Meet Cory Cooperman: Clinic Director in Montreal

Technology, Tools, and Changing Lives For The Better

 

Meet Cory, Clinic Director for Numinus in Montreal! Cory's dedication as Clinic Director provides transformative psychedelic-assisted therapies to those seeking healing and growth.

We recently sat down with Cory and discuss his role at Numinus, his passion for psychedelics and mental health, and his invaluable advice for anyone considering a career in this groundbreaking field.

What brought you to Numinus?

I came to Numinus as part of the Mindspace acquisition in February 2021. I was eager to join a company so aligned with our mission and values, pushing forward at the cutting edge of mental health care services.


Could you describe your role in 1-2 sentences?

As Clinic Director for Numinus in Montreal, I oversee the day-to-day operations of the clinic spaces in Montreal by managing the Care Coordinators and Personal Health Navigator, recruiting new practitioners (e.g., therapists, nurses, doctors), and administering our electronic medical record, billing and client scheduling system. Ultimately, when it comes to turning new programs into reality, such as our new Group Ketamine-Assisted Therapy pilot project, I am the lead in making sure everything is taken care of.


How do you act in service to yourself to make your mental health a priority?

I am blessed with a partner who happens to be a psychologist, as well as extensive training myself as a therapist, and it all starts with a strong work/life balance. I love to use technology (like Focus Modes in iOS) to help me maintain good work/life balance.


What do you love about Numinus?

I love the feeling of making a difference that comes from being part of Numinus, which is strongly felt when you connect with your co-Numis during meetings and see brilliant, caring people coming together to solve problems.

 

What inspires you the most about the field of psychedelics and mental health? 

I have concretely seen the difference mental health care, provided in a timely and evidence-based fashion, can make. It changes lives for the better, and there’s nothing more rewarding than that.

 

What has been the most transformative experience in your career so far?

I have been lucky to enough to get to transition from being a student therapist to someone who gets to enable practitioners in the field to do their very best for their clients. It brought me full circle, back to my roots in technology and management, while still getting to use my knowledge gained during my clinical training.

 

What advice would you give someone wanting to start a career in your field?

Curiosity is your best tool, and if you approach challenges with a genuine openness to learning something new, even if you don’t solve a particular problem, you’ll come away with something that will help you the next time around.

 

Interested in joining the Numinus team? Check out all of our open roles HERE.

 

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Technologie, Outils et Changer des Vies

Rencontrez Cory, Directeur de clinique chez Numinus à Montréal ! L'engagement de Cory en tant que directeur de clinique permet de proposer des thérapies assistées par les psychédéliques à ceux qui recherchent la guérison et la croissance.

 

Nous nous sommes récemment entretenus avec Cory pour discuter de son rôle chez Numinus, de sa passion pour les psychédéliques et la santé mentale, ainsi que de ses précieux conseils pour toute personne envisageant une carrière dans ce domaine révolutionnaire.

 

Qu'est-ce qui vous a amené à Numinus ?

J'ai rejoint Numinus dans le cadre de l'acquisition de Mindspace en février 2021. J'étais impatient de rejoindre une entreprise si alignée avec notre mission et nos valeurs, poussant vers l'avant à la pointe des services de soins de santé mentale.

 

Pourriez-vous décrire votre rôle en une ou deux phrases ?

En tant que directeur de clinique pour Numinus à Montréal, je supervise les opérations quotidiennes des espaces cliniques à Montréal en gérant les coordonnatrices de soins et le navigateurs de soins, en recrutant de nouveaux praticiens (p. ex. thérapeutes, infirmières, médecins) et en administrant notre système de dossier médical électronique, de facturation et de prise de rendez-vous. Enfin, lorsqu'il s'agit de concrétiser de nouveaux programmes, comme notre nouveau projet pilote de thérapie de groupe assistée par la kétamine, c'est moi qui veille à ce que tout soit mis en œuvre.

 

Comment se mettre au service de soi-même pour faire de sa santé mentale une priorité ?

