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Psychedelics Today

Psychedelics Today is the planetary leader in psychedelic education, media, and advocacy. Covering up-to-the-minute developments and diving deep into crucial topics bridging the scientific, academic, philosophical, societal, and cultural, Psychedelics Today is leading the discussion in this rapidly evolving ecosystem.
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Now displaying: July, 2023
Jul 28, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Sarko Gergerian, MS, MHC, CARC: a police peer support, community outreach, and health-fitness officer; founding member of the Community and Law Enforcement Assisted Recovery Program (C.L.E.A.R.); and psychotherapist trained in ketamine- and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

Any regular listener of the show should be familiar with how passionately Joe is against the drug war and the resulting policing of what many of us feel should be legal, so this in-person conversation with a police officer who seems to mostly be on our side is pretty refreshing to hear. 

Gergerian discusses his entry into the force in his 30s, and what it was like to bring in a healthy “why is this illegal?” viewpoint on drug use and personal agency vs. the slow moving attitudes he saw in much of law enforcement. He talks about how working nightclub security taught him about safe spaces; the problems with officers not proactively moving on actionable information and building relationships with communities; and the very philosophy behind law enforcement: what do they hope to accomplish, do they want to make real change, and do they believe in the laws they’re enforcing? 

And they discuss so much more: the need for diversity, cultural competency, and broadness in perspective; the criminalization of self-directed behavior; the effect critical incidents have on officers; drug war paranoia, legitimate concerns over hotlines and sensitive data, and psychedelic culture’s relationships with police; creating a culture of harm reduction within law enforcement, and what it might look like for police officers to receive psychedelic therapy.

Click here to head to the show notes page. 

Jul 25, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews one of the world’s leading experts on human performance: New York Times bestselling author and Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective, Steven Kotler.

Kotler's work explores the neurobiology of peak human performance, flow states, and aging, and the concept of getting our biology to work for us rather than against us in our later years, by using the parts of our brains that expand in our 50s, combined with neuroplasticity, learning by play, and the biggest factor: working toward a very difficult - but not impossible - task. His 30-year exploration of the neurobiology behind people accomplishing 'impossible' feats led him to test his theories by teaching himself to park ski at 53 with resounding success, then using his protocol with people up to 70 years old the next season. The story is told in his newest book about challenging tired concepts of aging, "Gnar Country." 

He discusses the power of flow states and how much flow actually amplifies productivity, motivation, wisdom, empathy, and more; why dynamic motion is a key activity for greater longevity and why skiing and similar action sports are some of the best examples; why dynamic activity in novel environments is even better; why changing one's mindset may be the biggest factor toward change; why corporations are looking at flow training and where these concepts could go in the future; and of course, how this all relates to psychedelics. 

Click here to head to the show notes page!

Jul 21, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Dr. Gabrielle Lehigh: Co-Founder and Managing Director of Psychedelic Grad, a web-based community serving as an educational and career hub for up-and-coming psychedelic professionals; and the host of the related podcast, “Curious to Serious,” where she speaks with students and professionals about the path they took to land in the psychedelic field. 

Lehigh recently earned her Ph.D. with research on something not many are looking at: the stories behind powerful and transformative psychedelic experiences specifically at music events, based on 38 interviews and over 500 surveys mostly collected at day-long festivals in the southern United States. While the goal was largely data collection in support of the clear potential for therapeutic benefit in using psychedelics in recreational settings (as many of us who have experienced this can attest), she was surprised to learn how many people still blindly trust dealers; how much festival security can affect safety; how the community often makes more of a difference than the music itself; and how many parallels exist between colder clinical models of psychedelic-assisted therapy and the completely open festival experience. 

She discusses how she found her way from environmental justice to psychedelics; what people are most looking for on Psychedelic Grad; why she chose to use the word “transformative” in her research; what music she has had her best experiences with; why psychonauts shouldn’t forget about Pink Floyd; and much more.

Click here to head to the show notes page!

Jul 18, 2023

In this episode, Kyle interviews the Reverend Dr. Brian Rajcok, Lead Pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Avon, Connecticut, who recently completed his Ph.D. in pastoral counseling.

Rajcok dives into the intersection of spirituality, religion, mysticism, and how psychedelics bring these topics together, discussing a transformative peyote ceremony and the awe-inspiring moments of surrender, connection, and divine presence that left a lasting impact on him and deepened his connection to God. And he talks about his recently completed dissertation that was inspired by it all: "The Lived Experience of Professional Mental Health Clinicians With Spiritually Significant Psychedelic Experiences," which he created to gauge the relationship between religious spiritual commitment, tolerance, and multicultural counselor competency. He shares stories from the study and reflections on how these experiences have changed the way involved clinicians work. 

