About the Program
What Makes it Unique?
Here & Now Focus
This concentration is designed for individuals who want an overall orientation to the field of counseling from a transpersonal and humanistic orientation. The program emphasizes experiential learning with a strong focus on presence in the here and now. This focal point of study is grounded in the counseling relationship, meditation practice, and Gestalt principles. Theory is integrated in classes that emphasize direct learning through personal growth and the guided development of interpersonal skills. A nonviolent approach to communication is part of our fundamental approach.
Developing Personal & Professional Identity
Students are encouraged to develop a therapeutic approach which matches each individual’s interests, abilities and talents. Learning to “know thyself” is a tenet of the field of transpersonal psychology. Students are encouraged to listen within to discover the unique gift each has to offer others. Feedback from faculty and peers in the program enhances the growth and personal discovery that students experience in the program.
Understanding the Roots of Suffering
A strong understanding of the root causes of human suffering is explored through multiple lenses that include meditation, human development, family systems, body awareness and the interactive field of healing relationships. Students learn to sit with whatever arises as they are exposed to a broad spectrum of problems, emotions and situations that may be encountered in actual counseling settings. Learning to trust the process of compassionate healing develops from receiving and giving compassionate presence in practice throughout the program.
Diversity & Intimate Learning Environment
A selective admissions process admits up to fifty students into the Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling concentration every year. Students share a core set of courses with Transpersonal Art Therapy and Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy students. The mix provides contact with a diverse array of students and a healthy environment for developing friendship and collegiality. Each semester of study involves concentrated learning experiences with small groups. These classes, of no more than ten to twelve students, provide yearlong experiences of working intimately with peers.
Mindfulness in Psychotherapy
Students in this concentration take 7 credits of meditation instruction as part of their required course load. These courses integrate the contemplative qualities developed through meditation with the practice of counseling. Focus is on the development of the therapist and the compassionate field created with the client. An understanding of the essential principles of meditation and how meditation supports the counseling relationship is explored in depth.
Gestalt Awareness Practice
An understanding of Gestalt therapy is developed and practiced in two consecutive courses during the second year of the clinical sequence. Gestalt emphasizes the principles of awareness, contact and responsibility. It is rooted in the disciplines of existential and eastern philosophy and psychodynamic, perceptual and body psychologies. Balancing the inward focus of meditation, Gestalt offers an interpersonal awareness practice that emphasizes personal presence within the I-Thou relationship. Gestalt works directly with the emotions of fear, grief, anger, and joy and is applicable in diverse settings and with other methodologies.
Elective Offerings & Specialized Studies
The program offers a range of electives that compliment required studies and meet a variety of interests in counseling and transpersonal studies. The faculty members who teach these courses are practitioners and specialists in these domains. Course work is designed to enhance personal and professional awareness and knowledge. Please note that offerings of electives may change due to changes in student interest and varying enrollment trends.
Explore various approaches to Transpersonal Psychotherapy and the evolution of the field.
Contemplative studies are designed to increase mindfulness and the awareness of the practitioner. A number of courses in this area are offered including:
- Touching the Moment: Mindfulness Retreat
- Taming the Wild Horse (retreat on working with emotions)
- Psychology of Meditation I and II
- Meditation Practicum I and II
(Students may also take courses in the Religious Studies department.)
Marriage and Family Therapy
Many of the courses in Marriage and Family are designed to assist students who need to meet requirements in states that offer Marriage and Family licensure for master’s level practitioners. These courses include theoretical and experiential learning components.
- Couples Counseling: Imago Therapy
- Couples and Family Therapy
The work of Carl Jung is a major field of study in the field of Transpersonal Psychology. These courses offer an introduction to the application of Jungian psychology to the field of counseling.
- Jungian Dreamwork
All students in the Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling concentration are required to take 2 credits of body awareness. These courses include:
- Authentic Movement
- Yoga and the Chakras: A Therapeutic Approach
- Contemplative Voicework
(Students may also choose from general university courses including T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Aikido or Yoga.)
YOU ARE READYThis is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and unlock your potential.
The Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling concentration supports Naropa University’s mission by training students to become master’s level graduates of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and licensed professional counselors.
Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling recognizes and integrates the insights, attitudes, and practices of world wisdom traditions with modern psychological approaches. This integration provides the context for training students within the program, and it offers a context and a variety of techniques for the practice of professional counseling following the program. The program seeks to provide training that is grounded in rigorous academic work, a blend of critical thinking and contemplation, and skillful application of effective clinical skills, and it seeks to integrate this training with the practice of moment-to-moment awareness and present-centeredness.
