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Episode 21: A Uniquely Colorful Psychiatric Medical Career That’s Beyond “Paint by Number”

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“We need to remember to leave room for the magic,” shares Dr. Holly MacKenna, board certified psychiatrist. Dr. MacKenna has 20 years of experience working as an integrative trauma-informed psychiatrist in New Orleans helping patients through a mixture of traditional Western practices and Eastern influences like reiki and acupuncture. She formed her approach through learning about integrative medicine and gaining access to other female healers that she did not have exposure to during her time in medical school. 

Western medicine tends to place too much emphasis on data, the subsequent results of that data, insurance companies, and the exchange of money which leads to a disconnect between providers and patients. 

By giving herself permission to be human and take a more integrative approach to the body and mind connection, Dr. MacKenna is able to form a deeper relationship with her patients. She brings together practices like mindfulness, prayer or spirituality, reiki, acupuncture, and traditional Western medicine to form a more comprehensive package of psychiatric care. By opening up to that connectivity with the universe and one another, Dr. MacKenna helps her patients explore both the masculine and feminine energies within themselves to reach a more robust state of healing.

Tune into this week’s episode of The Catalyst to hear more about integrative psychiatry and how it differs from traditional Western practices.

About Holly MacKenna, M.D., Founder of Dara Wellness:

Holly MacKenna, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist who has been in practice for over 20 years. She is fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine and specializes in providing whole person care to those who have experienced psychological trauma and traumatic brain injuries. Dr. MacKenna is certified in auricular acupuncture and distance Reiki. She is also a Facilitator trained by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

Dr. MacKenna spends part of her time developing her new integrative psychiatry private practice, Dara Wellness, which is based in New Orleans and serves patients throughout the Gulf Coast utilizing both in-person and telemedicine experiences. She is a speaker with #SameHere Global Mental Health Movement and has spoken for organizations such as The Golden State Warriors and Chicago Wolves. She is a regular contributor to Fox 8 NOLA TV in New Orleans.

Dr. MacKenna is a published contributing author and is currently writing a book about bringing the Divine Feminine back into medicine as a healer.


In This Episode We're Talking About:

  • Bringing the Sacred Feminine Back into Medicine 
  • Forming deeper relationships with patients
  • How psychiatric care can have mindfulness, prayer or spirituality, reiki, acupuncture


  • “We need to remember to leave room for the magic.” (14:48-14:50 | Holly)


  • “What often happens in western medicine, especially in that organizational kind of insurance driven model, is that masculine side, that data, that collecting money, that needing to justify to the insurance company, that takes over in a way that doesn’t allow for the magic. And it gets away from the relationship between the provider, physician, therapists, whomever and the patient who this is all supposed to be about.” (17:14-17:49 | Holly)


  • “There’s some power in allowing myself to be a human in the room and to really be a partner with the patient.” (25:28-25:33 | Holly)


  • “The beauty of my  journey with integrative medicine is that it’s really allowed me to find what I didn’t realize I was missing, which is female mentors and a lot of female healers. I just didn’t have that in medical school and in my traditional training so much. It just shows how important representation is.” (36:58-37:18 | Holly)


  • “When we allow ourselves to heal as healers, and we allow ourselves to really explore our own source, our own connectivity to the planet and universe, that is going to naturally allow us to evolve in a way that’s going to be beneficial to those that we are trying to help.” (40:25-40:43 | Holly)

Links for this Episode:

Connect with Dr. Holly MacKenna:

Connect with Dr. Lara Salyer:

Thank You For Listening!

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About The Catalyst Host, Dr. Lara Salyer:

I worked as a family physician for 15 years until burnout changed the trajectory of my career. I realized I wanted to start a holistic functional medicine practice in my rural hometown and made it happen. In addition to practicing functional medicine, I now mentor practitioners who are looking to change their paths in healthcare by using what I refer to as the “Catalyst Roadmap”. I share each step of this framework with listeners so that they may apply it to their careers, relationships, personal goals, and projects. 

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