Master of Arts (MA) in

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Naropa’s master’s programs in psychology and counseling fully embody our motto, “Transform Yourself, Transform the World.” Here, you’ll learn to heal yourself as a means of helping others.

If you feel called to become a mental health counselor, a master’s program in psychology is an essential part of that journey.

Naropa’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations are uniquely designed to balance personal and professional development. You’ll graduate with a stronger sense of self and the confidence to use a social justice framework in supporting individuals, families, and communities in need.

As an instrument of healing, compassion for yourself and others is a powerful tool. That’s why we use a holistic approach to behavioral health, one that encourages introspection and mind/body awareness.

As you explore your own biases, life experiences, and personal philosophies, you will develop the skills to become a compassionate therapist who is fully present for your clients.

As a student in one of the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs, you will engage in two clinical placements—a practicum and an internship—in your local community. This will involve your searching and applying to clinical community organizations to complete these placements. Here is a resource to start thinking about the possible community organizations with which to work.

Application Deadline: February 1, 2023

Please see each concentration's How to Apply page for details on deadlines and interview dates.





in Distinct Therapeutic Approaches

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for Practicums and Internships

for Practicums
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Courses You Could Take

in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Small classes, deeply engaged faculty, and a focus on mindfulness are central to the Naropa classroom experience. As you earn your master’s degree in counseling and psychology, you will take courses that approach behavioral health with a blend of world wisdom traditions, Western psychology, and multicultural education.


No matter which of the six Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations you choose, you and your future clients will reap the benefits of our contemplative education model.


Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling courses include:

Areas of Concentration

Transpersonal Art Therapy

Your passion for art can be used as a tool for healing—for both yourself and others. Learn how to leverage creative energy for the greater good through contemplative and clinical approaches. 

Contemplative Psychotherapy & Buddhist Psychology

Take a deep dive into world wisdom traditions and learn to apply the principles of mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy in a clinical setting. 

Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy

Harness the joy and healing power of movement for yourself and others. Prepare to be a movement/dance therapist in this somatic counseling master’s program. 

Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy

Earn a master's degree in counseling that helps you utilize the mind/body connection for healing. Become a somatically informed counselor prepared to work with individuals and families in diverse settings. 

Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling

This master’s program for counselors is firmly rooted in mindfulness traditions. Learn to transform yourself and others at the only Buddhist-inspired university in the West. 

Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy

Nature’s power to improve our mental health is profound. Gain counseling skills, wilderness experience, and leadership capabilities in this interdisciplinary master’s program. 

The Naropa Difference

Earn your Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree at Naropa, the first university in the West to offer rigorous academics paired with contemplative practices, all within a supportive network of like-minded peers.


Contemplative Approach to Mental Health

The contemplative psychotherapy approach used in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is based on the Buddhist concept that humans are basically good. This philosophy assures us that, whatever our issues, each of us is essentially healthy at our core.

The ability to uncover innate basic goodness — or "brilliant sanity" — builds confidence in both the therapist's ability to help the client and the client's ability to heal themselves.


Social Justice Framework

Naropa's Clinical Mental Health Counseling students approach clinical work through a strong social justice lens, applying their understanding of oppression and social injustice to the therapeutic relationship. To fully understand their role as ally, students are encouraged to evaluate their own internal biases and life experiences. As a result, our future therapists are better prepared to work with marginalized clients in a compassionate, socially aware manner that promotes healing rather than causing further harm.


Compassion and Creativity

Humans are complex beings with a diversity of mental health needs. Therefore, avenues to healing vary based on the individual. For this reason, the Graduate School of Counseling and Psychology offers six concentrations within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

Each concentration offers students the opportunity to deepen their work as helping professionals through different modalities of healing, all with the common thread of compassion, empathy, and self-awareness.


Hands-On Learning

On average, Naropa students earning a master’s degree in counseling will spend 700-900 hours in hands-on, clinical settings. Internships are supported by regular support from both peers and faculty, drawing on the contemplative education model to blend clinical supervision with mindfulness practices.

As a result of their field placements, graduates gain the emotional intelligence and clinical skills necessary to succeed in a variety of settings, including mental health agencies, nonprofits, social services, and private practices.


Students Transformed


“I believe Naropa is preparing me for the future by focusing on the here and now...Not only is Naropa providing great professional development and opportunities to succeed in the workplace, but I also credit the amount of attention that is devoted to working with each individual's inner process. I think when we truly look within ourselves, we find the best ways of serving others as well.”

Alexander Bailey

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2017

“Inner work and practice are essential to my emotional and mental well-being. My contemplative practices and my process of self-discovery and growth have hugely impacted and changed my life, my work, and my relationships.”

Alicia Patterson

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2014

An Overview of the Structure of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program


Professor Deborah Bowman, PhD, discusses Naropa's unique concentrations within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master's program.