“I came to realize that a variety of spiritual and psychedelic frameworks for understanding consciousness could be quite healing and this led me to pursue a career in psychiatry and complementary alternative medicine.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My personal path into mental health started by witnessing my own family navigate mental health struggles while establishing wellness. Growing up in a household with several family members with psychiatric diagnoses led me through my own personal journey toward understanding the mind and establishing wellness for myself. After working in the nonprofit sector at Prevent Child Abuse America, I dove deeply into eastern philosophical studies and practices. In 2000, I completed a Buddhist seminary and served many years as a personal attaché to a Tibetan Buddhist teacher and bestselling author. Eventually, I came to realize that a variety of spiritual and psychedelic frameworks for understanding consciousness could be quite healing and this led me to pursue a career in psychiatry and complementary alternative medicine.
What should someone know about working with you?
My general framework for assessment focuses on three core aspects of our human existence: Body, mind, and lifestyle. Within these spheres, I assess everything from nutrition to relationships to biological function and beyond. Rather than having the same cut and dry care plan for every challenge with which I’m presented, I focus on meeting my clients where they are in the moment and collaborating with them on a realistic care plan with short and long-term goals. I tend to avoid prescription meds as much as possible unless they’re clearly warranted. I also utilize psychedelic-assisted therapies (specifically ketamine) with the help of my talented team at Field Trip Health.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I pursued fellowship at the Integrative Psychiatry Institute (sponsored by the University of Colorado) and I am an active member of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians as well as the Psychedelic Medicine Association.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I've always been driven to find deeper meaning and personal growth in my career. This is why I've dedicated much of my early career to serving the underserved, Buddhist psychology, and psychedelic-assisted therapies. I consider meaning-making an important component in mental health and I promote it as much as possible. I like to think outside of the box and I'm open to trying new evidence-based techniques.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
With recent research on a variety of developing therapies for trauma and adverse childhood experiences, I believe we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in current mental health care models. This is further enhanced by the new research around psychedelics, gut health, mindfulness, and nutraceuticals. I look forward to the day when your average prescriber first asks about possible adversities in life prior to making a quick diagnosis of depression while reflexively prescribing an SSRI.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I've done some research on the effects of THC on the mind. I plan to do more research on ketamine and other psychedelics in the upcoming future.
“My general framework for assessment focuses on three core aspects of our human existence: Body, mind, and lifestyle.”