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Integrative Psychiatry

Botanicals by Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH, LMHC

By February 20, 2021No Comments

When I integrate herbal medicine, I’m looking at bio individuality and genomics, I want to support the whole person’s health rather than targeting a symptom, per se. Watch our short video as Dr. Leslie Korn talks about Botanicals.


One of the ways that I organize my clinical work as an integrative medicine clinician specializing in mental health is through a concept, I call the brainbow blueprint. This is a way that I organize what I consider, really most all of the facets of treatment that I want to integrate.

Integrating herbal medicine: Integrate whole person support with symptom targets

When I integrate herbal medicine, I’m looking at bio individuality and genomics. I will do some genomics testing if my clients have the capacity to pay for that. Otherwise, we’ll look symptomatically at treatment. I want to support the whole person’s health rather than targeting a symptom, per se. I want to look at how do we help someone come into whole balance. When I’m looking at herbs, I want to ensure good quality. Are they wildcrafted? Are we gathering them ourselves and preparing them? Are they prepared according to traditional recipes, or the US pharmacopoeia or the British pharmacopoeia or the European Commission, which oversees worldwide standards for the development of herbal medicines?

Herbal Medicine Application

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep Cognitive health
  • Physical sequelae

I’d like to talk about the role of herbs for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety, depression, sleep, cognitive health, and the physical sequelae that go along with PTSD. A lot of my client base are people with complex trauma, not only the symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, but GERD, addictions, chronic pain, autoimmune illness, all of these sequelae that originate in the exposure to adverse events in childhood, or chronic exposure.

I’ve divided some of our major categories of herbs into adaptogens. If we consider depression, I think that stress always precedes depression. I think we can look at this psychologically, but also biologically in the concept of allostatic load.


The adaptogens, it’s actually a term that comes out of a lot of the research that was done in the Soviet Union back in the 60s, really means adapt to stress by restoring biological capacity to cope and respond. They’re also called metabolic regulators because they help us adapt. They bring, like so much of what we do and integrative approaches, they bring us into balance and they supply what it is we need for that balance.


We note that a lot of people with trauma histories love their cannabis. Cannabis targets the memory receptors. Therefore, the short-term memory of trauma seems to be suppressed for short periods. In new interesting research among people with PTSD who don’t use cannabis, PTSD was significantly associated with a major recent major depression and suicidal ideation; people were seven times more likely to experience major depression. So, finding the right dose for the right treatment is, as in all treatment, central.

Frederick Barrett is a cognitive neuroscientist with training in behavioral pharmacology, and the Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. Dr. Barrett has been conducting psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins University since 2013, and his research in healthy participants and in patients with mood and substance use disorders focuses on the psychological and neurological mechanisms underlying the enduring therapeutic and other effects of psychedelic drugs. In 2017, he received an NIH “R03” grant as Principal Investigator to investigate biological mechanisms of psilocybin effects, the first federally funded research since the 1970s administering a classic psychedelic to people with psychedelic effects as the primary focus. He has developed measures of subjective effects of psychedelic drugs, and has also published first-in-human studies characterizing the acute and enduring effects of psilocybin on the brain. He is currently leading clinical trials to investigate the use of psilocybin to treat patients with major depressive disorder and co-occurring alcohol use disorder, and he is leading a number of ongoing studies aimed at better understanding the psychological, biological, and neural mechanisms underlying therapeutic efficacy of psychedelic drugs.

Will Van Derveer, MD is co-founder of Integrative Psychiatry Institute (IPI), along with friend and colleague Keith Kurlander, MA. He co-created IPI as an expression of what he stands for. First, that anyone can heal, and second that we medical providers must embrace our own healing journeys in order to fully command our potency as healers.

Dr. Van Derveer spent the last 20 years innovating and testing a comprehensive approach to addressing psychiatric challenges which transcends the conventional model he learned in medical school at Vanderbilt University and residency at University of Colorado, while deeply engaging his own healing path.

He founded the Integrative Psychiatric Healing Center in in 2001 in Boulder, CO, where he currently practices. Dr. Van Derveer regards unresolved emotional trauma as the most significant root cause of psychiatric symptoms in integrative psychiatry practice, along with gut issues, hormone imbalances, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other functional medicine challenges. He is trained in Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, and other psychotherapy techniques. His current clinical passion is psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, which he mentors interested doctors in providing. An avid meditator, he has been a meditation instructor since 2004.

For the past several years Dr. Van Derveer has taught psychiatrists and other psychiatric providers integrative psychiatry in a number of settings, including course directing the CU psychiatry residents’ course as well as with Scott Shannon and Janet Settle at the Psychiatry MasterClass. In addition to his clinical work and teaching, he was co-investigator in 2016 a Phase II randomized clinical trial, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He continues to support this protocol, now in a Phase III clinical trial under break-through designation by FDA.

Dr. Van Derveer is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine (ABoIHM) since 2013, and he was board certified in the first wave of diplomates of the new American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABIM) in 2016.