J'ai la chance d'avoir un partenaire qui est psychologue, ainsi qu'une formation approfondie en tant que thérapeute, et tout commence par un bon équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée. J'aime utiliser la technologie (comme les modes de concentration dans iOS) pour m'aider à maintenir un bon équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée.

 

Qu'aimez-vous chez Numinus ?

J'aime le sentiment de faire la différence qui découle de mon appartenance à Numinus, sentiment qui est fortement ressenti lorsque vous vous connectez avec vos co-Numis pendant les réunions et que vous voyez des personnes brillantes et bienveillantes se réunir pour résoudre des problèmes.

 

Qu'est-ce qui vous inspire le plus dans le domaine des psychédéliques et de la santé mentale ?

J'ai vu concrètement la différence que peuvent faire des soins de santé mentale fournis en temps opportun et fondés sur des preuves. Cela change des vies pour le mieux, et il n'y a rien de plus gratifiant que cela.

 

Quelle a été l'expérience la plus transformatrice de votre carrière jusqu'à présent ?

J'ai eu la chance de passer du statut d’étudiant au doctorat en psychologie à celui de personne qui permet aux praticiens sur le terrain de donner le meilleur d'eux-mêmes à leurs clients. Cela m'a permis de boucler la boucle, de revenir à mes racines en matière de technologie et de gestion, tout en continuant à utiliser les connaissances que j'ai acquises au cours de ma formation clinique.

 

Quels conseils donneriez-vous à quelqu'un qui souhaite entamer une carrière dans votre domaine ?

La curiosité est votre meilleur outil, et si vous abordez les défis avec une réelle ouverture d'esprit pour apprendre quelque chose de nouveau, même si vous ne résolvez pas un problème particulier, vous repartirez avec quelque chose qui vous aidera la prochaine fois.

Vous êtes intéressé(e) à rejoindre l'équipe de Numinus ? Consultez tous nos postes ouverts ICI.

Teletherapy and Cyber Security

Important Disclaimer: This document is for informational purposes and general guidance only and is not advice on any specific regulatory or legal matter. Always consider getting qualified advice on the facts of any matter before proceeding.

In a world in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, therapists have had to adapt rapidly to continue offering psychotherapy. The main form of adaptation has been to transition to delivering  remote therapy, whether via telephone or video conferencing. Existing bodies of research have shown online therapy to be effective, but clients and therapists often still have concerns about privacy and security. Now is the time to directly address those concerns and it has fallen on me, as Numinus’s Clinic Manager to take on this challenge. My background as both a therapist and information technology professional helps me to understand and explain our approach to the delivery of remote sessions in the province of Quebec.

Numinus has always had a few therapists providing remote sessions to their clients; now it is the entire team. We have always abided by the rules governing the practice of teletherapy in our jurisdiction and will continue to do so. The Ordre des psychologues du Québec (OPQ), the governing body for psychologists and psychotherapists in Quebec, has produced several documents outlining the ethical and practical guidelines for remote therapy (in French only). I will briefly summarize these documents:

OPQ Guidelines for Psychologists/Psychotherapists practicing in Quebec

Encryption, End-to-End Encryption, and You

Encryption is a way to obfuscate the contents of a message, or video, so that only someone with the proper decryption key can undo the encryption and see the contents of the encrypted communication.  End-to-End (E2E) encryption adds an extra layer of security so that even the provider of the tool or service cannot decrypt the contents of communications, even if compelled to by law, or hacked by a malicious actor who inserts themselves as a “man in the middle” at the corporate level (e.g., at a software company’s servers that offer the teleconferencing solution).

The most common questions that arise from these guidelines relate to encryption. Does your therapist use a tool that encrypts your communication, preventing casual electronic eavesdropping by unsophisticated attackers? Good odds that the answer is yes, and at Numinus, we definitely do. All the tools listed by the OPQ use some form of encryption in order to prevent electronic eavesdropping.

