Karuna Training

Two Year Professional Training in Contemplative Psychology

At the core of Karuna Training is the assumption that we are intrinsically healthy in our very nature. The cause of suffering lies in our own minds, and there are time-tested skillful means that unlock this innate health. From this perspective, our psychology contains wisdom. Karuna Training is a comprehensive program in Contemplative Psychology that teaches us how to work skillfully with ourselves first, and then how to offer ourselves to others through the innate potency of the heart and our mindful presence.

The program joins deep study of Tibetan Buddhist principles with contemplative practice, skills development, and ongoing group interaction and community support. It is a journey of discovering one’s own brilliant sanity, and of learning how to exchange ourselves for others so that we can transform everyday life challenges into opportunities for openness and wisdom.

Karuna Training Head of Faculty, Barbara Märtens, describes contemplative as “looking into nowness or the present moment.”

If we encounter our momentary situation, the moment as it unfolds, without manipulation or the wish to change it, but instead in an open manner, then we find in each moment of our experience the necessary qualities that can initiate the healing processes. We do not need particular concepts or a particular set of instructions: we do not have to jump on our impulse, but rather we can learn to open to what is.

In this, qualities such as insight, radical acceptance, clarity, openness, willingness to act with courage and simplicity are naturally available. These qualities have to be trained and cultivated, so that we can repeatedly learn to open up to the moment as it is with confidence—since our emotional triggers and habits are strongly engrained.

Barbara Märtens


Participation in a Karuna Training Cycle includes

  • An excellent foundation of knowledge regarding psychological health from the Buddhist perspective, combined with insights from western, process-based therapeutic models.
  • Meditation, mindfulness and compassion, sensory awareness exercises, and cognitive techniques.
  • Group and partner-based work.
  • Supervised continuity groups between seminars that deepen Compassionate Exchange and an understanding.
  • Personal development occurs within the therapeutic community.

Karuna Training develops

– Trust in one’s own basic health.
– The clarity to allow direct experience to arise.
– Development of a fresh view based on compassion and confidence towards oneself, ones work and others.
– The ability to utilize one’s relationships as a transformational path of awakening the heart.

Karuna training nurtures a personal development, which helps to deepen one’s sense of purpose in life, and to offer oneself as a vehicle for transformation in working with others. The training offers a valuable basis to integrate mindfulness and compassion in our work with others.