Institute Faculty

Mind Medicine Institute brings together the world’s leading thinkers and clinicians

Heads of Institute

Nigel Denning

Nigel Denning is a Counselling Psychologist with 30 years of experience in the mental health sector.  He is the Managing Director and co-founder of Integrative Psychology and the Mind Medicine Institute.

Nigel’s expertise covers developmental trauma, institutional abuse, family violence, attachment disorder, relationship therapy and advanced concentration meditation.  He works with individuals, couples, families, groups and organisations.  Nigel has been involved in therapy and court reporting on several hundred cases from the Royal Commission into Childhood Institutional Sexual Abuse.  Nigel is a former Family Violence Coordinator for Relationships Australia. He has conducted research at the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Medicine, under the supervision of Professor Kelsey Hegarty on male perpetrator typologies. For over 10 years Nigel facilitated group psychotherapy for male perpetrators of family violence.  Nigel is an expert in trauma. 

Nigel has a passion for group psychotherapy having taught Irvin Yalom’s existential humanistic group psychotherapy.  Nigel has conducted many thousands of hours of group therapy across a range of formats including couple’s repair groups, mindfulness groups, trauma recovery groups and transpersonal groups.

Nigel has a life-long curiosity about the deep structure of the human psyche viewed from multiple different disciplines.  He gained a master’s degree in English Literature from Monash University pursuing his curiosity about how the human mind was expressed historically through literary form.  In his late teens and early twenties, Nigel’s passion for poetry and the novel, led him to perform live poetry.  In the formative stage of his professional life, Nigel studied Divinity at the Melbourne Theological College, at the University of Melbourne.

Nigel has extensive experience with psychedelic work internationally.  He began working with altered states of consciousness 35 years ago when he was introduced to Holotropic Breathwork through the guidance of Alf and Muriel Foote.  Twenty-five years ago, Nigel began to work with Dr Stanislav Grof, one of the leading pioneers in the clinical application of psychedelics.  Nigel co-founded the world’s first Spiritual Emergency Centre based on Grof’s work, in partnership with Tav Sparks, Director of Grof Transpersonal Training in North Carolina.  He was also lucky to meet Dr Albert Hoffman at a workshop organised by Grof at HR Geiger’s Museum/Gallery in Gruyere Switzerland. Nigel has also trained with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and successfully completed their clinician qualification. Nigel is passionate about educating clinicians into the potential of non-ordinary state work when done ethically and skillfully.

Nigel has studied with some of the world’s leading clinicians including Dr Daniel P. Brown, Dr Daniel Siegel, Dr John and Julie Gottman, Dr Sue Johnson, Michael White, Professor Pieter Rossouw and more recently Professor Anthony Bateman from the Anna Freud Centre in London.  Nigel has always sought to learn from the experts in their field with his interest moving most recently to metacognitive therapies and mentalizing practice.  In recent years, he has also developed an interest in cult exiting and has worked with Dr Steven Hassan on approaches to therapeutic recovery from mind control.  

Nigel has presented at numerous conferences and events around the world and presents lectures at tertiary institutions.  He is a former National Treasurer of the College of Counselling Psychologists and, as a Victorian state committee member, spent 10 years presenting professional development seminars for his peers. Nigel has also been inducted into the Buddhist Kagyu and Nyingma lineages by Tulku Rahob Rinpoche and into the Bon lineage by Geshe Sonam of Menri Monastery. He has an established meditation practice in the Bon Dzogchen tradition.

"Nigel, with the deepest respect for all the ways you have tirelessly worked to improve the profession of psychology in your country and to improve the standard of care offered to patients."
 

Dr Tra-ill Dowie

Dr Traill Dowie is a polymath philosopher, academic, psychotherapist, minister of religion and martial artist. He holds dual PhDs in Philosophy and Psychiatry. Traill is a co-founder of the Mind Medicine Institute, the head of school at Ikon Institute, a research fellow at La Trobe University in Philosophy, sub-editor of the Philosophy International Journal (Medwin Press) and has also trained with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and completed their clinician qualification. 

