Meet the Therapy Training Team
Shannon Carlin, M.A., L.M.F.T.
Shannon Carlin, M.A., LMFT, is the Director and Head of Training and Supervision at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit. As the Director of Training and Supervision, Shannon oversees the development and implementation of the programs that provide training and supervision to prepare mental health and medical professionals to deliver MDMA-assisted therapy in approved clinical settings. Shannon started working with MAPS in 2011 before joining MAPS PBC in 2016.
In her dedication to supporting people through growth and healing, Shannon has served as a co-therapist on MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 trials researching MDMA-assisted therapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness and MDMA-assisted therapy for severe PTSD. Shannon’s direct clinical work continues to inform the development and implementation of the training programs she oversees.
Shannon’s previous professional experience includes the development of community programs delivering resources, services, training, and support for healthy living, life skills, employment, and positive youth development. Her work has served adults with schizophrenia, bipolar, and substance use disorder, families and youth in a low-income residential setting, and high school students learning about moderation management of drug and alcohol use. In her lifelong commitment to address homelessness, Shannon volunteers with housing projects and shelters and completed a farm internship with the Homeless Garden Project.
Shannon received her master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. An adventurer at heart, Shannon can be found in nature, backpacking, running, and dancing. She celebrates and cultivates relationship and community and is passionate about life, love, and thriving.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D.
Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist living in Asheville, NC, with a research office in Charleston, SC. In 2000, he began collaborating with MAPS on the first U.S. Phase 2 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. He and his wife Annie have since conducted two of the six MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 clinical trials testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, as well a study providing MDMA-assisted sessions for therapists who have completed the MAPS-sponsored MDMA Therapy Training Program, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy combined with Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy. He is now Senior Medical Director for Medical Affairs, Training and Supervision at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC). He is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator, is trained in EMDR and Internal Family Systems Therapy, and has nearly 30 years of experience treating trauma patients. Before going into psychiatry in 1991, he practiced emergency medicine for ten years, served as medical director of the Charleston County and Georgetown County Emergency Departments, and has held clinical faculty positions at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has been board-certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and Internal Medicine.
Wesley Hale, M.S.
Wesley Hale graduated with his Master's degree in industrial/organizational psychology from San Francisco State University in 2019. Wesley was Graduate Research Assistant in the Health and Organizational Psychology Lab, Workforce Technology Research Lab, and Employee Selection and Retention Lab. Prior to joining MAPS PBC, Wesley was an Assistant Business Psychologist at a game-based assessment company and has gained experience working in the education field. He taught children with autism spectrum disorders and went on to teach a variety of subjects in the Orange County Public School District. Before moving to San Francisco, he spent two summers in China as a guest lecturer at Xi’an Jiaotong University. Wesley enjoys tea, meditation, and music from around the world.
Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N.
Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., is a Registered Nurse living in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is now focused primarily on training and supervising therapists conducting MAPS-sponsored clinical trials, as well as continuing to conduct some MAPS research sessions in Charleston, South Carolina. Between 2004 and 2018, she and her husband, Michael Mithoefer, M.D., completed two of the six MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trials testing MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, as well a study providing MDMA-assisted sessions for therapists who have completed the MAPS Therapist Training, and a pilot study treating couples with MDMA-assisted therapy combined with Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy. Annie is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner, is trained in Hakomi Therapy, and has 25 years experience working with trauma patients, with an emphasis on experiential approaches to therapy.
Marcela Ot’alora G., MA LPC
Marcela is dedicated to the treatment and research of trauma, through art and through the use of MDMA-assisted therapy. She worked as a co-therapist in the first government approved MDMA-assisted therapy study in Madrid, Spain and is the Principal Investigator of the Phase 2 and 3 MDMA-assisted therapy trials in Boulder, Colorado. She received her MA in Transpersonal Psychology from Naropa University and MFA from University of Greensboro in North Carolina. She was born and raised in Colombia, South America and now lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Bruce Poulter. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. She will be leading the MDMA therapy training.
