Mary Nielsen: Pioneering Hope and Healing
In the heart of Portland, Oregon, Mary Nielsen stands as a beacon of hope and healing for countless individuals grappling with trauma, anxiety, depression, and other mental health crises. With a rich history in the esthetics field and a groundbreaking foray into the world of psychedelics, Mary embodies the intersection of beauty and well-being, both externally and internally.
Driven by a personal journey of healing from childhood and generational trauma through the benefits of psilocybin, she understands, perhaps better than most, the transformative power of this natural remedy. It was this profound experience that led her to establish the Clinical Cognitive Facilitator Training LLC. Aimed at equipping students for a rewarding career in psychedelics, the center stands as one of the pioneering institutions of its kind. Beyond personal healing, Mary's vision extends to broader societal issues—addressing challenges like homelessness, family safety, drug and alcohol addiction, and employment opportunities through the use of psilocybin and other entheogenic medicines.
In tandem with her passion for psilocybin, Mary has a longstanding dedication to the world of esthetics. As the executive director and founder of Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics Institute and OG of Fearless Beauties, she has endeavored to bridge the gaps in the industry. Recognizing the shared stigmas between esthetics and psychedelics, particularly in the underrepresentation and mistreatment of minorities, Mary has taken strides to ensure inclusivity and respect in both fields. However, her pursuit of healing doesn't end there. Recognizing the deep-seated challenges faced by military veterans, Mary founded the non-profit Uphold Our Troops. This initiative is dedicated to helping veterans overcome myriad mental health issues by offering scholarships to become psilocybin facilitators. “Many who turn to this form of healing do so out of frustration with the traditional mental health system,” Mary shares. “Often, these individuals feel that conventional treatments, like antidepressants, only serve to numb their pain rather than address the root of their issues. The potential benefits of mushrooms, substantiated by various clinical studies, offer a promising alternative for genuine healing and restoration.”
We spoke with Mary to learn more about the healing power of psychedelics and how they are helping those who have not achieved results with traditional medicine.
Mary, many people might be concerned about taking psychedelics. Can you expound on how you provide a safe environment for the process?
Yes. I’m glad you brought that up. First, we have a state licensed training center dedicated to preparing individuals to become certified facilitators in the realm of psychedelic mushroom administration. This establishment, known as the Clinical Cognitive Facilitator Training LLC, emphasizes the importance of supporting individuals during their experiences with these mushrooms. Furthermore, Brain Brew PDX, a separate service center, is tailored for those seeking psychedelic experiences, especially prioritizing those who wish to heal from trauma.
Unlike conventional dispensaries, one doesn't simply walk into Brain Brew with the intent to purchase mushrooms. Instead, there's a structured approach. Prospective clients first undergo a consultation with a graduate from the Clinical Cognitive Facilitator Training LLC or other licensed school. This trained professional assesses the suitability of the individual for mushroom administration and, if deemed appropriate, determines the precise dosage. Following this assessment, the individual can then partake in the experience at the licensed Brain Brew PDX service center. Throughout the duration of their session, a facilitator remains by their side, ensuring a safe and controlled environment.
Can you tell us your motivation for using psychedelics in healing?
I'm at the helm of an esthetic school where the focus isn't merely on beauty. It's about creating healthy skin from the outside in, influencing self-esteem and internal confidence. Meanwhile, in the psychedelic realm, we address internal traumas and challenges. Our esthetic school is top tier, boasting the highest pass rate in the Pacific Northwest. Concurrently, with my belief in the healing capabilities of psychedelics, I've co-founded a service center to ensure those grappling with mental health issues have barrier-free access to treatment.
This industry is so unique. Why don’t we see this type of treatment in other states?
Oregon is a trailblazer, being the first state in the U.S. to legalize the use of psilocybin mushrooms. We're at the forefront, gearing up to be one of the first licensed providers. Our service center, Brain Brew PDX, will pioneer this change in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland.
What excites you most about your work?
It's exhilarating to be a part of an emerging industry. I firmly believe that plant medicines, including mushrooms and peyote, historically marginalized due to the war on drugs, are here to revolutionize mental health treatment. Their potential and historical significance in indigenous communities is undeniable. This resurgence, I believe, will dwarf even the cannabis industry because of its undeniable efficacy.
Can you tell us about some of your major professional accomplishments?
Beyond establishing an esthetics school with an unmatched state licensure pass rate, I've penned four chapters in the acclaimed Milady Standard Esthetics textbook and authored the state-approved Compendium for Advanced Esthetics in Oregon. Additionally, I founded Fearless Beauties, an initiative promoting diversity and representation in esthetics education.
What type of certification did you obtain in order to operate in this space?
I'm an Oregon licensed advanced esthetician, licensed esthetics instructor, and licensed psilocybin facilitator instructor.
Executive Director of Clinical Cognitive Facilitator Training LLC
Executive Director of Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics Institute
OG of Fearless Beauties
Co-Founder of Brain Brew PDX
Founder of UpHold Our Troops