About Dr. Krista
Fascinated by the mind and moved by the human condition, I have been working in the mental health and social work fields since the early 1990’s. I had the opportunity to work with homeless youth, women in medical crisis, disabled adults, as well as the elderly, and I volunteered for both a rape and a suicide hotline. In 1995, my professional interests along with a love of the outdoors led me to Spring Lake Ranch, a therapeutic work community for people with psychiatric illness in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I led work crews and counseling sessions while living on this organic farm, and much of my inspiration to focus on holistic mental health came from my experiences there.
Some of the most potent medicine I witnessed included the connection to nature and natural rhythms of the seasons, the experience of participating in something larger than oneself and the sense of worth that came from contributing to one’s community. Amidst this incredibly holistic environment, however, the therapeutic options were largely limited to psychiatric medications. I gained a healthy respect for the life-saving capabilities of these drugs as well as a keen awareness of their limitations and the need for alternative approaches and real healing. It was at this point that I became passionate about the reform of our mental health care system and committed to providing holistic options to those experiencing mental or emotional concerns.
Naturopathic medical school offers comprehensive training in holistic medicine and was the ideal place for me to gain the tools for treating the whole body-mind system. Based on a philosophy of trust in nature and respect for the individual, naturopathic medicine offers an intricate understanding of physiology and how a person’s nutrition, digestion, environment, hormones, lifestyle and life experiences affect their thoughts and moods. After graduating from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2005, I began Open Mind Medicine in Portland, Oregon. I am excited to offer real options for healing and recovery and am honored to join you on your path to wellness.
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (High Honors, 2005)
- Medical School Prerequisites from Southern Oregon University (1999)
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a focus on Minority Studies from The Ohio State University (Summa Cum Laude, 1994)
I came to this work through an innate curiosity about the nature of human experience and the greater world around us. After struggles with my own health, I was discouraged by the limited options offered to me by conventional medicine. After years of medications and traditional talk therapy, I continued to feel stuck. Through my own curiosity and learning, I found yoga, meditation, herbalism, nutrition, and alternative medicine. These lineages offered inquiry, connection, holism, and possibility. For the first time, I became aware of my body and mind, and learned alternate ways of seeing and being. This radically shifted my experience as well as my life path. During my Naturopathic medical training, I joined a masters program in integrative mental health with a focus on mindfulness and body based psychotherapy. This training provided a missing piece to traditional talk therapy, yoga, and bodywork – it combined elements of all these modalities to support the integration of mind and body. This work was so personally inspiring and transformational that I have been committed to its learning and practice ever since.
I offer a body-mind-spirit approach to embodiment, nervous system regulation, personal growth, and mental-emotional wellness. My approach combines interpersonal, mindfulness and somatic based counseling with experiential hands-on bodywork, as well as naturopathic medicine. My approach is informed by Hakomi mindfulness centered somatic psychotherapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Yoga Therapy, Polyvagal theory, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Naturopathic medicine. Depending on our work together, sessions may include mindfulness based somatic counseling, hands-on bodywork, emotional self-care and wellness practices, yoga therapy, embodiment and nervous system regulation practices, nutritional guidance, targeted nutrient therapy, herbal medicine, and/or flower essence therapy. I offer a warm, non-judgemental, relational, trauma informed and culturally sensitive approach to care.
I hold a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, a Masters degree in Integrative Mental Health, and a B.S in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. I am a certified yoga instructor and have completed additional training in Craniosacral Therapy, Massage Therapy (swedish, deep tissue, energy work, gua sha, myofascial release), Yoga Therapy, Hakomi mindfulness centered somatic psychotherapy, and trauma informed care. I am currently completing certification as a Craniosacral Therapist with Moving Mountain Institute and pursuing additional training with the Hakomi Institute of the Pacific Northwest. I am first generation Iranian-Puerto Rican and the daughter of immigrants. When I am not with patients or learning, I love to travel, spend time outdoors, practice yoga, sunbathe, prepare tasty meals, and spend time with my partner and 2 cats Jamal and Lola.
Notes about my scope of practice:
While Naturopathic doctors are licensed and trained as primary care doctors in Oregon, I do not personally practice as a primary care doctor. It is best for you to maintain an active relationship with a primary care doctor for routine screening exams, medical diagnostics, and urgent concerns.
While I have training in counseling and psychotherapy, I do not consider myself a “therapist” or “counselor”. I am a Naturopathic Doctor and work within that license and scope of practice, which includes counseling, mind-body medicine, and bodywork.
I do not place value judgments on the use of medications for mental or physical health. I strive to move beyond the binary of “good and bad” and instead work towards a more nuanced relationship, understanding the strengths and limitations in every approach. Sometimes for some people medication is useful and even lifesaving. However, I do not typically prescribe or manage medications. I can provide medication counseling and consultation if you are interested in trying medication, alternatives to medication, are currently on medication, or are interested in transitioning off medication.
My practice is not set up for crisis, emergency, or urgent concerns. In the event of a medical emergency, please contact your primary care doctor, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room. In the event of a mental health crisis, please contact the Multnomah county crisis line Toll-Free at 1(800)716-9769.