And he discusses much more in the realm of psychedelics and religion: why he pursued pastoral counseling and how psychedelics come into play; the balance between tradition and reason and spiritual commitment and tolerance; the legal and regulatory considerations of religious psychedelic use; the concept of a faith quadrilateral; the need for psychedelic experiences in counseling training programs; the big question of 'when is it religion and when is it mental health care?'; and how the future of psychedelic spirituality could be humanity's biggest evolution.

Click here to head to the show notes page. 

Jul 14, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Dr. Rosalind Watts: famed clinical psychologist, former clinical lead on Imperial College London’s first Psilocybin for Depression trial, and Founder of ACER Integration. 

She discusses the awakening she had after having a child; her work at Imperial College and realizing the importance of staying in touch with patients; the challenges of balancing her work with being a mother; her ACER integration model and the interconnectedness of trees in a forest; how the Watts Connectedness Scale works (and David fills it out); and how much the outside-the-hype surrounding pieces matter – the therapy, the therapeutic relationship, the lessons learned, and the work done to integrate it all. 

And she talks about another moment of awakening, at last year's Psych Summit conference, where capitalism's obsession with profit-over-care frameworks and "magic bullet" and "brain reset" narratives was on full display, which fully enforced what she hopes for in the future: a world where we embrace non-clinical, ceremonial, and nature-based practices; with healing centers (psychedelic and non); supportive communities; infrastructure around conflict resolution and restorative justice; and a shift towards collectivism and collaboration – and how that all starts by finding our psychedelic elders. 

Click here to head to the show notes page!

Jul 11, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Oliver Carlin, Founder of Curative Mushrooms, a grow kit solution company designed to produce mushrooms of one’s choosing within 30 days with little effort and no growing experience. 

Carlin tells his personal story of 20 years in the Navy to a 7g psilocybin journey and the work of perfecting these grow bags; how a grow bag works; how easy it can be to grow your own mushrooms; the advantages of growing your own mushrooms vs. buying them; the legalities of grow kits and how he has been able to do this; steps growers can take to reduce their legal risks; the variety of people benefitting from mushrooms (especially in the veteran community); and how growing your own mushrooms seems to make the experience more curated and special.

Curative Mushrooms recently hired someone to create new strains for them every month, they do bimonthly live Q&As for people interested in growing, and they ship a bonus mycology book with each kit that shows how to study spores. They offer growing kits for Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, and Shiitake mushrooms, but his most popular option is the “All-in-One Happy Mushrooms for Sad People” kit.

Click here to go to the show notes page

Jul 7, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Dr. Roberta Murphy: member of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research and training medical psychotherapist.

This is a rare impromptu podcast, recorded about a half hour after David heard Murphy speaking on a panel at UK’s Breaking Convention conference. He asked her if she wanted to be on the podcast sometime, and before they knew it, they were recording. Fastest turnaround ever?

She discusses her past research and what she's doing at Imperial College; her work on a psilocybin for depression trial; a psilocybin versus Escitalopram trial; her hopes for psychedelics treating people with Parkinson's; and her recent co-written paper on the ARC Framework (Access, Reciprocity and Conduct), where she will be focusing strongly on the Conduct aspect through her work at Imperial. 

She mostly talks about her other recent paper exploring the impact of one of the more important aspects of therapy: the therapeutic alliance on the psychedelic experience. How does the treatment dynamic between the therapist and the client impact the outcome (and course) of the therapy, and what determines whether it's neutral, negative, positive, or very positive?

Click here to head to the show notes page.

 

Jul 4, 2023

In this episode, Alexa interviews Rachel Clark: Education Manager for DanceSafe, a public health nonprofit specializing in serving people who use drugs and their communities.

As we move into the prime festival season, more people are going to be doing drugs, and the importance of harm reduction and drug testing becomes even more central to the experience. She discusses the complications of drug testing and how it’s more of an act of ruling substances out rather than determining purity; the fentanyl problem and its surrounding myths; how to identify and treat an overdose (and what not to do); Philadelphia’s struggles with Xylazine highlighting the problem with regional cross contamination; and DanceSafe’s “We Love Consent” and “Healing is Power” campaigns, which aim to open up the dialogue of true harm reduction and safe spaces outside of the substance alone.

Check out DanceSafe.org for more info, and use this link when you’re ready to make a purchase!

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