Karen Kissel Wegela

kkwegela@naropa.edu | 303-245-4832

Professor, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology
Core Faculty


Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology


PhD Counseling, Psychology, and Experiential Learning, Union Institute
MA Education: Guidance and Counseling, University of Denver
MA English Language and Literature, Boston University
BA English, University of Rochester

Karen is a long-time core faculty member at Naropa, having joined the university in 1981. She served as Director of the M.A. Psychology: Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program for 15 years.  Karen is a founding member of Cauldron (the faculty executive committee), and she served as faculty trustee for two and half years.  Presently, Karen is a half-time Professor and member of the department's Leadership Team in the M.A. Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program.

She is the author of What Really Helps (1996 and 2011) and of The Courage to Be Present (2009) both from Shambhala, and her new book Contemplative Psychotherapy Essentials (2014) came out this fall from W.W. Norton.  She has presented at conferences and workshops both nationally and internationally.

From the Heart

I love getting to teach what I love with bright, passionate, and engaged students.

Recent Publications

  • Contemplative Psychotherapy Essentials: Enriching Your Practice with Buddhist Psychology (2014), W. W. Norton
  • Chapter: Nurturing the Seeds of Sanity: A Buddhist Approach to Psychotherapy in Modern Psychology & Ancient Wisdom (2016), S. Mijares (ed.), Routledge Conference presentations: Richmond, Vancouver and Chicago, IL

Courses taught

  • Introduction to Buddhist Psychology
  • Contemplative Psychotherapy Seminar: Vajrayana & Clinical Applications
  • Counseling Relationships I
  • Maitri (retreat) V

What book do you find yourself regularly pressing into the hands of students? 

Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Have you ever helped a student reach an 'ah ha' or transformational moment? 

In office hours recommending the book:  The Gift of Dyslexia to a student who found that it shifted her perception of herself in a healing way.

What's next?

More of the same—which is, of course, always different.

  		Kissel Wegela