Describe the mental health and policy barriers that perpetuate stigma and inequitable access to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Kelly Sykes, PhD is a child forensic psychologist and maintains a private practice in Brooklyn, New York. She works primarily with court referred families as a custody evaluator, parenting or family coordinator, or therapeutic supervisor. She also provides expert consultation and testimony in matters that concern parent-child contact problems, child sexual abuse evaluations, trauma & parenting, and adoption & termination of parental rights. Her work is heavily influenced by psychoanalysis and attachment theory. Kelly’s interest in psychedelic integration therapy evolved from years of working with court-referred parents with histories of complex trauma, persistent mood disorders, and substance abuse problems. Noting that for some, talk therapies helped with insight but failed to inhibit endangering behavior or led to meaningful change such that they could parent their children. This sparked her interest in learning more about the role the brain plays in the chronicity of certain psychological conditions and the research on psychedelic treatments.
Dr. Alex Camargo is a psychologist based in New York City and maintains a private practice in Manhattan. His work is heavily influenced by psychoanalytic and attachment theories where he works with clients to address anxiety, depression, life transitions and spiritual crises. In addition, he provides psychedelic harm reduction and integration, helping clients prepare for psychedelic experiences, incorporate insights or cope with challenges post-experience. He has also been employed to be a study therapist on a clinical trial investigating the impact of psilocybin on the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder at New York Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Camargo’s clinical training focused on providing mental health services in low-fee clinics and hospitals to traditionally underserved communities the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Nassau County.
Dr. Elizabeth Nielson is a co-founder of Fluence and a psychologist with a focus on developing psychedelic medicines as empirically supported treatments for PTSD, substance use problems, and mood disorders. Dr. Nielson is a therapist on FDA approved clinical trials of psilocybin-assisted treatment of alcohol use disorder, MDMA-assisted treatment PTSD, and psilocybin-assisted treatment of treatment resistant depression. Through Fluence, she provides continuing education and training programs for therapists who wish to engage in integration of psychedelic experiences in clinical settings. Her program of research includes qualitative and mixed-methods projects designed to further understand the phenomenology and mechanisms of change in psychedelic-assisted therapy, including the experiences of trial participants and of the therapists themselves. Having completed an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at NYU, she has published and presented on topics of psychedelic therapist training, therapists’ personal experience with psychedelics, and including psychedelic integration in group and individual psychotherapy.
Tehseen Noorani is an interdisciplinary scholar trained in sociology, anthropology and science studies. His interests lie in the phenomenological, epistemic and sociopolitical character of extreme experiences, and how these are made sense of across different 'consciousness cultures'. His current research traces the renewed scientific and therapeutic interest in psychedelic experiences in the global North, exploring implications for theories of psychopathology and approaches to mental health care. Weaving together scientific, medical, spiritual and aesthetic registers, this research is situated in the context of medicalisation and the ongoing 'war on drugs'. Tehseen spearheaded qualitative research for the Johns Hopkins psychedelic research team from 2013-2015, and has written on psychedelic science and therapeutics, expertise-by-experience in mental healthcare and participatory research methodologies. His PhD (2007-2011) was an ethnographic study of the knowledge-making practices of the mental health self-help and mutual aid movement, with a particular focus on the Hearing Voices Network.