Psychedelic Professionalism: Exploring Ethics, Boundaries, Self-Care, and More


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In this episode of Psychedelics Today, Kyle and Joe discuss professionalism in the psychedelic field. It has been brought to our attention that there are a number of people out there doing unprofessional things. As this field continues to develop and grow, it is important to be aware of what professionalism could look like, what self care, ethics, and boundaries look like in this world that we are all actively developing.

This episode is about raising the topic of professionalism in a new growing field rather than providing answers. We all need to be self-reflective in our development and question whether or not harm is being done by certain practices.

Some concerns were brought to attention via the Psilly Rabbits blog, Exploring Psychedelics 2018: Reviewing Zealotry and Apologetics within the Field of Psychedelic. If you want to listen to the episode where Cody discusses this blog more in-depth, check out the Psychedelic Zealotry episode.

Have any thoughts, comments, or feedback? Leave them below or send us an email!



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Navigating Your Way Through the Psychedelic Field: How to Get Involved

Psychedelics: A Re-Emerging Field

As psychedelic research re-emerges from its dark ages, the world is beginning to learn about their healing potential for various psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and near-death anxiety due to terminal illness. The research is fascinating, exciting, and seems to be catching a lot more mainstream attention.  The preliminary research shows that psychedelics may be promising tools for mental health and could be the future of medicine. So the question is, how does one get involved in this work?

Joe and Kyle had the opportunity to talk with Ingmar Gorman, Ph.D.about how people can get involved in psychedelic research or in the field of psychedelics in general. Ingmar shared with us some really great information and we would like to recap some highlights. Some of the information provided is a mix between our own thoughts and what Ingmar mentioned.

Important Disclaimer: This is a fairly new field, so it is important to remember that the future of this work is not set-in-stone. Psychedelics are still illegal within the United States and many other countries around the world. While we remain optimistic for the future of psychedelic research, the landscape can shift at any moment. There is still a lot of work to be done!


First Thing First:

  1. Ask yourself, “Why am I interested in entering into the field of psychedelic research?”
  2. Do you want to get your foot in the door because you had an experience that changed your life or inspired you in some way? Did you have a healing experience that you want to share with others?
  3. Do you want to give back to the community in some way by furthering scientific research or inquiry? If so, what is your expertise and area of interest?
  4. What role can you play later on? Are there areas or specialties that need attention or growth?
  5. Understanding and asking yourself, “Why do I want to do this? What is my motive?”

Personal or transformational experiences may not always be the best option for pursuing an active career in researching psychedelics. Psychedelic experiences can be healing, transformative, and magical, but this does not mean you have to enter into the field of science or research. There may be other options that might suit your interests better. Obtaining a professional degree can be a well-worth investment with your time and money if that is surely a path that you wish to pursue. It is important to think outside of the box.

Also, an important thing to note here is that psychedelics are still illegal. While the research and science is happening, obtaining a research position is often difficult considering the limited amount of research. This is not to discourage any of you, but just saying it will require a lot of work! While MAPS is projecting that MDMA will be legal for psychotherapy by 2021, it is still uncertain what the laws and regulations will be. We are hopeful that the future looks bright for psychedelic careers, but it is also important to err on the side of caution as well.


General Information:

Along with asking the questions above, here is some general information or advice for individuals who not wish to pursue a traditional degree. We are all hardwired differently and earning a professional degree may not be in everyone’s best interest.

