Emanuel Sferios – Drug Positive – Developing the New Drug Narrative


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In this episode of Psychedelics Today we interview Emanuel Sferios, founder of DanceSafe and host of the new Drug Positive Podcast. The discussion mainly revolves around what “drug positive” means, MDMA, and harm reduction.

3 Key Points:

  1. The history of MDMA is different than we have been taught.
  2. MDMA is quite safe and the harms are very low. Risk reduction is a more appropriate term at times. 
  3. Emanuel is positive that his early drug experiences substantially helped improve his life.


Show Notes

  • There is an largely unknown history of MDMA.
  • Sasha Shulgin apparently was not the first to synthesize it in the modern era.
    • He created a new synthesis method.
  • MDMA was the first designer drug in a sense.
    • MDA became illegal and chemists decided to change the molecule
  • Manuel Noriega of Panama used MDMA at least once and gave permission to some chemists to manufacture in Panama shortly before the US invasion.
  • Harms from MDMA are quite minimal and small.
  • Parents who have lost a child can be natural allies to the drug positive movement.
  • Best practices for drug testing MDMA and Cocaine.
  • It is going to be really hard to convince the public to legalize drugs other than cannabis.
     


    About Emanuel Sferios

Emanuel Sferios is an activist, educator and harm reduction advocate. Founding DanceSafe in 1998 and starting the first laboratory pill analysis program for ecstasy users that same year (now hosted at Ecstasydata.org), Emanuel pioneered MDMA harm reduction services in the United States. His MDMA Neurochemistry Slideshow has been viewed over 30 million times and remains a primary educational resource for physicians, teachers, drug abuse prevention counselors and MDMA users alike. Emanuel resigned from DanceSafe in 2001 and went on to work in other areas of popular education and harm reduction. He has recently come back as a volunteer. Oh! And he’s making a movie.

Links

Drug Positive

Independent – Meet the Man Who Wants your to Him him Legalise MDMA

DanceSafe – Wiki

DanceSafe

MDMA The Movie

 

Robin Kurland-West – Questions and Challenges in Providing Integration Services


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Introduction

During this episode of Psychedelics Today, your host Kyle Buller interviews Robin Kurland-West, a licensed marriage and family therapist based out of California. Kyle and Robin chat about challenges and other questions in regard to providing psychedelic integration services. Psychedelic integration is a new territory, and there are plenty of questions to still answer and cover.



