Brian is a registered psychologist and former instructor at both MacEwan University, where he taught psychology to undergraduates, and at St. Stephen’s College, where he trained practicum students enrolled in graduate programs in the Department of Psychotherapy and Spirituality. He has worked in community clinics, specialized multi-disciplinary teams in the inner city, and as a mental health consultant and trainer for front-line staff in programs funded by Children’s Services. Brian received his MA in Counselling Psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Vancouver. He also has training in psychodrama, Brain Spotting, hypnotherapy, psychedelic integration, and EMDR. He is certified as an instructor in Mental Health First Aid, and as a peer-coach in Motivational Interviewing. Brian specializes in trauma treatment and addictions counselling, but also treats a variety of concerns.
Brian has been significantly influenced by the depth psychology theories of Carl Jung and Alfred Adler, and has a special interest in spiritual growth and personal development, including the use of entheogens. Part of his own spiritual development involved working intensively with shamans in Peru.
Brian is the driving force behind the Welling Centre. He views the human psyche as striving for balance, wholeness and growth. In his own pursuit of this, Brian enjoys spending time with his family, loves animals, music, movies, and is passionate about mythology, shamanism, and mysticism.
How I work with clients
Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in the potential healing powers of psychedelic experiences facilitated through the use of hallucinogenic, empathogenic, dissociative, or similar substances. These can include any plant or fungal based medicines (i.e. magic mushrooms, iboga, ayahuasca, peyote, cannabis, etc.) or artificial psychoactive substances (i.e. MDMA, ketamine, LSD, etc.) used for healing, recreational, or spiritual purposes. When these substances are used for spiritual or sacred purposes, they are called entheogens (and, of course, some people would contend that spiritual and healing purposes are one in the same). Regardless of the purpose to which they are put, the outcomes can be varied, and not always positive. Many people have experienced harm (bad trips, etc.) through their use, despite the growing evidence that when used properly, they can be of incredible value. Often, people are naive to the risks associated with combining different substances and unaware of the vital role played by the mindset of participants and the setting in which the substances are used. The profound, rapid changes many people report after a psychedelic experience may require careful reflection and integration. Put metaphorically, a pill may be far easier to swallow than it is to digest.
When a person is considering or has already had a psychedelic experience, it is often helpful to have a guide to alert the person to potential risks and benefits, and to assist them in integrating profound new insights (or challenging experiences) into existing patterns of thought, feelings, and behaviour. A person’s psychological history (including trauma, psychosis, and other mental health factors) has great bearing on the way that these experiences may be interpreted and integrated or not integrated. Brian Welling is a psychologist with special training and interest in this area.
Many people choose to use psychedelics and similar substances even though many of them are illegal substances in Canada, or only available through physicians, who are often reluctant to prescribe. This may be changing. Research, which had been delayed for decades is now progressing at an accelerated rate, and we may well see many of these substances become more readily available for medical purposes, including the treatment of mental disorders, such as depression, PTSD, opioid and alcohol addiction. Already, ayahuasca is being used legally in some settings for spiritual purposes in Canada, and of course, cannabis is legally available medically and recreationally, here. Many psychedelic and similar types of substances are legal in other jurisdictions, and illicit use in Canada remains popular.
At Welling Centre, we do not advocate or endorse the illicit use of substances. We do, however, have an interest and responsibility to promote harm reduction. Our approach is to act within legal and ethical bounds to guide and support people who choose to make use of these substances by providing access to information and therapy in order to reduce the potential for harm and to promote mental and spiritual health and well being. We do not currently offer psychedelic-assisted therapy, but will, within the scope of our practice, help people to prepare for and consider their rationale for future psychedelic experiences, and help them to integrate past psychedelic experiences. We will not give medical advice and our psychological services are not a substitute for the medical care of physicians or nurses or the spiritual care of shamans with years of dedicated specialized training and practice in the traditional ceremonial use of sacred medicines.