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Psychedelics Today

A show discussing the important academic and other research in the field of Psychedelics. We discuss how psychedelics relate to human potential and healing.
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Now displaying: March, 2020
Mar 31, 2020

In this episode, Kyle sits down with Dylan Beynon, founder of Mindbloom, NYC based mental health and wellbeing platform. In the show they talk about how Mindbloom differs from other centers, paving the way for accessibility and affordability.

3 Key Points:

  1. Mindbloom is a next-generation mental health platform, catered to accessibility and affordability.
  2. They use ketamine tablets, different from lozenges and any other method. The tablets are held in the mouth and then spit out to avoid entering the liver, causing a sedation-like experience.
  3. Mindbloom differentiates themselves from other psychedelic therapy options by using a patient-choice model, to keep it affordable for those who need it. They offer the 4-week therapy model and give patients the option to choose ‘add-ons’ like extra integration. 

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Show Notes

About Dylan

  • Dylan is not a clinician or a doctor, he is an entrepreneur and a psychedelic medicine and therapeutic ketamine patient
    • These medicines have been transformative in his life and he wants to bring their benefits to the public
  • He grew up in a family that suffered greatly from mental illness
    • He lost his mother to addiction
  • He discovered positive psychology
    • When learning about the science of happiness, he realized that he wasn't happy
    • He was in business school and wanted to be a banker and make a ton of money
    • He soon realized that money doesn't buy happiness, and he thought maybe everything he was doing was a lie
  • He was self medicating with psychedelics
  • About 5 years ago he heard about psychedelic therapy
  • About 18 months ago he started working with a clinician doing ketamine therapy
  • He saw that when it's done in a therapeutic context, it can have a profound effect for people to get the most out of it
  • “Recreational vs therapeutic use is a false dichotomy” - Dylan

Mindbloom

  • The goal is to build the next-generation mental health platform
  • Right now they are doing Ketamine therapy
  • They are trying to make it accessible by making it affordable
  • They are trying to bring an elevated client experience, which they do with the space and software

Software Background

  • Voters Friend - a platform to help inform voters on the candidates, to increase access to democracy
  • Mighty - increasing access to social justice
  • Mindbloom - increase access to psychedelic medicines

Differentiation

  • The protocols that Mindbloom are using are capped
  • They are increasing access to the medicines, making it affordable
    • They keep it at $150-$250 a session, where at most Ketamine Therapy centers, it can range from $1000-$2000 a session
  • Dylan says he makes this possible by bringing in technology and software tools to make the sessions for efficient and effective
    • They use patient choice care, where the patient can use their best judgement on how in depth they want their treatment
  • They can ‘add on’ extra integration time onto the therapy session, or choose not to
    • This keeps the price down and accessible for each individual patient if need be
  • Mindbloom is a 4 session program, usually 1-2 months
  • They use the platform to have the client practice using the information in the weeks between each session, so they can practice integration even when not with a therapist or in session

The Program

  • The clinician prescribes a 4 week Ketamine Therapy session for anxiety and depression
    • The clinician will schedule a video interview to learn their symptoms
    • Then they will meet in person and build an integration program if needed
    • Its $1000 for the 4 session program and $600 for the renewal program
  • They use Ketamine tablets (similar to lozenges but faster acting)
    • They're not swallowing it, they spit it out after
    • If they swallow it, it breaks down in the liver into nor-ketaine, and that produces a sedative effect
  • After they spit it out, there is about an hour of music with no vocals
  • After the session, they move to an integration room where they are journaling
  • The protocols at Mindbloom were based on the MAPS protocol
  • They don't have a clinician in the room during the experience, only for after the experience
  • Dylan is looking to expand to other locations
    • A lot of people request couples or group therapies, so they will be taking that into consideration when building new locations

