Contemplative Psychotherapy Fall 2018

Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science

Contemplative Psychotherapy Program

Contemplative Psychotherapy Program / Fall 2018

Nalanda Institute’s two-year Contemplative Psychotherapy Program integrates mindfulness and compassion-based meditation practices and Buddhist psychology with contemporary psychotherapy and neuropsychology.

Our faculty is comprised of leading Buddhist scholars, practitioners, world-class meditation teachers, pioneering mindfulness and compassion researchers, and renowned clinicians. The program is led by Drs. Joe Loizzo, Emily Wolf, and Pilar Jennings. Our esteemed meditation experts are Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman. Guest faculty include Leslie Blackhall, Lama Rod Owens, Paul Fulton, Ethan Nichtern, and others.

This Fall, the program starts anew in both New York City and San Francisco.

Join us starting this September!

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Who is This Training For?

Social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, physicians, creative arts therapists, educators, graduate students, and other professionals in the helping professions are encouraged to apply.

The Program

The curriculum is taught over two years. One year is dedicated to Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy and the other in Compassion-based Psychotherapy. Participants may enter the program in either year. This fall marks the start of the Mindfulness Year in San Francisco and the Compassion Year in New York.

Mindfulness Year / San Francisco

Mindfulness Year / San Francisco


This year provides a comprehensive foundation for integrating contemplative psychology and meditation practice into contemporary psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, object relational, interpersonal, family-systems therapies and related caregiving fields. Areas of study include:

  • foundations of Buddhism and Buddhist psychology
  • neuroscience of meditation
  • clinical applications of mindfulness: mechanisms of change and effects
  • contemplative psychotherapy: integrative nuances
  • meditation practicum: video instruction with Sharon Salzberg and supervision from Joe Loizzo, Fiona Brandon, and Linda Graham.


The year begins with an in-person retreat September 21–23, 2018 at the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) with Joe Loizzo and Fiona Brandon.

The San Francisco program is a hybrid learning experience. For each of the 30 weeks throughout the year, students independently watch video lectures online by our core faculty and guest speakers (including Mark Epstein, Richard Davidson, Paul Fulton, Ethan Nichtern, Jeffrey Rubin, Sebene Selassie, Robert Thurman, and Rick Hanson), maintain a daily meditation practice, and read required texts.

Every two weeks (on Wednesdays from 9:00–10:30 am), students gather for a video conference that includes discussion, meditation, and case consultation. Participants are welcome to join in person at the SFZC, or virtually via Zoom. These conferences are facilitated by Fiona Brandon (in person) and Joe Loizzo (via Zoom).

There is also an intersession retreat led by Linda Graham, February 23–24, 2019 held at the SFZC.

Students work on a capstone project throughout the year.


Read the Frequently Asked Questions about our Fall 2018 offering in San Francisco.


Tuition is $4,000 per year and includes the opening retreat and materials. CE credits are available for this program. The deadline for application is August 31, 2018.

Apply CPP San Francisco

Additional Information

View our website for further details. Read the FAQ. Or contact San Francisco CPP Director, Fiona Brandon.

Compassion Year / New York City

Compassion Year / New York City


A comprehensive foundation for integrating the social psychology and meditation practices of the Nalanda tradition into contemporary transpersonal and self-psychology, narrative, somatic, and gestalt therapies. Areas of study include:

  • transforming the mind for social engagement
  • self-analysis and giving-and-taking practices
  • role-modeling imagery and embodied openness for self-transformation
  • visualization and sublimation practices
  • meditation practicum:  instruction and supervision with Robert Thurman


The year begins with a retreat at Menla Mountain House from September 6 – 9, with Robert Thurman, Joe Loizzo, and Emily Wolf.

The year is comprised of 30 weekly classes on Thursday evenings from 6 – 9pm at Tibet House US. Classes begin with a guided meditation and group discussion leading into the weekly lecture presented by our core faculty and guest lecturers (guests include Lama Rod Owens, Diana Fosha, and Ethan Nichtern). There is an intersession retreat held in early January at Tibet House.

Students work on a capstone project throughout the year. A celebration dinner at Tibet House, New York, marks the end of the year when students present their projects.

A distance learning option is available and includes bi-monthly video conferences (via Zoom) with Emily Wolf and Joe Loizzo.

