Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

MA Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology is a unique, 63-credit clinical training program integrating traditions from clinical counseling and 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,” and this teaching and practice becomes the ground for the nine weeks that students spend on retreat over the course of the program. 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 clinical counseling career and meets the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in Colorado. The semester-long practicum and the year-long supervised internship provide essential clinical experience. While in their internship, students participate in contemplative supervision with clinical faculty and practice applying a contemplative view and case conceptualization 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 Buddhist Psychology I: Foundations of Practice (2)
  • CNSC609 Group Process I (0.5)
  • CNSC610 Social and Multicultural Foundations (3)
  • CNSC620 Human Growth and Development: Contemplative View (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 (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)

Second year, summer

  • CNSG871 Extended Internship I (0)

Third year, fall

  • CNSC803 Buddhist Psychology V: The Way of the Contemplative Counselor (3)
  • CNSC809 Group Process V (0.5)
  • CNSC871 Internship I: Placement & Contemplative Supervision (2)
  • CNSC890 Special Topics (0.5)

Third year, spring

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

Third year, summer

  • CNSG891 Extended Internship II (0)

Total Credits: 63