Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

MA Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology is a unique, 63-credit clinical mental health counseling program integrating traditions from clinical psychology with the contemplative wisdom of Buddhism. A pioneer in the use of meditation as a foundation for the clinical training of counselors, MA Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology has challenged and supported students for forty years to recognize their own “brilliant sanity and to discover compassionate presence as a ground for their clinical work.

Students in the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program move through their studies as a cohort. They participate in small and large process groups throughout the program. The group aspect of the program takes mindfulness-awareness practice into relationship and allows students the opportunity to study their relational patterns in real time. Another important aspect of the MA Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program is the five maitri meditation retreats. Maitri is a Sanskrit term that means “unconditional friendliness to oneself and others,” and this teaching and practice becomes the ground for the total of nine weeks that students spend on retreat. Each retreat has a different focus, beginning with a strong emphasis on sitting meditation, and gradually incorporating practices designed to cultivate relational awareness, compassion, and emotional intelligence. One of these practices, Maitri Space Awareness, was designed by Naropa’s founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and has become a hallmark of the program.

The MA Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program prepares students for a counseling career. The semester-long practicum and the supervised internship provide essential clinical experience. While in their internship, students participate in contemplative supervisory groups with clinical faculty, and practice applying a contemplative view to their counseling relationships. These groups provide intensive mentoring to help students with the transition into the world of professional counseling.

The curricular arc in the MA Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program is designed to guide students on a journey of practice and study that leads to inner resilience and warmth, as well as giving them basic confidence in their capacity to help others.

Degree Requirements

First year, fall

  • CNSC600 Opening Retreat (noncredit)
  • CNSC603 Introduction to Buddhist Psychology (2)
  • CNSC609 Group Process I (0.5)
  • CNSC610 Social and Multicultural Foundations (3)
  • CNSC660 Maitri I (1)
  • CNSC711 Career Development: Work, Transition, and Path (3)

First year, spring

  • CNSC623 Buddhist Psychology II: Abhidharma and the Psychology of Confusion (2) 
  • CNSC629 Group Process II (0.5)
  • CNSC631 Counseling & Helping Relationships: Skills Practice I (3) 
  • CNSC638 Lineages of Understanding: Buddhist and Western Perspectives on Well-being and Disorder(3) 
  • CNSC665 Maitri II (1) 
  • CNSC710 Research and Statistics (3) 
  • CNSC728 Large Group Process (0.5)

Second year, fall

  • CNSC703 Buddhist Psychology III: Compassion and the Heart of Emptiness (2)
  • CNSC709 Group Process III (0.5)
  • CNSC751 Group Counseling: Theory and Practice (3) 
  • CNSC760 Maitri III: Retreat (1)
  • CNSC770 Family Systems (3)
  • CNSC790 Counseling Practicum (3) 

Second year, spring

  • CNSC700 Assessment (3) 
  • CNSC723 Buddhist Psychology IV: The Practice of Psychotherapy and the Path of the Bodhisattva (2) 
  • CNSC729 Group Process IV (0.5) 
  • CNSC738 Psychopathology, Psychosis, and Ordinary Mind (3)
  • CNSC765 Maitri IV (1)
  • CNSC801 Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethical Practice: Skills Practice II (3) 
  • CNSC828 Large Group Process II (0.5)

Third year, fall

  • CNSC803 Contemplative Psychology Seminar (3)
  • CNSC809 Group Process V (1)
  • CNSC871 Internship I: Placement & Contemplative Supervision (2)

Third year, spring

  • CNSC823 The Art of Contemplative Counseling Psychology (3)
  • CNSC829 Group Process VI (0.5)
  • CNSC860 Maitri V (0.5) 
  • CNSC891 Internship II: Placement & Contemplative Supervision (2) 

Total Credits 63