Final Thoughts

  • The more people who are thinking critically about this and putting their intentions into making this more accessible the better
  • There needs to be more gentle conversation around psychedelics and therapy, especially around the people that are still so unaware about this field
    • We should bring sacredness, specialness, and care to the conversation with those who might still be afraid about it

Links

Website


About Dylan Beynon

Dylan is the Founder & CEO of Mindbloom, an NYC-based mental health and wellbeing startup helping people expand their human potential with clinician-prescribed, guided psychedelic medicine experiences. There, he is partnering with clinicians, technologists, researchers, and patients to increase access to science-backed treatments, starting by reducing the cost of ketamine therapy for depression and anxiety by over 65%. Dylan is a 10-year psychedelic medicine patient and 3-time tech entrepreneur with both $100M+ in funding and an exit in his prior startups, which were focused on increasing access to justice and democracy. Dylan graduated from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.

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Mar 24, 2020

In this episode, Kyle sits down with Dr. Ryan Westrum, Psychedelic Integration Therapist. In the show, they talk about topics and teachings from Ryan’s book, The Psychedelic Integration Handbook.

3 Key Points:

  1. The Psychedelics Integration Handbook is designed to bring psychedelic experiences into the flow of your life and maximize their potential for helping you create the life you want to live.
  2. There is an important part in distinguishing integration from aftercare. Aftercare can look as simple as taking care of your body, getting good rest, eating well. You can't integrate without taking care of yourself first.
  3. One of the pillars of integration is PREP (purpose, reflecting on experiences, expectations, potential).


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Show Notes

About Ryan

  • Ryan is a Clinical Psychologist in the Minneapolis area
  • He has been a licensed Marriage Therapist for 15 years
  • He works in the realms of psychedelics and sexuality
  • He has a 14 year old daughter, and likes to take a psychedelic approach to parenting
    • He holds healing circles with mothers and fathers and their child(ren)
    • Psycho-ed and harm reduction are his focus with families
    • This is a group of people that need an honest conversation
  • At a young age he was into Stan Grof and Jungian literature and psychedelic experiences
  • His graduate program was focused on non-ordinary states of consciousness
  • Kyle mentions a good book, The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise
  • “As a western civilization, we have really minimized the opportunity for growth, the expansion of consciousness, and to be ourselves.” - Ryan
    • These experiences are powerful, and to come back to a culture that does not support it, is hard
  • The goal is being conscious with your confidence of why you're doing this work

About the Book

  • The Psychedelics Integration Handbook is designed to bring psychedelic experiences into the flow of your life and maximize their potential for helping you create the life you want to live
  • This is not a book with black and white answers but an offering to individual people who want to explore all the possibilities for being alive and seeking wholeness.
  • The Psychedelics Integration Handbook contains historical perspective, maps of consciousness, approaches for integrating body-mind-spirit, and practical suggestions for all stages of psychedelic exploration.

The Psychedelics Integration Handbook

  • The book was written for people to make it their own
  • Its broken into 3 parts, educational, a ‘your turn’ section, and then integration
  • Its about having a compartment, and then playing within the compartment
  • Everyone has unique nuances, integration looks different to everyone
    • Integration practices don't matter if they don't personally mean something to you

Integration

  • The question to help determine the integration needs is, "What does the individual lead with?"
    • It's the mind, body, emotion in the spirit altogether
    • Immediately after a psychedelic experience, some want to talk about it, others embody it
    • Do they lead with thoughts or emotions?
  • There is a part in the book: The difference between integration and aftercare
    • How do we distinguish between self care and integration?
    • Is my body rested? Am I comfortable? Are my needs taken care of?
    • Aftercare is grounding
    • “If you're not taking care of your body, you won't be able to integrate” - Ryan
    • It might not be as complex as it needs to be, its as simple as taking care of yourself
    • An important part of aftercare, is asking yourself when it is okay to practice again
  • Ryan was mentored by James Fadiman, and he believed in taking big doses every 6 months
  • One of the pillars is PREP (purpose, reflecting on experiences, expectations, potential)
  • Ryan says he is not the gatekeeper
  • Controlling willpower is a huge step in integration
    • Some people want to just take psychedelics, but not write, or do yoga, or do any other mindful activity

