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Integrative Psychiatry

The Path from Illness to Wellness by Keith Kurlander, MA, LPC & Will Van Derveer, MD

By August 31, 2020November 18th, 2020No Comments

Depression has been predicted to be the world’s largest global burden of disease worldwide.

Roughly 19% of the United States experience a form of anxiety disorders.

Why efforts are not conventional psychiatry is because there is a lot of pathology to be done but it can result in highly stigmatizing of issues. Tenants of Integrative Psychiatry are not root causes but rather signals why the person is experiencing fatigue, sadness, or even low motivation.

Our immune system is the body’s biggest lever in creating balance in the gut and mental health.

One solution is the approach of looking for root causes of mental illness, diagnosing effective treatments of root causes of illnesses.


We’ve got 300 million people worldwide with depression, depressive disorders, and it’s the leading cause of disability currently in the world. We have a mental health disorder being the leading cause of disability, obviously, something’s gone wrong here in humanity, that that’s happening that we want to address. The World Health Organization now has predicted that by 2030, it’s going to be the world’s largest global burden of disease, depression itself. And the anxiety and depression organization America is saying from their research, is that roughly 19% of the United States experience anxiety disorders. So, we’re facing a lot of challenging numbers here to deal with and a lot of challenging suffering, but we can definitely address it, and that’s what we’re all about here at IPI. Informing others about ways to really get to the bottom of what’s going on with this growing problem and what’s going on with mental illness.

Why are our efforts not working? some of our efforts are, but some aren’t. What’s going on here? Well, one thing happening is that in conventional psychiatry, there’s a lot of pathology. We pathologize disorders based on symptom clusters. Now, that’s great for knowing which medications to give somebody which medicines and other interventions, but it can result in a lot of highly stigmatizing issues.

Some tenants of integrative psychiatry so you get a feel of integrative psychiatry and what are the basic principles there? It’s useless farm. Again, we’re not against integrative psychiatrists or against pharmaceuticals. It’s just we use less of them because they have side effects and a lot of toxicity and they are often not able to treat root causes. Another tenant, is symptoms are not actually root causes, but are signals. Why the person is having fatigue, why they’re having sadness, why they’re having low motivation. We want to get to the bottom of where do these come from?

The first point we want to make is that the body’s natural immune system is in balance and in health, when inflammatory signals are able to flare up, in the case of acute infection, we need to have inflammation to take care of the infection and clear it. But we also need to be able to put out the fire of inflammation pretty quickly after we have solved the problem of the virus or the bacteria or the parasite. One solution is Integrative Psychiatry, because it takes a very different approach. The approach Integrative Psychiatry is really all about looking for root causes of mental illness, and there’s a number of ways to do that.

We define Integrative Psychiatry at IPI as the diagnosis and effective treatment of root causes. mental illness, predominantly using cam methods, because cam methods have a lot of varying methods that are very usable for treating root causes. And we also use conventional interventions, pharmacology, pharmaceuticals, for instance, for certain things. Now, by effectively treating the root causes of mental illness, that’s where it’s really possible to really help patients get well so they don’t have recurrence of symptoms and also to help people who are treatment resistant and this is where we can really put a dent in this global mental health crisis that we’re facing.

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.