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Jeremy Pesner

Jeremy Pesner

Washington, District of Columbia

Jeremy Pesner is a policy analyst, researcher, spiritual practitioner and longtime psychology patient. He has worked with shamans, psychologists, neurologists, chiropractors and others to explore different ways of healing.

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About the author

Jeremy Pesner is a Washington, DC-based policy analyst, researcher, spiritual practitioner and longtime psychology patient. Since coming to spirituality from a strict atheist worldview, his understanding of what is possible for both him and humanity at large has been radically altered. He is committed to bringing awareness of scientifically-backed spirituality to the mainstream.
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Evidence-Based Spirituality

How Shamanism, Psychedelics and Other Healing Tools Can Help You Feel Your Best

Western medicine can keep us healthy, but often not well. This book is a comprehensive review of evidence-backed spiritual healing techniques to promote deep emotional healing. Readers will be well-equipped to pursue their wellness in a variety of new ways.

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People around the world are dealing with a massive array of physical and mental health issues, and western medicine is struggling to keep up. The solution? Consider that the major issues are not our brains or genes, but our lifestyles and worldviews. We've become disconnected from our bodies, emotions and surroundings. This book is a comprehensive review of evidence-backed spiritual healing techniques, which can help us get back in touch with those elements and promote deep emotional healing. Techniques and modalities that were previously dismissed by western medicine and psychology have since been shown by science to promote deeper healing and self-realization than talk therapy and medication can provide. By reading this book, readers will understand that the world of spirituality is not religion or "woo" but a measurable system compatible with science that can be integrated into today’s practices. By learning both about practices that are familiar in the west like meditation and psychedelic medicine as well as others like Core Energetics and Neuro-Emotional Technique, readers will be well-equipped to pursue their wellness in a variety of new ways.


Introduction - How I Did My Research

Chapter 1 – What Western Medicine Lacks: The Case for Spiritual Healing
Chapter 2 – Unknown Knowns: Healing Through the Subconscious and Spiritual Awakening
Chapter 3 – It’s Not In Your Head: Healing Through Somatics and the Body
Chapter 4 – The Present of Presence: Healing Through Meditation, Breathing and Neurofeedback
Chapter 5 – True Soul Food: Healing Through Entheogens and Other Plant Medicines
Chapter 6 – Our Original Doctors: Healing Through Shamanism
Chapter 7 – More than mc^2 : Healing Through Energy Work
Chapter 8 – A No-Nonsense Approach: Healing Through Your Sensory and Environmental Input
Chapter 9 – When Feeling Good is Good: Healing Through Pleasure and Happiness
Chapter 10 – Find Your Healing Path: Understanding Your Intuition and Personal Spirituality

About the Author


It’s an important point of my book that spirituality is for everyone, regardless of their religion, background, culture or set of life experiences. I want everyone to understand they can benefit from some set of spiritual practices, and that they can be as effective as, if not better than, many techniques used in allopathic medicine. That said, there are three particular groups that I believe will particularly enjoy this book:

  • The Spiritually Curious: This reader has already heard about some of the topics in my book. They may have tried meditation, read about psychedelics, or been curious about Reiki. But it's just been in passing - they haven't taken the time to dive in. By putting so many techniques in one place and citing sources for their efficacy, my book will speak to this reader because they can learn a lot in a short period of time. My hope for this reader is that they walk away with a much more thorough understanding of what all this means and how it works, not only as individual techniques but as a holistic system. Then they can start to see how it can be helpful for challenges in their life (turning them into the following profile).
  • The Relief Seeker: This reader has some kind of particular issue that has driven them to search for solutions. They know that people who have undergone spiritual healing have experienced transformational change, and they want that for themselves. This is where I was at the beginning of my spiritual journey, so I can empathize a lot with this profile. My hope for this reader is that they understand just how deeply these spiritual techniques and perspectives can help them grow - there is no trauma so big that it can't be overcome. However, it often requires stepping way outside your comfort zone.
  • The Healing/Medical Professional: This reader works in the healthcare or wellness industry, whether as a medical doctor, spiritual healer or insurance broker. They know that people have gotten a lot better from undergoing spiritual healing, but they want to know more. They may only be well-versed in a couple of these techniques, and want a more comprehensive view of what's possible. Specialists, by definition, take a narrow view of their craft, and they don't usually have the time to go broad and see everything that's out there. This is my advantage in writing this book over a physician, psychologist or shaman - because I've been a patient of so many of these modalities, I'm not married to any one of them. My hope for this reader is that my book will enable them to expand what they do, who they can refer clients to and what services can be approved and covered by health insurance.


I am building an audience of interest in this book! I have talked to the wide variety of communities I belong to, and have received substantial interest. I am working with Ripple Impact on my marketing and branding materials, as well as the Free Website Guys on my consulting website. In 2023 alone, I have spoken on this topic at the Shafik Gabr Foundation, the New Jersey Institute for Emerging Leaders and the US Mensa Annual Gathering. I have connected with many healers and other professionals through LinkedIn, where I will be sharing many updates and focusing my audience-building efforts. I will be appearing on several podcasts, including The Afflatus and New Leaders Council's The Zag, to promote the book.