Safety

  • Dose, set and setting are the obvious
    • It's like a goldrush, some just want to jump in blindly
    • You have to understand what safety means to you
  • Ryan thinks we aren't talking enough about the recreational use
    • He is excited about all of the conversation on therapeutic use, but he thinks we are ignoring recreational use
    • He wants to see ritual and reverence in the recreational community
  • Preparation is so important
  • Kyle says that a lot of times after an experience he has all of these ideas for how to live his life, and he tries to practice them, but sometimes he finds himself slipping into old patterns of behavior
    • Ryan says he believes there is still movement and progress, be gentle with yourself

Links

Healing Souls LLC

Psychedelic Integration

About Ryan

Dr. Ryan Westrum, PhD, LMFT, is an internationally recognized psychedelic integration expert. For more than 15 years, his primary focus has been working with individuals and groups facilitating experiential therapy and integrating psychedelic journeys into healing and personal transformation. Ryan speaks on a myriad of topics and leads experiential groups, like dreamwork integration therapy and psychedelic integration groups.

 

 

 

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Mar 17, 2020

In this episode, Kyle interviews Jessica DiRuzza, Psychotherapist, Astrologer and Teacher. In the show they talk about how astrology can be used as a tool and framework for navigating and understanding psychedelic experiences.

3 Key Points:

  1. Astrology can be used as an integrative tool for psychedelic and other exceptional experiences.
  2. The planets are emitting some type of force that are letting us behave a certain way. Astrology is the one thing we have agreed upon across millennia and era.
  3. A Saturn Return transit can be a difficult but transformative time in one's life. This transit happens around age 28-31. During this time, we face crises in our life as we take on greater responsibility. It can feel like death and a rebirth. It can correlate to Grof's Perinatal Birth Matrix II (“No Exit” and "Cosmic Engulfment"). 


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Show Notes

About Jessica

  • She is a Psychotherapist
  • She teaches and practices Astrology
  • She uses Astrology to help put meaning and understanding to what happens in visionary states
  • She received her bachelors at CIIS and studied and taught with Stan Grof and Richard Tarnes in the Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness Program
  • Since the 70’s, Stan Grof was following his transits and all the transits of his clients
    • Richard Tarnas and Stan Grof studied astrology as a diagnostic tool for those who would do psychedelics
    • They studied transit astrology
    • By looking at these transits, what they found were archetypal similarities
    • “Our solar system is an extension of our ecosystem here on earth.” - Jessica\
  • “For millennia, the one thing that human beings have agreed upon across cultures and eras, are the meaning of the planets” - Jessica
  • Astrology is the original science

Free Will vs. Determinism

  • The planets are emitting some type of force that are letting us behave a certain way
  • They are reflective, what is happening in the sky is indicative of what's happening here
  • Astrology is like a clock, a clock does not make it be a certain time, it just helps us tell the time

Interest in Astrology

  • Psychedelics brought Jessica to Astrology
  • Jessica went to her first Burning Man at 20 years old
    • She received an astrology reading there and said it broke her open
  • She went to CA to see the reader that gave her the initial reading
    • She did a high dose LSD session
    • She re-lived her birth experience, and gave birth to her new self
  • The person who gave her the reading was teaching with Stan Grof and Richard Tarnas at CIIS
  • She dropped out of college and moved to attend CIIS
    • She was in a Uranus conjunct Ascendant transit
  • Through these experiences she uprooted her entire life

