Nalanda Institute faculty

All Faculty

All Faculty: A–K | L–N | O–Z

Elazar Aslan

Elazar Aslan, MBA, CPC, is an executive advisor able to integrate his successful career as an executive and an entrepreneur with his own contemplative practice to provide sustainable solutions to clients inspired by the neuroscience and wisdom behind mindfulness. He received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also completed his M.B.A. at the Wharton School. Elazar also has CPC certification from the International Coaching Federation and is a Certified Energy Leadership Practitioner from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. Additionally, he has 15 years experience as an executive in Fortune 100 companies, 10 years experience as an entrepreneur growing a strategic marketing agency to $86MM in capitalized billings, and has been a certified professional coach for 10 years. Current projects include being founder of A Day of Kindness in Philadelphia, President of the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia, and a NICS board member.

Director: Mindful Business & Leadership. Core Faculty: Mindful Business & Leadership.


Leslie Blackhall

Leslie J. Blackhall, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Humanities at the University Of Virginia School of Medicine and Director of Palliative Care Services and received her medical degree from New York University. Dr. Blackhall has had a career-long focus on the care of patients with life-limiting illnesses. Her current work focuses on the understanding of the end of life as a developmental stage and part of a continuum of care for all patients, and to transform medical education and health care systems to ensure patients in this stage of life receive compassionate, mindful, inter-professional, and clinically excellent care.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Tara Brach

Tara Brach, PhD, is a psychologist, author, and meditation teacher. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Fielding Graduate University and wrote her dissertation on an analysis of the effectiveness of meditation in the healing of eating disorders. A guiding teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., she is also a co-founder of the Meditation Teacher Training Institute (Washington, D.C.). She is the author Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, and True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. Dr. Brach’s teachings focus on the application of Buddhist teachings to emotional healing.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Fiona Brandon

Fiona Brandon, MA, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice who draws upon Buddhist psychology, depth psychology, expressive arts therapy, dream imagery, and sensorimotor psychotherapy in her work with adults and couples. Brandon is a graduate of the Masters program in Counseling Psychology from the Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her research focused on the meditative practice of authentic movement, the use of symbols, and dream imagery in psychotherapy. She has taught mindfulness practices at the UCSF Chronic Pelvic Pain Center and has been a teaching assistant at both the California Institute of Integral Studies and the Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Director: San Francisco Contemplative Psychotherapy. Core Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Mariana Caplan

Mariana Caplan, PhD, MFT, is a psychotherapist and yoga teacher. She is the author of numerous books that deal with psychology and spirituality, including Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path, Halfway Up the Mountain: the Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment, and The Guru Question: The Perils and Rewards of Choosing a Spiritual Teacher. Dr. Caplan is the founder of The Yoga & Psyche International, an organization created to integrate the fields of yoga and psychology globally. Her work as a yogi and a psychotherapist specializes in using somatic approaches to help heal trauma.

Visiting Faculty: Yoga, Mind & Spirit.


Richard Davidson

Richard Davidson, PhD, is a neuroscientist and received his doctorate from Harvard University. He is professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, as well as Founder and Director of the Center for Healthy Minds. Dr. Davidson has published hundreds of scientific papers and is the author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain and Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body (co-written with Daniel Goleman). Best known for his groundbreaking work studying emotion and the brain, his current research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style as well as methods to promote human flourishing, including meditation and related contemplative practices.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Desirée Caban

Desirée Caban, MA, is a therapist specializing in Jungian psychotherapy and somatic experiencing body-based healing practice in New York. After graduating Columbia University’s MA. program psychology, she completed various certifications including Somatic Experiencing training, a three-year trauma intervention program; a yearlong contemplative care chaplaincy program; and a two-year energy psychology initiative including craniosacral training. Desirée is currently completing the requirements for certification by the International Association for Analytical Psychology and certification for licensure as a psychoanalyst. She collaborates in psychiatric diagnostic research at Columbia University Medical Center.

Core Faculty: Sustainable Happiness.


Abby Eletz

Abby Eletz, is a graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Clinical/Medical Social Work. She has over fifteen years of experience exploring contemplative mind-body traditions. Her current work at the Fifth Avenue Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy revolves around the integration of contemplative and somatic practices within a clinical therapeutic setting.

Meditation Faculty.


Mark Epstein

Mark Epstein, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University. He is a contributing editor to Tricycle and the author of numerous books that integrate Buddhism and psychotherapy, especially in relation to trauma. His books include Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective (Basic Books,1995), Going on Being: Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and Psychotherapy (Wisdom, 2008), Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective (Yale University Press, 2008), and Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself (Penguin, 2018).

