Episode 109: The Spirituality of Hiking with Jenna Quinn Lancor, LCSW

Being in nature is often thought of as a form of therapy itself. The serenity and calmness it imparts, and the tranquility one feels when surrounded by nature, is unparalleled. Dawn Gabriel sat down with the founder and CEO of Head First Health, Jenna Quinn Lancor, to discuss the spiritual side of hiking. 

Meeting Jenna Quinn Lancor

With a notable presence in the field of therapy, Jenna Quinn Lancor chatted brilliantly about the connections between spirituality and nature. Through her virtual group practice, Head First Health, her team specializes in treating millennial women dealing with anxiety, OCD, depression, and life transitions incorporating the mind body spirit approach. A truly holistic approach to mental health! 

Conscious Collaboration Series at Head First Health

Dawn was intrigued by Jenna’s ‘conscious collaboration series’, a monthly feature where they partner with a functional medicine doctor or holistic wellness practitioner to educate their staff about holistic health and well-being. It was heartening to see that Jenna’s practice places such an emphasis on looking at a client holistically.

Engaging the Spiritual Element 

In her conversation with Dawn, Jenna candidly shared the reason behind why she wanted to participate in the podcast – the lack of discussion around spirituality in therapist and business owner conversations. She passionately believes that the spiritual component of well-being is often overlooked and needs more attention.

Experiences with Nature and Spirituality

Jenna spoke about her life-changing hiking and backpacking experiences. Interestingly, the physical suffering from hiking morphed into a spiritual breakthrough for Jenna. She expressed how she genuinely connects with nature and the divine when she’s on those trails. According to Jenna, once you experience that kind of spiritual awakening, it’s challenging to forget it, and it leaves a lasting impact.

In Tune with Spirituality – A Guide for Enthusiasts

If you are keen on exploring your spiritual side through nature but do not know where to start, Jenna suggests starting with something simple available around you. She emphasizes the importance of slowing down and practicing mindfulness. 

Next time you cross a plant or a rose, just pause for a moment and try describing it in your head without using any names or labels. Notice the subtleties, the intricate patterns, and how every small detail contributes to the whole. This simple exercise is a great way to usher in mindfulness and create an environment conducive to spirituality.


Jenna’s insightful conversation around spirituality, hiking, and therapy was genuinely enlightening. It drives home the point that sometimes answers to some profound questions lie in nature itself. It’s all about taking a pause, observing, and understanding. By slowing down and letting go of the facades of daily life, it becomes easier to connect with the divine and the deeper truths within ourselves. So, go out, find your spot in nature, and enjoy a wonderful spiritual escape – And just like Jenna said, “You are going to keep crying until you don’t feel like crying anymore.” After all, it’s not about having a breakdown, it’s about having a breakthrough!

Episode Highlights

00:07 Introduction and Guest Welcome

00:31 Getting to Know Jenna and Her Work

01:17 Discussing the Conscious Collaboration Series

02:53 Exploring the Intersection of Spirituality and Therapy

04:26 Understanding Spirituality vs Religion

06:13 Integrating Spirituality into Therapy Practice

08:23 The Role of Nature in Spirituality

08:34 Jenna’s Personal Journey with Nature and Spirituality

12:58 The Impact of Backpacking on Jenna’s Spirituality

20:54 Introduction to the Yosemite Trip and Experimenting with Psilocybin

21:19 First Experiences and Initial Reactions

22:31 The Struggles of the Hike and Emotional Breakthrough

23:58 The Impact of the Emotional Release

26:28 The Aftermath and Reflections on the Experience

28:46 The Ongoing Impact and Lessons Learned

29:59 Applying the Lessons to Daily Life

31:40 The Role of Vulnerability and Authenticity in Leadership

36:42 The Connection Between Nature, Spirituality, and Self

38:53 Practical Tips for Engaging with Nature

42:33 Closing Thoughts and Reflections

Links and Resources

  • Soul Care Retreats: Exclusively for therapists who want to recharge in a deep and fulfilling way. You will engage in your own spiritual journey, find some release from the work you do, as well as connect with other therapists all while enjoying the beauty of Colorado at a secluded and peaceful retreat center. Limited to 6-8 therapists.

Podcast Production and Show Notes by James Marland