Traill is a lifelong martial artist, holding black belts in multiple disciplines. He has worked professionally as both an athletic and performance coach for high level athletes, including world champions, at a national and international level.

As part of his martial arts training, Traill was introduced to Eastern contemplative practices by a Zen Roshi at the age of 11.

Growing up in the Northern Territory, Traill spent a lot of time on country where he developed an interest in ethnomedicine and traditional healing practices. This interest led Traill to Dr Raphael Locke, an anthropologist, psychoanalyst, consciousness researcher and initiated Iroquois shaman. Traill apprenticed with Dr Locke in shamanic practice for 20 years and has explored ethno-medicine and traditional practices across Australia, Asia, Central America and North America. This interest in healing and state-based technologies has been coupled with his interest in psychotherapy and psychology.

Traill has a deep abiding interest in the history of psychological intervention and medicine more generally. Traill holds a PhD in Psychiatry from Monash University supervised by Professor Graham Smith, in which he explored the ontological and epistemological foundations of psychological practice in medicine.

Beginning his training in this field at the age of 18, Traill has formally studied psychodynamic, existential, integrative, transpersonal, and constructivist approaches to therapy. His achievements include his PhD in Psychiatry and graduate training in Jungian Depth Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, Mind and Society, Psychology, Transpersonal Counselling, Art Therapy and Transactional Analysis.

Traill has 25 years of experience working as a clinician in a variety of settings including in private practice and organisations. He began his career working in eco-psychotherapy and wilderness therapy working with complex presentations. Traill has worked in both in-patient and outpatient settings focusing on the treatment of complex trauma. Traill was the co-founder of Integrative Psychology where he co-authored a paper with his colleagues Nigel Denning and Linda Tilgner, which was tabled at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He worked with Nigel Denning to develop a protocol for individual and group psychotherapy for victims of cult abuse. Traill also chaired the Australian Counselling Association’s Trauma Standards Panel.

As a philosopher and academic, Traill holds degrees in philosophy, the history of ideas, sociology, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Melbourne supervised by Dr John Rundell and Dr Cornel West. He works primarily in the intersections between Philosophy and Clinical practice, integrating cognitive science, philosophy of mind and phenomenology. As well as having a strong background in social theory and critical theory, Traill has interests in consciousness, imagination, creativity, expression in the body and particularly in the meeting of music and philosophy.

During his academic career, Traill has visited Princeton and the Union Theological Seminary many times to work closely with Dr Cornel West; visited Stanford University to meet with Irvin Yalom MD; spent time at Saybrook University with Dr Stan Krippner; had an extended stay at the University of Virginia’s Consciousness and Perceptual Studies Research Lab with Professor Ed Kelly; and participated in seminars exploring transpersonal psychology, consciousness and traditional healing at Berkeley University. Traill has also presented at numerous national and international conferences as both a philosopher and a clinician.

Traill has held the role of head of school and lectured at a number of higher educational institutions. He was an initial founder of Ikon Institute in 2003, which is now the largest provider of transpersonal psychology, integrative psychotherapy and art therapy in Australia. He has written curriculum and developed accredited courses from undergraduate to post graduate level, which have trained thousands of therapists in Australia. Traill returned to work at Ikon in 2016 where he currently lectures and is the Head of School.

Traill has an abiding interest in all technologies of mind and state alteration, ranging from eastern meditative practices, traditional shamanic techniques (including the use of entheogens), as well as their appearance in psychotherapy and psychology. Traill has become very interested in the way altered states, social context and performativity can lead to profound change in human beings, including the multitude of pathways by which we can organise and optimise human life.

Traill considers his greatest achievement in life to be his 5-year-old daughter.

