Bowing in a circle

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a concentration in
Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology

Learn to guide others with humility and compassion by earning your master's from the only Buddhist-inspired institution to offer a degree in Buddhist psychology

Earn your Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree from Naropa, named one of the best counseling psychology colleges in the United States. The Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology concentration offers a counseling degree grounded in the Buddhist contemplative wisdom tradition. You’ll develop deep insights and connections, as well as outstanding mindfulness skills and awareness, using current humanistic psychological approaches to show up fully for yourself and others.

The root teaching of the master’s program in contemplative psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology is the notion of “brilliant sanity.” Practitioners of Buddhist psychology and contemplative psychotherapy become experts at recognizing sanity within even the most confused and distorted states of mind and nurturing it in themselves and in their clients. Our alumni earn doctoral degrees, establish new treatment programs, or go on to teach nationally and internationally.


Quick Facts

  • 63 Credit Hours
  • 700 Hours of Clinical Internship Experience
  • 9 Weeks of Intensive Community Practice

Apply to Naropa

Graduate Student International Student



in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology

Supported by an experienced staff, you will discover your inherent compassion to guide others with humility and grace through large and small group process classes and cultivate self-awareness through meditation practice and retreats. 

The first year of the master’s in contemplative psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology degree program emphasizes deepening your meditation practice and relationship with your own mind. The second year focuses on integrating meditation practice with clinical perspectives. The final year examines the teachings on the bardo — the time between death and rebirth — from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, providing a powerful metaphor for the ending of your Naropa journey. 

Courses in the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology concentration include:

See Full Course Catalog


Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling

Learn how to put mindfulness at the center of your future counseling practice in a master's degree program that extends your study of body and mind to an exploration of heart and soul.


Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy

Prepare for practice as a psychotherapist in both clinical mental health settings and the great outdoors through a graduate degree program that explores the transformative power of nature.


Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy

Learn to heal both mind and body using powerful somatic techniques that combine clinical mental health theory and body psychotherapy in a master’s degree that’s one of the first of its kind.


Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy

Develop clinical skills in using movement as a tool for healing in a master's degree program that allows you to design a career around your love for dance.


Transpersonal Art Therapy

Learn how to use the healing power of art to treat the whole person in this graduate degree program that integrates transpersonal theory with clinical counseling approaches.




Naropa’s transpersonal art therapy concentration in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program integrates transpersonal theory with clinical approaches to counseling. Our graduate degree program helps you — and your future clients — find healing through art.


Maitri Retreats

One- and two-week long residential Maitri retreats combine intensive meditation practice, meditation instructions and talks, walking meditation, some days of silence, and community work practice. A key element of the Maitri retreats is space awareness. Space awareness practice is done in five differently colored rooms that intensify “wisdom” and “confused” aspects of emotional and psychological states. In the context of personal awareness meditation and community, Maitri space awareness practice will help you become friendly toward yourself in different states of mind and to develop genuine humor and compassion. This often leads to relaxation and fearlessness in working with others.

Clinical Internships

The third year of study centers around the nine-month, 700-hour clinical internship with a community agency. You will receive on-site supervision while working in a specialized area, as well as weekly meditation practice and small tutorial group work. Clinical internship experience helps you qualify to work as a counselor or psychotherapist in a variety of settings, such as community mental health centers, residential treatment facilities, and social service agencies. The Louise Fabbro Memorial Scholarship is awarded to one or more Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology graduate students during the internship year of study.

Meditation Focus

With a strong focus on meditation, the master’s in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology degree program will allow you to become extremely sensitive to your own psychological and emotional states. This familiarity and level of comfort with your inner self in turn helps prepare you to work with clients who are in immense psychological distress and empathize with them in ways that counselors without psychotherapy degrees and meditation experience would not be able to do.



“What I was offered in the [contemplative psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology] program was basic goodness and brilliant sanity... I learned that I don't have to doubt your inherent dignity, wisdom, and autonomy. It’s there. So, when I sit with somebody, I am not doing any healing. All I'm reflecting is what's already there, so that they can see it. The healing is already in them. There is a natural healing intelligence that moves through each one of us and you can access it at any time if you choose.”
Lauren Ciovacco, MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology, 2016


What to Expect

Clinical Skills

Gain professional competence to practice counseling in a clinical setting.

Brilliant Sanity

Recognize and point to moments of brilliant sanity in yourself and others.

Buddhist Psychology Degree

Integrate Buddhist meditation with counseling and psychology approaches.

Transference and Exchange

Express your theoretical and experiential understanding of relationships.

Effective, Ethical Counseling

Recognize and skillfully disrupt systems of oppression.