Dr. Michael Karakashian is a clinical psychologist and the program-lead for the Primary Care Mental Health Integration at the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center (LAACC), part of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. The son of two long-time practitioners, he has maintained a personal mindfulness practice for the past 18 years and is especially interested in eastern spiritual and esoteric traditions. He has been heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhist thought as well as Vipassana, having received training from a colleague of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and by the 4th Way Teachings. Michael has been part of the InsightLA community for the past 2 ½ years, and has participated in a variety of mindfulness facilitator trainings since that time. He is a VA Mindfulness Facilitator and the primary mindfulness-based interventions provider at LAACC. Michael teaches mindfulness to veteran’s through both individual and group psychotherapy, and currently leads classes at LAACC including, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Skills (an ongoing drop-in class focusing on beginning mindfulness skill development), and Mindfulness Practice Support (a class designed to help support the practice of MBSR and Mindfulness Skills graduates or those who have a personal practice).
In addition, Michael is VA Certified in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a mindfulness-based intervention and provides this psychotherapy to veterans. He also provides consultation to other providers who lead mindfulness-based interventions or groups, co-leads a Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Interventions seminar at LAACC, and provides training and supervision in mindfulness facilitation and mindfulness-based interventions to graduate student clinicians. Further, he has given numerous talks on mindfulness and psychology including to various VA healthcare facilities, the American Psychological Association, and the Land of Compassion Buddhist Temple. He earned his M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling with an emphasis in mental health from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006 and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from The University of Memphis in 2011. He has completed a variety of clinical training placements including at the Memphis VA Medical Center, the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center, and a postdoctoral fellowship in HIV Mental Health/Behavioral Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, as well as has held positions at The University of Virginia, and DePaul University. He has special interest in mindfulness and its pedagogy with underserved groups, veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance misuse, HIV-related issues, and decreasing the stigma of and barriers to behavioral/mental health care. Michael is deeply grateful to be a part of the InsightLA community and to have been exposed to such inspiring teachings.