PIPEDA, HIPAA, and Quebec’s “substantially similar” legislation

You may have heard people talking about various names for electronic privacy legislation passed in various jurisdictions and how they relate to remote practice. In the United States, there is HIPAA, in Canada there is PIPEDA. In Québec’s there is An Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private SectorAn Act to amend the Act respecting health services and social services, the Health Insurance Act and the Act respecting the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, all of Québec’s privacy laws relating to health records. The most important things to know about all of these laws, from Numinus particular perspective:

What you can do to help ensure that your sessions remain confidential

When it comes to security, you are more likely to have your remote session’s privacy violated by a person physically listening in from a nearby location than by a sophisticated state actor capable of breaking encryption or inserting themselves as a “man in the middle” attacker (e.g., the National Security Agency in the United States). The corporations offering these communication services have a vested interest, both legal and financial, in maintaining the privacy of these communications, so unless compelled by court order, they will not intercept any remote communications or turn over any recordings (which they all state that they do not even make in the first place). One could argue that you are as likely to have an in-person session bugged by law enforcement as to have a court order issued mandating that a session be captured and decrypted. If this is a real concern of yours, due to your work or other factors (e.g., you are a high level government official, famous actor, or crime lord), then online sessions might be best avoided! If you are not generally at risk of being a target of a state-level actor or law enforcement, you can also do some basic things to best assure your privacy:

  1. Make sure you are initiating sessions from a place where you can monitor, and ideally control, your environment to prevent someone from physically listening in.
  2. Do not use public WiFi networks when engaging in remote therapy unless there is absolutely no other choice. And if you must use public WiFi, then you must use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) software solution to provide an additional layer of protection to your communications.
  3. Regularly run virus and malware scans of your computer, or use your mobile device for your remote session, as they are far less prone to viruses and malware.

I hope this helps to inform you and address any concerns you might have, whether as a therapist delivering remote sessions, or a client on the receiving end!

Episode 5: Smartphones and Adolescent Well-Being with Jean Twenge

In this episode of the Numinus podcast, Dr. Joe speaks with Jean Twenge about the impact of smartphones on adolescent mental health. They discuss:

Dr. Jean Twenge is a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University. She is the author of more than 140 scientific publications and books including her most recent book: iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, which introduces the world to the first generation of adolescents to grow up with smartphones in their pockets.

More info on Jean and her research can found at jeantwenge.com. Her compelling TEDx talk can be found here. She is @jean_twenge on Twitter.

N.B. Dr. Twenge is coming to speak at Ometz in Montreal next week. Additional info below.

If you enjoy listening to the Numinus podcast, please share your favorite episode with friends, family and colleagues.

You can stay in touch with Dr. Joe on

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Some highlights from our conversation:

“The name iGen is a little bit of play on an iPad or an iPhone. Among teens, according to some surveys ¾ of them have an iPhone. Not just a smartphone but an iPhone.”

“I look at generations using very large nationally representative surveys of teens and young adults. I keep an eye on the trends in those data sets and have been doing a number of projects on them. I started to notice a rather sudden change, around 2011 or 2012 in the responses of teens, especially around questions having to do with how they were spending their time and how they were feeling. And these were changes that were so sudden and so large that they were very unusual. Because I have been doing this for a long time, I got used to seeing changes that were fairly large but would take a decade or two to get there. And then I started seeing these more sudden changes. So for example, more teens started to say that they felt lonely and that they felt left out and more started to say they couldn’t do anything right or that they felt their life wasn’t useful and those last two are classic symptoms of depression. It became clear that there was a generational break between the teens 2010 and before and those 2011/12 and later and that something was going wrong in the lives of teens that so many more were saying they were lonely and depressed.”

“In seeing that that big spike in loneliness and depressive symptoms – and by the way the same trend also shows up in clinical levels of depression and self-harm so things like cutting or taking too many pills, in suicide rates, in anxiety, suicidal ideation. It’s a very very consistent trend – around 2010/2011/2012, right around that same period. In many different surveys, behaviors, as well as attitudes, as well as screening studies, there was a sudden spike in mental health issues. There was also a decline in happiness and in life satisfaction and in self esteem. So it’s a very consistent pattern.”

