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. 

Portland Psychotherapy Year in Review – 2022

It has been a year of change, both within Portland Psychotherapy and in our broader community. This year has been an opportunity for us to reflect on the larger impact of our actions, both as individuals and as an organization. We are aware that we do not act in isolation and that we could not do the work we are doing without the support of so many others, including you all. We are incredibly grateful for each of you and wanted to share a bit about what your support has helped us do this past year.

Expanding our in-person and telehealth services for adults, kids, and couples

This has been a time of rapid expansion of our staff and thus in our ability to serve our community’s needs. Our 2022-2023 training program cohort is the largest group we’ve had to date and includes four exceptional postdoctoral fellows and two advanced practicum students. This includes second-year postdoctoral fellow and licensed psychologist Meredith Tittler, Ph.D., psychologist residents Rachel Marsh, Ph.D., Natalia A. Velásquez, Psy.D., and Jason Feinberg, Ph.D., and advanced practicum trainees Akeesha Simmons, M.S., and Steven Mendoza, M.A.They are able to see adults, kids, adolescents, and couples as part of our general outpatient program and in our anxiety specialty clinic. They are able to see clients on a sliding scale ranging from as low as $20 per session.

We have also added several licensed psychologists to our staff, each of whose specialization will allow us to greatly expand the services we’re able to offer. We are thrilled that our former postdoctoral fellow, Han Tran, Ph.D. has decided to stay on to work with us as a licensed psychologist. Han’s focus is on working with individuals struggling with shame and self-criticism, PTSD and other trauma-related difficulties, depression and anxiety. She has a particular interest in working with ethnically diverse clients, including those who have immigrated to the U.S. Licensed psychologist Azur Jafari, Ph.D. specializes in working with adolescents ages 13+ and adults, especially those struggling with anxiety-related difficulties, body and gender concerns, and PTSD. In addition, Azur joins the team of providers here who can offer psychedelic harm reduction and integration services.

We are also excited to have two new licensed psychologists join our child and adolescent services program. Adabel Lee, Ph.D. works with children and adolescents of all ages around a wide range of difficulties including depression, parenting issues, anxiety, trauma, behavioral challenges, and adjustment. Adabel especially loves working with very young kiddos ages 0-5 and their parents. The newest psychologist to our child and adolescent program, Tabi Evans, Psy.D., works with children and adolescents, especially those with co-occurring medical conditions and transgender and gender diverse youth and their families.

Portland Psychotherapy is now able to take OHP!

For the past year, we have been working with a DEI consulting firm to examine our policies and practices so that our organization can do more to help dismantle systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Through that process we realized that probably the single most impactful step we could take would be to take Medicaid/OHP, so that we could serve clients from a wider range of backgrounds. We have now gone through the very long process of getting ready now can see clients with Open Card, Trillium and Care Oregon/Healthshare of Multnomah/Washington/Clackamas counties. This greatly expands our ability to bring high quality, evidence-based mental health services to all in our community, including those in frequently underserved communities. We have also hired Adabel Lee, Ph.D., who has extensive experience in California’s Medicaid system, to be ournew OHP Services Coordinator to ensure that we are able to meet the needs of our OHP clients.

The First FDA-approved MDMA-assisted therapy clinical research trial in the Pacific Northwest is happening at Portland Psychotherapy

Portland Psychotherapy operates on a unique social enterprise model. All of the profits generated by the organization go to fund endeavors contributing to the greater social good. Scientific research is one of the main ways we can use our skills and resources toward that end.

In our most ambitious research endeavor to date, we are currently running an FDA-approved clinical trial of MDMA-Assisted Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder. Our research team, which includes Jason Luoma, Ph.D. (PI), Kyong Yi, LCSW, Brian Pilecki, Ph.D., & Jenna LeJeune, Ph.D. (study therapists) Kati Lear, Ph.D. (project director), and Sarah Smith, B.S. (clinical research coordinator) and numerous other collaborators have all been working very hard to get this multi-year clinical trial up and running. If you’d like to find out more information, you can visit our study website at https://portlandmdmatherapy.com/.

The following are our publications from the past year (bold are Portland Psychotherapy authors): 

Linde, J., Luoma, J. B., Rück, C., Ramnero, J., & Lundgren, T. (under review) Acceptance and Compassion-Based Therapy Targeting Shame in Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Multiple Baseline Study. Behavior Modification.

Luoma, J. B., Pilecki, B., Davis, A.K., Smith, S. M. (in press). Predictors of attitudes toward psychedelics among psychologists in the USA. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy.

Arch, J.J., Fishbein, J. N., Finkelstein, L.B., & Luoma, J. B. (in press). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Mediation and Processes: Problems and How to Address Them. Behavior Therapy.

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

Kozina, R. M., Lear, M. K., Stacy, S. E., Kern, S. M., Ripley, A. J., & Clapp, J. D. (In press). Moderating effects of brooding on the link between functional impairment and interpersonal needs in survivors of serious trauma. Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Vetrova…Luoma, J. B., et al. (in press). HIV and substance use stigma, intersectional stigma and healthcare among HIV-positive PWID in Russia. AIDS and Behavior.

Agin-Liebes, G., Zeifman, R., Luoma, J. B., Garland, E. L., Campbell, W. K., & Weiss, B. (2022). Prospective examination of the therapeutic role of psychological flexibility and cognitive reappraisal in the ceremonial use of ayahuasca. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 36(3), 295–308.

Lear, M. K., Lee, E., Smith, S., & Luoma, J. B., et al. (2022). Systematic Review of Measures of Generalized Shame. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 78(7), 1288-1330.

Luoma, J. B. (2022). MDMA-Assisted Therapy as a Means to Treat Social Anxiety Disorder. MAPS Bulletin.

Yaden, D. B., Earp, D., Graziosi, M., Friedman-Wheeler, D., Luoma, J. B., Johnson, M. W. (in press). Psychedelics and Psychotherapy: Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches as Default. Frontiers in Psychology.

Rossi, S.L., Sereda, Y., Luoma, J. B., et a. (2021). Addressing intersectional stigma as a care barrier for HIV-positive people who inject drugs: Design of an RCT in St. Petersburg, Russia. Contemporary Clinical Trial Communications, 24, 100861.

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 the support of everyone in our community 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.

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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.