The MA program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling is directed toward careers in the clinical professions. For this reason, the 700-hour supervised internship in a community agency is a vital part of the program. Clinical field placements are arranged through Naropa University and provide students with an opportunity to experience work in an area of specialization such as child and family therapy, crisis intervention, outpatient or inpatient care, or alcohol and drug abuse counseling. On-site supervision and classroom consultations provide students with support and opportunities for self-examination. Internships may vary between 9 and 12 months. Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling students must complete an internship. Students in the MTC hybrid program will have the option to complete an internship in their state of residence. Please be aware that students with a criminal background may find that some agencies require additional information prior to acceptance for clinical placement and may have fewer choices for placement.
We highly recommend that student obtain some exposure to transpersonal concepts before beginning the program. The following book list represent a good introduction to the field of Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy.
Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Transpersonal Counseling
- Assagioli, R. (2008). Transpersonal development. New York: Smiling Wisdom
- Basham, K., Byers, D. S., Heller, N. R., Hertz, M., Kumaria, S., Mattei, L., ... & Shilkret, C. J. (2016). Inside out and outside in: Psychodynamic clinical theory and psychopathology in contemporary multicultural contexts. Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Cortwright, B. (1997). Psychotherapy and spirit: Theory and practice in transpersonal psychotherapy. Albany: State University of New York Press.
- Cozolino, L. J. (2010). The neuroscience of psychotherapy: Healing the social brain. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
- Epstein, M. (1995). Thoughts without a thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective. New York: Basic Books.
- Frankl, V. E. (1992). Man's search for meaning: An introduction to logotherapy. Boston: Beacon Press.
- Hoffman, L., Yang, M., Kaklauskas, F.J., Chan, A., & Mansilla, M. (Eds.). (2019). Existential psychology east-west – Revised and expanded edition. Colorado Springs, CO: University of the Rockies Press.
- Ivtzan, I. (2015). Awareness is freedom: The adventure of psychology and spirituality. London: ChangeMakers Books.
- Kaklauskas, F. J.; Clements, C. J.; Hocoy, D. & L. Hoffman, (Eds.). (2018). Shadows and light: Theory, research and practice in transpersonal psychology. Volume I: Principles and practices. Colorado Springs, CO: University Professors Press.
- Kaklauskas, F. J.; Clements, C. J.; Hocoy, D. & L. Hoffman, (Eds.). (2018). Shadows and light: Theory, research and practice in transpersonal psychology. Volume II: Talks and reflections. Colorado Springs, CO: University Professors Press.
- Kaklauskas, F. J., & Greene, L. S. (Eds) (2019). Core principles of group psychotherapy: A training manual for theory, research, and practice. Allyn & Francis: New York.
- Pollan, M. (2018). How to change your mind: What the new science of psychedelics teaches us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence. New York: Penguin Press.
- Siegel, D. J. (2010). The mindful therapist: A clinician's guide to mindsight and neural integration. New York, NY: Norton & Co.
- Van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York, NY: Viking.
- Walsh, R. and Vaughan, R. (1993). Paths beyond ego: The transpersonal vision. San Francisco: Tarcher.
- Wilber, K. (1981). No boundary. Boston: Shambhala.
Meditation & Mindfulness
- Chodron, P. (1994). Start where you are: A guide to compassionate living. Boston: Shambhala. Gunaratana, B. H. (2011). Mindfulness in plain English. New-York: Wisdom Publications.
- Hahn, T.H. (2007). The miracle of mindfulness: An introduction to the practice of meditation. New-York: Rider.
- Ivtzan, I. (2019). Handbook of mindfulness-based programmes: Mindfulness interventions from education to health and therapy. London: Routledge.
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.
- Ram Dass. (2000). Still here. New York: Riverhead.
- Somé, M. P. (1994). Of water and the spirit: Ritual, magic, and initiation in the life of an African shaman. New York: Putnam.
- Suzuki, S. (1970). Zen mind, beginner's mind. New York: Weatherhill.
- Trungpa, C., & Gimian, C. R. (1988). Shambhala: The sacred path of the warrior. Boston: Shambhala.
- Students demonstrate knowledge of core counseling curriculum.
- Students demonstrate proficiency in clinical counseling skills.
- Students demonstrate professional competence in counseling.
- Students demonstrate mindfulness skills in the context of counseling including present moment awareness, non-judgment and compassionate interest in details of physical sensations, emotions and thoughts.
- Students demonstrate familiarity with several models of Transpersonal Psychology and their applications to counseling, including multicultural considerations.
- Students demonstrate increased knowledge, presence, warmth, and skill regarding their utilization of awareness, choice, contact, and authenticity in the Gestalt approach to mindfulness-based transpersonal counseling.