Psychedelic Science 2023

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Embodying the Seat of the Psychedelic Guide


Embodying the Seat of the Psychedelic Guide

Today, the demand for and interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy is at an all-time high. Training programs that scaffold their curriculum around a psychotherapeutic approach are popping up right and left. Yet a psychotherapeutic approach fails to fully encompass the role of the psychedelic guide. In the same way that the field of psychedelic medicine itself is still nascent in its rebirth, so is the role of the guide. What does it mean to be a psychedelic guide? What qualities are essential to cultivate within a person so that they might hold ethically-informed, justice-oriented, effective and transformative space for others? This presentation illuminates how being a “psychedelic guide” is up for definition. It addresses the historical influences on the role of space-holder: the shaman, the guru, the wounded healer. It takes a broad view of the field of psychedelic work today, looking at the intersection occurring that includes therapy, medicine, and spiritual experience. By considering the need for psychedelic medicine to include insights from social justice, trauma-informed care, and mystical experience, it argues that a psychedelic guide is not a recapitulation of the traditional role of the healer, but a reimagining and revisioning of it.

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