. However, many internship placements will not accept students who have not had some experience in the field. For this reason, we strongly encourage those without such experience to do volunteer work either before they come or during the first two years of the program. A background or some reading in psychology can, of course, be very useful before entering the program.

"Can I get licensed after completing this program?" 

Graduates of this program are qualified to work as counselors and psychotherapists in a wide variety of settings such as community mental health centers, residential treatment facilities and social service agencies. In the United States, Licensure requirements vary from state to state. Please see the licensure page for further information.

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