"To put it bluntly, Traill is one of the most gifted and remarkable persons I have encountered in years. His intellectual gifts are grand and his intellectual passion is great." ​

Professor Cornel West

Our Faculty

Professor David Nutt (UK)

BA, MB BChir, MRCP, MA, DM, MRC Psych, FRCPsych, FMedSci, FRCP, FSB

Head of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and Chief Research Officer at Awakn Life Sciences

 

Renowned researcher, policy advisor and author, Professor David Nutt, is currently Head of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London.Under the leadership of Professor Nutt, the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College is one of the world’s foremost psychedelic research laboratories, publishing landmark research on psychedelic therapies and neuroimaging studies of the psychedelic state.

Professor Nutt has also held many leadership positions in both UK and European academic, scientific and clinical organisations, including presidencies of: the European Brain Council, the British Neuroscience Association, the British Association of Psychopharmacology, the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

He was previously Chair of the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Dr Bill Richards (USA)

Ph.D.

Psychologist in the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research


William A. Richards (Bill), a psychologist in the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has been implementing research studies with psilocybin since 1999. His graduate degrees include M.Div. (Yale), S.T.M. (Andover-Newton) and PhD (Catholic University). He also studied with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August

University in Göttingen, Germany, where his involvement with psilocybin research originated in 1963. From 1967 to 1977, he implemented projects of psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of psychedelics in the treatment of alcoholism, depression, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals. His book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences has been released by Columbia University Press.

Dr Ben Sessa (UK)

MBBS, B.SC, MRC PSYCH

Chief Medical Officer at Awakn Life Sciences, Psychiatrist, Researcher and Writer

 

Ben Sessa is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist who has worked with young people and adults in the field of addictions and trauma-related psychiatry for over 20 years. For the last 15 years Ben has been at the forefront of psychedelic research in the UK through his affiliations with Bristol University and Imperial College London, under the auspices of Professor David Nutt. He has taken part as a study doctor and as a healthy subject both receiving and / or administering MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, DMT and ketamine in multiple UK research studies. He runs one of the first UK-based medical cannabis prescribing clinics.

Ben is the Chief Medical Officer at AWAKN Life Sciences, a new start-up company opening Europe’s first psychedelic medical clinic, which will be providing psychedelic therapies, therapist training courses and conducting independent research. Ben is the co-founder and former president of Europe’s largest psychedelic conference, Breaking Convention.

Dr Gabor Maté CM (Canada)

BA, MD, Doctor of Laws (honoris causa)

Physician and Author

 

Gabor Maté is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness.

His book on addiction received the Hubert Evans Prize for literary non-fiction. For his ground-breaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. His books include In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction; When the Body Says No; The Cost of Hidden Stress; Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder; and (with Gordon Neufeld) Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. To learn more, join his enews list at www.drgabormate.com

Dr Rick Doblin (USA)

BSc, Ph.D

Executive Director of MAPS

 

Rick Doblin, PhD, is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25- year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyse religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four-year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment.

Rick studied with Dr Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and empty rooms from three children who are all in college or recently graduated.

Dr James Fadiman (USA)

BA, Ph.D

Psychologist and Author

 

James Fadiman B.A. (Harvard) M.A., PhD (Stanford) began his personal psychedelic research a few weeks before starting his graduate work at Stanford where he did his dissertation on the effectiveness of LSD-assisted therapy. During the research lull of 40 years, he has held a variety of teaching (San Francisco State, Brandeis, and Stanford) consulting, training, counselling and editorial positions. He has taught in psychology

departments, design engineering, and for three decades, at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University) that he co-founded.

He has published textbooks, professional books, a self-help book, a novel, and a series of videos, Drugs: the children are choosing for National Public Television. His books have been published in 8 languages. He has been the subject of a one-hour documentary released by Page3 Films, featured in a National Geographic documentary and had three solo shows of his nature photography.

He had his own consulting firm and sat on two non-profit boards as well as having been the president of several small natural resource companies. He has been involved in researching psychedelic for spiritual, therapeutic and creative uses and is known for his pioneering work on microdosing. He has published The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, and most recently, Your Symphony of Selves: Discover and Understand More of Who You Are.

Dr Wade Davis CM (Canada)

PH.D

Anthropologist

 

Wade Davis is a writer and photographer whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society from 2000 to 2013, he is currently Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia.

