FOUNDER, Co-Clinical Investigator, Therapy Team Lead
Dr. Liz Esalen
Dr Liz Esalen is the Founder and CEO of Luminous Trauma Center and The Lotus Collaborative, eating disorder recovery centers in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, California. Dr. Liz has dedicated her career to creating quality, heart-centered healing organizations that foster mind-body-soul reconnection and profound transformation. She is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology and a licensed psychologist with 15 years of organizational leadership and over 25 years of holistic clinical care. Dr. Liz has a passion for leading transformative dance journeys and feminine leadership around the world.
Esalen has done her own heroine's journey over the past decade to overcome personal trauma history and autoimmune illness. She found medicine in nature, ecstatic dance, embodiment practices, meditation, Internal Family Systems, the enneagram and shamanic energy medicine. She integrates these mind-body-spirit practices into her clinical work to support others in holistic paths of healing.
At Luminous Healing Center, Esalen's work is at the forefront of her field, offering new and progressive evidence-based treatments for psychological trauma, PTSD, and mind-body anxiety. As a clinician, she has found traditional treatments for PTSD to be expensive and lacking. The continued suffering of her patients led her to keep seeking innovative approaches for radical trauma healing. This search led her to Internal Family Systems, Somatic Therapy, and MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy. She was selected to train in 2019 with MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) to become an MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapist. During this time, Esalen also launched Luminous Healing Center that specializes in trauma treatment. Luminous was selected to be one of a handful of centers in the nation that can provide this cutting-edge treatment in the new year.
Esalen's mission is to support others awakening and reconnecting to their inner light. This light can be dimmed or lost with suffering, trauma and pain, but with support, can be rediscovered again. This luminosity is our life force. She believes remembering our luminous nature connects us to our inner healer, teacher and guide. The relationship with our luminosity can help overcome trauma, sickness, and broken hearts. She is committed to empowering others reconnect with their light.
"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." M. Williamson
PROGRAM COORDINATOR AND NIGHT ATTENDANT
YEVGENIYA (JANE) ZAIKO
Yevgeniya (Jane) Zaiko comes to the Luminous Healing Center with over 7 years of research experience between the Palo Alto VA and Stanford Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Early interest in psychology led Yevgeniya to get involved in neuroscience research to study the psychological and biological foundations of mental health.
Through various research roles, Yevgeniya has supported interdisciplinary labs run clinical trials investigating treatments for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Exposure to multiple mental health treatments and neuroimaging tools allowed her to study the neural basis of trauma, and granted her the opportunity to work with veterans and civilians, many of whom repeatedly shared histories of complex traumas and multiple failed treatment attempts. Studying the brain’s structure and function after trauma encouraged Yevgeniya to turn to research of alternative modalities suggesting long-lasting neuroplasticity post trauma.
Yevgeniya strongly believes in the profound healing power of psychedelic medicine, the science behind the plasticity-promoting compounds, and the incredible opportunity psychedelic medicine offers our world to reconnect, both with ourselves and others. Personal experience with alternative medicine has granted Yevgeniya a new relationship with her own lived-experience of trauma and depression, solidifying her duty and commitment to help those living with trauma through careful investigation, scientific research, advocacy and support. She is absolutely elated to be a part of Luminous Healing Center researchers and clinical staff offering MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD.
T. Cody Swift
T. Cody Swift, MA received his degree in existential-phenomenological psychology and brings over 13 years working in the field of psychedelic research to Luminous. He has served as a therapist-guide in the Johns Hopkins psilocybin and cancer-anxiety trials as well as developed qualitative inquiries into the subjective aspects of participant’s experiences with psilocybin and MDMA. He has dedicated himself to this field, not only because of the efficacy of these medicines, but because of they way they heal- by helping individuals to turn towards difficult or painful aspects of their lives, to reconcile them into greater wholeness, and gain perspective on life far beyond illness. He has also worked over 5 years supporting indigenous communities in the conservation of their sacred plant medicines, as with the Native American Church in the preservation of Peyote. He is honored to work with Luminous to bring opportunities for healing with MDMA to the Santa Cruz community.
Jen Clark, MA spent her early career as an exercise physiologist before migrating to the humanities, called to a more intimate search into mysteries of mind, emotions, and living. She earned her graduate degree in psychology at John F. Kennedy University in the School of Holistic Studies. This program paid respect to the depth and mystery of living rather than subscribing to pathologizing or reductionistic models. With depth training in an existential model, her therapeutic dedication is to help people explore their ways of being in the world and to live with greater vitality. Since 2013 she has contributed to the clinical trials for MDMA-Assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, reviewing hundreds of hours of this therapy and receiving unique preparation for working with trauma utilizing a psychedelic-assisted treatment model. She is hopeful about this paradigm which looks beyond pharmaceutical treatment of symptoms toward medicines that are catalysts to assist a process of healing. Jen brings deep commitment to advancing this important work with conviction in the potential of psychedelics to shift constricted patterns of perception - to expand capacity for living with greater creativity, vitality, and connection.
