Nicole I Torres, PhD, MSW

Assistant Professor


Dr. Torres is a cultural anthropologist, licensed independent clinical social worker and the author of Walls of Indifference: Immigration and the Militarization of the US-Mexico Border (2015), a book based on her doctoral research. Her doctoral research focused on the social and political practices of militarization and its effects on the wellbeing of people and their communities. In her findings  she learned that the process of militarization and the political violence associated with it has tangible social, psychological, and physical effects on people living in targeted communities. Her experiences conducting doctoral research led her to obtaining a degree in clinical social work. In addition to her appointment at WWU, she is a practicing psychotherapist, harm reductionist, and clinical supervisor for MSW students and associate-level clinicians. Her research and practice focuses on integrating holistic and nature-based perspectives in clinical work as a means to improve individual and community health. As a clinician, she works primarily from Lacanian and ecopsychological perspectives. She is also the former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Anthropology of Consciousness.

Current Research Project: BIPOC Perspectives and the Psychedelic Renaissance

Are you interested in participating in an interview about attitudes and perspectives on psychedelic usage among ethnic and racial minorities? The purpose of this research study is to identify perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors related to the use of psychedelics substances for self-actualization and/or mental health therapy among ethnic and racial minorities. The use of psychedelics, whether in community on professional mental health contexts has grown increasingly popular in the United States, to such an extent that the current popular interest in psychedelic usage is called the “psychedelic renaissance.” If you are interested in being interviewed or would like to learn more about the study, please contact Nicole Torres at

If you are interested in participating in the study, please READ the overview and consent form here. If you are still interested after reading this, please contact me. Thank you in advance for participating.

Research Projects

Recent Courses Taught

  • HSP 325: Interviewing and Interventions
  • HSP 371: Ecopsychology
  • HSP 371: Prisons in Anthropological Perspectives
  • HSP 485: Program Planning and Evaluation
  • HSP 410: Mental Health, Individuals, and Systems
  • Independent Study: Anthropological Perspectives on Psychedelics

Scholarly interests

  • Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy
  • Psychedelics and "mental health"
  • "Symbolic Misery" and cultural malaise
  • Civic Participation as Community Health

Clinical Focus

  • Etuaptmumk: Two-Eyed Seeing
  • Eco-anxiety and ecological trauma; ecotherapy
  • Culturally responsive/multicultural counseling
  • Harm Reduction


  • NIMH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington
  • MSW - Social Work, University of Washington
  • MA, PhD - Cultural Anthropology, University of Washington
  • MA - Social Science, University of Chicago
  • BA - Colorado Mesa University (Mesa State)

Selected Publications

Selected Public Presentations