Updates for Current Students
2020 Pilot Course in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy
Sara Lewis, PhD, LSW
Dr. Sara Lewis is Associate Professor and Chair of Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology at Naropa University. She earned her PhD from Columbia University and two master’s degrees from the University of Chicago, specializing in psychological anthropology, global mental health, and clinical social work. She is author of “Spacious Minds: Trauma and Resilience in Tibetan Buddhism,” (Cornell University Press, 2019) which explores how Buddhist concepts of mind, memory, and emotion shape responses to trauma in the Tibetan diaspora. She is a former Fulbright fellow, and her work has been supported by the Mind and Life Institute, and the Mellon Foundation. She is also a psychotherapist in private practice, and has conducted research on how psychedelics can be a catalyst for change in therapeutic settings.
Lauren Casalino, MA, LPC
Lauren Casalino, MA, LPC is an Associate Professor and former Chair of the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology Program at Naropa University. Her private psychotherapy practice includes individuals, couples, and groups. Due to her expertise in group facilitation, she is called upon by public and private organizations struggling with intractable group dynamics. Lauren Co-Founded Windhorse Elder Care. She authored "Psychotherapy and the Paramitas: Walking the Bodhisattva's Path" in Brilliant Sanity: Buddhist Approaches to Psychotherapy. Lauren’s fundamental commitment is to personal growth and professional mastery in the service of health individually, relationally, societally, and globally. The right use of psychedelic medicines to promote social justice and the furtherance of an ecologically sustainable planet is an area of passion for Lauren.
Marcela Ot’alora G.
Marcela Ot’alora G. was born and raised in Colombia, and currently living in Boulder, Colorado. She has an MA in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and an MFA in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Marcela began her career as an Installation artist and teacher and after completing her training as a psychotherapist in 1999 she started her private practice working primarily with trauma with diverse populations. Her interest and focus on trauma have led her to understand the healing process as an intimate re-connection with one’s innate essence through love, integrity, acceptance, and honoring of the human spirit. In addition to working with trauma and PTSD, she has dedicated her professional life to teaching, and research. She uses art as a vehicle for deepening connection to self and the world and has worked for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) as a co-therapist and a principal investigator in various studies using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD and as part of therapist’s training. Additionally, she is a trainer and supervisor for therapists working on MAPS studies. She is deeply grateful for home, loved ones, making art, and the privilege to stop and smell the flowers.
Jamie Beachy, MDiv, PhD, ACPE
Jamie Beachy PhD, MDiv, serves as Assistant Faculty for Naropa’s Master of Divinity program. Jamie has worked as a chaplain, ACPE certified spiritual care educator, and ethics consultant in diverse contexts including academic medical centers, trauma hospitals, hospice, and palliative care settings. In addition to her role at Naropa, Jamie serves as a therapist with the MAPS MDMA-assisted therapy study site in Boulder. She has presented and convened gatherings on psychedelics and chaplaincy including a recent panel at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School, and a forthcoming article on chaplaincy and psychedelic therapies in the MAPS Bulletin.
Travis Cox, PhD
Travis Cox, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Masters in Ecopsychology at Naropa University. He has been studying consciousness throughout his career in academia, both as a student and as faculty. His interests in psychedelics are at the intersection of activism, philosophy, sustainability, and ecopsychology. He presented on psychedelics and sustainability at the 2019 AASHE conference, helped organize the "Can Exceptional Experience Save the World?" conference at the Claremont Graduate School of Theology in 2019, and was a part of the "Philosophy and Psychedelics" conference at the University of Exeter in April of 2021.
Bruce D. Poulter
I have been interested and worked much of my career with people in altered states of one form or another. I began my health career as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse at the University of California (UC) San Francisco Moffitt Hospital when the AIDS pandemic first emerged and began devastating our communities. In response to the failure of ICUs to improve the morbidity and mortality rates of their clients, I received a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in Health Planning and Policy. Moving to Boulder I then developed public health programs including one of the first certified nurse-midwife-based perinatal programs serving low-income women and a program that identified and provided care for families at risk for abuse and neglect of their children. Frustrated with the public sector, I received training as a Rolf Structural Integration Practitioner and worked the next 25 years with people in chronic pain and was introduced to the healing potential of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as an intimate observer of the first government-approved MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) study in Spain in 1999. Returning from Spain, I was moved to run for the US Senate as a progressive voice in stark contrast to the more common hopeless and stale political rhetoric. I have provided harm reduction services through Zendo and other organizations, and have now worked in many MAPS studies as a sub-investigator/therapist, beginning with MAPS MDMA for PTSD Boulder Study, to MAPS Healthy Volunteers Study and now with the MAPS Phase 3 Clinical trial. In addition to my direct care work, I provide clinical supervision to our Phase 3 therapists as well as being a MAPS trainer for new therapists moved by this powerful healing work.