Wade has authored 22 books, including One River, The Wayfinders and Into the Silence, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his PhD in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. In 2016, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2018 he became an Honorary Citizen of Colombia.

Dr David E. Nichols (USA)

BSc, PhD

Psychedelic Chemist

 

David E. Nichols, PhD is an Adjunct Professor of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Previously he held the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology and was a Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy. He received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1969, and the PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1973, following which he did postdoctoral work in pharmacology at the University of Iowa, College of Medicine. In 2004 he was named the Irwin H. Page Lecturer by the International Society for Serotonin Research and in 2006 he received the first Provost’s Outstanding Graduate Mentor award from Purdue University. He has published more than 300 scientific articles, most of which deal with the relationship between molecular structure and biological action.

Professor Arthur Christopoulos

BPharm, PH.D, FAA, FAHMS

Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University

 

Arthur Christopoulos is Professor of Analytical Pharmacology, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Director of the Neuromedicines Discovery Centre, Monash University, Parkville, Australia. Prior to his appointment as Dean, he was a Senior Principal Research Fellow of the NHMRC. His work focuses on novel paradigms of drug action at G protein-coupled receptors, the largest drug-target class for current medicines, and has been applied to fundamental and translational studies encompassing neurological and psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and chronic pain.

Professor Christopoulos has over 340 publications, including in leading journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. He has also been the recipient of multiple major national and international awards. Since 2014-present, Clarivate Analytics have named him a Highly Cited Researcher in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and in 2021 also named him a Highly Cited Researcher in Biology & Biochemistry. In 2017, he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and in 2021 was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Dr Albert Garcia-Romeu (USA)

B.A., PH.D., M.A

A/Professor Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

 

Albert Garcia-Romeu, PhD is a member of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Guest Researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program. His research examines the effects of psychedelics in humans, with a focus on psilocybin as an aid in the treatment of addiction. He received his doctorate in Psychology in 2012 from the Institute

of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, where he studied self-transcendence and meditation, and their relationship to mental health. His current research interests include clinical applications of psychedelics, mindfulness, and altered states of consciousness and their underlying psychological mechanisms. He additionally studies real-world drug use patterns and impacts on public health, and the role of spirituality in mental health and addiction. He is a founding member of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research and the International Society for Research on Psychedelics.

Dr Ingmar Gorman (USA)

PH.D

Psychologist and Co-Founder of Fluence


Dr Ingmar Gorman is the co-founder of Fluence, a psychedelic education company training mental health providers in psychedelic treatments. He is a psychologist specializing in helping people who use psychedelics and other psychoactive compounds. He received his clinical training at the New School for Social Research, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, Columbia University, and Bellevue Hospital. He completed his NIH postdoctoral fellowship at New York University in 2017. Dr Gorman was formerly the Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program, formerly site co-principal investigator and current active therapist on a Phase 3 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and active therapist on a Phase 2 clinical trial of Psilocybin assisted Psychotherapy for Treatment Resistant Depression.

Professor Christopher Langmead

Professor (Research) at the Neuromedicines Discovery Centre (NDC), Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS)

 

Chris Langmead has a strong interest in drug discovery, having spent 15 years working in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry in the UK, where he led project teams to discover four pre-clinical candidate drugs and managed collaborations with academic labs and other pharmaceutical companies.

In 2012 he joined MIPS to head up a drug discovery program in collaboration with Servier Laboratories, France. He is particularly interested in GPCRs as drug targets in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, but also has interest in structure-function of GPCRs and analytical receptor pharmacology, with particular reference to allosteric interactions.

In 2012 he joined MIPS to head up a drug discovery program in collaboration with Servier Laboratories, France. He is particularly interested in GPCRs as drug targets in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, but also has interest in structure-function of GPCRs and analytical receptor pharmacology, with particular reference to allosteric interactions.