Astrology Lingo

  • Sun represents our sense of self, our identity in the world, egoic consciousness
  • Moon represents our relational matrix, our early childhood experiences, our emotions and experiences, and a deep sense of belonging
  • Rising represents who we are from moment to moment, how we initially meet existence
  • Zodiac means belt of life
  • Each aspect carries a different quality
    • Conjunct means new moon, representing a new beginning
    • A full moon represents when the sun is opposite than the moon, a blossoming or fruition. 
  • Astrology is a language, the language of the stars
    • There are so many ways to speak this language, and so many schools of thought
    • What really matters is the cosmology that goes behind the description
  • “Both astrology and psychedelics are a tools for self reflection, that hopefully we are using to become more kind and more caring” - Jessica
  • “Astrology provides a world view or a cosmology to hold what happens in those visionary states, it's a grounding place to integrate and make meaning of what's happening” - Jessica

Saturn Return

  • Saturn return happens from age 28-31
  • During our Saturn Return, we face crises in our life and take on greater responsibility
  • It can feel like a death, but also like a birth
    • “The greater the death, the greater the rebirth” - Jessica
  • The 4 bpms correspond to the four outer planets
  • It's not just in entheogenic spaces that this is applicable
  • “Working with the resistance consciously, actually helps us move into what the divine or the universe wants us to step into our life, karmically, what we are here to do” - Jessica

Astrology and Psychedelics

  • Kyle asks about using astrology to pick a time of when to do psychedelics
    • Jessica responds saying that if you have a strong calling to do so for healing and balance, and you have all the components for proper integration, then it's a good time
    • Then, astrology can be used to help find themes and help dissect the experience
  • Your Saturn transits contain a difference component in each person
    • The sense of responsibility grows in you
    • “My deepest calling in this life is to bring Astrology and Psychology together in one unified field” - Jessica

Final Thoughts

  • Jessica is so proud of the honest integrity that people are bringing to this work
  • She send best wishes in the great reckoning, and the great becoming

Links

Website


About Jessica

Jessica is a licensed psychotherapist, astrologer, and teacher. Her life is guided by a passion for engaging with people, understanding relationships, and staying connected to the larger world around us. This passion and curiosity led her into the healing profession as a counselor in 2007. For over a decade she has worked collaboratively with individuals, couples, and groups on their transformative journeys. Helping people on their path of exploration and healing is the privilege of a lifetime. Jessica received her Master’s in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She completed her undergraduate degree at California Institute of Integral Studies, where she studied and taught archetypal astrology and transpersonal psychology. Her greatest joy is working in sacred and revolutionary ways with people in psychotherapy, teaching, and astrological consultations. She also shares her work through podcasts and writing on her site.

Designed to help the body with cellular energy and cardiovascular endurance.

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Mar 10, 2020

In this episode, Kyle sits down with Rob Heffernan, an independent researcher and activist. In the show, they talk about churches, Ayahuasca, accessibility and the Psychedelic Liberty Summit by the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. Rob is also part of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants

The Council for the Protection of Sacred plants is "an initiative of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines that endeavors to advocate for the legality of sacred plant medicines among indigenous peoples and non-indigenous communities, encourage legal harm reduction practices that protect those who use them, educate about conservation of plant species, document relevant legal and social issues, and consult on legal cases including possible litigation. " 

3 Key Points:

  1. The Psychedelic Liberty Summit is a gathering on legal, cultural, and political issues around the emerging psychedelic renaissance.
  2. Accessibility is not just about whether or not people can afford psychedelic therapy, people cant even afford regular therapy, the whole healthcare model is an issue.
  3. A lot of churches get a bad name, but really most churches are built around community. Psychedelics can help revitalize churches.