The schedule includes the “practice field,”  a weekly online video conference to discuss the integration and application of meditation in one’s daily life. Alumni are also invited to participate in the practice field. It is created and supervised by program graduate and learning consultant Tony Zampella.


Read the Frequently Asked Questions about our Fall 2018 offering in New York City.


Tuition is $5,500 for in-person participation and $4,500 for distance learners. The deadline for application is August 17, 2018.

Apply CPP New York City

Additional Information

View our website for further details. Read the FAQ. Or contact CPP Director, Emily Wolf.

What People are Saying

Attending the Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program has been a rich and rewarding experience. Not only did I deepen and concretize my understanding of Buddhist thought as it applies to clinical work, but I also made lasting friendships with other like-minded clinicians. The sense of community they provide feels like a warm embrace.

—Debra Rosenzweig, PhD, Clinical Psychologist

And from one of our distance learning students:

I can’t find words to explain how important this journey has been for me. My spiritual and professional growth has been like a flower growing slowly and steadfastly toward the sun. My experience with the people I work with has completely changed. Now I’m able to receive their struggles like a gift and together we can embark on our specific and enthusiatic path toward the awareness of interdependence.

—Giulia Mellacca, Psychologist

Meet Our Core Faculty

Joe Loizzo

Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD is a Harvard-trained contemplative psychotherapist, Buddhist scholar, and author with over four decades experience integrating Indo-Tibetan mind science and healing arts into modern neuropsychology, psychotherapy, and clinical research. He is founder and director of the Nalanda Institute, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and a clinician in private practice in Manhattan. Joe is the author of numerous scholarly review articles on contemplative neuropsychiatry and psychotherapy. He is the author of the comprehensive textbook, Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science Of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration. He is executive editor of Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy: Accelerating Healing and Transformation, a groundbreaking collection of essays by pioneers of the fast-emerging and highly promising new field of contemplative psychotherapy.

Robert Thurman

Robert Thurman, PhD, is a recognized worldwide authority on religion and spirituality, Asian history, world philosophy, Buddhist science, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., Spiritual Director of Menla, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. Dr. Thurman received his PhD from Harvard and has studied extensively with many top Tibetan Lamas including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Dr. Thurman is the author of many books, including The Central Philosophy of Tibet, The Jewel Tree of Tibet, and, most recently, with William Meyers and Michael Burbank, Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

sharon salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher, author, and a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is one of the most prominent Buddhist meditation teachers in the West and has been teaching and leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades. Her writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Time, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, BuddhadharmaLoin’s Roar, and numerous anthologies. She is the author of ten books, including Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier (co-authored with Robert Thurman), and Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.

emily j wolf

Emily J. Wolf, PhD, is a counseling psychologist in private practice integrating contemplative methods of Indian yoga and meditation into Western psychodynamic therapy, recovery, and health psychology. She also is the Director of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, deeply invested in training care providers in the healing modalities of Buddhist traditions. Dr. Wolf received her BA in Eastern Religion from Columbia College, PhD in Counseling Psychology from Fordham University, and has studied under Tibetan Buddhist and Hatha Yoga/Ashtanga yoga masters both in the United States and Asia for over a decade. She is co-editor and contributing author of Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy: Accelerating Healing and Transformation.

Miles Neale

Miles Neale, PsyD, is among the leading voices of the current generation of Buddhist teachers and a forerunner in the emerging field of contemplative psychotherapy. He is the co-developer of the Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program and a faculty member. Miles is clinical instructor of psychology at Weill Cornell Medical College and  a Buddhist psychotherapist in private practice with twenty years’ experience studying and integrating Buddhist psychology and meditation into psychotherapy. He is a co-editor of Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy: Accelerating Healing and Transformation, a groundbreaking collection of essays by pioneers of the fast-emerging and highly promising new field of contemplative psychotherapy. He is also the author of the forthcoming Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human.

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.

Linda Graham

Linda Graham, MFT, is an experienced psychotherapist and mindful self-compassion teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She integrates modern neuroscience, mindfulness practices, and relational psychology in her international trainings on resilience and well-being. She is the author of The Resilience Toolkit: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster (September 2018, New World Library) and Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, winner of the 2013 Books for a Better Life award and the 2014 Better Books for a Better World award. She publishes a monthly e-newsletter and weekly Resources for Recovering Resilience, archived at

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.

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