Integrative Mental Health
Creative, holistic support for your mind and heart.
The physical body affects the mind.
Our medical culture of 7 minute visits that focus on pills does us a huge disservice when it comes to mental health. (Among other things!)
There are often real, objective, and measurable causes to mood imbalances.
These can include nutritional deficiencies, hormonal issues, digestive ailments, microbial imbalances, allergic responses, and inflammatory reactions.
Screening for food intolerances, stealth infections, and heavy metals and other environmental exposures is further indicated in some cases.
Thankfully, many of these conditions can be detected and corrected if we listen carefully to the body.
Once these underlying dysfunctions are addressed, the mind can heal and sustainable happiness can be re-established.
I won’t tell you, “All moms feel like that,” or “Everyone is stressed.” I will listen to you carefully and investigate what your body, mind, and spirit may need to be in harmony.
Factors that can influence mental health
We work together as a team.
I typically work with folks over several visits and customize my recommendations for each individual – since mental health isn’t one-size-fits-all.
The first appointment typically consists of a “download,” in which I will ask a number of questions about your current and past health to give me a sense of where I think the imbalance(s) may lay.
(That being said, sometimes we dive right in with the counseling, and save the “mechanical” things for a later appointment.)
Sometimes I recommend herbs and other natural remedies during the first visit, though not always. I may recommend some blood tests or other tests as well, to help us gather more clues.
If you’re working with a prescriber locally, I may offer some suggestions about medications and dosage protocols that your other prescriber may not know about. (I cannot guarantee that they will prescribe as I suggest, however! Things go the smoothest when we all play together as a team.) Whenever I am able, I will recommend local practitioners and specialists as I think you’d be best served.
In subsequent visits, we discuss test findings and I’ll educate you on what is happening within your own body. We will begin chipping away at the psycho-spiritual components of your case through gentle counseling techniques (if you’re willing). We may also “fine tune” the plan with respect to herbs and supplements.
You can count on there being “homework” after each visit – because the plan works best if you work it! (So work it; you’re worth it.) Health is a muscle that needs to be exercised and reinforced. (Think of me as your personal trainer / cheerleader.)
Sometimes I prescribe medications as well (this includes ketamine at a variety of dose ranges and routes of administration). Medications are only prescribed for folks who are residents of the state of Oregon (or who can travel there to see me) who on-board as patients and who are concurrently working with a primary car provider (PCP). I almost never just prescribe medications and leave it at that – pharmaceuticals are always paired with other approaches to help you get the most out of your healing plan.
When the drugs don’t work
Most people think that depression is caused by low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, but this theory of depression is just a theory – one that is losing traction within the field of psychiatry.
While pharmaceutical medications help many, about 30% of people do not feel significantly better when they take serotonin-altering medications.
Although psychiatric drugs work great for many people (and I myself prescribe them sometimes), they aren’t for everyone. As with any medication, antidepressants typically work best when used as a part of a comprehensive plan that includes good nutrition, healthy lifestyle practices, counseling or coaching, herbal remedies, and/or supplements.
Getting off of antidepressants
Is it time for you to stop taking one or more of your psychiatric medications? I can offer suggestions on how to make the transition as smooth and peaceful as possible. Whether you’ve been on a drug for just a few months or several decades, it’s usually best to taper down slowly. Fortunately, there are nutritional, hormonal, lifestyle, herbal, and other holistic strategies that can help.
Counseling to reclaim your inner wisdom
If you’d like to dig into your mental/emotional health a little deeper, I also offer counseling services.
That’s because I understand that no matter what our neurotransmitters are up to, we are bound to struggle if the deepest parts of us are unfulfilled or unloved.
It can be terrifying to turn and face our own shadows. That’s why I’m here, to be your witness and your support through the very important work of rediscovering and reclaiming your right to a satisfying life.
One way I do this is through a unique form of holistic counseling. Sessions are 60-90 minutes long, during which time I ask a series of both open-ended and directive questions to help unveil the patterns and negative messages swirling around in your subconscious. This allows your conscious mind to connect the dots between your mind, spirit, and physical body. During these sessions you will get the opportunity to share your hidden struggles, fears, weaknesses, and issues.
My training in body scanning, process work, emotional freedom technique (EFT), and other somatic-based approaches can help deepen the healing.
Most people come out of sessions feeling they have a better sense of themselves, and often their physical ailments “miraculously” improve slowly in the weeks and months that follow. Sometimes one session is all that’s needed, but more commonly people need a few to get to the various layers. We can space the sessions out to whatever timing feels right for the unfolding of the healthier, truer version of you. (One to two times per month is typical.)
Therapeutic techniques I use
My approach to counseling is tailored to the unique needs of the client. Some of my inspirations (and heroes) include:
- Negative core belief work
- Polyvagal theory
- Window of tolerance
- Holistic counseling / Vis Dialogue
- ManKind Project & Woman Within clearing model and process work
- Trauma release movement
- Emotional freedom technique
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Naturopathic medical philosophy
- Homeopathic and Vitalist philosophies
- Mystical experience integration
- Entheogenic healing paradigms
- Exercises from The Artist’s Way
- Creative movement and drama therapy
There are times in life where the straight-and-narrow approach is just what the doctor ordered. But at other times we find ourselves seeking opportunities to heal that go beyond the pale of what conventional medicine has to offer. If you’re considering healing with psychedelic (enthogenic) medicine, it can be incredibly helpful to connect with a practitioner before, during, and after your ceremony or microdosing reigmen to help you make the experience(s) as meaningful as possible.
It’s not all in your head.
There are real causes behind your mood imbalances.
Let’s nourish those parts of you.