MEET THE WIDENING CIRCLES TREATMENT TEAM
caroline lewis, MD
Medical Director + Psychiatrist
Caroline Lewis, MD joined Widening Circles Integrative Mental Health and Psychedelic Medicine as Medical Director in April of 2023. Board certified in Psychiatry since 2010, Dr. Lewis specializes in the treatment of a wide range of psychiatric disorders in adults including depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, bipolar affective disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. Lewis graduated from The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in 2005 and from residency in Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico in 2009. She has over 15 years of experience working in multiple practice settings including private practice, community mental health, hospital-based care, crisis stabilization, and consult-liaison psychiatry.
Prior to joining Widening Circles, Dr. Lewis served the veterans of western North Carolina at the Charles George VA Medical Center, where she co- founded the Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy program. While at the VA, she administered over 150 infusions and spent hours working with veterans who were under the therapeutic effects of ketamine. She received extended specialty training in IV ketamine administration from the department of anesthesia and has experience administering intravenous, intramuscular, and oral formulations of ketamine. She obtained additional training under Phil Wolfson and The Ketamine Training Center and through The Pearl Psychedelic Institute and was an attendee of Psychedelic Science 2023 in Denver, Colorado.
In addition to her work at Widening Circles, Dr. Lewis served as a site physician and investigator for the Expanded Access program for MDMA- Assisted Psychotherapy through the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and The Pearl Psychedelic Institute. She completed her MDMA therapy education through MAPS and the Bronx VA in November 2023. She served as a member of the Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy and ketamine training teams at The Pearl Psychedelic Institute and collaborated with MAHEC and The Pearl Psychedelic Institute to build a groundbreaking elective in psychedelic medicine for psychiatry residents.
Dr. Lewis is dedicated to fostering personal healing and growth for each patient. She believes that the richly complex nature of human suffering requires a diverse, creative, and multidisciplinary approach of which psychotropic medication is one element. At Widening Circles, we believe in mental health treatment that empowers and affirms life and serves to assist each patient in coming into their authenticity and personal power.
aimee Spencer, PA-C
Operations Director + Physician Assistant + Functional Medicine Specialist
Aimee Spencer is a board certified Physician Assistant, functional medicine specialist, certified Brain Health Professional, certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy practitioner. She has worked in different arenas of medicine including integrative family practice, emergency medicine, urgent care, pediatrics as well as subspecialty in gynecologic oncology but found her passion and home in functional medicine. She believes in the body’s wisdom and innate healing and now acts as a guide toward healing from within by getting to the roots of chronic illness and imbalances.
Aimee specializes in functional medicine focusing on mental health and looks at the interplay between people's biology and how this impacts overall brain health. She takes a comprehensive, holistic and individualized approach when working with her patients, getting to underlying core issues such as inflammation, methylation problems, nutritional imbalances, gut and hormone imbalances, food allergies, toxin exposures, and sleep and lifestyle patterns. In addition to earning a Master of Physician Assistant Studies, she has completed training through Aviva Romm’s Functional and Integrative Medicine for Women’s Health, Amen Clinics as a Brain Health Professional, Integrative Psychiatry, the Kharrazian Institute, Institute for Functional Medicine and has become a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner.
She is also passionate about the transformative power of psychedelic therapies to treat mental health disorders. She has completed Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy training through The Pearl Psychedelic Institute as well as Polaris Insight Center Medical Module for Ketamine Therapy and has served as an educator for The Pearl Psychedelic Institute.
Being able to live out her dream while applying years of study and experience to helping others become their most healthy is Aimee's dharma. An aspect of her vision is being able to meet clients, sharing space and the connections of heart to heart wholeness, and helping others on their journey while honoring mind, body and soul.
Kim Skelton, LCMHCS, LCAS
Executive Director + Psychotherapist
Kim Skelton co-founded Widening Circles in 2017 and now serves as the executive director and as a psychotherapist. She is a queer Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor and a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. Kim’s areas of special interest include mood and anxiety disorders, trauma and traumatic grief, psychedelic medicine, addictions, gender and orientation concerns, and spirituality. Kim’s treatment orientation is rooted in existential/humanistic psychotherapy; psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy; ecopsychology (“connection with” vs. “power over”); harm reduction psychotherapy; feminist psychotherapy; and EMDR. Kim’s guiding force is to support and empower psychospiritual growth, healing, and recovery through compassionate connection and mindful, heart-centered care.
