Oak Edit

Therapist and Educator Kasey Crown on Mind-Body Wellness

January 17, 2024
Photos by: Bliss Braoudakis

In our daily pursuit of a holistic sense of wellness, it’s so important to remember that mental, physical, and spiritual health cannot be siloed. Each facet of your being is as important and in need of care as the next, which is why we were thrilled to speak to wellness educator, licensed therapist, and trauma alchemist Kasey Crown about how we can gently, mindfully, and practically bring our mind, body, and soul to a place where they meet, transform, and foster a truer sense of wellbeing. Read on—and be sure to bookmark so you can come back time and again for essential reminders.

For those unfamiliar, can you tell us a bit about your work with trauma alchemy and transpersonal psychotherapy?
My work is an amalgamation of insights gained through my personal healing journey (one I am very much still on) and my studies in the fields of interpersonal neurobiology, transpersonal psychology and energy medicine. For all intents and purposes, I am a therapist who works with trauma and an educator on the topic. However, how that translates into practice is a bit non-traditional. I start with the assumption that we are Souls (consciousness/ energy) embodied on a learning journey and endowed with the power of choice. This speaks to the transpersonal nature of my work, that we are more than the “separate selves” and identities we are so preoccupied with. And that through the power of choice, we have an opportunity to transcend or move beyond our sometimes painful and limiting human experiences to access the essence of who we are as a Soul. In addition to this thing we call a Soul, we also have a body. And that body “keeps the score” as Bessel Van Der Kolk would say. It keeps a record of our trauma, shapes the development of our brain, extended nervous system and cell tissue, and in some cases influences the expression of our DNA. The more scientifically minded part of me has long recognized the material nature of trauma and how it can wreak havoc on our lives, relationships and health.
For those unfamiliar, can you tell us a bit about your work with trauma alchemy and transpersonal psychotherapy?
Anyone reading this who suffers from anxiety, depression, addiction, or even numbness and dissociation, understands that their pain has materialized into a pattern. I hold both a spiritual and scientific understanding of the human being and the human experience—these two seemingly opposing lenses are not mutually exclusive. Healing trauma, transcending our pain and transmuting it into wisdom requires that we balance an understanding of ourselves as part of both the material and immaterial worlds. Knowing that we are more than these bodies allows us to look closely at our trauma to learn so that we can evolve. With this framework in mind, the brass tacks of my practice include bearing witness to people's incredible stories ensuring that they feel less alone and also disrupting them. I hold space for my client’s injuries and losses and I also challenge them to expand their tolerance for discomfort to make space for new narrative possibilities to arrive. In other words, I help them rewrite history by perceiving their experiences through a wider lens, one that includes the golden nuggets of wisdom lost in the pain story. We then do the consistent work of integrating that wisdom through the repetition of various cognitive and mindfulness-based practices. This frees us from the maladaptive patterns and coping strategies we have adopted to survive our pain. This whole process, albeit arduous at times, is alchemical and I am so grateful for the magic and transformation it yields.
What’s one of the biggest misconceptions you hear about modern wellness and mental health? How can we combat that?
I think the biggest misconception about mental health is the idea that we are supposed to be happy. This myth has led to the practice of pathologizing and problematizing discomfort instead of recognizing and regarding the full range of emotions as part and parcel of the human experience. If every time we have an uncomfortable feeling, we problematize it and then either suppress it or medicate it, we quite literally lose the plot. We combat this misconception in two ways, first through education and by canceling the notion that happiness and comfort are the only acceptable states of being. And second, by expanding our window of tolerance for discomfort. We have to learn to sit in our discomfort at least long enough to access the information it is communicating to us. As we say in our WellSoul workshops, you have to “feel it, to reveal it, to heal it”. Of course there are exceptions to this rule and circumstances under which excessive emotional dysregulation requires the support of medication to mitigate suffering and manage symptoms. There is not a one size fits all approach to healing and sometimes multiple interventions are needed. The thru line however in most successful healing journeys is the decision to surrender our attachment to happiness as the goal and embrace the goals of learning and love.
What’s one old-school mental health tenet you wish everyone could forget?
