Getting to Know Shervon Laurice, MS, LCPC, RYT
Shervon Laurice is a licensed clinical professional counselor with a masters degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University of Maryland. She is also a certified yoga therapist through Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy School and a certified cannabis-assisted psychedelic therapist through the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness. Shervon has almost 20 years of experience in holistic healing for individuals living with depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain and autoimmune disorders.
Journeying Towards Holistic Healing and Psychedelic Therapy
Shervon Laurice started her journey towards holistic healing and psychedelic therapy where many people do – with health. This journey prompted deeper questions, including “What does healing look like?” and “How can I design for myself a better life, especially a life without pain?” “In my late twenties I started developing an autoimmune disorder and later was diagnosed as fibromyalgia, which is kind of this catch-all, mysterious condition that doctors don’t really know that much about.
Going back and forth to doctor’s appointments didn’t seems to be giving me the answers that I needed. I started to say to myself, ‘There’s got to be something better than this. I don’t want to live my whole life on pharmaceutical medication.’
I started to do my own research…and started looking up things, [like] nutrition or mental health. I already worked in the mental health field and was already accepted at university to do my graduate studies in counseling….My symptoms were this kind of mysterious thing, like roving pain in my joints and muscles, brain fog, tiredness for no real reason, and allergies that were out of control.
I started to become allergic to what felt like everything. How did nutrition and diet play a role in that? How did stress play a role? What could I do, since my doctor couldn’t point me in the right direction?”
“I did find a naturopathic doctor that helped me answer some of those questions, but it still wasn’t 100% of getting me there, but at least the journey had begun. Once I’d started my graduate studies in counseling and mental health, the question of ‘What is mental wellness and how does that play a role in physical health?’ started to really unfold for me.
In my late 20s, I was working in a group home and many of our clients in those places had hard to treat bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. One of the things I noticed and asked about in our team meetings with the psychiatrist was, ‘How much does diet play a role in our client’s symptoms?’ Because it seemed to me that many of them ate either junk food, fast food, or sugary foods, most of their day.
And the psychiatrist looked at me like I was an idiot and he was like, ‘It plays no role.’ But now we know, 25 years later, that diet has a huge part in our mental wellbeing. And if diet plays a part, then environment must play a part. That just kind of stuck with me.”
“While in school, I started answering those questions for myself, shifting how I take took care of myself and really started looking at what stress can do to the body, which we also now see in the research has a big role. So, I had to really come to grips with my own life and my own wellbeing being in my own hands.” These experiences formed the foundation of Shervon’s focus on holistic healing and psychedelic therapy.
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Yoga Psychotherapy and Healing
Yoga was the second thing I added to my practice. I had been a psychotherapist for a number of years. I had already been a yoga practitioner off and on since my teens, and I really became committed in my thirties to practicing yoga. One of the things I did was to move past just Asana, just what we know in the west as yoga, getting on a mat and doing a bunch of poses, sweating, or moving as fast as you can.
Once I got past that and started to engage in the other branches of yoga, I began to realize that breath work in particular was very beneficial for me. I had lived with mild- or low-level anxiety probably most of my life and, with the health stuff that had started in my twenties, I was definitely aware that I was an anxious person.
My full-time job at that time was in law enforcement, which was a very stressful job, if you can imagine. I was taking these yoga classes on breath work and realized that my own anxiety had become much more manageable because I was practicing these breath practices. So I started using them at work. It dawned on me one day, ‘I think my clients could benefit from this.’ So I started to search out yoga therapy, so that I could take a deeper dive and find the therapeutic applications to using yoga, especially in mental health.
I found a yoga therapy program, and through that, I learned how to use a movement – which we call asana – breathwork, meditation, and conscious relaxation to be able to teach clients how to work with their own bodies, to move back towards restoring equilibrium, restoring balance, and coming to places of healing for themselves.
Which I love, because if I can teach them how to do it, and they can maintain those practices for themselves at home, the way I learned to maintain those practices for myself, their healing process could continue to evolve long after they’re coming to see me. I’ve worked with people who have anxiety, depression, and PTSD with yoga therapy. My favorite clients are those with auto-immune diseases that just seem totally unmanageable.
Okay, so these practices, it’s not just me. It’s not just anecdotal. These practices really work for people’s everyday life. I love being able to do psychotherapy, yoga therapy and cannabis-assisted therapy in one place.
I was working with someone who has a PTSD, and suddenly she had a flashback after everything had been calm for some time, and it completely derailed her day-to-day life. So, we switched from doing talk therapy to just doing yoga therapy.
I gave her what we call a yoga nidra practice that she practiced daily over three weeks. It was interesting to see her from week to week, you can visibly see the shift back to balance and equilibrium in her.
It really heartened my experience ion my soul. I was like, ‘Okay, so these practices, it’s not just me. It’s not just anecdotal. These practices really work for people’s everyday life. I love being able to do psychotherapy, yoga therapy and cannabis-assisted therapy in one place.
Cannabis, Holistic Healing and Psychedelic Therapy
Shervon’s incorporation of cannabis in her practice of holistic healing and psychedelic therapy started with the question, ‘What is missing here?’ “I had also done my certification as a yoga teacher and then went on to get a certification in yoga therapy but was still figuring that something else was missing.
I started to come across information about the benefits of cannabis on the body for mental health in particular, but also for physical health…In all the research that I’d started to see, as well as confirmation from some of my clients who didn’t want to get on the regular traditional pharmaceutical medicines, cannabis was particularly use to manage their anxiety.”
“As I was thinking about all this, Maryland came on board with legalization for medicinal cannabis. I also found out that there were trainings that I could take to be able to incorporate this into my practice. So now I incorporate it in the psychotherapy session.