“So that of course then begs the question of why. What happened around 2011 that could possibly have caused this? […] I’d been working on another project using these data sets and finding teens were not spending as much time hanging out with each other in person, so in-person social interaction with each other. They just weren’t doing that as much. That trend started in 2000, but it really accelerated at the same time that depression and unhappiness were spiking around 2011 or so really. It really kind of fell off a cliff – the amount of time that teens were spending with their friends face to face. So that brought me to realizing “Why? Why were teens spending less time with each other face to face?” Because of the smartphone! Because they were spending more time communicating electronically. That seemed to bring it all together with the realization that it was that fundamental shift in how teens interact with each other socially, toward electronic communication, away from face to face communication, that could potentially be at the root of this sudden change in their mental health.”

“Seeing a friend face to face is like eating an apple – a whole food and natural food.  Communicating with someone on Snapchat or Instagram is more like eating Apple Jacks. It’s a food-like product and it may feel like food for an hour and then it isn’t very fulfilling in terms of nutrition or in terms of your energy on a long-term basis.”

“The happiest teens are those who use social media or use electronic devices a little bit. So an hour or so day. Once you get beyond two hours a day of use, that’s when you start to see the links to unhappiness and depression and so on. That’s the real key: limited use.”

“Smartphones are a wonderful technology. They’re very convenient. They can save us a lot of time. They can help keep us and our kids safe. But then we have to put them down and go live our lives. So the way I sometimes put it is this way: smartphones should be a tool that we use and not a tool that uses us.”

 


Dr. Twenge is coming to Montreal next week, invited by Ometz to speak as part of their annual Betty and Bernard S. Shapiro Family Lecture Series. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be of particular interest to parents and their children who want to better understand the effects of smartphones on families, relationships, and behaviour.

When: May 14, 2018

Time: 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7)

Where: Shaare Zion Congregation: 5575 Côte-Saint-Luc Road, Montreal

Visit www.ometz.ca or call 1-833-NUMINUS (686-4687) to register

The Importance of Unplugging

“Mummy, you are on your phone WAY too much”. BOOM. These are words spoken to me just a few days ago by my 7-year-old daughter, and they hit me. Hard. You know what they say, “Children and fools always speak the truth” (Mark Twain).

Indeed, you can often rely on a child to give it to you straight! My daughter’s words stung a little and they also got me thinking, although I thought I was being mindful of not using my electronic devices too much when in the presence of my children, I took a step back and reflected and realized that my little sweetie is probably right; I probably am using my phone too much in their presence (not to mention using it too much overall!).

These days, people tend to be “on” pretty much all the time. Many of us use our electronic devices or cell phones not only as phones but also to text, email, surf the internet, do our banking, get directions and take pictures among other things. We also often use them to check the time and as alarm clocks (what happened to a good old alarm clock or a watch?!) so they are within reach most of the time; in our pocket or purse, on our desk or even on our night tables (so it’s likely that they are being used before we turn in for the night and first thing in the morning upon waking as well).

Recent data confirms that Canadians rely heavily on their electronic devices; in fact, it has been reported that Canadians check their smartphones 6 times per hour on average and 82% of Canadians report that they use their phone at least once an hour (CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima, 2014). These data suggest that the tendency in North America is to rely heavily on our electronic devices most likely because of the convenience they offer not to mention the dopamine rush we get when we do something that feels good, which increases the likelihood that we will repeat the behaviour.

The pleasure you get from hearing the beep of your phone when receiving a text from a friend or several likes on a photo you have posted on Instagram makes it more likely you will check your phone, or make new posts, etc.). “Our brains lay down a memory so it will remember to do it again” explains psychiatrist Judson Brewer specializing in addiction (Brewer, 2014).

It’s hard to argue with the fact that there are many advantages associated with the technology and with using our electronic devices or cell phones. Among these include being able to connect with people all over the world with the push of a button, easily sharing information with others, having access to an abundance of information at our fingertips, a source of amusement and entertainment, and one cannot argue that they are practical (how cool is it that you can shop online pretty much anywhere for pretty much anything at any time of day

I admit to having gotten a real kick out of placing an order for groceries while heading back to the city from a weekend away to have them delivered upon my arrival, or purchasing a book to read when vacationing in a remote area without access to a bookstore).

