Clinician Spotlight: Joseph Cirigliano, PsyD

Innerwell Team

Let’s start with something easy. Can you tell us a little about your professional background and areas of focus?

I started out my professional journey working with the underprivileged as an uncertified masters level therapist and realized I wanted more. To that end I pursued my doctorate degree to in Clinical Psychology with a focus on severe mental illness and forensic evaluation. Through that journey I discovered ACT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This powerful therapeutic model changed my life, and gave me a spark to want to bring this approach to others suffering with the pain that inherently comes with what we know as the human experience. In my private practice, I have built a business that focuses on both forensic evaluation as well as individual psychotherapy. I find this dichotomy allows me to stay fresh and excited in both fields.

How would you describe your approach to therapy?

In the context of psychedelics, we must take a look at internal processes in addition to the external behaviors that are unworkable for us today. To that end, I conceptualize my clients’ external behavior and “stuck points” through the ACT model, and work on aspects of internal processes through the Internal Family Systems model. It may sound as if this is a contradictory fusion of models, however, bringing these two powerful and proven models together can help create meaningful and lasting change.

What would your patients say about you?

I'm not just able to listen and provide a non-judgmental space, but offer tools to make real change happen now. Being a behavioral therapist, I am able to give insight and coping tools that are applicable today. My background includes long-term psychotherapy but also short-term psychotherapy where time is limited and we need to get moving! Having that experience gave me an understanding that patients can experience real change in a short period of time with the right set of coping tools.

How did you become interested in working with psychedelics including ketamine?

Personal experience and research leading me to understand how my therapeutic approach can be amplified by psychedelic medicine. I became interested in psychedelic assisted psychotherapy years ago but it was not until earlier this year (2022) when I was offered a chance to apply for a job at Innerwell did this interest become part of my professional goal list. I am tremendously excited to see what the future holds for me and my patients working with psychedelic medicine.

What excites you most about the future of psychedelics?

I am of the opinion that psychedelic assisted therapy is the evolution of the field of mindfulness based therapies, allowing patients to go deeper, faster, than they could without the help of the medicine. No, psychedelics are not a magic bullet that will immediately solve all of life's problems; but what psychedelics can do is provide an avenue for patients to venture deep within and get in touch with their inner healer on a level that previously took many many hours of dedicated meditation or mindfulness work. Using this tool in my ACT based therapy will allow us to move to a deeper level of processing and understanding at a speed greater than we ever could without the medicine.

Enough about work! Let’s try some rapid fire questions;
  • First, Where do you live? - My heart belongs to NY, but I am typing this from Maine, looking out the window at a very beautiful scenery of trees and snow.
  • What's a perfect afternoon? - Get to a 12pm jiu jitsu class, come home and spend time with my family.
  • Favorite food? Pizza/Pasta - Can't chose one. Keto diet is my nightmare.
  • Describe yourself in two words. - Independent, affable

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