I think any therapy that is purely analytical and leaves the body out of the equation is fairly antiquated. That is not to say that analytical approaches don’t have value, because they do and I personally draw from them. However, I find that an integrative approach is necessary for a truly successful healing journey. The body is the vessel through which consciousness (energy and information) flow through. It is an instrument and every note serves as communication. If we are disconnected from this miraculous container, healing is limited.
What is one wellness practice we can easily incorporate in our day-to-day?
Grounding ourselves and calling our energy into present time. This is the most basic practice and one we can repeat throughout the day. Our energy is often fragmented—worry keeps us in the future, trauma keeps us in the past. A grounding practice can be any number of things from taking a break barefoot outside with a few intentional breaths to pausing and visualizing our energy returning to us from wherever we may have left it. It can be 30 seconds or turn into a longer meditation practice and it’s a great place to start if you are interested in taking a baby step toward cultivating a mindfulness practice.
Do you have any tips for or approaches to finding balance between the scientific and spiritual aspects of wellness?
Yes, educate yourself about energy medicine. As one of my mentors in the field of interpersonal neurobiology Dan Siegel says, ‘Everything we know to be true about science and spirituality emerges from energy.’ You can study energy through a scientific lens or a spiritual lens and you will arrive at the same intersection. Energy is the subtle language we must all learn if we hope to achieve a more expansive understanding of ourselves and the universe we inhabit. The idea of spirituality is often intimidating for people who were programmed, perhaps by one of the world religions, to believe in a more traditional concept of God. Understanding and working with energy gives us the opportunity to shift limiting mindsets around spirituality that prevent growth. You can be an atheist and be spiritual. Your God is whatever you worship. Mine is the energy of love, gratitude and generosity. Science really helps us to understand how energy takes shape and materializes in the physical.
Can you share a bit about what one can expect to experience at a WellSoul Workshop?
WellSoul is a workshop program I founded with my partner and friend Jakki Leonardini in 2018. Jakki is a coach and energy healer and I am a psychotherapist with a background in energy medicine. After working together personally for a few years, we discovered that a powerful healing intervention and resource lay at the intersection of our work. And so WellSoul was born. WellSoul is both psycho-educational and experiential and takes place over the course of 2 and a half days. We pack quite a lot in as we intend to cater to those who can only really steal away for a weekend and don’t necessarily have the time or the willingness to leave for a more lengthy program. With that said, it is very comprehensive and we ensure continuity of care by having monthly gatherings via zoom with our growing community.
In terms of wellness, what is one sign we may be doing better than we think we are?
I would just assume you are doing better than you think you are. As John Milton once said ‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.’ We know from science that the brain often defaults to its inherent negativity bias, focusing more on what is wrong then what is right in a given moment. While there is indeed profound suffering in the world, our minds have a way of making things worse! This is why mindfulness is central to healing. It is not just about cultivating presence but also about retraining our minds to focus on the light. The more light we focus on, the more light we create.
As a proud mom to three daughters, what’s one thing you wish for them? Or one outlook you hope they internalize?
I wish a lot for them as I imagine most parents do for their children. My hope is that they have high levels of self-esteem and are able to stay connected to their center, to their own knowing, even as the world challenges them to abandon it at times. I hope they have the courage to ask questions when they don’t know. I wish endless curiosity and humility for them. And selfishly, I hope they permanently internalize the need to snuggle with their mother!

First beauty memory: Honestly, I can’t recall, at least not in a traditional sense. I can tell you that integrity, honesty, courage, and kindness are all reflected in the energy field of a person. I think the most beautiful thing in the world is when someone is aligned. It is a breath of fresh air.

Three desert island skincare staples: Oak Essentials Moisture Rich Balm, Barbara Sturm Lip Balm, Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser.

Best beauty lesson: Gratitude and Service.

Most underrated beauty tip or tool: Honesty. 

You feel your most beautiful when: I am present.

Recipe you can’t stop cooking: Pamela Salzman salmon with apricot jam, sriracha and herbs.

Current song you’re playing on repeat: Every song on every album by Beautiful Chorus is on repeat all the time!