I have spent my last 30 years on a quest to understand "why”.

Why was I suicidal at age 4?

Why was I in a psychiatric ward at age 19 from a suicide attempt?

Why were there other suicide attempts in my early 20's?

Why did I continually seem to feel better before my world would crash down again with depression and suicidality?

Why did I have such intense and awful intrusive thoughts?

Why did I sink into depression after the slightest confrontation with someone?




Standard therapy

In this pursuit of "why" I became disillusioned with the standard western approach to mental health. It did not work for me.

To me it felt like a sham, a band-aid; here was me telling my story to a therapist, who had his or her own story about life, and they were parroting back some particular model of talk therapy, which they learned from someone with their own misconceptions about the mind.

To me, it all seemed pointless and unhelpful. I never felt like I was "mentally ill”.

It didn't make sense to me that my brain chemistry was off – it felt like was something inside that wanted to come out – I didn’t know what that was, but I committed my life to that discovery.

Breakthrough with LSD

After a suicide attempt in my early 20s, I spent six weeks in a drug treatment center, then 3 months in a halfway house. I returned to college and rocked it! I graduated and eventually landed a high paying corporate gig. I made it – by my late 20's, I was a success!

Then my depression came roaring back. This was it? This was success? I was living the American Dream, but for me my depression was all consuming.

This was the breaking point in my life – I was either going to kill myself or try a high dose of LSD to see if that would provide any relief. I had had various experiences with LSD in my teens and 20's that gave me a glimpse of something else out there – something bigger than me. At that point in my life, I was basically a nihilist – there was no meaning to life, no point in living, no higher power, no purpose.

I was able to source some pure liquid LSD for my experiment. Alone in my basement apartment, I took 1,200 mcg of LSD (for any psychedelic novices; a normal dose is 100-300 mcg, with 300 mcg considered "beefy").

I knew I had to go big or I would die – literally. I also knew my experiment could go wildly wrong, and I was ready to take that risk.

What happened that night changed my life and my path forward. That night I experienced a classic mystical state – I experienced myself as pure white light and what I would describe as “pure unity consciousness”.

I looked in the mirror and saw the world's most beautiful man – but then, my face morphed through every human face that has ever existed, and saw the same inherent beauty and goodness that exists in all of us. I spent the next 6-7 hours laying on the floor, crying, writhing, and experiencing life for what felt like the first time. Love was streaming in me, through me, and out of me, up into the Universe.

There was no more apartment – there was no more Steve. I was awash in love, compassion and gratitude.

This felt more real than anything I had ever experienced. I could feel this was our core nature. I was reborn. My journey lasted into the wee hours of the morning and, when the sun rose, I went outside and was filled with love and beauty for the day.

My depression was 100% gone – all suicidal thoughts were gone. It was truly a life changing experience and, to this day, I am grateful for that evening.

Other psychedelic experiments

My experience with LSD changed my path in life. I started doing more personal work and discovered a new group of friends who were also on a path towards wholeness.

Over time however, my depression came back. Suicidal ideation came back. Intrusive thoughts came back. It was not as pronounced as before, but life became heavy again.

Through this phase of my life (in my 30s), I experimented with psychedelics to help with my depression; psilocybin, more LSD, ibogaine and peyote. Each experience was positive and seemed to be helpful, but then all the "bad" feelings would come back.

I did not understand the "why" of this. Why was I having such profound experiences with huge levels of insight, but then – like clockwork – the depression would come back?

I rolled through 20 years wondering why, while deeply entrenched in corporate America and slowly became a shell of a man. For roughly 15 of those years, I did little personal work and no work with psychedelic medicines.

Ayahuasca, serotonin syndrome & shamanic initiation

By my early 50s, I knew it was time to dive back into personal work.

I dove back in with extreme vigour and passion!

Firstly with ibogaine – my third time. This was a huge reset for me. This was followed by psilocybin sessions, MDMA (with no effect) and ayahuasca.

After a 3-day ayahuasca ceremony, my life really went south.

For a year, I was in and out of a full blown ayahuasca session. The experience was like being ripped in two. I felt my head being pulled in one direction and my body pulled in the other. The physical pain was excruciating and the sense of panic was 911 level. It was horrendous. These episodes lasted from 3 minutes to 8 hours.

Yet again, I had no idea why It was happening. This year was also filled with various levels of depersonalization, dissociation, and derealization.

At times, I knew I was Steve – but I didn't know who Steve was. I knew I was on planet Earth – but I didn't know what planet Earth was.

It was awful.

I felt like it was never going to end; it got so bad I was starting to become suicidal from the intensity of the attacks. I eventually went on an SSRI and Xanax, then a switched to a new SNRI, which kicked in a serotonin syndrome and broke the cycle.

I nearly died from the serotonin syndrome, but it stopped the attacks after a year living with them. The year-long breakdown – or "shamanic initiation" as Dennis McKenna called it – was over, but I knew there was something in there that caused this, and I still was on my mission to figure out "why”.


