Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 151 – Dr. Will Van Derveer and Keith Kurlander, MA, LPC

For episode 151 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Dr. Will Van Derveer MD and Keith Kurlander, MA, LPC.

Will and Keith are Co-Founders of the Integrative Psychiatry Institute, which teaches mental health providers how to recognize and resolve an expanded spectrum of root causes of mental illness, and also the Integrative Psychiatry Centers, which provide integrative psychiatry and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for complex mental health challenges. Together they are also the hosts of the Higher Practice Podcast.

The conversation begins with some background on how Will and Keith came to Integrative Psychiatry. Sharon asks how each of them has dealt with burnout and despair in their lives as care-providers in the field of mental health. They also discuss some of the unique issues that caregivers face right now in the pandemic and how self-compassion can offer support. Keith and Will share some of the changes they are seeing in clients due to the social isolation and offer some tools to help regulate the nervous system and stay connected to our deeper values at this time. They also speak about the importance of reframing and de-stigmatizing mental suffering for a spectrum-based model and close the conversation with a guided reflection.

Links from this episode: Integrative Psychiatry Institute | Integrative Psychiatry Centers
Integrative Psychiatry: Human Potential Model

Welcoming the cofounders of the Integrative Psychiatry Institute, Dr. Will Van Derveer and Keith Kurlander, Sharon invites them to share what sparked their interest in integrative psychiatry. Keith’s suffering lead him to spiritual inquiry into meditation and yoga. Will’s yearning to alleviate suffering drew him beyond conventional boundaries. Their shared background in psychology and interest in spiritual and psychedelic methodologies merged holistically into the revolutionary ‘human potential model’ of integrative psychiatry.

“Meditation was one of the only resources I had for my healing process.  It took a while to sit with myself and begin to open my mind to the perspective that it wasn’t psychiatry that was wrong, it was just that psychiatry was really limited in the scope of what it taught me as a healer.” – Dr. Will Van Derveer

Explore the ever-merging intersection of science, psychology, and spiritual modalities, on Ep. 366 of Mindrolling
Spiritual Alchemy: Bittersweet Despair (8:24)

Zooming in on a common theme in the intentional stories offered by Keith and Will, Sharon asks them to explore despair in regards to their own journeys, as well as what they offer through their integrated healing modalities. Sharing that the experience of despair and existential angst is at a fever pitch in modern society, they expound in spiritual alchemy on the bittersweetness inherent in despair, as it holds within it the feeling of unnecessary suffering, but also the fiery potential for positive change.

“There’s a bittersweetness of despair. On one level, I categorize despair as unnecessary suffering, a ‘we can do better’ perspective. Another way, is that despair seems to light a fire of wanting to really help in someway around suffering. Despair is something that through spiritual alchemy can turn into something that becomes purpose in the world, and a way to really impact the world in a significant way.” – Keith Kurlander

For more Sharon, open yourself to embodied change through the connected lens of neuroscience and spirituality, on Ep. 123 of the Metta Hour
Self-Compassion: Reassess & Realign (19:01)

Speaking to the potency of mindfulness practice for allowing spaciousness to help pause, reassess, and realign our lives, the Higher Practice Podcast duo highlights the effects that mindfulness played in helping align their lives and work with their deepest values. Exemplifying the fruitful rewards built into ‘taking the risk’ of pausing and reorienting, they share a methodology for stepping off the merry-go-round, and into the grounded alignment of exercising self-compassion.

“Mindfulness practice opened enough self-compassion for me to take a pause and reassess, ‘What am I actually doing here?’ What I learned in the time that I took off was that I was in despair because I was so frustrated with the merry-go-round. I needed to exercise the self-compassion to reorient and take that risk of realignment.” – Dr. Will Van Derveer

Tap into this podcast and mediation practice aimed at reorienting our beings towards self-compassion, on Ep. 26 of the Healing at the Edge
Guided Meditation: Life & Contribution (42:42)

Invited by Sharon, Keith shares a powerful and succinct guided meditation for deep reflection on our life, contribution, service, and purpose.


Source images via Andrii Vodolazhskyi & Higher Practice Podcast