Healed People Heal People: From Warrior to Psychedelic Integration Coach
Chris’s journey from a 20-year military career in the Navy to his current role as a psychedelic integration coach is a testament to the transformative power of plant medicine in healing deep-seated traumas and paving the way for personal growth and intentional living. After decades of honorable military service he now defines his purpose as “to help other people who are experiencing any kind of struggle with habits or behaviors on their own healing journey.”
Chris enlisted in the Navy shortly after high school, intending to serve a four year contract. However, his journey unfolded unexpectedly, leading him to a career that included roles as a rescue swimmer and a general instructor focused on personal development and leadership. Post-military life Chris and his wife own a gym and he also works in law enforcement, where he found a tangible connection to helping others within his community.
Despite his outward success, Chris harbored internal struggles rooted in a complex history marked by childhood abuse, adoption, and conflicting loyalties. He explains that his “struggles involved a lot of habits and behaviors that brought immediate gratification but long term negative consequences.” He grappled with issues of trust, love, and the ability to form healthy relationships. These challenges manifested in destructive behaviors, infidelity, and anger that lingered long after his military service.
Chris’s entry into this world of alternative therapies began with a friend’s recommendation of a plant medicine retreat. Initially skeptical due to his background in law enforcement and societal biases against psychedelics, Chris reconsidered after witnessing his friend’s profound transformation. Intrigued by the possibility of healing, he had his first retreat experience with a different organization. Unfortunately, this experience left him with unprocessed emotions and a lack of support which he describes “I was so isolated. No one else was in on it [his integration].” The initial positive effects faded, and Chris found himself reverting to old patterns of anger.
Recognizing the need for a deeper dive he reached out to Heroic Hearts Project and in September 2022, Chris embarked on another journey, this time with a more intentional approach. Supported by HHP and a dedicated integration coach, he confronted his fears and childhood traumas head-on. The psychedelic experience allowed Chris to revisit pivotal moments in his life, observing them from an external perspective. It offered him the chance to rewrite the narrative, release entrenched fears, and reframe his understanding of himself.
Coming out of his HHP experience with a better understanding of pre and post journey support he expressed “the integration phase of a journey is the most important phase because it was how I took the lessons that spawned from ceremony and lived my life differently because now I had the tools.”
The power of plant medicine lies not only in the journey itself but in the integration that follows. Chris emphasized the importance of post-ceremonial assistance, which proved to be a crucial phase in solidifying the transformative effects of plant medicine. Speaking to the decisions one has after being taught lessons through a plant medicine journey, Chris emphasized “you’re given the knowledge, you’re given the information, but now you have the choice to build something with it”. With the support of an integration coach and a community of fellow veterans, he learned to dissect his experiences, identify root causes, and implement positive changes in his life.
Reflecting back to a previous journey without integration where he felt isolated and comparing it to his recent experiences with proper support he shared “The wonderful thing about integration is that you’re not alone. You’re in a group of people who experienced the same thing and were vulnerable together. It’s a group of people that you feel so close to”.
Chris’s healing journey is a testament to the profound impact of plant medicine on mental health and personal growth. His newfound awareness and empathy have translated into a purpose-driven life as an integration coach, extending his hand to fellow veterans grappling with similar challenges. His dedication to creating a safe space for open dialogue and vulnerability among veterans underscores the potential for widespread healing within the community.
Contemplating his transformation, Chris highlighted the shift in his response to life’s challenges. He now approaches difficulties with the tools he obtained from his psychedelic journeys. His ability to reframe his perspective on fear and acknowledge its presence without being controlled by it is a testament to the depth of his healing.
Chris’s story exemplifies the potential for personal growth through plant medicine therapy, emphasizing the importance of integration and community support in sustaining transformational change. His journey from a military career marked by trauma to an integration coach serves as an inspiration for others seeking healing and renewal.
Written By: Tom Mulhern
Former Marine Corps Artillery Officer