AcademicsGraduate AcademicsClinical Mental Health CounselingBuddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Concentration in Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling

Learn to guide others with humility and compassion by earning your master’s degree 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 Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling concentration, formerly named Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology, 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 this concentration 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.

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.

Discover Career Pathways for Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling Graduates

Quick Facts




of Clinical


of Intensive
Matt Powers

with your counselor

Matt Powers

Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions

Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling Courses

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 Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling concentration 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—providing a powerful metaphor for the ending of your Naropa journey.

Courses in this concentration include:

Other Concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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.

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.

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.

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. 

The Naropa Difference

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 Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling graduate students during the internship year of study.


Meditation Focus

With a strong focus on meditation, the master’s in Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling 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.


Students Transformed

Student Transformed

Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling

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Professor MacAndrew Jack, PhD, describes what sets this three-year clinical training program apart. Founded on the view that health is intrinsic and unconditional, the Contemplative Psychotherapy & Buddhist Psychology program combines a commitment to intensive individual self-study, an exploration of therapeutic relationships, and an active engagement in community.


What to Expect

Gain professional competence to practice counseling in a clinical setting.
Clinical Skills
Recognize and point to moments of brillant sanity in yourself and others.
Brillant Sanity
Integrate Buddhist meditation with counseling and psychology approaches.
Express your theoretical and experiential understanding of relationships.
Recognize and skillfully disrupt system of oppression.

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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.