Courses & Requirements

For the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling Concentration

The Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling concentration of the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is a unique, 65-credit clinical training program integrating traditions from clinical counseling and psychology with the contemplative wisdom of Buddhism. A pioneer in the use of meditation as a foundation for the clinical training of counselors, the Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling concentration has challenged and supported students for forty years to recognize their own “brilliant sanity” and to discover compassionate presence as a ground for their clinical work.

Students in the Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling concentration move through their studies as a cohort. They participate in small and large process groups throughout the program. The group aspect of the program takes mindfulness-awareness practice into relationships and allows students the opportunity to study their relational patterns in real time. Another important aspect of the Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling concentration is the five Maitri meditation retreats. Maitri is a Sanskrit term that means “unconditional friendliness,” and this teaching and practice become the ground for the nine weeks that students spend on retreat over the course of the program. Each retreat has a different focus, beginning with a strong emphasis on sitting meditation, and gradually incorporating practices designed to cultivate relational awareness, compassion, and emotional intelligence. One of these practices, Maitri Space Awareness, was designed by Naropa’s founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and has become a hallmark of the program.

The Buddhism-Informed Contemplative Counseling concentration prepares students for a clinical counseling career and meets the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in Colorado. The semester-long practicum and the year-long supervised internship provide essential clinical experience. While in their internship, students participate in contemplative supervision with clinical faculty and practice applying a contemplative view and case conceptualization to their counseling relationships. These groups provide intensive mentoring to help students with the transition into the world of professional counseling.

Degree Requirements*

*Pending final approval by the Higher Learning Commission. Course offerings and sequencing are subject to change.

Total Credits: 65

Semester 1 (Fall, Year 1)

  • CMHC 600, Foundations and Orientation of Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3)
  • CNSC 600, Opening Retreat (0)
  • CNSC 728, Community Dynamics Awareness Lab I (0.5)
  • CMHC 610, Career Development (3)
  • CNSC 603, Buddhist Foundations for Counseling I: Contemplative Views & Practices (2)
  • CNSC 660, Maitri I (1)
  • CMHC 602, Human Growth and Development (3)

Subtotal 12.5

Semester 2 (Spring, Year 1)

  • CNSC 609, Interpersonal Dynamics Awareness Lab I (0.5)
  • CMHC 603, Counseling & Helping Relationships I (3)
  • CMHC 601, Social/Multicultural Foundations (3)
  • CNSC 623, Buddhist Foundations for Counseling II: Abhidharma (2)
  • CNSC 665, Maitri II (1)
  • CMHC 606, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Counseling (3)

Subtotal 12.5

Summer Year 1


Subtotal 0

Semester 3 (Fall, Year 2)

  • CNSC 629, Interpersonal Dynamics Awareness Lab II (0.5)
  • CNSC  828, Community Dynamics Awareness Lab II (0.5)
  • CMHC 604, Counseling & Helping Relationships II (3)
  • CMHC 605, Group Counseling (3)
  • CNSC 703, Buddhist Foundations for Counseling III: Mahayana/Heart of Emptiness (2)
  • CNSC 760, Maitri III (1)

Subtotal 13

Semester 4 (Spring, Year 2)

  • CNSC 709, Interpersonal Dynamics Awareness Lab III (0.5)
  • CMHC 620, Counseling Practicum (3)
  • CMHC 607,  Diagnosis and Treatment Planning (3)
  • CNSC 723, Buddhist Foundations for Counseling IV: Counselors as Bodhisattvas (2)
  • CNSC 765, Maitri IV (1)

Subtotal 9.5

Semester 5 (Summer Year 2)

  • CMHC 609, Research & Program Evaluation (3)
  • CMHC 608, Assessment (3)
  • CMHC 621, Initial Internship (2)

Subtotal 8

Semester 6 (Fall, Year 3)

  • CNSC 729, Interpersonal Dynamics Awareness Lab IV (0.5)
  • CMHC 622, Internship I (3)
  • CMHC 615, Capstone I (1)
  • CNSC 803, Buddhist Foundations for Counseling V: Glimpses of Vajrayana (2)

Subtotal 6.5

Winter Year 3

  • CMHC 623, Winter Intercession Internship (0)

Semester 7 (Spring, Year 3)

  • CNSC 809, Interpersonal Dynamics Awareness Lab V (0.5)
  • CMHC 624, Internship II (3)
  • CMHC 616, Capstone II (1)
  • CNSC 860, Maitri V (0.5)
  • CNSC 890, Special Topics in Buddhist-Informed Counseling (1)

Subtotal 6

Total Credits: 65

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

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