We are committed to realizing greater connection to each other and deeper fulfillment in life. We will also pursue a more refined attunement and responsiveness to the environmental crisis. True transformation happens through self-discovery and living our full potential.
Three years ago, the five founding members of Polaris Insight Center auspiciously crossed paths at a MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) training seminar. This seminar involved MAPS’ clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD. Our personal and professional rapport was surprising and immediate. As we began sharing our perspectives on the history and traditions of psychedelic psychotherapies – and their potential for the future of mental health treatments – it soon became clear we had more in common than merely being skilled, compassionate, ethical and dedicated clinicians.
We collectively knew that we were in fact the next generation of psychedelic thinkers and researchers to carry the torch forward, passed down by the likes of Rick Doblin, Michael & Annie Mithoefer, Sasha and Anne Shulgin, Ralph Metzner, Stan Grof, and Terrence McKenna. We were standing on the shoulders of giants.
The five of us resonated with each other’s visions for improving therapy treatment and outcomes – most importantly, with regard to the responsible use of psychedelic medicines and the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. We validated and reinforced our shared belief in the need for greater access to the benefits of psychedelic psychotherapy. At the same time, we identified the unique balance of our collective backgrounds and different areas of expertise. Together we covered the waterfront: mindfulness-based therapies, somatic therapies, chronic pain management, dissociative disorders treatment, relational psychoanalysis and archetypal/transpersonal psychology, as well as humanistic/existential psychotherapy. Perhaps the biggest harbinger of our future banding together was our common commitment to helping individuals suffering with complex PTSD in all of its various forms.
While we were still in training with MAPS, we became aware of the emerging field of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) and its promising anti-depressant and psychotherapeutic potential. As we began KAP training together, we consolidated our mutual interest in joining with the growing international community of practitioners dedicated to developing new treatment protocols integrating ketamine with psychotherapy.
With the support and professional guidance of the ketamine therapy pioneers and thought-leaders, Phil Wolfson, M.D. and Raquel Bennett, Psy.D., we gained even greater confidence in the value and usefulness of KAP. Along the way, we realized we were uniquely prepared to team-up to open a clinic where we – with our diverse range of experience and knowledge – could utilize Wolfson’s and Bennett’s innovative KAP protocols and cultivate our own new approaches.
We doubled-down on furthering our professional development, presenting at conferences and organizing supplemental trainings and consultations to gather as much knowledge and experience as we could.
After many long discussions, collectively we knew we were ready – and Polaris Insight Center was launched.
Beyond our own continual professional and clinical development, we – the five founding members – hope to remain true to our namesake Polaris, a steady guiding light, to help our clients navigate their transformational journeys. And furthermore, we aspire to help guide the training and encourage the development of the next generation of psychedelic clinicians.
As we move into our second year as a clinic, we sincerely hope our work at Polaris serves as a tribute to the 1950s and 1960’s “first wave” of pioneering psychedelic researchers and renegades – without whom we would not be doing any of this. Especially the still-extant Stan Grof whose innovative clinical research, seminal practices and profound insights continue to influence psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy protocols for the burgeoning Psychedelic Renaissance.
Furthermore, we also strive to honor the many indigenous and shamanic traditions that have come before us, and that continue to influence our work in ways that extend beyond the knowable.