That being said, there are many disadvantages to using these devices carelessly and there can be too much of a good thing.

Many of us (I am guilty of this myself!) carry our cell phones with us most of the time (almost all the time?!), which doesn’t allow us to have time “off” where we truly disconnect. By carrying our electronic devices around with us, we are making ourselves available by phone and through our email and other social media accounts pretty much ALL. THE. TIME. The result is that we are depriving ourselves of the opportunity to disconnect and enjoy much needed empty space.

I will be the first to admit as well that I tend to check my phone when “waiting”; when in line at the grocery store or when picking up a coffee in the morning at my local coffee shop, during a commute using public transportation or as a passenger in the car, waiting for an appointment at the doctor or dentist, during commercials when watching TV, or even in between clients when I’m working (that little window of just a few minutes could be much better spent getting up and walking or stretching, getting a glass of water to stay hydrated, or even getting outside for a short walk or breath of fresh air!).

Many of us have developed a habit of checking in with our phones during a moment where, in the past, we would more likely have checked in with ourselves; taken some deep breaths and allowed our mind to wander- naturally as it should!

Being “on” like this all the time can be quite tiring and draining and doesn’t allow us to truly disconnect. It can also have a negative impact on our mood, our performance, our health and our relationships and it eats up a lot of precious time we could be using more mindfully on an activity we are likely to get more out of (ex. spending time in nature, reading a book, listening to a podcast, etc.).

Recent studies have reported on the potentially negative impacts of the use of electronic devices such as reduced quality of relationships, a decrease in productivity, disturbed sleep, and negative impact on mood.

“Technology is a blessing and a curse. Like anything, moderation is the key. Work to keep it positive and make the technology work for you, not the other way around.”

— Tim Elmore

Interference with relationships

It has been found that electronic devices can have a negative impact on the quality of our relationships.

The mere presence of a cell phone (without even actually using it!) was found to have an impact on perceived closeness, connection and perceived empathy, particularly when discussing something meaningful (Przybylski & Weinstein, 2013).

Use of cell phones can interfere with relationships, because they can interfere with our ability to focus and to be present and truly connected with our loved ones. On a couple of occasions, I have had young clients (around the age of 10 years old) that when asked what their 3 wishes would be if they could have absolutely anything respond by saying they want their parents to spend less time on their electronic devices.

Indeed, when we are with our loved ones, if we are looking at our phones to check emails or Facebook for example, or even answer texts or phone calls, we are distracted, our attention is not focused on the person in front of us.

Decreased productivity

Multitasking seems to be something we encourage and even glorify, thinking it makes us more productive because we are doing more than one thing at once (we must be getting ahead faster, right?!), yet what the research has shown, is that in fact, this is not the case.

Our brains are not meant to multitask (more than two tasks simultaneously). More specifically it has been found that multitasking can lead to increasing the likelihood of making more errors (Charron & Koechlin, 2010). It has also been suggested that the use of cell phones and electronic devices can have a negative impact on our ability to concentrate.

In fact, it has been found that the mere presence of a cell phone can be distracting and interfere with one’s ability to concentrate contributing to decreased performance and even productivity at work or at school (Thorton et al. 2014).

Sleep disturbances

The use of electronic devices has also been found to interfere with the quality of our sleep.

Young adults (between the ages of 20-24) who were self-reported heavy internet users were found to be at greater risk of disturbed sleep as well as of mental health problems (Thomee et al., 2012). Other studies have highlighted the fact that the use of light-emitting devices, such as e-readers before bed, can interfere with sleep (Chang et al., 2015).

Changes in mood

The use of electronic devices might also have an impact on our mood or perceived levels of stress.

One research study examined the impact of work email in a population of engineers and found that time spent emailing for work can result in feeling overloaded, and induce feelings of stress, regardless of the work created by the emails received (Barley et al. 2011).