  • The Non-Traditional Approach: There are other ways to get involved that do not require the investment your time and money for a professional degree. Are you a visual artist? Do you produce music? An interviewer? Are you a product inventor? For example, Joe mentioned during the podcast that he did not feel the need to go on to pursue a mental health degree because he does not feel like being a therapist is the thing that he wants to do right now. Instead, Joe and I are creating this podcast as a resource for the community. The bottom line, is there anything that you can contribute or create for the field? Many researchers and scientists are not artists or graphic designers and the field needs art to help convey the visual experience. Look at Alex and Allison Grey or Android Jones for example.
  • Develop an Expertise: Whether you are taking a traditional or non-traditional approach, I think it is safe to say that developing an expertise is a smart approach. Develop an expertise that can translate well to psychedelic research. Ask yourself, “how can I help or what can I contribute?”
  • Apply Your Skills: Again, think about how you can develop an expertise and think about how your skills can be applied to the field. Are you an accountant or into finances? Maybe if Rick Doblin’s dream of psychedelic treatment centers become real in the future, we are going to need lots of people to manage everything.
  • Volunteer: It does not hurt to reach out and develop a relationship with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Erowid, Zendo Project, DanceSafe, Drug Policy Alliance, or any other psychedelic organization. These organizations might be looking for a helping hand in a project or event. Volunteering can help you become connected with an organization, develop a relationship, and maybe help you land a job somewhere! Worst case scenario, you meet some awesome people.
  • Festival Harm Reduction Services: There are various organizations that provide harm reduction services at festivals. This may be a great way to get experience in the field. Check out the Zendo Project, DanceSafe, or Kosmicare for potential future opportunities.
  • Create a Psychedelic Club or Society: Local psychedelic clubs and societies are popping up all over the place. You can create your own too! You can check out our guide Tips on Creating Your Own Psychedelic Group


Get Involved in Research

There are numerous ways to get involved in research projects. From self-report studies to actual participation, there are ways to get involved and possibly become a study participant. Here is a list of a few different options.

 


For Students:

If you are thinking about trying to get your foot in the door with psychedelic research, it is important to analyze which route you wish to take. There are many paths to choose from and you do not need always need to pursue a degree in science.

Are you currently or thinking about pursuing your Bachelor’s degree?

  • What are your interests? Are you interested in psychology or psychiatry? Neuroscience or neuropsychology? Chemistry? Biology? History or anthropology? Do you want to do therapy at some point? Figure out what interests you.
    It is recommended if you want to do therapy or conduct scientific research to earn a degree in science and psychology.
  • Find a niche or a specialty: If you’re off to an early start, figure out what you may want to focus on. If you’re a psychology student, maybe focus on trauma or addiction. Current psychedelic research is mostly focused on if these substances can be beneficial for certain psychiatric or mental disorders. The research funds are not really there for “how” these substances work, but that might not be the case down the line in a few years. The field is shifting rapidly.
  • Go to conferences: Just in case you missed this in the last section, remember to try and attend a conference or event!
  • Find A School: It is suggested that if you would like to do rigorous academic/scientific research it might be important to seek out applying to a traditional school. There are schools out there doing research and it might not hurt to look into their programs. MAPS has made a list of schools that might make psychedelic research easier.
  • Create a Club: You can always try to create a drug advocacy/policy club at your university. If you are unsure how to go about doing so, you could always check out the Students for Sensible Drug Policy and create a local chapter at your university or school.
  • Training and Education: There are plenty of training opportunities that may be helpful when thinking about adding new skills to your toolbox. Here are some examples of trainings that could be beneficial or helpful.

Harm Reduction

Techniques and Therapies

Some of these trainings/techniques may require advanced credentials and education.


Beyond The Bachelor’s Degree:

If you just had just completed your undergraduate degree, are currently a graduate student, or trying to figure out what is next, here is some advice.

