MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration

 

Students and teacherThe Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration is a unique, 63-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 Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration has challenged and supported students for over forty years to recognize “brilliant sanity" in themselves and others and to discover compassionate presence as a ground for their clinical work. A strong value of the program is training counselors to work skillfully across cultural difference with awareness and humility.

Students in the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration move through their studies as a cohort and changes to course sequencing (outlined in the degree requirements) is only permitted in extenuating circumstances. To change course sequencing, students must apply for an Exception to Policy with the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology graduate adviser.

Students participate in small and large process groups throughout the program. The group aspect of the program takes mindfulness-awareness practice into relationship and allows students the opportunity to study their relational patterns in real time. Another important aspect of the the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration is the five maitri meditation retreats. Maitri is a Sanskrit term that can mean “unconditional friendliness,” and this teaching and practice becomes 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 Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology 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.

The curricular arc in the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Concentration is designed to guide students on a journey of practice and study that leads to inner resilience and warmth, as well as giving them basic confidence in their capacity to help others.

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