Dr Jeremy Weate (Canada)

PH.D

Chief Executive Officer, Eastra Health

 

Jeremy Weate has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Warwick. He has over 17 years strategic advisory experience, focused on minister-level guidance on the mining sector across over 50 projects in over 30 countries in Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the South Pacific. Jeremy also has a decade-long interest in the medicalization of ibogaine. In 2018, he helped set up Tabula Rasa Retreat in Portugal, now of the leading ibogaine treatment facilities globally. He has organised ibogaine conferences in Vienna, Porto and London.

Dave Misso 

Counselling Psychologist and Co-Director of Misso Psychology

 

Dave is a Counselling Psychologist with over 30 years of experience and is one of the directors of Misso Psychology & Consulting. Prior to commencing private practice in 2004, Dave managed one of Australia’s largest counselling agencies and occupied key advisory positions for Australian state and federal governments, including membership on the Queensland Domestic Violence Council. Dave incorporates systems theory, narrative therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness, sensorimotor approaches and modern consciousness research in his therapeutic practice, training and supervision. As a business consultant, Dave has worked with a wide range of industries in facilitating organizational strategic planning, leadership development and coaching with executive, senior and middle-level managers.

Dave is a board-approved supervisor with the Psychology Board of Australia and a clinical supervisor for the Australian Government’s Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Services. He is currently the chair for the Australian Psychological Society College of Counselling Psychology (Qld) and is conducting postgraduate research at QUT investigating individual functioning in male perpetrators of domestic violence.

Donna Misso

Co-Director of Misso Psychology and Workshop Facilitator

 

Donna is a workshop facilitator and has worked in the Human Services field for over 25 years. Prior to establishing Misso Psychology & Consulting, Donna was involved in community services management in organisations that delivered counselling, education and training programs for individuals, couples, and families. Her work in project management was instrumental in developing systems to help strengthen service delivery in these organisations. Donna’s skills in this area were also utilised by the State and Federal governments to assist in implementing Quality Assurance Systems for government-funded community-based organisations.

Donna is a Co-Director of Misso Psychology & Consulting and conducts workshops that utilise sensorimotor and mindfulness-based approaches in working with people who have been affected by trauma. She has worked with these approaches extensively in Australia, USA, and Europe. She has a Bachelor of Human Services majoring in Child and Families, qualifications in counselling, and a Diploma of Community Services Management.

Dr Eli Kotler

Psychiatrist

 

Eli is a consultant psychiatrist, holds an academic position at Monash University through the Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, and is the medical director of Malvern Private Hospital, the first addiction hospital in Australia. He is a member of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD). Clinically, Eli is interested in the deep connections between trauma and addiction and works within a neuro-psychoanalytic framework. Eli has overseen the development of a clinical program for addictions focused on trauma, particularly developmental trauma. This has led to an interest in medication-assisted trauma therapy. Eli worked for many years researching neurodegenerative diseases and was the principle investigator on numerous trials for novel therapeutics. He is founding member of the Melbourne Neuropsychoanalytic Group and welcomes new members. Through involvement with Monash University, Eli oversees the addiction rotation for medical students.

Eli graduated from the first intake of the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies (CPAT) in June 2021. He has also been recently appointed as the Principal Investigator to lead Emyria’s upcoming MDMA trial.

Dr Mendel Kaelen (UK)

Neuroscientist, Founder and CEO of Wavepaths

 

Mendel Kaelen is the founder and CEO of Wavepaths. Prior to this, he worked as a PhD and postdoctoral neuroscientist at Imperial College London for 7 years, where his research was the first to demonstrate music’s central role in psychedelic therapies. He developed methods and protocols for the use of music to enhance therapy outcomes and out of this, the vision for Wavepaths. He is a thought leader on the therapeutic use of music and publishes and speaks frequently on this topic. He has been featured in Nature News, San Francisco Chronicles, Vice Motherboard, Rolling Stone and TEDx. Mendel’s work is driven heavily by his personal work with psychedelic medicines and psychotherapies that started 15 years ago. He  lives and works in London (UK), and in his spare time likes to get into nature, and to get out of his mind with his Shakuhachi and modular synthesiser.