AMA Weds 7/8/20: Courtney Watson, Founder of Doorway Therapeutics (serving BIPOC and LGBTQ+ mental health needs)

We are very excited to announce that Courtney Watson, owner of Doorway Therapeutics, is joining as a special guest to do an AMA on Weds July 8 at 6pm PT . Doorway Therapeutics is focused on addressing the mental health needs of Black Indigenous People of Color, Queer folks, Trans, Gender Non-conforming, Non-binary and Two-Spirit individuals.

Courtney Watson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex therapist. She is the owner of Doorway Therapeutic Services, a group therapy practice in Oakland, CA. Courtney has followed the direction of her ancestors to incorporate psychedelic-assisted therapy into her offerings for folks with multiple marginalized identities and acknowledges the importance of Black and Queer providers offering these services.

Courtney spent most of 2019 training with the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy. She is deeply interested in the impact of psychedelic medicines on folks with marginalized identities as well as how they can assist with the decolonization process for BIPOC. She believes this field is not yet ready to address the unique needs of Communities of Color and is prepared and enthusiastic about bridging the gap. She is currently preparing to be one of the few QTPOC providers offering Ketamine Assisted Therapy in 2021 in the Bay Area by completing additional Ketamine training at the end of 2020. She is also hoping to offer other medicines as they become FDA approved.


Please post your questions here for Courtney to answer by 6pm PT on Wednesday! We will be recording an interview with her and posting the video response at that time.

How can the psychedelics community welcome BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities? What concrete measures can we take to make this more accessible? Could you help educate us a bit about the barriers that people in those communities face in using these treatments for healing that others (e.g. non-minorities) may not?

Could you please talk about group therapy- what are the logistics of that and why does it seem more popular in psychedelic therapy compared to other types of treatment approaches?

I have a couple questions – I’m not too knowledgeable but I’m under the impression that the history of psychedelic healing is very intertwined with the history of oppressed peoples. But I also hear that the current form of psychedelic medicine has a big problem with diversity and inclusion. Could you talk a bit about these issues for people like me who are just learning about the field? What are the key problems and also initiatives that will help solve them? thank you very much!

what is the CIIS training like? what sort of specialization is needed for therapists and other healthcare providers to be able to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy? What will happen in the next few years if anyone wants to treat patients using psycehdelics - can they just do so

is KAP the same approach as other psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy using other compounds?

omg i love your focus!!! as a QTPOC, it seems like this topic is addressed nowhere near enough, especially when contrasts between poc and low-income folks versus folks whose grandparents dropped acid in their teens (usually white). even the visionary art that seems to form the image of the psychedelic has a lot of white presenting people, or vague “indigenous” figures under a white gaze, which in my experience feeds a lot of alienation in the greater psychedelic space. (which is ironic, as for most of human existence, indigenous folks have been the main carriers of psychedelic knowledge)

sooooo i just wanna say, i super duper appreciate your presence in the field + the work that you’re doing and am super excited to see what follows.

ANYWAY so my question was that how do you see drug stigma combatted in a poc-centric context? how do you think shame is going to be addressed in the people who for this this is an obstacle? (especially people from super family-centric cultures and carry internalized criticism/rejection coming from family members that do not take the seriousness of the psychedelic experience seriously whatsoever)

i’ve never done ketamine and have limited knowledge of the subjective experience of it, but i know for some psychedelic experiences in general have brought up a lot of shame and even outright alienation. it can be really hard to have one of the most powerful (and sometimes most frightening) experiences of your life a taboo subject of discussion with some of the people you’re closest too. So i’m super curious of what potential solutions/approaches/actions are to addressing this!

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Thank you so much for doing this. I am curious what training providers need to provide KAP. This is not legally required right? Who are the regulatory organizations and who is in charge of such training? Could anyone just become a KAP provider if they had the right degrees/licenses or is there some special type of certification? How will this change with other psychedelics that become legal?

Thank you so much for being here. I have a few questions.

Approaching this from a provider standpoint, what can we do to educate ourselves on how to best serve communities that we might not know too much about?

When it comes to mental health, can you tell us about some of the unique challenges that people from the communities you work with (eg Black Indigenous People of Color, Queer folks, Trans, Gender Non-conforming, Non-binary and Two-Spirit individuals) face that the usual American doesn’t face?What do we need to do differently, as providers, to help?

What changes in the mental health space would you like to see be implemented over the next 5-10 years?

Thank you for all amazing work!

Hi again,

I just thought of a few more questions.

  1. With regards to your trans patients who have had gender correction surgery, how do you feel the surgery affects their mental health? And are there any studies you can recommend on this topic?

  2. Do you feel like LGBTQ mental health should have its own fellowship program and certification?

  3. Do you feel like the marginalized communities that you work with are less trusting of medical professionals? Was this an issue for you? If so, how do you deal with it?

Thank you so much for joining Courtney! I was wondering if you plan to integrate the group therapy that Doorway Therapeutic Services already offers with psychedelic assisted therapy and how you would see those working together to be most impactful. Thanks again!

Hi Courtney, thank you so much for doing this!

As a family member of someone who is part of the QTPOC community, how can I be more supportive? How can I encourage other members of my family to let go of their traditional ways of thinking and be supportive too?

what does ketamine assisted therapy combined with marriage/family therapy look like?

where does gender dysphoria come from? do you think a society can or should be envisioned in which the concept of trans-ness does not exist (as a result of biological sex carrying less societal gender-related implications), or do you think gender identity will always be relevant in one way or another?

I noticed that you work with poly folx, which is really cool! What unique issues come up with poly relationships that you work with? How does the way you approach talking to people in poly relationships vs. people in monogamous relationships differ?


  1. What are your thoughts on clients doing MDMA alone without a therapist for PTSD? BIPOC may be less likely to find a therapists who represent s their marginalized group.
  2. Thoughts on starting safe biPOC group on meetup in every state? Or is it even safe for them to considering how racist the criminal justice system is as it may make them more vulnerable targets. How can we make groups safer for BIPOC so they are more willing to participate?
  3. Which psychedelics do you think are best for BIPOC to heal from racial based trauma? MDMA?
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