These books address various types of spiritual and emotional healing, and they each go into depth around some idea or practice of healing and emotional balance. My book stands apart because I take a broad overview, tying the ideas and philosophies together into an overarching view of spirituality and wellness.

Beery, I. (2015). The gift of Shamanism: Visionary power, Ayahuasca dreams, and journeys to other realms. Destiny Books.

Kaufman, S. B. (2021). Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization. TarcherPerigee.

Maté, G., & Maté, D. (2022). The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture. Avery.

Pollan, M. (2018). How to change your mind: What the new science of psychedelics teaches us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence. Penguin Press.

Rankin, L. (2022). Sacred medicine: A doctor’s quest to unravel the mysteries of healing. Sounds True.

Schwartz, R. C. (2023). Introduction to internal family systems (Second edition). Sounds True.

Taylor, S. (2018) Spiritual Science: Why Science Needs Spirituality to Make Sense of the World. Watkins.

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. Penguin Books.

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This is the outline for the first chapter of the book, "What Western Medicine Lacks: The Case for Spiritual Healing":

  • Introduction
    • My personal journey begins with a diagnosis of Asperger's. I was given every therapy, treatment and accommodation available, but it was all based around the mind. I carried an immense burden with that diagnosis, and talking about my struggles didn't help them resolve. Medication abated the worst of my depressive symptoms, but did nothing to address the underlying cause. I met some social workers who didn't care about my diagnosis, which was my first sense that maybe there was another way to help people.
  • Our cultural construct of illness and wellness
    • Physical: There is no clear delineation between "sick" and "well." (The Myth of Normal - Mate)
    • Mental/Emotional: Likewise, there's a huge cultural context for who is even considered to be "mentally ill" or "mad" (Madness and Civilization - Focault, The Myth of Mental Illness - Szasz)
    • So much of this work is predicated on western sensibilities and cultural ideals, but in the context of the global population we have pretty unusual values ("The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous" - Henrich)
  • The Mind-Body Divide
    • Ever since the germ theory of disease, physical wellness has been portrayed like a highly complex machine, and ever since Watson and Crick our genes are said to account for most of our disease risk ("Cancer is no more a disease of cells than a traffic jam is a disease of cars" - DW Smithers, )
    • Mental illness has been treated like a cousin of physical illness - Freud was trained as a neurologist before founding psychotherapy. Our brain is thought of as being responsible for "diseases of the mind" instead of a more holistic view
    • The idea of mental illness has been weaponized throughout history (homosexuality, hysteria, etc.) so it's far from a definitive and infallible take on the human condition
    • I don't even want to use the term "mental illness" because it's too reductive both in the idea of focusing on the brain and the labeling of these conditions as illnesses ("Mental Health is Biological Health")
    • This continues to be the predominant view despite it being a very new one in the context of human history, and plenty of modern research demonstrating otherwise
  • What Psychology has Built
    • People are diagnosed with a condition - a deviation from some supposed norm
    • The DSM is treated as the bible of psychology, and for a time it acknowledged circumstances in mental illness (Social Class and Mental Illness - Hollingshead) but in recent decades they've strived to be more precise and exacting like medical diagnoses (even though those aren't super precise either) (DSM: A History of Psychiatry's Bible - Horwitz) 
    • Many people feel pathologized and shamed because of a diagnosis, and see it as some outside state rather than something that arises from a series of conditions (Diagnoses are not diseases)
    • All of this ignores the circumstances that are faced not only by individuals, but by our societies, as happiness is less prevalent overall (The Blind Spot - Jon Clifton). This correlates to a rise in diagnoses - they're addressing the symptoms, not the cause
  • How do we treat it?
    • Those who suffer from the most debilitating conditions are treated like a burden (No One Cares About Crazy People - Powers)
    • Schizophrenics and bipolars are rarely listened to (I Am Not Sick, I don't Need Help - Amador), and even when they are their visions and experiences are assumed to have no meaning ("If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia." - Szasz, "Crazywise" - Borges)
    • This extends to people with other conditions as well. They're assumed to be aberrations rather than having something to work through or bringing unique gifts
    • Talk therapy is a good tool for helping people to learn about their emotions, but it's intellectualized. We can't just think about what we're feeling, or know why we're feeling it, and expect things to get better
    • Medication is the other major tool, and while it can be helpful, it's based on a long-disproven chemical imbalance theory. Because wellness is more than our brains, we need more than to just add or subtract some elements to make us feel better
    • Not to mention all of the abuse and pushing by addicts and the medical industry alike
  • Where does this leave us?
    • We have an increasingly stressful world that's causing all sorts of unwellness, and at best our psychological and medical tools can make us feel better. But are we well?
    • Spirituality, broadly speaking, is a very old paradigm for wellness, but in the context of the systems we know it seems very new and unorthodox
    • The idea is that it treats the whole system simultaneously - some of the practices I cover may not be thought of as having a "spirit" involved, but they all make room for a person's lived and felt experience

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