Show Notes

About Robin Kurland-West

  • She offers integration services through her therapy practice.
  • Robin had questions about how to create an introduction practice and how to follow up.
  • She was licensed in 2010 and graduated from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2006.
  • About a year ago she decided to do a karma cleanse and began to talk to a friend about psychedelics.
  • Her friend sent her a podcast that spoke to her.
  • She was doing some shadow work and dealing with her addiction experiences.
  • She said a prayer over the psilocybin and was open to what it would show her.
  • A spirit appeared and the forest started sending her messages.
  • It was a female spirit and used two trees to illustrate the inside of her brain.
  • It taught her that her mind was holding onto negative beliefs.
  • She taught her that she needed to let go, that it was “all so absurd.”
  • What has been the difference between experimenting in college vs. doing the work as an adult?
    • In college, it was seen as a party drug.
    • She had a hard time having conversations with people.
    • She doesn’t see it as a party drug anymore, it’s something that you honor.
    • She now views it as a medicine that heals parts that have been cut off.
    • Having had a history of addiction, some people are afraid psychedelics might be addictive.
    • Psychedelics are non-addictive because other drugs are about escaping, and psychedelics are about being fully present.
  • What is integration work for you and how do you approach it?
    • This is new territory for her after having her own experience.
    • She joined a network called the psychedelic support network.
    • Because it’s not yet legal, it’s a bit of a struggle.
    • She offers pre and post ritual services.
    • People meet with her and do a pretty thorough assessment.
    • They set the intention for the experience.
    • Afterward they look at what some of the messages were and how to incorporate it into their daily lives.
  • Do you help with dosage?
    • She focuses more on intention setting because she’s still new at this.
    • She refers people to resources to help with other things.
  • Is there a therapeutic approach you use with people?
    • She uses expressive arts therapy to tap into the unconscious and subconscious.
    • She always uses family systems, there’s usually a root to behavior.
    • She uses CBT and DBT.
    • She uses journaling and narrative therapy.
    • It’s an opportunity to rewrite your story – a new perspective to an old story.
    • She uses mandala work and drawing.
    • She has them stand up and move around.
    • Utilizing movement to integrate is huge.
    • After having her profound experience with psychedelics, she finds it to be a warm blanket she can reach for to remind you that things are different now.
  • What type of challenges have you had providing integration services to people?
    • She wants to know how soon she should see a client after they start on this journey.
    • How many times should she see a client after, and how many times?
    • It could be more individual.
    • She started to do psychotherapy to go deep and heal.
    • It’s possible to put your medical license at risk by providing certain services.
    • She can’t sit with people when they have their experience and has to be clear that it’s a decision that they’re making.
    • She has to detach herself from a lot of it.
    • She likes the idea of immediacy in following up with clients.
    • She sees a client 3-4 times beforehand to make sure they’re healthy enough and set intention.
    • Afterward she wants to see them soon so they can hold onto the gold they discovered in the journey.
  • How do you choose the right psychedelic experience for a person?
    • The idea of doing a diagnosis to find out what will work is tricky.
    • Throw it back on the person to see what they’re looking for.
    • It’s not a scary experience, but you want to make sure you’re with someone who’s trained.
    • There’s a couple that wants to come in and do integration therapy together.
    • She wants to meet with them individually and together beforehand.
    • People are in therapy to discover themselves and they might find something different than they’ve been looking for.
  • How do you approach people who think integration specialists can get them drugs or be a guide during experiences?
    • She says it isn’t about her telling them to use illicit drugs and she doesn’t do drugs with them or hook them up.
    • The difference between integration therapy and a guide:
    • A guide is someone you trust who sits with you.
    • An integration therapist is just pre and post where she’s not involved in the drug.
  • Have you had any clients reach out trying to integrate a really difficult experience?
    • Not yet, but she’s looking forward to it.
    • She would ask questions about what they saw and felt.
    • She would bring in the arts to map it out and they can look at it together.
    • You can have a psychedelic experience without having psychedelics.
  • Is there anything you’re looking forward to with clients?
    • In traditional therapy right now, she’s coming up against blockage in some of her clients.
    • She sees a lot of people being stuck, and that’s the hardest part.
    • She’s excited to see the light turn back on in people’s eyes and see them be healed.
    • She wants to see people be present with themselves and each other so they can have a fuller life.
  • How do you approach therapy and coaching?
    • She just does the psychotherapy, asking questions.
    • She appeals to a clients inner resources.
  • Do you do any online work?
    • She only does in-person work, every once in a while she does a phone session.
    • She works holistically, so people don’t just focus on the mind, also the body and the spirit.
  • Do you get people reaching out from all over the place?
    • Yes, because her name is on the psychedelic support list.
    • She filled out an application and had some correspondence with the organization.
  • What are some of your favorite podcasts and resources?
    • The Psychedelic Salon Podcast

Episode Quotes

  • I don’t see psychedelics as a party drug anymore, it’s something that you honor, a medicine.
  • I like to see my clients soon after their experience so they can hold onto the gold they discovered on their journey.
  • People are in therapy to discover themselves and they might find something different than they’ve been looking for.

Resources Mentioned

So, You Want to Find a Psychedelic Guide – Article
Psychedelics Today Episode with Katherine MacLean
Joe Rogan Experience interviewing Amber Lyon
8 Common Psychedelic Mistakes Course
Erowid Archive
The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide – Risks, Micro-Dosing, Ibogaine, and More


About Robin Kurland-West, LMFT

Robin Kurland-West received her license in 2010. Prior to becoming licensed she has worked in non profit agencies and inpatient recovery centers as clinical director, supervisor and lead therapist. Through this journey she has focused her expertise on trauma and addictions. Currently Robin has a private practice in the Sacramento area and works with individuals, families, couples and groups. Her passion to explore consciousness and the healing potential of psychedelics has been prominent through out and is committed to making a difference with those suffering from PTSD and addictions through the use of plant medicines and psychedelic integration therapy.

