My experiences working with people at the end of life (especially assisting my own father with his transition) showed me how non-ordinary states can help open people to new and profoundly reparative experiences. When those spaces of deep opening are cultivated with care, compassion and and embodied presence... profound healing is possible.
I believe that psychedelic experiences (ideally with the support of a trained and experienced guide), can help facilitate a deep re-patterning on a neurological and behavioral level. The experiences of psychedelic and other non-ordinary states when intentionally supported, can help establish a new baseline reference of safety and belonging in our nervous systems and fundamentally change the way we perceive ourselves, the world, and our place in it.
In my work, I help people to prepare for, integrate and assimilate the insights they may have had in non-ordinary states (however they were induced) so that they can integrate these insights into their lives. I also help people to understand the importance of "set and setting" (a term coined by Timothy Leary) when choosing to engage with these powerful tools. Set describes the internal state (mood, intentions, expectations, etc.) someone brings into an experience, and setting describes the external factors (physical environment, sounds, presence of others, etc).
*I do not provide psychadelic-assisted psychotherapy with any Schedule One substances. But I do provide Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, which can be "psychedelic" and is legal under the care and supervision of a licensed physician.
Many of us have been dealing with our trauma through the landfill model (we just keep dumping our wounds out of sight and try to ignore them). I believe that psychedelics can help us recover a model of “composting” our un-digested and un-metabolized traumas so that they can alchemize into something which can nourish life rather than oppose it. I believe the proliferation of psychedelic-assisted therapy and indigenous plant-medicine offerings provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to compost our individual and collective trauma in order to positively shift our course as a species and awaken a feeling of deeper kinship with all life.
The Indigenous worldview towards plant medicines and other mind-altering substances is that they are teachers, healers and guides here to help us. So when we in the West say, “I did... (ayahuasca, mushrooms, LSD, etc…)” we are placing ourselves at the center of the experience. An Indigenous orientation to these plant allies before and during ingestion would be something more akin to, “please help me, please instruct me, please heal me” etc. This is a simple yet profound shift in a person’s internal mindset that can unlock lasting change. In this way the psychedelic journey impacts how we know ourselves, and we do not just accumulate another "experience" to consume and then move on from...
To be clear, I am not personally opposed to recreational use of psychedelic substances, and I am a strong advocate for the decriminalization of all plant medicines and the restorative work necessary to address how the United State's "War on Drugs" has harmed so many, especially poor and minority communities.
However, I have found that when people embark on these experiences without thorough preparation, intention, guidance and integration, they often end up back in the same place where they started. Psychedelics are a just a tool, albeit a powerful one. Perhaps there are some new and exciting stories to tell, but an opportunity for deeper and lasting change has been missed. Also, when inexperienced people engage with psychedelics alone or without attention to planning "set and setting", there is an increased possibility of a “bad” trip or otherwise harmful experience. Additionally, one can bring the insights and processes discovered within the psychotherapeutic setting into their psychedelic journeys. For these reasons and more, I am deeply honored to offer psychedelic integration through the lens of psychotherapy and counseling.