Kim graduated from The University of Alabama with a Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling and has 20+ years of experience working in a myriad of practice settings including private practice, community mental health, school-based mental health, an opioid use disorder program, and a domestic violence shelter. In 2013, she and psychiatrist Ilona Csapo, MD founded a small, mindfulness-based opioid use disorder treatment program, Willow Wellness and Recovery, where she served as the clinical director until 2019. At that time, she pivoted to focus on integrating psychedelic medicine into the Widening Circles treatment milieu.
Kim is passionate about creating meaningful and accessible integrative mental health treatment delivery systems, and in recent years has diligently focused her professional time and attention on learning how to ethically and responsibly incorporate psychedelic medicine into therapeutic practice. She completed MDMA-assisted therapy therapist training through the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 2019 and served as a co-therapist with the FDA Expanded Access program for MDMA-assisted therapy through Lykos Therapeutics PBC (formerly MAPS PBC) and The Pearl Psychedelic Institute. Kim has recently been accepted into the Lykos Consultant Training Program; pending FDA approval, this will allow her to provide consultation and training support to Lykos trained therapists when they begin actively providing MDMA-assisted therapy to a patient.
She trained in Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Group Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy with the Psychedelic Research and Training Institute (PRATI) in Colorado. Additionally, Kim has advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP). Kim has also studied community herbalism through HERBalachia and Chinese Stone and Crystal Medicine through Upper Clarity School of Stone Medicine.
In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her family and her dogs, playing with watercolor and soaking up the outdoors in beautiful Western North Carolina.
teva hite, LCMHC
Clinical Director + Psychotherapist + Neurofeedback Specialist
Teva Hite, LCMHC joined the team in 2019. She is a co-owner and the Clinical Director of Widening Circles. She is a board certified, licensed clinical mental health counselor who provides professional, relevant, and effective counseling services for adults and families. Teva has over 20 years pre and post graduate counseling experience, serving a variety of populations in various settings.
Teva completed her undergraduate training in Psychology at Appalachian State University with a focus on Art in Mental Health. She achieved her master’s degree from Western Carolina University in 2017. Teva’s educational background also includes study in Philosophy, Religion, and Fine Art.
Teva has experience in level I, level II, and level III therapeutic residential treatment facilities in WNC, direct care, and program development using expressive arts for adults with developmental disabilities in Mount Vernon, Ohio. She also has experience in community based mental health in WNC, including intensive in-home therapy, mental health case management, family visitation, coaching, family reunification, non-profit work (abroad and locally), neurofeedback training, and outpatient therapy.
Her areas of special interest include mood disorders, attention disorders, trauma, and self-identity. Teva has completed extensive training in Neurofeedback, Quantitative Electroencephalography (qEEG), and Eye Movement desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Teva maintains a theoretical orientation that is integrative in nature, drawing from a wide range of theories and practices, including Neurobiology, Feminist Therapy, Expressive Arts, Existential Counseling, Person-Centered Therapy, and Family Systems.
Teva is passionate about bringing innovative methodologies such as qEEG-guided neurofeedback training and photo biomodulation (PBM) into her work with mental health as she believes this modality offers an adaptive perspective in conceptualizing and treating presenting mental health concerns. Teva has experience providing ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and helped to pioneer the Widening Circles group KAP model. Teva uses her specialized skills to assist with maximizing the benefits of KAP through biofeedback and neurofeedback.
Teva has lived in western North Carolina since 1986 and is committed to bringing innovative therapies to underserved populations. She enjoys living in the country with her family, her garden, and her cats. Teva is a seasoned ceramic artist and a conifer tree enthusiast.
Rachael Bruton, LCSW
Rachael is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides individual therapy for adults in Asheville, NC and virtually for New York State folx. She received both her bachelor and master’s degree in Social Work. She has worked in various mental health settings including outpatient substance use treatment, crisis care for children and adolescents, community grief support for families who experienced perinatal loss, and intensive therapy in the homes/communities of individuals who are living with severe persistent mental health diagnoses.
Some areas of speciality for Rachael include ADHD, trauma, depression, disordered eating and body image struggles, grief/loss, psychosis, and mood disorders. She is trained with Progressive Counting, Internal Family Systems, and Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy. She currently offers Ketamine-Assisted Therapy. She received her training for psychedelic therapy through Soundmind and the Living Medicine Institute. She is passionate about providing person-centered care to each of her clients in efforts to alleviate the burdens that the parts of oneself carry from past stories.
