I am a psychotherapist, business psychologist, and coach and my goal is to help people achieve mental and emotional balance by developing a healthy mind.

Through the Karuna Group my practice based in Soquel, California, I use modern psychology and secular principles of Buddhist psychology in simple and clear terms so people can use these ideas in everyday life, regardless of their religious or cultural background. Life and work become the testing grounds for clients to explore and develop their vast inner qualities and potential.  In doing so, they are able to attain greater personal happiness and in the workplace, contribute to a more healthy and harmonious organizational culture.


Hi everybody, let me intoduce myself to you!

Posted by Karuna Cayton on Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My practice is unique and evolved through a circuitous and immensely satisfying route. Over forty years ago, as a young undergraduate majoring in Asian Studies at Evergreen State College, I went to Nepal on the school’s study abroad program. During that time, I became fascinated by the culture, in particular, Tibetan Buddhism, and acquired a level of fluency in Nepali.

My understanding of the Buddhist teachings grew through the guiding wisdom of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist master, and his late mentor, Lama Thubten Yeshe. After briefly returning to the United States, at the request of Lama Yeshe I returned to Nepal to teach English to the monks at Kopan Monastery and to establish a Western Studies Program.

I stayed for twelve years, until one day, out of the blue Lama Zopa Rinpoche suggested it was time for me to move back to the US. He advised me to study western psychology and use my knowledge of Buddhist psychology to enhance the understanding of its principles within western cultures.

I earned a Master’s Degree in clinical psychology at JFK University and am a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor (#31860). After completing my Masters, I worked as a counselor at the Children’s Health Council at Stanford University. In addition, I was part of a research team developing ideas concerning Narrative Therapy as well as other constructivist theories at Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto.

My executive coaching clientele has included top executives from companies such as Aruba Networks, 3com, Martin Land Company, FPMT (a leading Buddhist organization) and OnStor. My work with Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba Networks, was featured as the cover article for the November 2007 issue of Fortune magazine. I am a senior trainer with the Danish company The Potential Project ( and its representative for North America.   I have practiced and taught mind training for over 30 years and certified by the Hay Group in conducting their Emotional Intelligence 360 assessments.   These assessments are specifically designed for executives and others in a leadership role. I am also certified in other assessment tools for the workplace.

You Have a Choice

Step One: You Have a Choice! The first step we take in developing mental well-being, and employing mind training, is remembering that in every moment we choose how to direct our inner life. Most of us live our lives in reactive mode — we respond to things as they happen without considering our response. We are on automatic pilot. Lacking a sense of inner control, we typically respond by trying to control the world and others.

Read more: Cayton, Karuna. The Misleading Mind: How We Create Our Own Problems and How Buddhist Psychology Can Help Us Solve Them (Kindle Locations 707-710). New World Library. Kindle Edition.

Posted by Karuna Cayton on Thursday, August 18, 2016

Further to my therapy and coaching practice, I have been on the FPMT Board of Directors since 1988, retired from the board of FPMT in 2016. It is a large Buddhist organization with over 160 centers and projects around the world, including North and South Americas, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. I live in Santa Cruz with my wife and whichever of my three adult children need a place to sleep.