Hello, I'm Dr. Kendra Campbell.
I am a holistic psychiatrist, a mother of two young children, an entrepreneur, a kundalini yoga teacher and a life enthusiast.
Something felt wrong...
I have always been a curious human. I don't accept most things at face value and ask a lot of questions. I recall my sense of wonderment when, after college, I started a job as a psychiatric technician in a state mental health hospital. I remember watching the psychiatrists interact with the patients, prescribing medications after very brief interactions. I knew something was not quite right. It seemed clear to me that these humans were suffering from something much deeper and more profound than a deficiency of medication. I noticed that every single patient had histories of horrific trauma and I felt this had to be connected to their mental health issues. I eventually decided to go to medical school because I wanted to understand why doctors were prescribing medications to treat what looked like life circumstances to me.
Medical school and residency were quite an adventure but also traumatic. My curious nature was squashed by the reductionistic, pathology-focused medicine being forced down my throat. I lost myself during these years. However, I pressed on through both and even went on to complete two fellowships at Columbia University. By the age of 36, I was living the American dream, working in and managing a prestigious and busy emergency room in New York City. I did my best to resist conforming to the expectations of the system: refusing to start many people on medications that I knew wouldn’t be helpful, only rarely involuntarily hospitalizing patients and even starting a patient well-being program. However, it just wasn't enough to make any significant positive impact. I was working in a system that was broken beyond repair. Patients rarely got any better and most of the time only got worse over time. It was an endless revolving door of medications and re-traumatizing already severely traumatized humans. I thought there had to be another way.
My psychological and physical health was abysmal during this time. I was empty and burned out. I had multiple addictions to substances, sex and work and was taking medications for chronic pain, anxiety, endometriosis, gastritis, and other issues. One day I mentioned to my primary care doctor (who was holistically minded) that I would love to have children, but that I had been told by multiple doctors that it wasn’t possible for me. She smiled and told me that it was possible, if I quit my job and prioritized my health.
The beginning of my healing journey...
With the support of my loving partner, I committed to radically changing my life. I reduced my work hours, quit using addictive substances and made drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle. Within several months I managed to stop every single medication that I had been taking and was in surprisingly good health. I was eventually able to conceive two healthy embryos through in vitro fertilization.
After leaving my job and New York City, my husband and I moved to Virginia. While pregnant with my first child, I focused on maintaining my own health and learning everything that I possibly could about holistic medicine. I voraciously read journals and books and attended many online conferences. As I started peeling back the layers, I began experiencing a profound awakening. As I exposed the lies that had been taught to me in my conventional medical training, I came to understand that the reason that I had always had this deep and unshakeable feeling that things were not quite right was because they weren’t. The process of awakening to these truths was deeply transformational and affected every aspect of my life.
A new type of psychiatry was born...
In 2017, shortly before the birth of my first child, I opened Free Range Psychiatry, a unique psychiatric non-profit organization dedicated to using a holistic and unconventional approach to help patients with mental health issues. It was my personal mission to share with my patients what I had learned both in my personal healing journey and in my deep dive into exploring holistic medicine. I quickly discovered that everything that I had long suspected was true: people rarely needed psychiatric medications and the harms associated with medications usually far outweighed the potential for benefit. As I started helping people come off their medications, I soon appreciated that this process was not an easy journey. I witnessed people struggling through excruciatingly painful withdrawal symptoms as they weaned off these powerful drugs. However, I learned that by using a holistic approach and healing root causes, it was possible to avoid psychiatric medications all together and it was possible to help people successfully stop them.
Becoming a mother changed everything...
While continuing to grow and expand Free Range Psychiatry, I gave birth to both of my children. The birth of my first child was traumatic, ending in an emergency C-section, and I struggled trying to breast feed. On top of the massive challenges of motherhood, my own mother was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) shortly after the birth of my first child. I had moved to Virginia to be close to my parents so that they could be close to my children and help with childcare. However, the tables were turned and not only were my parents unable to help, but my mother needed tremendous help herself, requiring multiple caregivers. The combination of my mother’s rapidly deteriorating health, running a business and caring for two young children with very little support was more than I could handle. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of life and eventually noticed that what started as an innocent glass of wine after a long day of mothering and working had steadily increased to several.
Shortly after the birth of my second child, I stumbled upon an organization called Yoga Farm and decided that I wanted to follow my lifelong dream of becoming a yoga teacher. I had no idea that this decision to help other people through yoga would lead me back to myself. After only a few days of meditating and trying kundalini yoga, I was hooked. I experienced a kundalini spiritual awakening and it was like the roof had been ripped off my home. I let go of drinking and started noticing changes and growth in my life that I could never have imagined. After living most of my life in disillusionment, things suddenly began to all make sense. I experienced a sense of deep connection and my work felt deeply aligned with my soul's purpose.
Healing the healers...
Inspired and energized after my kundalini awakening, in 2020, I founded the Free Range Fellowship to train other psychiatrists how to use holistic methods to change their own lives and the lives of their patients. I created a program of online learning, mentorship and kundalini yoga with the cosmic goal of transforming the lives of other healers as my life had been transformed. After several years of running the Free Range Fellowship with space for only a few fellows, I realized that many other healers were seeking this knowledge and deep transformational healing. So, in 2022, I decided to make the Free Range Fellowship classes available to the public.
I once believed that being a healer meant learning how to diagnose and treat people who were suffering. I now know that healing always begins with oneself. Real healing requires holding a safe and compassionate space for others. It is not energetically possible to do this without first holding a safe and compassionate space for oneself.
My journey of learning holistic psychiatry cannot be disentangled from my personal healing journey. They are one and the same. I have come to understand that the journey of learning how to heal others is the exact same journey of learning to heal oneself. This is an experiential and spiritual process that goes far beyond classroom learning.
My personal and professional story has been one of awakening to myself. The more questions I ask, the more curious I become, the more awareness I bring to my life, the closer I get to the real me. It is only through a deep and unwavering curiosity that I have come to know myself. And it is only through knowing myself that I can ever hope to know or help others. I also now understand that healing is not a journey with an end-point. It is an ongoing process with ups and downs, and periods of stagnation. The process of healing will continue for as long as I am breathing. This is what makes me human. For me, healing is an ongoing story of gentle self-reflection, non-judgmental acceptance, and love towards oneself.
Answer the call of your soul…
It is my absolute honor and privilege to join you in your own healing journey and deep dive into holistic psychiatry. My invitation is to help you radically shift your energy so that you can access your inner wisdom and awaken to your own higher purpose. I want to help you find a life where what you say and do aligns with the deepest call of your heart and soul.
I want to thank you from my heart for the opportunity to allow me to share my knowledge and experiences with you so that you can find inner peace and healing within yourself and then share your gifts with the world. I have so much gratitude for you that my heart explodes. The light in me sees, honors, and deeply loves that same light in you.
Learn Holistic Psychiatry and Transform Your Life
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