Rachael identifies as an ADHDer and finds that this compliments her work with other neurodivergent folx. She emphasizes the importance of her clients having the space to authentically be themselves and “unmask” in sessions. This as well for other folx who live in larger size bodies as she does too.
Rachael is originally from Buffalo, NY and she received her Masters in Social Work in Buffalo at the University at Buffalo. While she misses the pizza and wings from Buffalo she is in love with the beauty and community that Asheville offers. When Rachael isn’t working she spends her time in nature, swimming, with her fur baby family, at community events, listening to a podcast, or obsessing over decorating her home!
kurt james, LCSWA, LCAS
Associate Psychotherapist + Coach
Kurt James, LCSWA, LCAS began working with Widening Circles in 2019, providing coaching services and working as a clinical intern. Kurt returned to the team in 2024 to continue pursuing his passion of offering individualized, person-centered care using innovative and novel approaches as part of a multidisciplinary treatment team.
Kurt earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Appalachian State University and graduated from Western Carolina University with a Master of Social Work, with a concentration in the treatment of substance use disorders. Kurt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, and he has over a decade of experience in a variety of mental health treatment settings. Kurt has spent time working in community mental health as a clinician in a recovery education center, as an Outpatient Therapist, and as a Community Support Team Lead. He has worked in outdoor adventure-based treatment as a Family Therapist and Parent Coach, as well as in residential treatment where he facilitated qEEG evaluations and provided neuro/biofeedback treatments.
Kurt’s therapeutic approach is psychodynamic, supporting patients in examining deep-rooted patterns from new perspectives, while drawing on attachment theory and utilizing an Internal Family Systems orientation. Kurt is experienced in treating patients with PTSD using Cognitive Processing Therapy. Kurt utilizes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to support patients in creating meaning by living in accordance with one’s values through committed and intentional action. Some areas of special interest for Kurt include working with the neurodivergent population, personality disorders, and folks struggling with co-occurring substance use. Kurt strongly believes that shame and stigma are a common barrier for people struggling with substance use issues, that problematic substance use is almost always a symptom of a more deeply-rooted issue, often stemming from complex trauma, and that addressing the underlying issue with curiosity and self-compassion is vital to supporting long-term recovery and personal growth.
In his free time, Kurt enjoys playing the guitar, gardening, and backpacking. On some of his best days, Kurt can be found meandering in the National Forest with his wife and their most adorable 2 year-old son.
Sam Robinson, LCMHCA
Sam’s journey towards counseling began while working at Buddhist meditation retreats where he was able to witness the power of awareness, exploration, and relational experimentation to transform struggles into strengths. His practice is woven around the perspective that most problems can be traced back to feelings of fragmentation or not belonging in some way. Using a foundation of compassionate curiosity, he helps people by walking beside them on their journey back towards wholeness, always reminding them that they belong and can thrive wherever life finds them.
His theoretical approach is supported by both the evidence-based practice of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and a psychodynamic perspective that meaningfully examines how the past manifests itself in the present. Some techniques that he uses include dialogue, directed compassion, decentering, cognitive reframing, meditation and breathing exercises, somatic self-monitoring, and dream exploration.
He graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University in August of 2023 with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, gardening, swimming in nearby creeks, creating music with his wife, and rolling around on the ground with his toddler-aged son.
Like so many involved in healing work, Liz's background is varied, experiential and distinctly unique. She has learned that there is no better teacher than life itself. She's traveled a long road to arrive home to a place of integrated lived experience and can share with you the uncommon wisdom found along the way. She believes in the value found through the power of discernment and the importance of paying attention to the cycles of change and transformation. The practical application of the living wisdom contained in ordinary reality is the cornerstone of her offerings.
In 1986, at the age of 24, she helped organize the Adult Children of Alcoholics movement in Savannah, Georgia. This was the doorway that led her into the realm of spiritual exploration, personal growth and healing as a way of life. Her entry into the world of Astrology followed shortly thereafter. This combination, beginning with ACOA, astrology, extensive therapy and psychospiritual development, set the course for her growing passion to understand the “why” of existence.
Liz's work as a whole brings together a quality of understanding that facilitates a shift towards more authentic self- knowledge. It’s a deeply affirming, loving and compassionate experience to explore your astrological blueprint with her. She is a big believer in the practical application of spiritual wisdom so you can face your life with courage, faith and grace. The knowing that every single experience is absolutely bringing you into contact with your highest Self is what connects you to the essence of All That Is. Please see Liz's website for more information about her intuitive astrology practice.
office manager + Admissions Coordinator