Support the show

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Show Notes

 

About Rob

  • Rob is a member of the Chacruna Council for protection of sacred plants
  • He is an integrative sound and music practitioner
  • He is involved in the Santo Daime
  • He has been drinking Ayahuasca for over 20 years
  • He began to ponder and ask a lot of questions about involvement with medicine communities

Psychedelic Liberty Summit

  • Rob will be hosting a talk on religious exemptions and more
  • There will be speakers of all different initiatives, from decriminalization to indigenous relations
  • There are a lot of investors interested in the psilocybin market
  • The issue is complex because there is this ongoing cultural history of the US and other countries exploiting those cultures and removing resources (oil, medicines, etc)

Ayahuasca

  • The first time Rob drank Ayahuasca was back in 2000, where there weren't Ayahuasca retreats going on then
    • People who lived in the area were not familiar with Ayahuasca use
    • People started coming from around the world to use Ayahuasca
    • There are feedback loops between the cities and the forests
  • People typically think integration is what happens afterwards, but really it is also the sacrifice from the start, the preparation, such as a dieta
  • We need to honor what we have learned from the indigenous, and give back
  • Traditional dietas don't involve actually drinking the Ayahuasca, the culture has come a long way

Accessibility

  • While these medicines are relatively safe, you can get in trouble using these substances recreationally, there is a role for the therapeutic support
  • It's not just about whether or not people can afford psychedelic therapy, people cant even afford regular therapy, the whole healthcare model is an issue

Santo Daime

  • It was founded in the 1930’s in Brazil
  • The reason that the Santo Daime looks more white in the USA is due to the segregation
  • There are all sorts of ways that the Santo Daime may look
    • When Rob first got involved in drinking Ayahuasca, he wasn't sure that he wanted to get involved in the Santo Daime, but he said the container was so strong
    • There are hymns sung, and it's very structured
    • It allows you to really go deep
    • Sometimes it can look like drumming, dancing, and fire, but there is also a style of sitting in silence
  • There is a profound ethical foundation which is really important
    • All of the elements make for a really important container
  • In the traditional form, you do not touch anyone, unless there is a certain circumstance, and a prior consensual agreement, and waivers signed, etc
    • There have been issues of sexual abuse in the psychedelic realm, the Santo Daime takes many precautions against this

Churches

  • There are legal churches in the US through the Daime and the UDV (União do Vegetal)
  • The Daime has 5 churches that are explicitly legal
    • The government has decided not to pursue or prosecute Ayahuasca for those other churches
  • From Shock to Awe
  • Someone tragically died at the Soul Quest Church, but it wasn't related to ayahuasca
  • There are a lot of people that claim to be a part of a Native American church that are not
    • A lot of people reach out to Chacruna on how to become a part of the Native American Church to hold ceremonies, and it's not easy, you almost have to already be a part of it, instead of just joining
  • Some people don't like the word church, but it originates from the words ‘congregation’ and ‘assembly’
  • The problem is the controlled substances act, that these things are illegal in the first place” - Rob
  • "The experience in all those settings is about community. The goal isn't to have spiritual experiences, its to have a spiritual life” - Rob
  • Psychedelics and entheogens could be central to creating a new hub
  • It is possible to create psychedelic churches outside of the Santo Daime
  • The Ayahuasca tradition really uses the potential of group process
  • “How individual is the psychedelic experience, where you need some one-on-one work?” - Kyle

Psychedelic Liberty Summit

  • April 25-26 in San Francisco
  • Discount Code: PsychedelicsToday for 10% off at checkout

Links

Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicine

Psychedelic Liberty Summit 

 


About Rob Heffernan

Rob Heffernan has been involved in the Peruvian curandero tradition and the Santo Daime for the last 16 years. He was a member and chairman of the North American Santo Daime Legal Committee for a number of years. He has been engaged in independent research and active in ad hoc groups promoting legal clarity and ethical integrity in the Ayahuasca Community. He is also a certified Integrative Sound and Music Practitioner; Shamanic Breath Work Facilitator; and a long time student and practitioner of Buddhist Dhamma. He has a BA in Communications and Social Studies from Fordham University, and works in the AV/IT communication industry.

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Mar 3, 2020

In this episode, Joe interviews Clinical Psychologist, Alicia Danforth. In the show, they cover topics including how to get involved in the space, consent, research, MDMA, Autism and more.

