Equine therapy

Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a concentration in
Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy

A love of the natural world. The desire to be of service to others. A belief in the healing power of nature. These are the foundations of Naropa’s transpersonal wilderness therapy degree program.

Explore the transformative power of nature while sharpening your capacity to attend to yourself and others in a skilled, compassionate manner. In Naropa’s transpersonal wilderness therapy program, you’ll join a diverse cohort of graduate students who contribute life experiences, create community spirit, and build lasting friendships in a safe, authentic learning environment. 

At the confluence of psychology and spirituality, the three-year master’s in transpersonal wilderness therapy degree is intensely experiential, interdisciplinary, and multicultural at its core, providing graduate students with a range of counseling and wilderness experience, from ecopsychology to outdoor therapy and leadership. 

Our graduates work with diverse populations in outdoor and clinical settings as psychotherapists, school or program counselors, faculty members, addictions counselors, directors of equine or outdoor therapy programs, counselors for wilderness treatment programs, and more.

Quick Facts

  • 60 Credit Hours
  • 10 Weeks of Immersive Wilderness Therapy Training
  • 1 out of 3 Students Hired by Their Internship Site

 

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COURSES YOU COULD TAKE

in Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy

At Naropa, wilderness therapy is defined as the conscious incorporation of nature into therapeutic interventions. Unique among wilderness therapy programs, Naropa’s master’s in transpersonal wilderness therapy degree integrates classroom learning, hands-on experience, and contemplative practices.

Year one, you’ll study theoretical foundations of counseling and transpersonal psychology, wilderness therapy, counseling practices, and diversity awareness. Year two, you’ll experience a series of intensives that integrate therapeutic practice with environmental awareness and outdoor skills while weaving traditional coursework throughout. Year three, you’ll complete an internship and capstone project while attending classes partially online and partially on campus. 

Master’s in transpersonal wilderness therapy courses include:

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OTHER AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Transpersonal Art Therapy

Discover how to use the healing power of art to treat the whole person in a master’s degree program that integrates clinical counseling approaches with transpersonal theory.

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Somatic Counseling: Dance/Movement Therapy

Learn how to use movement as a tool for healing in this graduate degree program that combines clinical counseling skills with dance therapy.

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Somatic Counseling: Body Psychotherapy

Learn powerful somatic techniques to heal body and mind using body psychotherapy combined with clinical mental health theory in this one-of-a-kind master’s degree program.

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Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling

Extend your study of mind and body to explore the heart and soul in a graduate degree program that teaches you how to put mindfulness at the center of your future counseling practice.

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Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology

Ground your counseling practice in the Buddhist contemplative wisdom tradition with a graduate degree program that focuses on guiding others with compassion and humility.

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THE NAROPA DIFFERENCE

The beauty of the landscapes we explore, Boulder’s progressive community, and the transformative on-campus environment make graduate wilderness therapy training at Naropa an unparalleled learning experience.

 

Wilderness Solo and Vision Quest

Participate in a rites of passage ceremony, including a multi-day vision fast, to mark the transition from second to third year. The vision fast is part of a four-day, three-night wilderness solo and vision quest you’ll experience in the Colorado backcountry. 

As you unplug and deeply connect with nature, you’ll discover your most authentic self. As a result, you’ll be more prepared to help others find peace and healing in nature.

Clinical Internships

During your third year, you’ll complete a nine- to 12-month clinical internship that provides invaluable practical training and experience. You’ll continue your online courses and will visit campus twice per semester for weekend intensives. This flexibility allows students to study at Naropa from anywhere in the United States.

Our students in the transpersonal wilderness therapy degree program have had a wide range of opportunities working with diverse clinical populations at internship sites such as schools, traditional clinical practices with outdoor therapy programs, equine-assisted therapy programs, residential treatment programs, and backcountry-based programs. As many as one-third of our graduate students receive job offers from their internship placements.

Wilderness Therapy Training

Explore the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains and canyons in Utah. Learn about equine therapy at local horse stables and horticulture therapy at gardens. Participate in lectures outside in nature. In Naropa’s wilderness therapy program, you’ll have a variety of opportunities to gain hands-on experience and develop therapeutic skills through intensive training expeditions in rock climbing, primitive skills, challenge courses, horticulture, and horsemanship.

 

STUDENTS, TRANSFORMED

It has always been a dream of mine to serve people through the vehicle of wilderness experience, and Naropa's wilderness therapy program had everything I was looking for. 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 that when we truly look within ourselves that we often find the best ways of serving others as well.
Alexander Bailey, MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy, 2017

 

In response to the COVID crisis, graduate students in Naropa’s transpersonal wilderness therapy program have created an online mental health resource project: We Will Get Through This. The website hosts virtual live stream feeds of guided meditations, yoga practices, psycho-education, and various regulation methods for managing mental health during this pandemic.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Clinical Counseling

Complete coursework required for professional licensure in most states.

Outdoor Therapy

Use therapeutic wilderness skills in nature-based approaches to counseling.

Natural World

Learn how culture and social structures shape relationships with nature.

Buddhist Tradition

Practice contemplative wisdom and body awareness throughout the program.

Transpersonal Psychology

Extend your personal transformation into transformative work with others.

 

RELATED PROGRAMS

MASTER OF ARTS IN ECOPSYCHOLOGY

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES