A native of Finland, Kaisa Puhakka has an interdisciplinary educational background with an M.A. degree in philosophy, with specialization in Asian and comparative thought, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Experimental Psychology, all from the University of Toledo, Ohio. Soon thereafter, she enrolled at Adelphi University's Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies in New York and obtained a postdoctoral diploma in clinical psychology, specializing in psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy, in 1983.
At the same time, she continued her study of Hindu and Buddhist philosophical thought and a variety of Buddhist meditative practices which in more recent years have included monastic Rinzai Zen.
After teaching in the Humanistic-Transpersonal Masters program of West Georgia College (now State University of West Georgia) and at The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Dr Puhakka joined the Clinical Psychology faculty at CIIS in 2001. She has taught a wide range of courses including psychopathology, transpersonal psychology, and cultural issues in clinical practice. She currently teaches in the areas of psychodynamic as well as existential theory and practice, the interface of Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, and spiritual and religious issues in clinical practice.
Dr Puhakka has published a book and some 45 articles and book chapters in comparative philosophy, phenomenology, Buddhist practice in the West, eco-psychology, and the evolution and transformation of consciousness. She was formerly Editor of The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology and remains on the board of editors for this journal as well as for The Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Dr Puhakka is licensed in California and has an active psychotherapy and consultation/supervision practice in San Francisco and Palo Alto. Her practice specializes in relationship issues and in personal and spiritual growth.