About Us

Ted Esser, Ph.D.

Ted Esser, Ph.D. has been the operations manager of the Spiritual Emergence Network for over sixteen years (with a two year pause–see below). He has an MA in Philosophy & Religion and a PhD in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. A summary of his doctoral research, Lucid Dreaming, Kundalini, the Divine, and Nonduality: A Transpersonal Narrative Study appears in the book Lucid Dreaming: New Perspectives to Consciousness in Sleep (2014) published by Praeger. He is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of transpersonal Studies. He has taught graduate-level Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology courses at John F. Kennedy University and Sofia University (formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology). He has a spiritual counseling practice in San Diego, California, USA. Further information about his work is available through his web site: www.tedesser.com.

Travis Gray, MFTI  is the Spiritual Emergence Network USA’s Community Manager. You can find out more about his research and therapy practice here.





SEN’s Board of Directors

Ted Esser, Ph.D.: President

Kim Bella, Ph.D.: Secretary

Alexandra Gill, MFTI: Treasurer


SEN’s Advisory Board

Susana Bustos, Ph.D.

Susana Bustos, Ph.D., was the SEN Director for two years before transitioning into a more supportive role in 2020. She holds degrees in Clinical Psychology (1992) and in Music Therapy (2002) from Chilean universities, as well as a doctorate in East-West Psychology from CIIS (2007), where she presently teaches courses in Entheogenic Shamanism and Research Design. She is certified in Holotropic Breathwork and the Expressive Arts.

Her work in Chile included the creation of psycho-educational programs, teaching, research, and psychotherapy. Susana’s long-term passion for indigenous cultures and their relationship to the natural world, along with her interest on the therapeutic potentials of non-ordinary states of consciousness, led her to the Peruvian Amazon in 1999. Since then, she has been studying Vegetalismo and other indigenous shamanic practices from the Americas. Her doctoral research focused on the healing function of the icaros during ayahuasca ceremonies, which is an ongoing area of study for her.

The process of integration of entheogenic experiences in ordinary life became one of her main interests while working as a therapist and clinical trainer at Takiwasi (a Peruvian center for the treatment of drug addiction which integrates indigenous and Western medicine), where she has worked as a clinical supervisor and researcher. Susana continues to focus on this theme in her private practice in Berkeley, CA.

She works supporting the integration of experiences in nonordinary states of consciousness into daily life in her private practice in Berkeley, and she also teaches and conducts independent research on entheogenic shamanic traditions of the Americas. Susana offers workshops and lectures internationally, and leads groups into the Amazonian rainforest.

Susana’s latest book contribution Healing Icaros in Peruvian Vegetalismo appears in Luna & White’s “Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine” (2016).