Bob Gallo, LCSW, BCD has been a psychotherapist in Santa Cruz County since 1994, soon after graduating with an M.S.W. from Smith College School for Social Work.In 2011, he completed their Certificate Program in Contemplative Clinical Practice.In addition to providing individual, couple, and family therapy in English and Spanish, he also supervises and consults to other clinicians, and provides clinical and program consultation, as well as professional development trainings to local social service/counseling agencies and health care facilities. Since finishing graduate school, Bob has been continuously dedicated to his professional development.He has had the great fortune of having been mentored for the past 26 years by Claire Allphin, Ph.D., LCSW, a Jungian Analyst.Some of his areas of professional interest are: the beneficial personal qualities/capacities of clinicians, what transpires between the therapist and client that helps facilitate change, and how to make use of one’s subjective experience with clients during the psychotherapeutic process.Bob’s clinical work has also been deeply influenced by the philosophy and practice of Aikido.He holds the rank of shodan (first degree black belt), which he earned at Aikido of Santa Cruz. He became interested in the therapeutic and sacramental use of psychedelic/entheogenic substances during his early adolescence through the writings and lectures of Alan Watts and Ram Dass, and books by Carlos Castaneda.In 2019, MAPS held a six-day training in Louisville, Kentucky specifically for therapists of color.55 clinicians from around the country attended.Bob is proud to be one of a small number of Chicanos who took part. Bob is impressed by the promise of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy; the unique effects of its chemistry, the access it provides to important psychological/emotional/somatic material, the way it activates one’s innate healing capacity, and the benefits that continue to unfold from the experience over time.He is excited about having the privilege of being a member of the MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy team at the Luminous Healing Center.
“…the human opportunity is to transform flashes of illumination into abiding light.” ― Huston Smith
Wendy Feng, MD is a staff psychiatrist with the Veterans' Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System and clinician-educator at Stanford University School of Medicine. She earned the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and trained in Ketamine-Assisted Therapy with the KRIYA Institute. Hailing from the Hudson River Valley in Upstate New York, she is the child of first-generation immigrants from Taiwan, whose families arrived there from China following the Chinese Civil War. She is hopeful for the potential of psychedelic medicines to facilitate healthy interconnectedness and healing of both the individual and the collective, particularly for those with marginalized identities and those who have suffered the traumas of war. She is honored to be a member of the MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy team at the Luminous Healing Center.
Luis is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who works in the field of eating disorders at the PHP and IOP levels at The Lotus Collaborative. Luis earned his Master's Degree in Counseling with an emphasis of Marriage, Family, and Child from Palo Alto University and his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Notre Dame de Namur. Prior to specializing in eating disorder treatment, Luis worked at community mental health in the Juvenile Justice Department working with children and teenagers in the Juvenile Probation and Social Services Department. Luis also worked at the Intensive Outpatient program treating children, teenagers, families and young adults with various mental health disorders and traumatic experiences. Luis specializes in working with trauma and is trained in various trauma work modalities, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Luis completed a year long certificate program in Psychedelic Therapies and Research in 2019. The program provided diverse public education about psychedelic research and the use of psychedelics in psychotherapy from the past decades, as well as teaching on topics such as creativity enhancement, consciousness studies, comparative mysticism, well-being enrichment, and harm reduction. Luis has personally experienced and witnessed the healing potential of plant medicines to heal mental health issues and trauma. Luis' goal is to become a psychedelic therapist and to provide access to these medicines to alleviate pain and suffering in the individual and the collective.
Marc L’Ecluse is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice since 2007. Before earning his license, Marc was a social worker and spent years practicing and teaching Process-oriented Psychodrama. Process-oriented Psychodrama is a dynamic blend of conventional Psychodrama, Hakomi Therapy, and Process Oriented Psychology that allows the client’s process to determine the flow of therapy, uncovers important experiences by following subtle expressions of the body and helps to integrate these experiences. Developed from transpersonal experiences he had as a young man and reinforced by his graduate studies and training, Marc’s philosophy of healing is that each of us already has what we need for healing within ourselves. The MDMA-assisted psychotherapy protocol of inner-directed therapy meshes well with Marc’s understanding about how healing happens. In 2009 Marc began volunteering in prison and helped to create the Freedom Within Prison Project in 2012. Also in 2012, Marc volunteered to become one of the first MAPS Phase 2 adherence raters, watching hundreds of hours of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD. In 2016, Marc was hired to facilitate the training of new adherence raters for MAPS Phase 3 research. He now looks forward to working with Luminous Healing Center to support healing in his own community by facilitating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.
Noah Bruce is a licensed clinical psychologist. He currently see patients at and directs a behavioral health clinic in Salinas, CA. He received his PsyD from the PGSP-Stanford Consortium in 2007. Noah has trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems (IFS), and EMDR. He is currently training in Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy.
As a therapist, Noah believes Noah his first and most important task is to connect, person to person with the client. It is from this relationship that the work flows. To this end, Noah tries to bring his authentic self to each session with the hope that this makes it easier for the client to also be authentic. He isn't afraid to go to difficult places with clients, but isn't afraid to share a laugh either.
Noah is drawn to psychedelic medicine work because of the important role psychedelics have played in his own life. Psychedelics have given Noah glimpses of a reality beyond everyday waking consciousness. In this deeper reality, Noah has seen that all things are connected, that life is sacred, and that everything is going to be ok, and he can stop worrying and relax once in a while. Noah does his best to bring these learnings into his daily life with varying degrees of success.
In his spare time, Noah studies Brazilian JiuJitsu, rides his ebike, and makes soup in his Instant Pot.
"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
- Marianne williamson
The Luminous Healing Center offers a innovative suite of trauma treatments designed to work in concert to promote rapid and lasting healing from psychological trauma.
We are incredibly excited to announce we will soon be offering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for patients diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
We are excited to be one of the few clinics in the United States with the ability to offer this treatment through an Expanded Access Program under the guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and in collaboration with Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC).