I am starting a training program to become a psychedelic guide at the California Institute of Integral Studies in April 2022. I am quite excited by the potential of psychedelic therapy to loosen rigid patterns of coping and kindle an individual’s latent capacities for healing. I hope that this training will increase my capacity to be of service to those suffering psychologically regardless of whether a person is ready for this level of intervention themselves. Michael Pollen’s book, How to Change Your Mind is an excellent first person account of how these therapies can alter one’s perspective and is worth reading for anyone interested in learning more about consciousness and alternative approaches to change.
Please keep in mind that most psychedelic substances have not yet been legalized so I am neither able to supply nor assist in this form of therapy. However, regardless of this, I have already found that the alternative perspective this form of therapy allows has increased my effectiveness as a clinician. Albert Einstein famously said, “You cannot solve a problem from the same mindset that created it.” Psychedelic experiences allow you to break up rigid perspectives on yourself and the world that create and reinforce dysfunction. Dysfunctional patterns of behavior are trauma based and though they may have served in your survival at one time, they now serve only to constrain you in addictive patterns of behavior that close off possibility. My role as a therapist is to interrupt rigid ways of thinking and suggest new ways of seeing your life and yourself in a safe and affirmative environment. As with traditional therapy, it is also true with psychedelic therapy that the integration process is essential for long term change. Integration refers to the process of living in accordance with new insights and perspectives. This can actually be very a rigorous process, as it requires identity and lifestyle reorganization that is threatening to the status quo. The sweet spot between rigidity and chaos is what we are continually looking for in our lives. Finding this is an ongoing engagement requiring awareness, flexibility and self-compassion. As these substances are approved for more mainstream use, I look forward to further utilizing these tools in my work, as they offer great promise in the endeavor of learning to live well.