Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science
FAQ / Contemplative Psychotherapy Program
Mindfulness Year / New York City / Fall 2019
I see that this is a two-year program with one year in “Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy” and the other in “Compassion-Based Psychotherapy.” Enrollment is now beginning for the “Mindfulness Year.” Do I need to take both years?
No, you do not have to take both years. Certificates are awarded each year, so participants are welcome to complete one or both years. Of course, we encourage you to take both years.
Is it best to start with one year or another?
The two years build complementary meditative and philosophical practices, and for some people the best entry is through compassion, for others it’s mindfulness. Entry into the program is determined on an individual basis, based on the applicant’s experience and exposure to meditative traditions. There are benefits to starting in either year.
Are there ways that the years are differentiated other than the subject matter?
The years are differentiated by subject matter, meditation practices, as well as faculty. The structure of the classes is the same in both years.
You say the program is for “psychotherapists, health professionals, coaches, or educators.” That seems like a broad spectrum. Can you give some real examples of the types of students who have completed the program?
Part of the richness of program is the remarkably broad range of professions represented-all are oriented toward integrating healing practices into their professional discipline. We have had marriage/family therapists, private-practice psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, graduate students, Yoga instructors, physicians, acupuncturists, health coaches, professors of psychology and social work, as well as school psychologists, a middle school head, a special education teacher, executive coaches, a human resource director, a Christian minister, a lawyer, a venture capitalist, and a hospital psychiatrist.
I understand that video and audio recordings are made of all of the classes and retreats. How are those made available and are they included in my tuition? Will I have access to those recording after the year is over?
Audio and video of all the lectures, as well as most of the assigned readings, are posted on our secure and private website. You will have access to the site after the initial retreat and this access continues for one year (from the beginning date of the course).
Can you say a bit about the distance learning option for students outside the metropolitan area who are unable to attend classes? Will they have access to teachers? Is someone available to answer questions and provide feedback?
Distance learners are given full access to all the readings and class audio/video recordings. Additionally, distance learners participate in a bi-monthly video conference hosted by Joe Loizzo and Helen Park to discuss/process material with other distance learners.
What is the practice field?
The practice field is 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. Conference was created and is supervised by a program graduate and learning consultant.
Is there an opportunity for supervision and peer support?
A supervision group which meets twice monthly, provides feedback and peer support for confidential case studies with clients. This group is facilitated by New York program director Helen Park, and Dr. Loizzo.
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 to a small group), as well as brief reflection papers on the teach-backs (two 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 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.