Contemplative Psychotherapy Program

The leading program for the integration of mindfulness, compassion, and embodiment practices, Buddhist psychology and ethics, with contemporary neuropsychology, psychotherapy and social justice work.

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The most complete team of experts ever assembled in this rapidly expanding field will teach you to weave contemplative psychology, meditation practice and socially engaged ethics into the daily fabric of your professional practice and personal life.

The faculty is composed of leading Buddhist scholar-practitioners, contemplative scholar-activists, groundbreaking neuroscientists, pioneering mindfulness and compassion researchers, and exemplary contemplative clinicians. 

The program is led by Drs. Joe Loizzo and Pilar Jennings, Director of Programming Geri Loizzo and Program Directors Mar Aige, Fiona Brandon, Chantelle Brown, Rahshaana Green, Dr. Diego Hangartner and Pilar Hurtado. 

Past and present guest lecturers include Robert Thurman, Sharon Salzberg, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, Tara Brach, Mark Epstein, Jan Willis, Roshi Joan Halifax, Rick Hanson, Chris Germer, Jasmine Syedullah, Richard Davidson, Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, Lobsang Rapgay, Dan Siegel, Ethan Nichtern and many others.

CPP faculty

What Will I Learn?

We believe all people today need a kind of learning that goes beyond knowledge and skills to liberate and transform us as individuals and community members, so that we can authentically help liberate and transform others and the world we share.

To that end, we weave the transformational approach to learning refined at Nalanda University in ancient India together with those of contemporary psychotherapy, therapeutic group process, and social justice work. This program provides the contemplative learning community we all need to embody a more mindful, compassionate and transformative way of being in our life and work.

Who Is This Program For?

This program attracts a diverse group of individuals made up of health professionals, therapists, coaches, educators, caregivers and many others interested in integrating contemplative practice, cutting edge neuroscience, and contemporary psychotherapy into their personal and professional life.

  • Students gather with rev. angel Kyodo williams after her Radical Dharma talk.


Contemplative Psychotherapy is a modular program taught over three years focusing on Mindfulness, Compassion and Embodiment respectively. Since each year is a complete course, students are not obligated to take all three years and may choose to study one, two or all three courses according to their needs and interests. Certificates of completion are awarded at the end of each course.

Mindfulness Year

The Mindfulness 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:

  • The four foundations of mindfulness, loving-kindness, and self-compassion practices
  • Traditional and contemporary models of stress and trauma
  • The neuroscience of meditation, plasticity, and memory reconsolidation
  • Clinical applications of mindfulness, loving-kindness, and self-compassion
  • Unlearning implicit bias, developing radical acceptance and prosocial engagement
  • Meditation practicum: instruction with Sharon Salzberg

Compassion Year

The Compassion Year provides a comprehensive foundation for integrating the social psychology, compassion practice and transformational approach of the Nalanda tradition with contemporary relational, intersubjective and systems approaches, somatic, polyvagal and gestalt therapies. Areas of study include:

  • Transforming the mind for compassionate social engagement
  • The neuropsychology of attachment trauma, implicit bias, and social stress-reactivity
  • Fourfold compassion practice, self-transcendent insight practice and the practice of embodied self-world transformation
  • Transforming the unconscious mind and nervous system for embodied social engagement
  • The neuropsychology of social stress and trauma, transformational affects, polyvagal theory, and positive psychosocial development
  • Meditation practicum: instruction with Bob Thurman

Embodiment Year

Open to graduates of the Mindfulness and Compassion Years (or with permission from the instructor), the Embodiment Year offers an advanced in-depth study and practice of the transformational depth-psychology, embodiment practice and altruistic ethics of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, along two parallel yet linked practical application tracks.

The Embodied Psychotherapy track integrates embodied contemplative science and practice with contemporary self-psychology, depth-psychology, internal family systems, somatic, and trauma therapies. The Embodied Psychosocial Change track integrates embodied contemplative science and practice with social work, decolonizing education, social justice work, community organizing, non-profit and humanitarian aid work, climate justice and  political activism. Areas of study include:

  • Transforming the unconscious mind and central nervous system for embodied compassion and altruistic engagement
  • The neuropsychology of transformational affects, autonomic regulation, and flow states
  • Embodied practice of role-modeling imagery for self-transformation and community building
  • Embodied breath-work and open flow awareness practices for healing the somatic dimensions of trauma, and for internalized racial, gender and other social trauma
  • Meditation practicum: instruction with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang and core faculty

Course Format and Requirements

The program is offered via two formats:

Live Learning

Consists of 30 weekly live online classes that include a lecture, practice and discussion with guest and core faculty members. Outside of class students are assigned readings and maintain a daily meditation practice. Students are also expected to lead a group meditation and submit a capstone project at the end of the course. A certificate of completion is awarded to those that complete all of the course requirements. 

Blended Learning

Consists of 15 bi-weekly live online classes that include practice and discussion with core faculty members. Outside of class students watch 30 recorded lectures from guest faculty, have reading assignments and maintain a daily meditation practice. Students are also expected to lead a group meditation and submit a capstone project at the end of the course. A certificate of completion is awarded to those that complete all of the course requirements. 

Offerings / Program Details

The application period for the 2023–2024 year has begun.

Find out more and apply today.

Founder and Director Joe Loizzo on CPP

Sample retreat discussion with Sharon Salzberg and Joe Loizzo


Directors and Core Faculty:

Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD (Academic Director); Mar Aige, BFA, MA, RYT (Co-Director, Spanish and Portuguese); Fiona Brandon, MA, MFT (Director, Embodied Psychotherapy); Chantelle Brown, MSW, LMSW (Co-Director, Embodied Psychosocial Change); Rahshaana Green, MBA, PMP, RYT (Director, Live Learning and Blended Learning); Pilar Jennings, PhD (Core Faculty); Diego Hangartner, PhD (Co-Director, Blended Learning); Pilar Hurtado, MD (Co-Director, Spanish and Portuguese); Geri Loizzo (Director of Programming). Kristen Rae Stevens, AyP, MS ‘23 (Co-Director, Embodied Psychosocial Change).


For inquiries about our English programs please contact Geri Loizzo, Director of Programming
For inquiries about our Spanish and Portuguese programs please contact Mar Aige, Co-Director, Spanish & Portuguese

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

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 enthusiastic path toward the awareness of interdependence.

—Giulia Mellacca