May 12, 2021
Katrina Michelle is a psychologist and the founder and director of The Curious Spirit, a transpersonally oriented psychotherapeutic practice that encourages transcendent personal exploration to remedy psychological suffering. She is a holistic psychotherapist currently serving as faculty at Columbia University School of Social Work and The Institute for the Development of Human Arts.
In addition to her practice, she also serves as the director of harm reduction for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and formerly worked as the executive director of the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE). To demystify awakening experiences through storytelling and art, she is also producing the film When Lightning Strikes.
Beginning in the world of traditional social work, Michelle was drawn to transpersonal psychology after her own spontaneous spiritually transformative experience. She now works to help create communities capable of holding these often difficult experiences, as western societies often lack the language and cultural understanding needed to integrate them into daily life.
In this interview, we discuss the place of psychedelics in psychotherapy, how spiritually transformative experiences can be mistaken for ‘mental illness,’ and the various resistances we have to these experiences.