Nalanda's Facebook Page

Nalanda's Twitter Feed

Overview — san francisco

The Nalanda Institute
Certificate Program in Contemplative Psychotherapy

The Nalanda Institute Certificate Program in Contemplative Psychotherapy is a historic program offering an intensive step-by-step learning experience integrating Buddhist psychology and meditation, with the most promising breakthroughs in contemporary neuroscience, health psychology, and psychotherapy. 

Watch Nalanda Institute’s Founder and Director, Joe Loizzo discuss the Certificate Program

The Program is structured to provide unprecedented cross-training in four discrete meditation techniques, direct access to world pioneers in the field, and an ongoing process of mentoring and community that will immerse you in the inspiring new field of contemplative neuropsychology.

Watch Sharon Salzberg guide mindfulness meditation and Joe Loizzo discuss the 1st noble truth

The Nalanda Institute Certificate Program will provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need to weave contemplative insights and skills, together with current neuropsychology and psychotherapy, into the daily fabric of your professional practice and personal life. Last but not least, the Program will also connect you with a community of congenial mentors and like-minded peers, who can provide a vital network for lifelong inspiration, learning and development.

Our Faculty

Our faculty is led by Nalanda Institute’s Joe Loizzo, Miles Neale, Emily Wolf, and Fiona Brandon along with expert pioneers Sharon Salzberg, Robert Thurman, Christopher Germer, Pilar Jennings, Jeffrey Rubin, and Tara Brach.

Eligible Participants

Psychotherapists, Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurses, Physicians, Creative Arts Therapists, Educators, Yoga teachers, Entrepreneurs, Artists, Integrative Health and others in helping professions are encouraged to apply.

Mindfulness Year

This year of the Certificate Program provides a comprehensive foundation for integrating contemplative psychology and meditation practice into contemporary psychotherapy, and related caregiving fields.

This nine-month program covers 6 areas of focus:

  • The foundations of Buddhism and Buddhist Psychology
  • The neuroscience of meditation
  • Clinical applications of mindfulness
  • Contemplative psychotherapy
  • Meditation instruction and intersession retreat with Sharon Salzberg
  • Learning to teach Buddhist principles and meditation practices

Compassion Year

This year of the Certificate Program provides a comprehensive foundation for integrating the social psychology and meditation practices of the Nalanda tradition into contemporary psychotherapy, and related caregiving fields. 

The Compassion Year prepares participants to build compassion-training practices into self-psychology and transpersonal psychology, and to build role-modeling imagery and sublimation practices into narrative therapy, somatic therapy, deep affect therapy, and gestalt therapy. This nine-month program covers 5 areas of focus:

  • Foundations of Mahayana Buddhism
  • Transforming the mind for social engagement: compassion training practices
  • Cognitive Behavioral compassion training
  • Role-modeling imagery and embodied openness for self-transformation
  • Meditation instruction with Robert Thurman

A certificate is awarded at the end of each year, so participants can choose whether or not to participate in one or both years. Participants can enter in either year.

2017–2018 Schedule

Opening retreat September 16–17, 2017 in San Francisco at the SF Zen Center.
Intersession retreat February 10–11, 2018 in San Francisco at the SF Zen Center.
Bi-monthly online video conference cohort meetings September 2017–May 2018.

Program Structure

  • Initial and intersession weekend retreats in San Francisco
  • Weekly 2-hour online home-study of recorded lectures
  • Bi-monthly online video conference cohort meetings (Once a month the cohort meeting will be offered in person.)
  • World class meditation masters Sharon Salzberg (Mindfulness Year) and Robert Thurman (Compassion Year) to provide intensive instruction
  • 3 convergent learning modes: online coursework, group practice and process, daily personal practice of meditation

Program Expectations

Both years of the Nalanda Institute Certificate Program require active participation in retreats and classes, completion of reading assignments, online home-study trainings, meditation teach-backs, reflection papers, a capstone project, and to develop and/or deepen a daily meditation practice before the Certificate can be awarded.

Objectives and Outcomes

On completion of the full two-year program, participants are expected to have:

  • Familiarity of theory, practice, methodology, and research of contemplative practice as it relates to the professional practice of psychology.
  • Developed and/or deepened a daily practice of two to four meditation techniques
  • Familiarity and ability to teach meditation techniques in individual and group settings
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the four systems of Buddhist psychology and meditation
  • Knowledge of clinical interventions and research with all four contemplative methods
  • Clear understanding of the psychological mechanisms of healing and change involved with various contemplative interventions
  • A nuanced sensitivity to the cross-cultural interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy
  • A detailed, working familiarity with the neuroscience of meditation and psychotherapy
  • Mastered integrating contemplative insights and methods into their practice and lives

Continuing Education Credits

24 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are available for The Compassion Year 2017–2018. CEUs are an additional $70. For questions about CEUs visit or contact  David Lukoff, PhD at or (707) 763-3576. 

Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for its programs and their content.

California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for license renewal by LCSWs and MFTs for programs from CE approved sponsors of the American Psychological Association. LCSWs and MFTs from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board for approval.

California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP10318) for licensed nurses in California through the cosponsorship of the Institute of Noetic Scineces

For more information on the program please contact San Francisco Program Director, Fiona Brandon at .



The Healing Mentor, Bhaishajya