Portland Psychotherapy Year in Review – 2023 

It is that time of year when we take the opportunity to pause and reflect on where our efforts have gone. We’ve seen things we’ve worked on for years come to fruition and we’ve also started some new endeavors. It’s been an exciting and rewarding year. None of that would have been possible without the support of so many friends and colleagues and, of course, our clients that we are here to serve. We wanted to take time to express our gratitude for the support and encouragement we have received from so many this past year and to share what some of that has led to.  

Meeting the diverse needs of our community by taking OHP 

A primary focus for the past two years has been on creating the infrastructure to accept the Oregon Health Plan (OHP aka Medicaid) to serve a more diverse population. Portland Psychotherapy has also started working with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consulting firm to explore ways our organization can do more to help dismantle systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Taking OHP is our first big step toward this end, especially in terms of addressing the health disparities in our community. Our providers have also reported feeling that they find it very meaningful to be able to serve clients from a wider range of backgrounds.  

Our Trainees. This year we are very fortunate to have 5 incredibly talented trainees including Brandy Tidwell, Ph.D., Kate Degenhardt, Ph.D., Taylor Coats, MA, Ravneet Dhaliwal, MA, and Kylie Gallo, MS. This cohort has a wide range of experience and expertise, and they are taking referrals for adults, adolescents and kids who have OHP. 

Expanded Family and Child Services. Naomi Wright, Ph.D. has joined the team and brings her expertise and enthusiasm for serving families and children from infants through adolescents.  

A New Building! Growing staff (28 clinical, research, and admin staff in all now!), requires more space. We were fortunate enough to be able to purchase the building across the street from our main clinic. We still have our main building at 3700 N Williams and have added the Portland Psychotherapy Annex at 3719 N Williams

Expanded work in psychedelic-assisted therapy and science  

As many of you may know, for the past 2 years Portland Psychotherapy has been conducting one of the first clinical trials of psychedelics in the Pacific NW — a Phase 2 FDA clinical trial of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder. Our research team includes 17 individuals who have put thousands of hours and so much heart into this study. This study is completely funded through Portland Psychotherapy’s social enterprise model, in which the profits from our income generating activities go to fund cutting-edge social science research. It’s a unique model and we all feel so honored that we’re able to be a part of such meaningful work that has the potential of having a profound impact for so many.  

In addition to our MDMA clinical trial, we are very excited to be collaborating with Beckley Psytech, part of the Beckley Foundation, for our second psychedelic-assisted therapy clinical trial. We are part of an international, multisite large-scale clinical trial examining the use of 5-MeO-DMT for Treatment Resistant Depression. We’re in the early stages of this trial and is now started as of early 2024. 

In addition to currently providing Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration Services, Portland Psychotherapy is also gearing up to provide MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD next year. Several staff have already completed training to be MDMA-AT therapists and consultants to train other therapists in this modality. Assuming the FDA approves MDMA-AT as expected by late 2024, we plan to be one of the first clinics in Portland to provide this service. We’re excited! 

Anxiety Clinic – New book and new staff 

Two Anxiety Clinic members, Brian Thomspon, PhD and Brian Pilecki, PhD have written a fantastic new book on ACT-Informed Exposure Therapy published by New Harbinger. In addition, our former postdoc, Jason Feinberg, Ph.D., now joins our Anxiety Specialty Clinic as a licensed psychologist, providing specialized treatment for adolescents and adults struggling with OCD, GAD, Panic, and other anxiety-related difficulties.  

Publications from Portland Psychotherapy staff in the past year

You can find more details and links to articles on our publication page (names in bold are Portland Psychotherapy authors)

Carroll, J. J., Rossi, S. L., Vetrova, M. V., Blokhina, E., Sereda, Y., Lioznov, D., Luoma, J.B., Kiriazova, T., & Lunze, K. (2023). The impacts of COVID-19 on structural inequities faced by people living with HIV who inject drugs: A qualitative study in St. Petersburg, Russia. International Journal of Drug Policy. 

Joseph, V. W., Moniz-Lewis, D. I. K., Richards, D. K., Pearson, M. R., Luoma, J. B., & Witkiewitz, K. (2023). Internalized Stigma among Justice-Involved Women in Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Measurement Invariance and Changes During Treatment. Stigma and Health. 

Luoma, J., Rossi, S. L., Sereda, Y., Pavlov, N., Toussova, O., Vetrova, M. V., … & Lunze, K. (2023). An Acceptance-Based, Intersectional Stigma Coping Intervention for People with HIV Who Inject Drugs–an Open-Label RCT in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Lancet Regional Health – Europe

Lear, M. K., Spata, A., Tittler, M. V., Fishbein, J. N., Arch, J. J., & Luoma, J. B. (In Press). Transparency and Reproducibility in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science: An Audit Study. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.  

Moore, K. E., Johnson, J., Luoma, J. B., Taxman, F., Pack, R., Corrigan, P., Hart, J., & Slone, D. (in press). A multi-level intervention to reduce the stigma of substance use and criminal involvement: A pilot feasibility trial protocol. Health and Justice.  

Tittler, M.V., Luoma, J.B., Wade, N.G., & Wei, M. (In Press). Effects of a White privilege framing and a test of moderators. Current Psychology.  

Thompson, B. L. (2023). Is ACT-informed exposure a viable treatment for excoriation disorder? A multiple baseline study. Behavior Modification. 

Thompson, B. L., Pilecki, B. C., & Chan, J. C. (2023). ACT-Informed Exposure for Anxiety: Creating Effective, Innovative, and Values-Based Exposures Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications. 

Looking to the Future  

As we look back on this year it is with profound gratitude for the meaningful work, we continue to be able to do and for your support, in all its forms, that has enabled us to continue to fulfill our mission. We also look to the future, for new possibilities it may hold for our community and our world. 

Author: Jason Luoma, Ph.D.

Jason is a psychologist and scientist who studies ways to help people with shame, stigma, and social anxiety, including using psychedelic and MDMA-assisted therapy

What Makes Us Unique

Portland Psychotherapy is a clinic, research & training center with a unique business model that funds scientific research. This results in a team of therapists who are exceptionally well-trained and knowledgeable about their areas of specialty.