About

Ben Hearn
(He/him)

My passion for this work originated during my undergraduate studies when

I began I dabbling in Eastern mindfulness practices and working to

integrate them with classes I was taking in neuroscience, philosophy of mind, metaphysics,

and existentialism. I found these practices and bodies of knowledge to be immensely helpful

for my own mental health as a young queer person finding my way in the world and

considered them as being potentially valuable in therapeutic contexts. This led me to

become a mental health counselor through graduate education at the University of

Cincinnati.

 

While completing this degree, I began to develop my advocacy & research efforts for

LGBTQ+ people in both the counselor and client roles.  I was able to complete my degree

remotely, allowing me to work for a summer as a field instructor in a wilderness therapy

program with. This experience marked a turning point in how I thought about mental health and what therapy can look like. I also began to understand the central role of spirituality in the healing process - all too often we are divorced from being with ourselves, nature, and the details in the ever-unfolding present moment.

I left this position in favor of one which would provide more stability for my partner and me and began working at a local drop-in center for homeless and at-risk youth. There, I worked to build a trauma-informed culture within the center and to design effective programs to engage and help these individuals. Later, I moved to a more clinically-focused position as a school-based mental health counselor working with high school students in a rural town. Throughout these positions, I gained a greater understanding of the effects of trauma and novel ways to work with individuals who have experienced trauma in varying forms. I also began presenting at regional, state, and national conferences on trauma-informed care and the ethics of "coming out" to clients.

 

This work carried me into my doctoral program in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Cincinnati. Here, I am focusing on promoting advocating for safe, equitable, and just access to psychedelic-assisted therapies. My dissertation focuses on exploring naturalistic psychedelic use among queer-identifying individuals and supporting their integration processes in therapy. I have published several peer-reviewed articles on the topic of psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted therapies and developed an existential-humanistic framework for working with psychedelic experiences. I have also completed extensive training directly related to providing psychedelic-assisted therapies including the California Institute of Integral Studies graduate certificate program in psychedelic-assisted therapies and research, the majority of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies' MDMA-assisted psychotherapy training program, and Polaris Insight Center's Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy training Modules 1-5.

In my personal life, I enjoy woodworking as a way to creatively engage logical parts of my mind. I also jump at any excuse to get outdoors, often in the company of my husband and/or dogs - be it through backpacking, biking, kayaking, trail running or disc golf. I also maintain a daily sitting meditation practice with a Zen community and am enjoying the process of integrating spirituality into my life in a holistic manner.

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Education

Graduate Certificate, California Institute of Integral Studies      2021- current

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy & Research

Curriculum Vita

Ph.D., University of Cincinnati                                                                       2019 - current

Counselor Education & Supervision

M.A., University of Cincinnati                                                                         2016

Mental Health Counseling

B.S., B.A., B.A., University of Georgia                                                           2012

Psychology, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science