3 Key Points:

  1. Alicia Danforth is a Clinical Psychologist who will be having a talk on Ethical Challenges in Psychedelic Medicine at the ICPR Conference in the Netherlands, April 2020.
  2. There is a possibility for MDMA to have a non-responder effect. No one has done research dedicated to why some people don't react at all to MDMA.
  3. Psychedelic science is very hard to talk about. We have the language of science that studies the psychopharmacological effects of drugs but no language that holds the effects of an altered state of consciousness yet.

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Show Notes

About Alicia

  • Her path to her current place is such a random road that led her to where she is
  • She was going to burning man and getting into harm reduction when she realized the untapped value of psychedelics, its where her interest began
  • She began volunteering, doing administrative work for a doctor
    • She was offered to be a study coordinator
  • She got introduced to the power of psilocybin as a medicine, for dying cancer patients
    • The patients had a prognosis from 6 months to a year
    • To see how this state of consciousness helped people transition to the end of life so smoothly, that is what inspired her
  • 5 months after she started working on the study, she got a cancer diagnosis

Getting Involved in the Space

  • Alicia would always get people approaching her about how to get in the field and she tells them “what field?”
  • Her Power Point making skills, are what technically got her involved in this field
  • “You never know what skill may be needed in this field” - Alicia
  • Alicia encourages people to look into their own collection of skills, and dig deep into that, find your niche, and then use that to contribute to the movement
    • Clinical therapists and psychologists are not the only people in this field
      We need accountants, marketers, etc

Consent

  • People start to get really religious around this field
  • Joe mentions a story where someone performed non-consensual reiki

Current Research

  • She is currently looking at why psychedelics appeal to people who typically like to abuse power
  • She did a talk at burning man about ‘coming down from the psychedelic power trip’
  • She tries to cite as many references and research as possible
  • Her talk at ICPR is going to be the very professional, version of that talk
  • Why are individuals who seek to abuse these tools so irresistibly drawn to psychedelics?
  • “If someone gets abused, and people say don't come out about it because it's not good for the movement, then what kind of movement is that?” - Joe

Empathogens

  • MDMA is known as an Empathogen
  • Can empathogens help people who are not empathetic, become empathetic?
  • Cohen’s D is the measure of effect size
    • Big pharma uses this all the time, to determine the effects of one drug compared to another
    • The Cohen’s D is how large that difference is

Non-response MDMA

  • There is a known, non-responder effect with MDMA
  • There was a few double-blind sessions, where the patient received MDMA, and they didn't react, their vitals didn't change
    • At the end,  it was revealed that they truly received MDMA, and then even to be sure, they would do a blood test, and it showed up in the blood
  • No one has done research dedicated to why some people don't react at all to MDMA
  • It's probably common, that for people who are relying on MDMA to work as their last resort option and try it and not feel anything at all, to end their life afterward

Media and Support

  • It's the most difficult thing in dealing with the media
    • When you are entirely dependent on funding, if you don't talk about what you're doing, then you can't get funding at all
  • There is a crisis in science on the replicability on these studies
    • Joe says its cool to have these studies replicated outside of the US
  • Psychedelic science is very hard to talk about due to the subjective nature of the psychedelic experience. We have the language of science that studies the psychopharmacological effects of drugs. There is no language that holds the effects of an altered state of consciousness yet.” - Alicia
  • The rapport that the patient and facilitator have, and the effect of that relationship, is a variable

Links

Website


About Alicia Danforth

Alicia received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto in 2013. Since 2006, she has worked in clinical research at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on clinical studies for adults with anxiety related to advanced-stage cancer and with autistic adults who experience social anxiety. She is currently a lead clinician and supervisor for a clinical trial at UCSF for psychological distress in long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS. She is also certified in Trauma-Focused CBT and Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy.  

Designed to help the body with cellular energy and cardiovascular endurance.

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