Katelyn Lee


Psychedelic-Assisted EMDR (PsyA-EMDR): An Innovative Approach to Clinical Social Work Practice


Psychedelics have been designated as a breakthrough therapy for treating chronic mental conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and addiction. While evidence-based treatment is available, rates of mental illness in the United States continues to rise steadily. Recent attention to alternate treatment options for mental illness correlates to the prevalence of mental illness, barriers to treatment options, and low efficacy of current treatment. This capstone project is comprised of a systematic review of completed clinical trials on psychedelic medicine and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP), a conceptual framework for applying Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in PAP, and a proposed integrative transtheoretical model guiding the training of clinicians in psychedelic-assisted EMDR (PsyA-EMDR). This capstone project aims to provide an understanding of the role of psychedelic medicine in clinical social work practice. Although no clinical trials have evaluated PsyA-EMDR treatment outcomes, many existing and completed trials have demonstrated the efficacy of PAP, which can be used as a springboard this integrative approach. The research, systematic literature review, conceptualization, and proposed model presented in this project simultaneously aim to increase interest and support among psychedelic research, provide education and advocacy for therapeutic options in mental health treatment, and promote a model for training and education for clinicians while decreasing systematic biases and gaps in research afflicting PsyA-EMDR.


Katelyn Lee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Tennessee. She is a first-generation college and graduate student. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Lincoln Memorial University and her Master of Science in Social Work through the advanced standing program with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is also an inductee of the Phi Alpha Honor Society. Katelyn is a full-time clinician, providing psychotherapy to individuals in a rural community in East Tennessee. She most recently obtained certification in eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) through EMDRIA. Her experience includes intensive in-home case management, intensive outpatient treatment (co-occurring), medical social work, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, and clinical supervision.

Katelyn is a Doctoral Candidate with the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky where she is researching clinical applications of psychedelics in the treatment of mental health disorders, particularly psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy with EMDR (PsyA-EMDR). Her interest in psychedelics emerged as the result of shared experiences of loved ones with psilocybin which transformed into a flourishing curiosity as she began to investigate the mechanisms behind the experiences that occur when one uses psychedelics. As a part of her DSW journey, she has focused on clinical social work to advocate for all modes of mental health treatment and reduce the prevalence of mental health disorders while increasing access to care and improving the efficacy of mental health treatment.