Frequent mobile use has also been found to be associated with stress and sleep disturbance in young adult men (Thomee et al., 2011). Another study conducted by the International Center for Media and Public Agenda with a sample of 200 students from the University of Maryland found that when asked to abstain from using all media for 24 hours and share their experience, participants reported feeling very isolated, lonely, bored, uncomfortable and anxious.

This suggests that we have become so dependent on our devices that when we are without them we feel uncomfortable because we are no longer used to having “empty time” and sitting with our thoughts, and the skills/habits to interact with our environment have become less habitual to us.

Overall, these research findings explored above consistently suggest that the use of electronic devices can have a negative impact on our relationships, our productivity, quality of sleep and even our mental health.

OK, so what can we do?

**Note that I will be trying these techniques out myself as of today; who’s with me?!

Use our electronic devices with intention

Use our devices mindfully! For example, if you decide that you want to see what’s new with your friends on Facebook, try and plan beforehand how much time you want to devote to this activity and limit yourself.

It’s easy to get caught up and lose track of time and find yourself spending longer than have expected or intended to online. There are also several apps that can help; for example: Self Control (allows you to program that your computer be offline for pre-set time intervals), RescueTime or Break Free (tracks your online activity to help create awareness about your use and then allows you to set goals to reduce online activity with the help of alarms, automatic messages, scheduled offline time, etc.).

Simply turning off notifications or removing certain apps from your phone can help as well as it can reduce the temptation to check (we all have a limited source of willpower, right?!).

Find an alternative: do you need to use your phone for that?

Use a watch or an alarm instead of your phone to check the time (just picking up our phone makes it more likely that we will start checking other things mindlessly and get sucked into a dark hole!). Try using a camera to take pictures. If attending a social function or spending time in nature, rather than bring our phone along to take pictures, why not bring an actual camera?

Plan to unplug

Choose a regular time to unplug and disconnect from your phone. Perhaps you will choose to put your phone away when you get home from work until after the children are in bed and put your phone away an hour before your bedtime. Another option could be to try spending a weekend afternoon without access to your phone so you can be fully present during your activities. Apps such as Self Control or Digital Detox might help with this!

Almost everything will work better if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you

— Anne Lammott

Guest post from: Dr Andrea Martin

Andrea Martin is a clinical psychologist in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec, at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogs, podcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram or @ConnecteMTL on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

REFERENCES

Barley, S.R., Meyerson, D., E., Grodal, S. (2011). E-mail as a source and symbol of stress. Organization Science. Vol. 22(4): 887–906.

Brewer, Judson. (2014). Beware the Habit-Forming Brain. How to tame your constant cravings by getting to know your brain better. Mindful Magazine. December, 2014.

Chang, A.M., Aeschbach, D., Duffy, J.F., Czeisler, C.A. (2015).  Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. Proceedings of the National Institute of Science of the United States of America. Vol 112(4): 1232-7.

Charron, S., Koechlin, E. (2010). Divided Representation of Concurrent Goals in the Human Frontal Lobes. Science. Vol 328 (5976): 360-363.

CIBC Poll: Checked your smartphone recently? Canadian smartphone owners say they check their mobile device every 10 minutes on average. NewsWire. TORONTO, Feb. 4, 2014. See http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/cibc-poll-checked-your-smartphone-recently-canadian-smartphone-owners-say-they-check-their-mobile-device-every-10-minutes-on-average-513665311.html

Elmore, Tim. (2012). The Unintended Consequences of Technology. https://growingleaders.com/blog/the-unintended-consequences-of-technology/

Przybylski, A.K., Weinstein, N. (2013). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality 2013 Journal of Social and Personal Relationships Vol 30(3): 237-245.
Thorton, B., Faires, A., Robbins, M., Rollins, E. (2014). The mere presence of a cell phone may be distracting: Implications for attention and task performance. Social Psychology, Vol 45(6): 479-488.

Thomee, S., Harenstam, Hagberg, M. (2011). Mobile phone use and stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression among young adults – a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, Vol 11: 66.

Thomee, S., Harenstam, A., Hagberg, M. (2012). Computer use and stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression among young adults–a prospective cohort study. BMC Psychiatry. Vol 12: 176.