Bruce Poulter, M.P.H
Bruce has been drawn to and worked most of his life with people in altered states, primarily non-medicine induced. He decided at an early age to primarily focus on learning directly from and about people by being in positions of service in lieu of traditional academic training. During the 80’s he was an ICU nurse at UCSF hospital when the AIDS pandemic first emerged and he developed a deep appreciation for the ethics of working with the critically ill as well as studying dying/living with the noted authority Elizabeth Kübler Ross.
Based on these experiences he studied health planning and policy development where he received his MPH from UC Berkeley, in the hopes of redirecting funds away from critical care units and towards programs that effectively improved the morbidity and mortality rates of the people they served. In the early 90’s he developed and ran public health programs including a nurse-midwife based, comprehensive perinatal program, serving exclusively low-income women, as well as a program designed to prevent childhood abuse and neglect by combining public health nurses with community mental health workers focusing on at risk families.
He had the good fortune to independently study Buddhist meditation and psychology with Thich Nhat Hanh along with a contemporary form of Jungian psychology with Max Shupbach of the Process Work Center based in Portland, OR. He was a founding member of the Nyland Co-Housing Community-a 42-unit development that at the time was recognized as Colorado’s most energy efficient development while offering residents a reprieve from the isolating lifestyle that often characterizes North American communities.
He has worked extensively with people in chronic pain as an educator and Rolfer and was an intimate observer of the first government approved MDMA assisted therapy study in Madrid, Spain in 1999. Upon his return to Colorado, he entered the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate and fortunately for him and his family did well, but not well enough to challenge the incumbent.
What Bruce appreciates about MDMA-assisted therapy is its’ deeply intimate nature; driven by a profound love for self, community and other; participant centered; respectful of participants processes; it leverages a person’s native inherent wisdom; and invites/demands authenticity of all parts and parties involved in the at times mysterious, service of healing. Bruce hopes MDMA-assisted therapy will help catalyze and play an important role in a much-needed paradigm shift, where people are once again recognized as the true experts of their healing.
He’s had the pleasure of participating in harm reduction services through Zendo, etc. and is currently a sub-investigator, clinical supervisor and trainer with MAPS Phase 2 and Phase 3 MDMA-assisted therapy trials.
Ido Siemion, Ph.D.
Ido Siemion, PhD., is a Hakomi trainer and co-founder of the Hakomi Institute of Israel. He holds a PhD in East West Psychology and a M.A. in Somatic Psychology, both from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ido works as a psychotherapist with adults who seek to heal their psychological wounding as well as expand their consciousness, manifest their potential and live life fully. His work draws on Jungian, Somatic and Psychodynamic psychologies and integrates knowledge based in Eastern spiritual traditions as well as Shamanic traditions. Ido is a trainer for MAPS in Israel, he was a clinical investigator in the phase II MDMA assisted psychotherapy for PTSD trials and is now also a clinical investigator in the phase III trials that examine the impact of MDMA assisted psychotherapy on severe trauma victims (PTSD).
Keren Tzarfaty, Ph.D., M.F.T.
Keren Tzarfaty, Ph.D.,M.F.T., is the co-founder of the Hakomi Institute of Israel a trainer for MAPS in Israel (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). She is a clinical investigator in the MDMA PTSD FDA approved clinical trial, examining the impact of MDMA assisted psychotherapy on severe PTSD patients. Keren is the clinical director of the Open Access project of MAPS and the Israeli MOH, which offers MDMA assisted therapy for 50 participants in five governmental hospitals in Israel. She is also one of the founder of the new MA program in Haifa University: Integrative psychotherapy,: Body, Mind, spirit. Keren holds a M.A. in Somatic Psychology and a Ph.D. in East- West Psychology, both from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She specializes in integrating mindfulness based psychodynamic psychotherapy with somatic psychotherapy, attachment psychotherapy, trauma psychology and transpersonal psychology. Her approach is grounded in traditional western psychologies as well as inspired by Eastern and Shamanic spiritual traditions.