Natalie earned her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014, and her Bachelor’s in History from Yale University in 2011. At Columbia, Natalie served as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical marijuana in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York’s racist marijuana arrests. Natalie has also worked as a court-mandated therapist for individuals arrested for prostitution and drug-related offenses, and as a middle school guidance counselor at an NYC public school. Natalie’s clinical work with trauma survivors spurred her interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy, which she believes can ease a wide variety of both mental and physical ailments by addressing the root cause of individuals’ difficulties, rather than their symptoms. Through her work at MAPS, Natalie advocates for research to provide evidence-based alternatives to both the war on drugs and the current mental health paradigm.
TITLE: Healing People, Healing Policies: The Political Implications of Psychedelic Research
Abstract: The effectiveness of psychedelic therapy has far-reaching implications, as its efficacy challenges the current mental health paradigm, the drug war, and even the military industrial complex. Psychedelic therapy works by encouraging individuals to address the root of their trauma. Thus, psychedelic therapy as a modality forces us to examine the societal and political sources of trauma on a larger scale: social injustice. Psychedelic research, therefore, has the tremendous potential to influence systems and policies to prevent and heal— rather than create and perpetuate— trauma. As Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors said, “We can change policies all day but if the fight to get there was full of trauma, was replicating oppressive dynamics, abusive dynamics, then what is the point?” As people continue to act and vote out of fear, how can we elevate the role of psychedelics in facilitating healing justice, at the intersection of mental health and social justice?