If a client wants to include cannabis in their sessions, we will talk in advance and prepare for those kinds of sessions and what they’re looking to explore in those specific sessions for the psychogenic benefits. Then, there are other client who are looking for a more intensive experience.
So, we offer 3-5 hour, 1-2 day, cannabis-assisted psychedelic therapy sessions. In the sessions leading up to that, we’re having talks about and preparing for what they’re looking to explore and what intentions they want to set. Then, we’re having those 1-2 day sessions and then coming back with integration to talk together about how they integrate what they learned and hot out of those sessions.”
“It has been some of the most rewarding experiences, because for me, I’ve been a therapist for nearly 20 years. And what I’m seeing in these kinds of intensive sessions is there’s this leap forward into the clarity that could have taken weeks to months in actual talk therapy, because cannabis has this wonderful way of easing back our ego minds, which is oftentimes the resistance point in therapy.
We are creatures of habit. Each day, we get up in the present moment and remember who we are based on our past experiences, right? In those past experiences, there can be good and or bad, and that sets us up for our presence. Then, we move about our day with that memory of who we are from our past.
Even if you’re in therapy or you’re doing all the wellness work, our ego mind – always in an effort to protect us – is always a little bit resistant to opening up the door to healing something from our past. [This healing] means we step into a new version of ourselves, so that we move forward into a future that can look very different than what we’re used to.
Cannabis, I find, helps to ease that ego experience so that one can really think about a different reality. One can really be able to see and work through the old traumas and negativity that has occurred in the past, so that they can be able to let that go, heal, and step into their present and create a new future for themselves. So, when I started to see those sessions unfold in real time, I was very glad about this training that I had added to my arsenal.”
“It is so powerful to see. I think the thing that sealed it for me after I was starting to research all of this cannabis and psychedelics in general, was that I had a client. I’d had her for a while. She had anxiety. She was stuck in her. In her work, she couldn’t figure out what she wanted to do.
We were kind of working through that and she comes in one day and said, ‘A friend of mine invited me to go down to Peru for an Ayahuasca ceremony. We processed it and talked about it, and we scheduled a time for when she got back.
When she returned, she was the most clear-headed as I had ever seen a person. It was like we had maybe three sessions after that. I didn’t know that that was integration at that time. We processed what she had experienced, what she got out of it, and that was it. Therapy was done.
A client session could look something like helping a client to get fully present with a breath practice or a quick body scan to allow them to get into their body, and then talking about the thoughts or feelings that arise and how those thoughts and or feelings connect to the behaviors, the actions, the choices that they’ve made, and then talking about from there, what could they change? What’s in their power to change? What they can let go of, because not everything is actually in our power to do anything about.
Some months later, I saw her in some of my yoga classes, and she was doing great. That really clicked and sealed it for me. This can be life-changing for people. If plant medicine can help put us out of business, then wouldn’t that be great.” Shervon has been able to combine cannabis, yoga, and her grounding as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LCPC) into her practice of holistic healing and psychedelic therapy.
CBT as a Healing Practice
“In my training at school, 30 years ago, my focus was on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) because it really rang true for me to be able to examine one’s thoughts and see how thoughts affect feelings, and therefore actions or behaviors.
Working with clients to help them clear away the mud from the lenses with which they see themselves. All these years later in the work that I’ve done, I’m still using cognitive behavioral therapy, but I’ve also paired it with mindfulness practices and mindfulness theory.
And so, client session could look something like helping a client to get fully present with a breath practice or a quick body scan to allow them to get into their body, and then talking about the thoughts or feelings that arise and how those thoughts and or feelings connect to the behaviors, the actions, the choices that they’ve made, and then talking about from there, what could they change? What’s in their power to change? What they can let go of, because not everything is actually in our power to do anything about.
So, that has been one of the more joyous ways talk therapy or psychotherapy has really unfolded in my practice. I continue now to use that, and it just keeps getting richer and richer.”
The more people who can heal themselves, the more can then turn around and help someone else by teaching them what they know, so that they in turn can heal themselves. That is love. That is love in action.
Future of Holistic Healing and Psychedelic Therapy
Shervon’s wish for the future of the psychedelic healing field is that it will become more accessible to more people. “With all the research that’s being done and with this becoming more mainstream, I’m hoping more and more people like me – I would consider myself fairly mainstream – connect with healing. I’m a preacher’s kid. I was raised in a very conservative Christian home where anything like this was forbidden, so I didn’t explore the benefits of what cannabis could be until less than a decade ago – I was already over 40 by that time.
I’m hoping more and more people like me start to find out about the benefits of cannabis and other plant medicines, and really ask themselves, ‘How can this help?’ Whether that’s physically, emotionally, or spiritually, ‘How can I use plant medicines to help me clear away the mud from the lenses with which I see myself to heal old wounds, and to be able to step into my present more?’
So that they can gain full access to who they really are, and in doing so, be able to move into the full futures that they have envisioned.”
“To me, that is going to be the biggest shift that our planet can make. The more people who can heal themselves, the more can then turn around and help someone else by teaching them what they know, so that they in turn can heal themselves. That is love. That is love in action. And then if we have more love on this planet, maybe we wouldn’t be living through what we’re seeing these days now. So that is my hope. That’s my ultimate wish.”
Contact Sharvon Laurice, MS, LCPC, RYT
Shervon would love to connect with you to explore holistic healing and psychedelic therapy. “You can visit my website. There on each page, we are talking about either psychotherapy, cannabis-assisted therapy, or yoga therapy. So go to whichever page resonates the most for you and fill in the contact form. Let me know what it is that you’re looking to explore.
Put in your contact information, hit enter, and it’ll come to me, and I’ll reach out. Usually, I’ll schedule a consultation with folks and then find a time for us to meet.” You can also learn more on her Psychedelic Support Network profile.