  • Master’s Degree or Ph.D.: Many people get caught up on this decision/topic. Some people believe that pursuing a clinical psychology PhD or PsyD is the best option if they want to get their foot in the door with psychedelic psychotherapy. Earning a Ph.D. or PsyD or even a medical degree such as a Psychiatry is a large investment in both your time and money. This route may not be the best option for everyone and it is important to know what you are interested in or what skills you are strong in. Maybe science and math is not your strong point, so pursuing a clinical psychology degree to become a clinical psychologist may not suit you. Some people just want to be able to conduct psychotherapy and there are plenty of ways to do so, such as getting a master’s degree in clinical mental health or social work. Weigh your options and think about what fits you the best.
  • Specialty and Niche: Like the bachelor’s advice, what is your specialty or expertise? What role can you play later on? The field of psychedelic research is looking for individuals with specialties. Look into the ways how to develop an expertise in the field. If your interest is in trauma, research how to develop a focus in body psychotherapy for trauma disorders. Focus on alternative treatments for addiction.
  • Passion and Drive: Since earning a professional degree or a doctorate degree is both an investment of time and money, you are going to need to be passionate about what you are studying. There are many people who start programs and realize that it is not for them. Know that if you want to pursue a professional career in psychedelics, you’re in it for the long haul!
  • Is There Therapeutic Benefit: If you are interested in research Ingmar mentioned that the funding may not be there for questions like, “how do these substances work?” or “how do they heal?” Even though the Imperial College of London has been doing amazing “how” research (how LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA affect the brain) there is not much of that type of research going on within the United States. The MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study wanted to know not how MDMA cures or helps PTSD, but rather, does MDMA-assisted psychotherapy help with PTSD?
  • Find a Mentor or Professor: It does not hurt to research mentors or professors in the field to see where they are teaching. Katherine Maclean mentioned in our latest interview that she was interested in psychedelic research and knew that Johns Hopkins was researching psilocybin. Look for post-doctorate fellowships, internships, etc. Attend a school that is doing the research
  • Find Grants for Research: If you are enrolled in a program and can find a faculty member that supports your psychedelic mission, try to find grants or scholarship money to support your research program. The Source Research Foundation is a new organization that is helping to provide grant money to students who want to conduct psychedelic research.
  • Training and Education: As mentioned in the “For Students” section above, there are various training/education opportunities that will help you grow and develop new skills. Please view the list above for ideas.

Additional Resources

Organizations

Articles about getting involved


Best of Luck! We wish you the best of luck on your psychedelic journey and hope that you find this information useful. MAPS has a lot of great information and be sure to check out their “resource” section.

Be sure to leave a comment, subscribe to our podcast, and connect with us. We would love to hear from you – info@psychedelicstoday.com

Author: Kyle Buller

Last Updated: 5/31/2018

Mike Branc – Mikeadelic, Ayahuasca and Coming Back to America

Mike Branc

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In this 88th episode of Psychedelics Today, host Joe Moore interviews Mike Brancatelli of the Mikeadelic podcast. After returning from a three-month Amazonian ayahuasca sojourn, Mikeadelic himself shares information about this extraordinary experience, how he has gotten involved in psychedelics and his journey.

Show Notes:
● Mike Brancatelli spent his three-month trip in Peru at the Temple of the Way of Lights with their residency program in the heart of the Amazon jungle during an ayahuasca retreat.
● Mike was previously doing stand-up comedy in New York City with his friend Dave Smith called “Part of the Problem.”
● Mikeadelic the podcast began in the spring of 2016.
● Drinking ayahuasca will produce an effect on you, especially when coupled with ceremony and healing songs.
● During an intense healing ceremony, a song cut to the core of the collection of pain that Mike was experiencing, and it felt like he was being unclogged of this negative energy, and it came out in the form of a very vocal purge.
● He feels passionate about ending the war on drugs and the prison industrial complex.
● You can remain filled with passion and compassion without being emotionally attached. Sit with your feelings without letting them control how you respond.
● The information overload of media drowns your spirit.
● A morning routine with meditation is helpful to get centered and focused for the rest of the day.
● The Netflix TV series “Wild Wild Country” is a true story about a controversial cult leader claiming to enlighten people.
● “Enlightenment Now” is a book about the enlightenment philosophy “science, reason and humanism”. It is a contemporary take on that philosophy – you could call Pinker’s take a Modern Enlightenment philosophy. Steven Pinker wrote the book. Joe Moore, suggests it and found out about it from the Bill Gates’s.
● “The Internet of Money” Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Andreas M. Antonopoulos is another interesting read suggested by Joe Moore.
● Before ayahuasca use, listen to your heart to understand why you want to try it.

3 Key Points:
1. During an intense healing ceremony, a song cut to the core of the collection of pain that Mike was experiencing, and it felt like he was being unclogged of this negative energy, and it came out in the form of a very vocal purge.
2. It is incredibly brave to be willing to confront your stress and be willing to stare into your soul and slay your demons.
3. Remain passionate, compassionate, and acknowledge the problems in the world, but don’t stay emotionally attached to them. Become mindful of how you respond.