AcademicsGraduate AcademicsClinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

With concentrations in Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling, Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling, Nature-Based Transpersonal Counseling, Somatic Counseling, and Transpersonal Contemplative Art–Based Counseling, Naropa’s master’s degree in professional 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 professional counseling 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 concentrations, 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. 

This fall, students will be engaging two new courses, Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Legal and Ethical Aspects of Counseling. The content and learning experiences presented in these courses was formerly distributed across several courses, and with this change Naropa provides more dedicated space for student learning on these two critical areas of professional counseling.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Quick Facts


in Distinct Therapeutic Approaches


Class Size


for Practicums
and Internships

Clinical Mental Health
Counseling Courses

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

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. 

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

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.

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.

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.

Nature’s power to improve our mental health is profound. Gain counseling skills, leadership capabilities, and experience in a number of nature-based therapeutic modalities.

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

Student Transformed

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

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

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This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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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.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

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.