Contemplative Psychotherapy Program

The Embodiment Year / Live Learning

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

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Contemplative Psychotherapy Program

The Embodiment Year / Live Learning

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

Overview

The Embodiment Year offers a grounding in Tibetan transformational psychology and in-depth training in the practice of artful mentoring, healing visualization, subtle body energy work, and intuitive wisdom, as well as the integration with current psychotherapy and social justice work that brings a more rigorous, nuanced, and multi-dimensional approach to embodied individual and collective change than today’s more newly minted embodied techniques.

Guest faculty are Mar Aige, James Bae, Richard Brown, Dr. Nida Chenatsang,  Janina Fisher, Patricia Gerbarg, Robert Hefferman, Reggie Hubbard, Jerry Lamagna, Phillip Lister, Zachary Modal, Sheryl Petty, Christiana Polites, Elizabeth Rovere, Jasmine Syedullah, Jesse Westfall and Jan Willis.

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.

Curriculum

The Embodiment Year offers an advanced in-depth study and practice of the transformational depth-psychology, embodiment practice and altruistic ethics of the Nalanda tradition, along two parallel practical application tracks:

The Embodied Psychotherapy track integrates embodied contemplative science and practice with contemporary self-psychology, depth-psychology, hypnotherapy, somatic, gestalt, transformational and trauma therapies. Areas of study include:

  • Priming the mind and nervous system for a mentoring bond through cultivating basic self-care, compassion and open-mindedness
  • Forming a confidential, congenial mentoring bond through fostering a space for safe connection and mirroring transformational potential
  • Co-creating a role-modeling vision of a congenial self-world that can help expose and erase traumatic self-world constructs
  • Accessing the neural networks of prosocial wellbeing and integrating their transformational affects, autonomic balance, and positive flow states
  • Learning to transform traumatic core affects, autonomic energies and chemistry into embodied wellbeing through breath and posture practice
  • Realizing trauma-free lucid intuition and dreamlike prosocial embodiment and uniting them in the lifelong development of integrated prosocial wellbeing
  • Meditation practicum: instruction with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang and core faculty

The Embodied Psychosocial Change track integrates embodied contemplative science and practice with social work, decolonizing education, social justice work, community organizing, non-profit service, humanitarian aid work, climate justice activism, and political activism. Areas of study include:

  • Priming the mind and nervous system for the practice of prosocial change through cultivating basic self-care, compassion and open-mindedness
  • Forming confidential, congenial mentoring bonds through fostering a space for safe connection and mirroring transformational potential
  • Co-creating a prophetic vision of a congenial self-world that can help expose, disrupt and undo the individual and collective trauma of systemic oppression
  • Accessing the neural networks of wellbeing and integrating their transformational affects, autonomic balance, and positive flow states to spark and sustain prosocial change
  • Learning to transform traumatic core affects, autonomic energies and chemistry into embodied wellbeing through breath and posture practice
  • Realizing trauma-free lucid intuition and dreamlike prosocial embodiment and uniting them in the work of individual and collective freedom and wellbeing
  • Meditation practicum: instruction with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang and core faculty

Program Schedule

The Embodied Psychotherapy and Embodied Psychosocial Change tracks will share retreats while weekly classes will be run independently.

Opening Retreat: September 23 – 25, 2022

The year will begin with a live online retreat with Drs. Joe Loizzo and Pilar Jennings. The opening retreat will introduce the neuropsychological framework and transformational methods of embodied contemplative practice, exploring how this profound methodology can help catalyze and accelerate the transformation of trauma into psychosocial wellbeing at the individual, interpersonal, institutional and societal levels.


Weekly Class: Mondays, 6:00 – 8:30pm ET

For each of the 30 weeks throughout the year, students gather on Mondays for a live online class that includes meditation, whole group discussion, meditation teach-backs and small group breakouts, followed by a lecture-discussion led by our core or visiting faculty. The Embodied Psychotherapy meetings will be facilitated by Fiona Brandon, Pilar Jennings, and Joe Loizzo; and the Embodied Psychosocial Change meetings will be facilitated by Chantelle Brown, Rahshaana Green, Kristen Rae Stevens, and Joe Loizzo.

Spring Retreat: April 14 – 16, 2023

There is a live online Spring retreat led by Drs. Joe Loizzo and Pilar Jennings. The Spring retreat will explore how the top-down transformational methods of embodied contemplative practice—vision and affirmation—dovetail with the bottom-up methods of breath-work and movement to complete the embodied transformation of trauma into psychosocial wellbeing at the individual, interpersonal, institutional and societal levels.

