Maria Stella, Ph.D., R.C.C.


Associate Professor and Associate Director, M.Ed. School Counselling program

Maria Stella is a program coordinator for the MEd School Counselling program, working closely with faculty, students and school districts. She is also a registered clinical counsellor in private practice, where she specializes in issues related to trauma, loss and transition.

Maria currently serves as a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist community. She has led mindfulness-based cognitive therapy groups, bereavement support groups and counsellor training and mentoring.

Maria holds a PhD in East-West Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. Her dissertation focused on working with intense emotions through mindfulness.

Maria has a background in both qualitative and quantitative research methods—including experience in narrative, phenomenology and theoretical research methods, and statistical analysis. Her research interests include emotional regulation, somatic psychology, contemplative practices in health and education, and applications of mindfulness.

In other aspects of her life Maria enjoys practicing Embodied Presence/Social Presencing Theater, meditation, teaching contemplative practices, walking in nature, and visiting with family and friends

Courses Taught at CityUniversity

Master of Counselling program:

  • Introduction to Counselling Psychology Practice
  • Systemic Theory: Diversity and Cultural Psychology
  • Grief and Loss
  • Research Methods and Statistics
  • Research thesis advisor for Masters of Counselling program

Master of Education program:

  • Introduction to Counselling Theory
  • Research Methods in Education (ECC 511)
  • Introduction to School-based Counselling (ECC 514)
  • Child and Adolescent Growth and Development
  • Research thesis advisor for Masters of Education program.


2002-present: Teacher, Mentor, Leader, Shambhala International

2011-2012: Teaching Assistant and Supervisor, Citizens Counselling Centre

2011-2012: Group Facilitator, Citizens Counselling Centre

1989-2001: Financial Planning Assistant & Team Supervisor, Rogers Group Financial


Ph. D, (East West Psychology), California Institute of Integral Studies, 2010

Master of Arts (Consciousness Studies), University of Philosphical Research, 2006

Bachelor of Arts (psychology). University of British Columbia, 2004


University of Victoria, School of Nursing, Victoria   2013

  • A Buddhist Philosophical Approach to Exploring Reality for doctoral students: Philosophical Knowledge and Advance Practice Nursing.         

Camuson College, Mental Health & Addiction, Victoria 2013

  • Two presentations: Trauma and the Body for graduate college students.

California Institute of Integral Studies, East-West Psychology, San Francisco 2008 – 2009

  • The Door to Consciousness for graduate students advanced seminar: Consciousness and Spiritual Growth Ordinary and Non-Ordinary States.        
  • Working with Emotions for graduate students advanced seminar: Comparative Mysticism.
  • Stella, M. (2015). Befriending Death: A Mindfulness-Based Approach to Cultivating Self-Awareness in Counselling Students. Death Studies.
  • Stella M. (2014, December). Cultivating Presence in the Therapeutic Relationship. Insights into Clinical Counselling, 3, 19-21.
  • Stella M. (2011). Working with Emotions: A Shambhala Buddhist Approach. Saarbrucken: VDM Verlag Dr. Muller.