I received my M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2000. Since then I’ve worked in private practice as a presence-centered psychotherapist, blending the wisdom of depth psychology with Buddhist meditation—and now bringing it all to the field of plant medicine.
Asia: Buddhism and Books
My first career (I like to refer to it as a ‘past life’) was as an author and freelance journalist based in Asia. Living in China, Nepal and France—and now Peru—has given me a broad multicultural perspective that I find invaluable in working with psyche. My writing career, which has yielded five books to date, continues to generate many insights into the hard work of the creative process.
From 1985 to 1998 I lived in Kathmandu, Nepal, where I worked as author, editor, and sometimes trek leader, and had three children. During these years I was fortunate to receive teachings and meditation instruction from many Tibetan masters. The Dzogchen tradition in which I practice brings offers experiential teachings emphasizing the natural spaciousness and clarity of mind. The term Dzogchen or “Great Perfection” refers to the self-perfected state of our primordial nature, which is always present in the depths of our being.
Portland: Buddhist-Oriented Psychotherapy
Fast forward to 2000, when I completed a graduate degree in depth psychology and opened a private practice in Portland, Oregon. For 15 years I worked as a presence-centered psychotherapist, weaving together Buddhist perspectives of wisdom and compassion with depth psychology and a somatic understanding of trauma healing. Wisdom & Compassion: Buddhist Psychotherapy as Skillful Means describes my approach to combining spiritual and therapeutic work.
Meeting the Plants
Fast forward again to 2014, when I encountered ayahuasca in Hawaii. That first meeting was both disturbing and somehow deeply familiar, speaking to me in profound ways. Based on my own experiences and my work with others, I believe that skillful work with ayahuasca can initiate us into precisely the realms we need to enter. It offers an unprecedented opportunity for unlocking the gates of the unconscious, and truly seeing—sometimes for the first time—what we’ve been carrying for much of our lives. Ayahuasca can reveal the roots of chronic patterns of behavior, depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, physical symptoms, ancestral patterns, karmic default settings, and more.
For me, ayahuasca and other teacher plants, including San Pedro, iboga, and the many plantas maestras encountered on dieta, offer a path of profound and powerful healing. In my current work as an integration therapist, I seek to bridge the worlds of plant medicine, Buddhism, and Western psychology to develop effective ways of working with ancient traditions and the modern mind.