Nalanda Institute faculty

Visiting Faculty

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.


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.


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.


Cyndi Lee

Cyndi Lee, MFA, is writer and yoga teacher. She is the first female Western yoga teacher to fully integrate yoga asana and Tibetan Buddhism in her practice and teaching. She founded the influential OM Yoga Center in New York. She now teaches worldwide and at her home studio, Yoga Goodness Studio in Virginia. Her books include Yoga Body, Buddha Mind: A Complete Manual for Physical and Spiritual Well-Being and May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind. Lee writes regularly for Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, Yoga International, and Tricycle. 

Visiting Faculty: Yoga, Mind & Spirit.


Rachel McDermott

Rachel McDermott, PhD, is Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College. Her research interests focus on Bengal, in eastern India and Bangladesh, and she has published extensively on the Hindu-goddess-centered religious traditions from that part of the subcontinent. She is committed to the study of comparative religion, and teaches comparative courses in which important religious themes are traced across cultures. She is the author of Revelry, Rivalry, and Longing for the Goddesses of Bengal: The Fortunes of Hindu Festivals and Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal, among other titles.

Past Visiting Faculty: Yoga, Mind & Spirit.


Marlie McGovern

Marlie McGovern, E-RYT, RPYT, MA, teaches meditative and somatic practices from the contemplative traditions of Yoga and Buddhism, informed by contemporary insights from Western psychology. With an educational background in cultural anthropology and psychology, Marlie explores how we experience ourselves and others in the world. She specializes in restorative yoga, a deep and nuanced practice of fully supported asana that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and facilitates exploration of the subtle limbs of yoga. Marlie is a graduate of the Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program.

Visiting Faculty: Yoga, Mind & Spirit.


Shaun Nanavati

Shaun Nanavati, PhD (Cand.) is a research scientist. He completed a Master’s Degree in Comparative World Religion at Columbia, where he extended his awareness of the classical tradition and philosophic principles of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. He also completed a Research Master’s at the New School for Social Research (NSSR), focusing upon the Autonomic Characteristic of Affective States. Nanavati’s current work at NSSR revolves around the development of a cognitive stress test, based on assessment of neuropsychological and autonomic variables, in search of better diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of attentional issues.

Visiting Faculty: Mindful Families & Schools.


Lobsang Tenzin Negi

Lobsang Tenzin Negi, PhD, is the co-founder and Director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership and a Professor of Practice in Emory University’s Department of Religion. Dr. Negi received his doctorate from Emory and a Geshe Lharampa degree (the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of a PhD), from Drepung Loseling Monastery in south India. He is also the founder and spiritual director of Drepung Loseling Monastery, in Atlanta. Geshe Negi also developed Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a systematic and secular compassion training based on traditional Tibetan Buddhist mind training. CBCT is currently utilized in a number of research studies, including an NIH-funded study examining the efficacy of compassion meditation on the experience of depression.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Ethan Nichtern

Ethan Nichtern, is a Buddhist teacher, author, and activist. He is a Shastri, a senior teacher, in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and is currently senior teacher-in-residence for the Shambhala New York community. Additionally, Nichtern founded the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to secular Buddhist practice and transformational activism and arts. His books include The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path and The Dharma of The Princess Bride: What The Coolest Fairy Tale of Our Time Can Teach Us About Buddhism and Relationships. His articles have been featured in Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, BuddhaDharma, as well as many other online publications.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Erin L. Olivo

Erin L. Olivo, PhD, MPH, is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She is a former Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, and the former Director of the Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, which she headed with Dr. Mehmet Oz. She has intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and clinical hypnosis. Dr. Olivo researches the benefits of mind-body strategies in medical and mental health care, especially for people facing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Lobsang Rapgay

Lobsang Rapgay, PhD, is a research psychologist, and Director of the Clinical Training program for Mental Health Professionals at the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, UCLA. Dr. Rapgay was the first President of the International Association of Tibetan Physicians. His books on meditation and Tibetan medicine, include Tibetan Medicine: A Holistic Approach to Better Health, The Tibetan Book of Healing, and Real Meditation in Minutes a Day: Enhancing Your Performance, Relationships, Spirituality, and Health (with Joseph Arpaia). Dr. Rapgay specializes in clinical behavioral medicine with a focus on the assessment and treatment of chronic psychophysiological disorders and psychiatric symptoms.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Jeffrey B. Rubin

Jeffrey B. Rubin, PhD, is an author, meditation teacher, and a psychotherapist in private practice. He is is a graduate of Princeton University, Columbia University and Union Institute. Dr. Rubin is a sensei in the Rinzai Zen lineage and the “creator of meditative psychotherapy.” He is also a training and supervising analyst at the Westchester Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Among the books that he has authored are The Art of Flourishing: A New East-West Approach to Staying Sane and Finding Love in an Insane World and Meditative Psychotherapy: The Marriage of East and West.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Sabene Selassie

Sabene Selassie, MA, is a meditation teacher and transformational coach. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a New York Insight. She is a past Executive Director of New York Insight Meditation Center and serves on the board of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. For over 20 years she has worked with children, youth, and families nationally and internationally for small and large not–for–profits; her work has taken her from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to refugee camps in Guinea, West Africa. Selassie has worked as a consultant combining social change leadership and mindfulness practices including building inclusive communities, leading social action arts workshops, and teaching meditation.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


Daniel Siegel

Dan Siegel, MD, is a neuropsychiatrist, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, the founding co-director of UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute. Dr. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics; and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. Known for his work in the developing field of Interpersonal Neurobiology, Dr. Siegel is also an author of numerous books written for both professional and lay audiences. They include The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are and  Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human.

Past Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


David R. Vago

David R. Vago, PhD, is a cognitive neuroscientist, and the Research Director of the Osher Center of Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University where he is an associate professor in the departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Psychiatry. He received his PhD in Cognitive and Neural Sciences from the University of Utah. Dr. Vago’s research attempts to clarify adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric settings. In this context, he has been specifically focusing on the study of mindfulness-based interventions in clinical settings, and the basic cognitive and neuroscientific mechanisms by which mindfulness-based practices function.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.


angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo Williams is a teacher, activist, author, and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. Ordained as a Zen priest, she is the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage. She is the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace and co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation. She has fearlessly been working to bridge the worlds of personal transformation and justice. Rev. angel has developed comprehensive systems for illuminating both practical personal change and the profoundly liberating potential of mindfulness, yoga, and somatic practices coupled with wisdom teachings.

Visiting Faculty: Contemplative Psychotherapy.