Alex Sielaff

Alex Sielaff

Graduate Student, Social Psychology
Faculty Advisor: Jeff Greenberg
Headshot - Sielaff, Alex

Psychology 508

I am a Social Psychology Ph.D. student. Before attending university, I served nine years active duty in the U.S. Air Force. As my military contract ended, I became curious about scientific research and saw it as my next place of service. During undergrad at UC Colorado Springs, I learned people often become less afraid of death after taking psychedelics and I began to wonder “how" and "why?” I now conduct research at the intersection of Experimental Existential Psychology and the Psychedelic Sciences where I have developed a theoretical model that answers the how and why. 

In addition to my interests with research and teaching in Psychology, I am also earning my Graduate Certificate in Science Communication. Following in the footsteps of Carl Sagan, I want to contribute to a scientifically literate society.

Research Interests: 

  • The intersection of experimental existential psychology and the psychedelic sciences.

  • Using theory and empirical validation to develop a model that explains how and why psychedelics – with a supportive therapeutic context and proper integration – have so much therapeutic value.

*For a research-based overview of Alex's model (starting at 1:37:54):


*For a less technical science communication-based overview:


Selected Publications:

  • Sielaff, A., Rothschild, L., Horner, D.E., & Greenberg, J. (2023). A qualitative study of how hospice workers cope with their level of exposure to death. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying.
  • Sielaff, A., Horner, D.E., & Greenberg, J. (2023). Differences in existential perspectives as a function of having a mystical-type experience. Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
  • Horner, D.E., Sielaff, A., & Greenberg, J. (2023). Autonomy support for gender expression and managing existential concerns: An initial study among transgender individuals. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1-20.
  • Horner, D.E., Sielaff, A., & Greenberg, J. (2022). Self-determined immortality: Testing the role of autonomy in promoting perceptions of symbolic immortality and well-being. Motivation and Emotion.
  • Sielaff, A., Horner, D.E., & Greenberg, J. (2021). The moderating role of mystical-type experiences on the relationship between existential isolation and meaning in life. Personality and Individual Differences.

Courses Taught: 

  • PSY 352 - Personality (2023)
  • PSY 360 - Social Psychology (2023)
  • PSY 456 - Psychology of Death and Loss (2022)

*Year listed indicates when this individual last taught the specified course.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Graduate College Fellowship recipient (2023)

Updated: 11/13/23


  • B.A. Psychology, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs
  • M.A. Psychology, University of Arizona
  • A.A.S. Electronic Systems Technology, Community College of the Air Force