I knew there was a reason I was going through all of this. There was so much inside me and I had no idea why. But I knew I had to go back in.

I knew (or thought I knew) that I needed Big Medicine to do a deeper dive. I was confident that I should not do ayahuasca again, so my mission was focused on psilocybin, and – by chance, luck or synchronicity – a friend of mine got into the UW-Madison Psilocybin study.

I jumped at the opportunity, I thought it was perfect! High-dose psilocybin in a controlled environment.

After being waitlisted for two weeks, I got an email stating that someone had dropped out and inquiring if I was still interested. Of course, I was.

I did three consecutive increasing doses of psilocybin over three months. This was under the standard Hopkins Protocol (headphones/eyeshades, two guides, an FDA approved playlist, and a beautiful room on the UW-Madison campus).

The study was for pharmacokinetics and adverse reactions to high dose psilocybin. Being a 6'2" Dutch guy, I received the largest psilocybin dose of any published FDA study. During the study I experienced hell realms for all three doses – definitely off the charts, challenging experiences.

This allowed me to experience the benefits of the current Hopkins model, as well as the weaknesses. The primary one, I believe, is not understanding how to work with someone who is looping in dissociation – what we would (at OmTerra) call a State 3 experience.

Birth trauma breakthrough

During the study, one huge piece of my past history came to light after the first dose. The weekend before beginning the study, I did a holotropic breathwork class with Stan Grof. During one of Stan's lectures, he talked a lot about birth trauma. However, I wasn't listening attentively – it did not apply to me.

Fast forward to two weeks after dose 1; I was in a state of "what the hell happened during dose 1" and was back in my hometown of Rochester, MN for my Dad's 80th birthday party.

Sitting with my parents, I asked my dad about his birth story, then my mom, and then – light bulb moment – I had never heard my birth story. I asked my mom about it.

“It was awful” she said. “The worst of the four kids. You were breech, so they had three guys on top of me trying to manually flip you. It was so painful that they had to knock me out."

I asked "was I Caesarean then?"

"No, you were extracted out. They used forceps or something."

Whoa... From a previous ibogaine session I experienced me as an infant going through a very intense release of severe pain from my left rib cage which was deformed and crushed down. I never knew why, but now things were starting to make sense! The "why" was becoming clearer.

Discovering psycholytic (PSIP) therapy

In 2018, I requested my birth records from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

There it all was – except for the broken ribs. What I learned was yes, I was in breech, flipped, then extracted with forceps by my head and born with my umbilical cord around my neck.

I was unresponsive when coming into the world and had to be resuscitated. As was the case back in the 1960's, I spent the next 4 days primarily in the nursery.

I finally had part of my "why".

Why I was suicidal at such a young age – birth trauma! But now what, I thought. How do I work with this? Later, I would find out there were other reasons for my early suicidality, primarily early childhood sexual abuse.

After my psilocybin study, I started a non-profit focused on psychedelic therapy education and advocacy. The main focus was hosting a yearly, three-day symposium on psychedelic therapy. It was during the third symposium that I invited Saj Razvi, LPC to speak on ketamine therapy.

During his presentation, he talked about somatic work, the unconscious mind and trauma. Light bulbs were going off left and right in my head. I dove deeper into his work and discovered the ANS map. Holy smokes! A life changing moment when I realized there was nothing wrong with me – I was just having biological responses to my trauma.

Knowing that I was experiencing the biology of PTSD – but also knowing that it was Complex PTSD – brought an enormous awakening for me.

Undergoing psycholytic (PSIP) therapy

I did my first PSIP cannabis session with Saj Razvi in 2019, and it was the one thing that changed my life more than anything I had ever done.

In that session I discovered various levels of dissociation from my trauma – once that was cracked, the stream of emotions, held charge and terror that came out of me was huge... wave, after wave, after wave came pouring out of me.

My first PSIP session lasted 4 hours. My second one was 6 hours. My body kept producing these waves of held charge and emotions.

After those first two sessions I felt lighter, brighter and more whole than I have ever felt in my life.

To this day I continue to do PSIP sessions and keep going deeper into "The Steve". For me, the most profound work I have ever done is with this model.

Life is richer, deeper and more profound – in a way that standard psychedelic therapy never created or allowed for.

My passion for this work and desire to bring this forth to more people was the driving force for co-founding PSI with Saj Razvi and for founding OmTerra.

May this model serve you as well.


Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Feel free to reach out.

Is Steve a licensed psychotherapist?

Steve is  not a licensed psychotherapist. He holds a BA in Communications.  He has has been mentored and trained with Saj Razvi who developed the PSIP model. He is the cofounder of the Psychedelic Somatic Institute and has worked with Saj Razvi for four years with this model. HE also has 50 plus sessions for his own personal work and continues to work with this model.

What medicines do you work with?

We work with psilocybin through Omnia Group in Ashland, OR. PSIP / somatic sessions use ketamine or cannabis which is sourced by the client. The model used is a legal self administration protocol. For ketamine the online ketamine company, Joyous is recommended. (www.joyous.team)