Meet Paul

Who is Dr. Paul Thielking?

I have long been a spiritual seeker.  This seeking led me to explore a variety of spiritual and healing practices, and eventually to meditation and Zen.  I have been studying and practicing Zen since 1999 with Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi.  Genpo Roshi is a teacher in the Soto and Rinzai traditions of Zen Buddhism and the creator of the Big Mind/Big Heart Process.  I was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest in 2005 and became a certified Big Mind Facilitator in September, 2017.  The Big Mind/Big Heart Process is a skillful means for helping people transcend their contracted self identity to awaken to their inherent wholeness.  

Professionally, I am a psychiatrist and palliative care physician, working as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah since 2008.  I am board certified in Psychiatry, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Integrative Medicine.  Since 2012 my clinical duties have been primarily at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital, where I am a member of the Supportive Oncology and Survivorship team and integrate meditation and other stress reduction practices with psychotherapy and medication treatments.  I specialize in helping people that are struggling with mood, anxiety, trauma recovery, and existential distress.  I also lead workshops and retreats for healing professionals who are trying to maintain balance, fulfillment, and joy in their work with others

Being a traveler on both the Path of Healing and the Path of Awakening, I am now focused on bridging the gap between Western psychotherapeutic and medical approaches to healing, and the NonDual path of Zen.  The path of Zen involves waking up to our limitless true nature that is already complete and Whole.  Coming from a realization of Unity can allow us to more easily work through past traumas, become aware of our shadows, and free ourselves from limited ways of thinking, feeling and relating to others.  The Big Mind/Big Heart Process offers a Bridge towards fully embodying these complementary aspects of ourselves – the contracted self in need of Healing, and the "Self" which is already Whole. 

Another exciting new area that is emerging as a Bridge between the path of Healing and the path of Awakening is the realm of Psychedelic Assisted Therapies.  Over the past several years there has been a resurgence of scientific and cultural interest in the use of psychedelics to facilitate personal growth, healing, and realization.  There ia a growing body of research into the therapeutic benefit of the classic psychedelic Psilocybin for depression and existential distress, MDMA for PTSD, and Ketamine for depression and substance abuse.  I am interested in helping those who might be integrating powerful non-ordinary experiences with these medicines.

I aim to help create a community of healing and support.  In my role as a guide/facilitator, I aim to utilizing the Big Mind Process, meditation, sound healing, and somatic practices to help those on the journey of personal growth, exploration, and deep healing.

Particular areas of expertise include:

  • Those on the spiritual path who are looking for help with changing old patterns and dealing with mental, emotional, or spiritual issues
  • Trauma healing
  • Integrating profound transformative experiences such as non-ordinary states of consciousness with daily life
  • Existential issues such as finding meaning/purpose in life and coming to terms with sickness, aging, and mortality
  • Professional healers who are looking for support/guidance in maintaining balance, fulfillment, and joy in their work with others