Duli Wilkins – The Adventures of the Beantown G.H.E.T.T.O Shaman


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During this episode of Psychedelics Today, your host Kyle Buller interviews Duli Wilkins, aka the “Beantown Ghetto Shaman” about his work and future plans. In this conversation, Kyle talks to Duli about his work with sacred plant medicines, how he got involved in this type of work, and also explore the topic of people of color and diversity in the psychedelic world.



Show Notes

  • About Duli Wilkins
    • He’s from the Boston area born and raised.
    • He gives credit to his parents for getting him into what he’s into right now.
    • His dad used to play jazz music and met a bunch of famous musicians.
    • He learned that sound and frequency can be used as a tool for healing.
    • He lived between two warring projects.
      • A lot of his friends got into the gang life.
    • He got heavily into Tai Chi and Chi Kung.
    • He became a multi-dimensional healer
    • He had a friend who gave him a mushroom and that’s when the magic begins.
  • How did everything begin for Duli?
    • His empathic abilities heightened more when he used cannabis.
    • He started getting deeper into the teachings of Rastafarians.
    • In the black community, you didn’t see a lot of people using psychedelics.
      • Using a mushroom was very new to him.
    • Duli’s experience with mushrooms?
      • At first he just felt some tingling and checked on his friend looking at the painting.
      • He started to see things happen before they were happening.
      • He was seeing the fabric of reality.
      • He started having out of body experience and heard drumming from the heavens.
    • “What was it like for you to be involved in this work when the people around you aren’t?”
      • Things are changing, more people across the globe are becoming aware of the benefits of teaching plants.
      • A lot of people report seeing ancestors that have passed away.
      • There’s a resistance to psychedelics in the black community because of the history of drugs.
      • It was easy for the government to shut down everyone but their own children.
      • We have to be patient and time will bring things to the surface.
    • Discussion about the pharmaceutical system.
      • It’s great when you have a broken bone, etc.
      • The pharmaceutical establishment is a business and it runs like a business.
      • When we deal with ancestral memory or epigenetics the medical industry can’t touch it.
      • Safety in a teaching plant ceremony is key.
    • Discussion about the dark night of the soul.
      • Work in the shadow is important if you want to become whole.
      • We’re all walking around with trauma.
      • He’s had a lot of past life experiences, even one where his son died very young.
      • It takes a lot of courage to try psychedelics and you have to have a good setting.
    • “Do you see a lot of spiritual bypassing?”
      • Yes, people try to hide behind things.
      • Some people hide behind the psychedelics.
      • Psychedelics and teaching plants are tools, how are you using the tools?
      • When we deal with wealthy people, maybe it’s the lack of struggle to obtain psychedelics.
      • There’s much more to us and as time goes by we’re going to have disclosure.
    • Duli talks about some experiences with extraterrestrials during psychedelic trips.
      • We’re going through cycles and making the same mistakes every time.
    • Last words?
        • Find him on Facebook under @abdukwilkins
        • Find him on YouTube under The Beantown Ghetto Shaman

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Episode Quotes

  • Something inside me said, I should take the mushroom and that was the gateway to shamanism.
  • Things are changing, more people across the globe are becoming aware of the benefits of teaching plants.
  • We have to have a re-education and awareness around teaching plants.

About Duli Wilkins,  a.k.a Duli Tha Beantown G.H.E.T.T.O Shaman

  

Abdul K. Wilkins a.k.a Duli Tha Beantown G.H.E.T.T.O (Gifted. Hearts. Equal. Towards. Total. Oneness) Shaman is a Boston Native…He grew up in the Inner City of Roxbury where he overcame an environment of gang street violence, neighborhood drug abuse, and police brutality! Duli was influenced at a young age by both of his parents in the interest of spirituality, mysticism, natural healing etc.

While attending College at Northeastern University he had a very mystical experience with psilocybin mushrooms and has been using mushrooms and other psychedelics as a tool for healing and conscious awareness ever since! He is a father of 2 and does massage therapy and natural healings in his community!