I earned my PhD in clinical psychology by studying transcendence, wholeness, and transformation. As faculty at Yale University, I conducted research with atypical psychedelics like salvinorin A, THC, and ketamine. I learned how these substances affect healthy adults and the kinds of experiences they bring up. My first published article was on the spiritual and psychedelic potential of dextromethorphan. I have written and spoken about psychedelic science for over a decade, co-founded the Yale Psychedelic Science Group, and documented traditional healing and religious practices in Mexico. I also discovered a passion for data management and security which I bring with me to my online therapy practice.
I first learned about psychedelic harm reduction when I trained and volunteered with Sanctuary at Burning Man in 2007. This was a collaboration between the Burning Man Rangers and MAPS, a project which later evolved into the Zendo Project. I learned how to support and care for people who were in the midst of challenging experiences. These experiences (often inaccurately referred to as “bad trips”) could change into valuable learning opportunities, and even potentially offer healing and growth.
How I work with clients
I provide online therapy for adults in Oregon and Washington, so you can speak with me from the comfort and security of your favorite chair or couch. I also sometimes lead group therapy in Portland OR. Throughout my training I have focused on cognitive-behavioral, process-oriented, and existential therapies. From my perspective, discussing mental health must include discussing meaning and Ultimate Purpose.
I take my time with clients, allowing myself to be with them and see them as whole persons. The immediate lived experience of my client, and of myself, is the data that drive my understanding and treatment planning. I find it best to form a concept of the entire person, rather than a list of symptoms. By focusing on the mind, body, and spirit of a person I can avoid confining labels.
I also focus on how the client experiences the present. Rather than focusing solely on past trauma or future plans, I focus on how the client experiences traumatic memories in the present, and how thinking about the future affects the client in the moment. This present orientation is key. My training and experience have helped me develop an appreciation for mindfulness and building awareness. Clients who are present are more aware of what they need in order to grow and heal.