4295 San Felipe St.
Healing Mind, Body & Spirit
By the time I graduated high school I had decided that I would like to attend medical school to pursue a career in Psychiatry. Although I had grown up in Houston, I felt ready to explore a new part of the country, and I chose to attend Northwestern University just north of Chicago. Because my pre-medicine requirements provided me with sufficient math and science exposure, I chose to balance my undergraduate education by majoring in Hispanic Studies. This proved to be a useful compromise between the practical and more creative aspects of my Self: I returned to Texas and was better able to communicate with many of the individuals I intended to heal, and I was stimulated by the exploration of a different culture and the push to think in a different tongue.
I returned to Houston for medical school at the University of Texas, what is now known as McGovern Medical School. These were challenging and growth-inspiring years. During my time in medical school I found myself affirmed in my initial decision to pursue Psychiatry, in awe of the immense diversity of human behavior and experience. I became more and more curious about the human unconscious, which lead me to pursue residency at Baylor College of Medicine in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry. The program stood out to me as depth-oriented and with greater psychoanalytic emphasis than the typical psychiatry program. While in residency I pursued and completed Studies in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, a certification program through the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies (member of the American Psychoanalytic Association).
I began treating patients in private practice in 2012 with medications and psychotherapy. I quickly became aware of how pervasive the impact of trauma is on the human psyche, and I sought ongoing education through the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation to better understand these processes. As I worked longer and with more individuals it became clear to me how even individuals without an identified history of trauma experience more subtle manifestations of the same processes we have studied in PTSD and more severe dissociation. The inevitable frustrations, disappointments, and betrayals that we all face in life can lead to shame, withdrawal, or any number of defenses that take us further away from ourselves and our community. At its core, I believe that psychotherapy is effective when it brings us closer to the truth of our Selves and others.
It was this same belief in the restoration of the natural self that inspired my return to a more functional exploration of the body's physiology, in order to better understand its systems and habits. To this end, I enrolled in the fellowship program with the Integrative Psychiatric Institute to become a Certified Integrative Psychiatric Provider. Integrative wellness speaks to me on many levels, and I view this approach as deeply compatible with the depth psychotherapy approach I learned to value early in my training. A functional and integrative approach to biological treatment acknowledges that the health of each individual's body and mind relies upon myriad interconnected systems, and imbalance in any one of them can create a cascade that results in distress and dysfunction. I feel grateful to be able to work, every day, in the exploration and decoding of these mysteries in my work with Megan Vardeman and the evolution of Your Wellness Practice, which we co-founded to provide depth-oriented care for the body, the foundation of good mental health. My interest in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy began years ago. I am convinced of the transformative power of psychedelic and spiritual experiences, and their innate capacity to disrupt our often-rigid egos to put us in touch with something more absolute than ourselves. It felt important to provide this awesome service in a conscientious and personalized way to those who might benefit, and it took me some time to find the right way to do so. I am grateful to be collaborating with Amanda Yoder in this work, a friend and colleague whose thoughtfulness, awareness, and experience contains the exploratory space. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy incorporates a journey away from our usual state of consciousness into a more rarefied state. Paradoxically, it is the "realer than real" quality of the mystical experience that creates a resonance within ourselves to recognize the truth of what the journey offers, humbling our egoic perspective and opening us up to something bigger.