Episode 019: Will Van Derveer MD, Integrative Psychiatry: A New Model for Addressing Mental Illness, How Diet, Trauma and Genetics are Contributing to Mental Illness
In Episode 019 of A Medicinal Mind I share a conversation with integrative psychiatrist Will Van Derveer MD. As you will hear in the podcast, I first came across Will as part of his joint presentation with Dr. Janet Settle on the February 2017 edition of the Evolution of Medicine’s Functional Forum: the Evolution of Integrative Psychiatry. Serendipitously, before I had a chance to reach out to Will to thank him for his inspiring presentation, he contacted me following the release of my E-Book on Integrative and Functional Medicine Education, and a friendship was born.
Will Van Derveer, MD is the founder and medical director of the Integrative Psychiatric Healing Center in Boulder, CO, where he has practiced integrative psychiatry for 15 years. Dr. Van Derveer is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine (ABoIHM) since 2013, and he was board certified in the first wave of diplomates of the new American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABIM) in 2016. He is course director for the University of Colorado psychiatry residents’ course on integrative psychiatry, and is a co-founder and core faculty of the in-depth integrative psychiatry training program, The Psychiatry Masterclass. Dr. Van Derveer regards emotional trauma as a significant root cause of psychiatric symptoms in integrative psychiatry practice, along with gut issues, hormone imbalances, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other functional medicine problems. He provides to most of his patients somatic psychotherapy for trauma recovery. Trained as a meditation instructor, he teaches mindfulness to his patients. In addition to his clinical work and teaching, he was co-investigator in 2016 a Phase II randomized clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the protocol of which has recently been approved by FDA for an upcoming phase III clinical trial.
In our conversation, we dig in deep as Will shares his revolutionary framework for approaching mental illness, one where Will recognizes a trinity of interconnected and primary contributions to a patient’s present illness including psychospiritual disturbance, physiologic imbalances and a patient’s specific presenting symptoms.
Will provides us with some practical methods for using lifestyle approaches to address chronic mental illness and outlines how he incorporates both medications and lifestyle medicine in his practice.
We explore some of the fascinating science behind the bidirectional gut brain axis and the influence of various dietary and environmental factors such as gluten and glyphosate to disrupt one’s optimal functioning.
Seeking to revise or perhaps dispel the currently espoused neurotransmitter imbalance theory of mental illness, Will walks us through the inflammatory cytokine or the inflammatory brain hypothesis and its power, in combination with the exploration of adverse and traumatic experiences to explain much of our current mental health crisis.
Follow Will and his work
To take part in the revolutionary Psychiatry Masterclass
To watch Will and Janet's Presentation at the February 2017 Functional Forum
Will offers up some of his personal research as well, working with psychedelics in combination with various forms of cognitive therapy in order to help those suffering with PTSD and others negatively impacted by adverse childhood experiences.
We even dabble in exploring the emerging field of genetics, pharmacogenomics and the role of genetic testing to inform treatment in mental illness.
There was so much to cover in this podcast, and we will certainly have Will back for more of his insights and wisdom.
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I am grateful as always to have such passionate speakers on the show and look forward to bringing you more episodes as we continue this amazing journey called life.
Enjoy the show!