Extracurricular Offerings

  • Optional weekly practice field, peer-led meditation and group sharing
  • Optional weekly process field, peer-led study and discussion group 
  • Embodied Psychotherapy office hours with Program Director, Fiona Brandon
  • Embodied Psychosocial Change office hours with Program Directors, Kristen Rae Stevens and Chantelle Brown 

Program Requirements

Outside of class, students are expected to maintain a daily meditation practice based on the Embodiment Year curriculum, and read required texts.

Students work on a capstone project throughout the year.

Program Details

Dates: September 23, 2022 – May 15, 2023

Tuition: $4,500 per year. Tuition does not include accommodations for retreats. 
Financial aid available for those who qualify 

Application Deadline: September 16, 2022

To apply to the Embodied Psychotherapy track please contact Fiona Brandon at fiona@nalandainstitute.org

To apply to the Embodied Psychosocial Change track please contact Rahshaana Green at rahshaana@nalandainstitute.org

Core Faculty

Joe Loizzo

Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD, Core Faculty

Joe 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 academic 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.

Pilar Jennings

Pilar Jennings, PhD, Core Faculty

Pilar 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.

Rahshaana Green

Rahshaana Green, MBA, PMP, RYT, Core Faculty

Rahshaana is Director of Equity and Strategic Partnerships at Nalanda Institute. She is a coach and business consultant with expertise in Business Development, Marketing, and Strategy in Healthcare and Science. She is also a yoga/meditation teacher specialized in working with injured, aging, and perinatal clients. Green received her BA in Biophysical Chemistry from Dartmouth College, her MBA from University of Texas-Austin, and her foundational yoga training with Ana Forrest. She teaches mindfulness and compassion through meditation and yoga to corporate, group, and private clients and is passionate about empowering others to cultivate well-being and resilience.

fiona brandon

Fiona Brandon, MA, MFT, Director, Embodiment Year, Embodied Psychotherapy

Fiona is the Director of the Nalanda Institute’s CBRT Program. She 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. Fiona 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.

Chantelle Brown, MSW, LMSW, Co-Director, Embodiment Year, Psychosocial Change

Chantelle is a meditation teacher, graduate of Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, and a clinical social worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Chantelle received her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and holds a post-graduate certification in Couple and Family Therapy from the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Chantelle is a cultural worker and relational therapist working at the intersection of social justice and clinical practice utilizing contemplative methods for personal and collective transformation. Her work revolves around her commitment to providing culturally attuned, trauma-informed care to patients and families while advocating for health equity within medical systems. Chantelle has a special interest in taking an integrative approach to addressing intergenerational trauma of those who have survived the Middle Passage and beyond. She currently lives in Brooklyn, with her family, where she was born and raised.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the practice field?
The practice field is a weekly online video conference conducted by students, to discuss the integration and application of meditation in one’s daily life. Alumni are also invited to participate in the practice field. This conference was originally created by a program graduate and learning consultant.

Can you say something about the capstone projects?

Capstone projects are a vital component of the program allowing students to integrate their coursework in meaningful ways — personal or professional. Guidelines for the projects are deliberately open and students work on their projects throughout the year. The projects reflect the diverse professional backgrounds of our students and take on many forms. They range from the academic to the creative. Past projects have incorporated clinical applications such as anxiety and eating disorders or have focused on specific population groups such as incarcerated youth. Many projects integrate mindfulness and/or compassion practice. We’ve seen theoretical papers, personal integration papers, websites offering information and tools about meditation, recordings for patients, and a variety of creative/artistic presentations of the material.

Is there homework? What would a typical homework assignment involve?
There are weekly readings—usually around 30 pages-assigned each week. Assignments include submitting a capstone proposal, status report, and summary throughout the year; meditation teach-backs (in which you lead a meditation for one person or a small group), as well as brief reflection papers on the teach-backs (two reflections per year).

How many hours outside of the classroom should I expect to put in?

That’s really up to you! Generally, participants spend about 1–2 hours per week with readings/ material, as well as their daily meditation practice commitment-which is individually determined.

One of the program’s learning modes is “group practice and process.” Can you say a bit more about that?
Each week our class begins with meditation practice for approximately 20–25 minutes. This is an integral part of the program that enables students to learn the various meditation practices. As a group, we discuss the meditation practices and explore any questions or concerns that come up as a way to deepen our learning and understanding. Additionally, we provide time for smaller breakout groups that provide more time for students to share their experience and engage with the material.

Another of the program’s learning modes is a “daily personal practice of meditation.” Do I need to be an experienced meditator to be in the program?
Daily meditation practice is a cornerstone of the program that we encourage and support. We recommend that participants have a basic meditation practice upon entering into the program, but one does not have to be highly experienced. The program offers support to those seeking to develop a daily practice.

Does it matter what meditation tradition that I follow?
Absolutely not. The diversity of our students’ practices enriches us all. We have participants coming from many different meditation traditions, and strongly encourage students to maintain their practice and tradition while complementing it with the meditation practices of the program.