stonepathThe interface between Buddhism and psychotherapy is an increasingly important one, both for individual psychotherapists and for the practical integration of Buddhist teachings into contemporary Western society. While once the dialogue was carried on between two different groups of specialists — psychotherapists and Buddhist practitioners — today that dialogue is frequently carried on within the same person. There is also an increasing number of clients who are committed Buddhists seeking to work with psychotherapists who understand their worldview. Whether they are themselves committed to Buddhism, clinicians may wish to deepen and expand their practice as psychotherapists through a rigorous study of the Buddhist teachings.

The Institute of Buddhist Studies’ Buddhism and Contemporary Psychology Certificate Program offers a substantive and nuanced understanding of Buddhist teachings. It also provides a solid foundation for a knowledgeable, respectful, and creative exploration of the relation between these two systems. The program provides the educational grounding needed for a psychotherapist or other practitioner to either work from a grounding in the Buddhadharma or to work with Buddhist clients. Participants will develop an increased ability to grasp the significance of the Buddhadharma (right view), and to express clearly and accurately the Buddhadharma in verbal form (right speech). The purpose of this certificate program is to provide the working professional with the conceptual frameworks within which Buddhists have formulated the teachings over the past two and a half millennia.

The program may be completed either as part of a regular degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. The program is overseen by the Institute of Buddhist Studies, and participants are advised by Dr. Richard Payne, Director.


Program Requirements

  1. Eight 3-unit courses (24 total units; two required, six elective courses chosen in consultation with advisor
  2. Program summary reflection (approximately 2,000 word) completed at end of program
  3. Portfolio of term papers from courses taken in fulfillment of the program

Required courses

  1. Psychological Aspects of Buddhism I (HRPS 8320)
  2. Psychological Aspects of Buddhism II (HRPS 3016)

Recommended courses

Students with no prior academic study of Buddhism are strongly encouraged to take either Introduction to Buddhist Thought (HR 1510), or the two semester sequence Buddhist Traditions of South Asia (HRHS 1515, HRHS 8151) and Buddhist Traditions of East Asia (HRHS 1518, HRHS 8152), offered annually.