Past Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Diana Fosha

Diana Fosha, PhD, is a psychologist and received her doctorate from the City College of the City University of New York. She developed Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), a healing-based, transformation-oriented model of psychotherapeutic treatment and is also the Founder and Director of the AEDP Institute. She is the author of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change (Basic Books, 2000), and is also senior editor, with Daniel Siegel and Marion Solomon of The Healing Power of Emotion: Affective Neuroscience, Development & Clinical Practice (Norton, 2009). Dr. Fosha’s work on healing transformational processes focuses on integrating neuroplasticity, recognition science, and developmental dyadic research into experiential clinical process work with patients.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Paul Fulton

Paul R. Fulton, EdD, is a clinical psychologist who also is the course director of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s year-long Certificate Program in Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, a lecturer in Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Health Alliance, and Board member/co-founder of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He received his doctorate in comparative human development from Harvard University. Dr. Fulton is interested in investigating and training mental health professionals in the application of principles of Buddhist psychology in psychotherapy.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Chris Germer

Christopher Germer, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, a lecturer on psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School, and travels extensively leading workshops on mindfulness and self-compassion. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Temple University. Dr. Germer is the author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy. Currently, he is co-developer (with Kristin Neff) of the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) training program and actively engaged in research and training teachers of MSC.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Joan Halifax

Joan Halifax, PhD, is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She received her PhD in medical anthropology and has extensively lectured on the subject of death and dying. Roshi Halifax is the founder, abbot, and head teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also the founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof), Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America, and Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson, PhD, is a psychologist, teacher, and New York Times best-selling author. Dr. Hanson is a co-founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and is a Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. An authority on self-directed neuroplasticity, his books include Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom and Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.

Past Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Pilar Jennings

Pilar Jennings, PhD, is a psychoanalyst focused on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation who has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. She was awarded her PhD in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary, a Masters in medical anthropology from Columbia University, and a Bachelors in interdisciplinary writing from Barnard College of Columbia University. Dr. Jennings is the author of Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism and To Heal a Wounded Heart: The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action. Currently, she is a researcher at the Columbia University Center for Study of Science and Religion and Co-chair of the Columbia Faculty Seminar on the Memory and Savery, where she explores the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

Core Faculty: Sustainable Happiness. Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist that serves as the director of the SoHo CBT + Mindfulness Center, which specializes in providing innovative cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness training for adults, teens, children, couples, and organizations. In 2000 he earned his doctoral degree from UCLA where he initially started practicing mindfulness and meditation.  Recently, Dr. Kaplan was a contributing author of Becoming Mindful: Integrating Mindfulness into your Psychiatric Practice (2017). Dr. Kaplan is committed to studying and practicing Theravada Buddhism, while integrating it with modern life (e.g., parenting, city life, social justice, etc.).

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Zoran Josipovic

Zoran Josipovic, PhD, is a research associate at the Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab, NYU Langone Medical Center, and adjunct assistant professor of Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at New York University. He has twice been awarded the Mind Science Foundation Award for research on consciousness. With his wife, Judith Blackstone, he is a director of Nonduality Institute, an independent center for the science and practice of nonduality. His research interest is the state of consciousness cultivated through contemplative practice, what these states can tell us about the nature of consciousness, and its relation to authentic subjectivity; and what relevance this may have for understanding global and local organization in the brain.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Sat Bir Singh Khalsa

Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD, is Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Research Associate at the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine and the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has practiced a yoga lifestyle since 1971 and is a certified instructor in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. He has also conducted clinical research trials evaluating a yoga treatment for insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic stress, and anxiety disorders. Dr. Khalsa works with the International Association of Yoga Therapists and is the chair of the scientific program committee for the annual Symposium on Yoga Research and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. He is the author of the Harvard Medical School publications Your Brain on Yoga and An Introduction to Yoga and is chief editor of the medical textbook The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care.

Visiting Faculty: Yoga, Mind & Spirit.


Jacob Kyle

Jacob Kyle, MSc, MA, is a yoga asana teacher, writer, philosophy educator and the Founder of Embodied Philosophy, an online educational platform for Eastern philosophies and practices. Kyle holds two Masters Degrees in Philosophy: an MSc in Political Philosophy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MA in the History of Philosophy from the New School for Social Research. He studied Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London. His ongoing studies in Western and Eastern philosophies have included the study of the Yoga Sutras with Edwin Bryant and Tantrik philosophy with Christopher Wallis. He was initiated into Neelakhanta Meditation and has since then been enrolled in Blue Throat Yoga programs under the tutelage of esteemed Kashmir Shaivism scholar Paul Muller-Ortega, studying the texts and practices of the Trika Kula lineage of Kashmir Shaivism. To augment his yoga teaching practice, Kyle has completed over seven hundred hours of training and workshops with many master teachers.

Visiting Faculty: Yoga, Mind & Spirit.


All Faculty: A–K | L–N | O–Z