Sara Lewis, PhD, LCSW

Core Associate Professor; Director of Training & Research, Psychedelic Studies
MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling Concentration
Listen to "Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy"
PhD, Columbia University; MSW, University of Chicago; MA, University of Chicago; BA, St. Lawrence University
MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling Concentration
Introduction to Psychedelic Therapies / Art of Contemplative Counseling, Buddhist Psychology / Practicum / Social and Multicultural Foundations / Research and Program Evaluation

Dr. Sara Lewis is Associate Professor of Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling at Naropa University, where she also serves as Director of Training and Research for Psychedelic Studies. She is trained as a medical anthropologist and psychotherapist and her work centers on mental health, religion and culture with a focus on trauma and non-ordinary states. Her book Spacious Minds: Trauma and Resilience in Tibetan Buddhism (Cornell Univ. Press, 2019) investigates how Buddhist concepts of mind shape traumatic memory and pathways to resilience. Her work has been supported by Fulbright, the Mellon Foundation and the Mind and Life Institute. Dr. Lewis has also published research on psychedelics and spiritual emergencies. In addition to her teaching and research, Dr. Lewis is a psychotherapist in private practice.



  • Lewis, Sara E. 2019. Spacious Minds: Trauma and Resilience in Tibetan Buddhism. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles and Chapters
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2021. “Trauma, Resilience, and the Moral Frame of ‘Big Mind’ Thinking in the Tibetan Diaspora.” Journal of Global Buddhism, special issue on Buddhism and Resilience, 22(1):141-156.
  • Yang, L.H., Lam, J., Vega, E., Martinez, M., Botcheva, L., Hong, J., Chu, J., Lewis, S. 2018.
  • Understanding the Impact of Community on the Experience of Suicide Within the Lao Community: An Expansion of the Cultural Model of Suicide.” Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9(4): 287.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2018. “Resilience, Agency, and Everyday Lojong in the Tibetan Diaspora,” Contemporary Buddhism, 19(2): 342-361.
  • Mandavia, A., Huang, D., Wong, J., Ruiz, B., Crump, F., Shen, J., Martinez, M., Botcheva, L., Vega, E., Chu, J., Lewis, S., Yang, L.H. 2017. “Violating Clan and Kinship Roles as Risk Factors for Suicide and Stigma among Lao Refugees: An Application of the Cultural Model of Suicide and ‘What Matters Most’ Frameworks.” Israeli Journal of Psychiatry, 54(1): 39-48, Special Issue on Stigma.
  • Myers, Neely, Sara E. Lewis and Mary Ann Dutton. 2015. “Open Mind, Open Heart: An Anthropological Study of the Therapeutics of Meditation Practice in the US. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 39(3): 487-504.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2015. “Tenzin’s Dream.” In Community Health Narratives: A Reader for Youth. Emily Mendenhall & Kathy Wollner, Eds., Pp.149-160. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2013. “Trauma and the Making of Flexible Minds in the Tibetan Exile Community,” winner of Condon Prize. Ethos 41(3): 313-336.
  • Lewis, Sara E. and Rob Whitley. 2012. “A Critical Examination of ‘Morality’ in an Age of Evidence-Based Psychiatry. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 36(4): 735-743.
  • Lewis, Sara E., Kim Hopper and Ellen Healion. 2012. “Partners in Recovery: Social Support and Accountability in a Consumer-Run Mental Health Center.” Psychiatric Services 63(1):61-65.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2008. “Ayahuasca and Spiritual Crisis: Liminality as Space for Personal Growth. Anthropology of Consciousness 19(2):109-133.

Reviews & Other Writing

  • Lewis, Sara E. 2019. Review of “Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro T?re Lhamo,” by Holly Gayley. In Buddhadharma, special all women contributors issue.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2018. “The Path of Resilience,” special issue on Tibet. Womankind, issue 15.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2017. Review of “Buddhism Beyond Gender,” by Rita Gross. In Buddhadharma, Spring issue.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2016. “Relative Inequality, Absolute Equality,” special issue on Buddhism and Feminism. The Arrow,
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2016. “Does Early Intervention Promote Recovery?: Director of NIMH Leaves for Google to Develop New Technologies.” Anthropology News, Society for Medical / Anthropology section, February issue.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2015. Review of “Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine.” In Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 29(3):b11-b13.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2015. “Dissociative Identity Disorder.” In Spirit Possession Around the World: Possession, Communion and Demon Expulsion Across Cultures. Joseph Laycock, Ed., 110-113. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
  • Lewis, Sara E. 2006. Review of “Culture, Subject and Psyche: Dialogues in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology.” In Ethos. Online,
  • Lewis, Sara E. and Marlene Dobkin de Rios. 2006. “Couched in the Field: Overlap of Anthropology and Clinical Work.” Anthropology News 47(9): 63-64.


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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

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Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.