Mendel Kaelen: CEO, History, Wavepaths

Mendel Kaelen: CEO, History, Wavepaths

Mendel Kaelen is the founder and CEO of Wavepaths.

His interest in experience design began at a young age, continuing through his studies. Today, it underpins the purpose of his company Wavepaths: to facilitate personally meaningful experiences to improve mental health and wellbeing.  

After completing a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology and behaviour, he went on to complete his Master’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

During his research at Imperial College, Mendel, PhD and his colleagues, demonstrated the central role of music in facilitating transformative experiences in psychedelic therapy – developing the early vision for Wavepaths.

In addition to leading Wavepaths, Mendel teaches a workshop series designed for therapists who are interested in music and psychedelic therapy.

In this article: 

    • Learn more about Mendel’s history
    • Explore why and how Wavepaths was founded
    • Read about Mendel’s vision for the future of Wavepaths

From experience design in childhood to Amazonian shamanism experiences in adulthood

Mendel Kaelen grew up in a small rural town in Holland, before moving to a nearby city called Groningen. 

At an early age, Mendel became passionate about experience design. 

Having a deep connection to animals as a young child, he asked himself “how can you design an environment to help the creatures living in it be at their most fulfilled state?” 

He first explored this interest through designing and setting up aquariums for fish.

I always have felt as a child and as a teenager greatly affected by the way we relate to our environment, more specifically the way we cause destruction in oceans, in ocean environments and coral reefs. I have always been close to various animals and had many pets and all of that.

- Mendel Kaelen

Mendel also grew up in a musical family and began making music at age seven. Despite initially wanting to try the cello, he opted for the guitar and began what would be 11 years of classical guitar practice.

Mendel began his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Groningen, and before starting his Master’s degree, he travelled to the Amazon in 2007 to live in the jungle for 4 months. 

There he experienced an intersection of his early interests and passions: 

    • Being in nature
    • Learning about music
    • Exploring experience as medicine

He lived with a shaman and his family and journeyed deep into the Amazonian Ayahuasca world. He then travelled back to Holland and took one year off to integrate his experience.

After participating in Amazonian shamanism, ceremony, ritual and music, Mendel was interested in how bridges could be built between indigenous knowledge and western science. 

He went on to complete his Master’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Groningen, while simultaneously studying anthropological and psychotherapeutic literature, and deepening his personal music studies. 

His music interests started to revolve more and more around field recording, sound art, and new ways of listening. Foundations for what is now a therapeutic deep listening method within Wavepaths were built listening deeply to music, as a way to listen deeply to oneself.

Watch Mendel’s TED Talk on the psychedelic future of mental health care.

Mendel Kaelen Creates Wavepaths and a new category of therapeutic tools

After completing his research at Imperial College of London, in 2019, alongside David Nutt and Robin Carhart-Harris, Mendel Kaelen was joined by co-founder Anna Wakefield to build Wavepaths

Mendel founded Wavepaths on the insight that our ways of being in this world, our ways of relating to ourselves and others, are continuously shaped by our life experiences.

Especially, experiences that carry strong personal significance: Any experience that impacts the integrity of our biological or psychological self, will change us. Might we therefore thoughtfully design experiences that facilitate change to those that seek this? Can music and other forms of art be psychedelic, soul-revealing?

What we are building is pretty unique. There are competitive products in the making when it comes to generative music , but I can’t think of any other company that is developing a product in this space with the same level of insightfulness, artistry and humility around psychedelics and music.

- Mendel Kaelen

Today, Mendel, along with his team at Wavepaths, is working to develop a new category of therapeutic tools: experience as medicine –  integrating psychedelic science, machine learning, music theory, psychotherapies and experience design, in collaboration with artists, therapists and researchers.

Learn more about the purpose of Wavepaths and the current product offerings.

Psychedelics and the future of Wavepaths

Wavepaths is currently working on optimising music for MDMA and psilocybin, while the product is already optimized for ketamine therapy

In addition to creating research backed music for each unique psychedelic medicine, the route of administration and dosage, and the individual embarking on the journey, Wavepaths creates music for non-drug therapeutic use as well. For example, more and more psychotherapists are using Wavepaths as an experiential tool in their practice with clients.

We will continue to support non-psychedelic drug use cases as we were originally founded to be independent from psychedelic drugs. Outside of individual therapeutic use of Wavepaths, I’m really excited to think through how we can design sounds to transform public space experiences into something delightful, beautiful and insightful - even therapeutic.

- Mendel Kaelen

Focusing on wellness applications, clinical spaces and other unique opportunities to bring music to shared spaces, Mendel is committed to helping more people around the world experience music as medicine

Today, Mendel lives in Portugal with his dog, and is known to begin his mornings playing his Shakuhachi flute practising Suizen.

Connect with Mendel directly:

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