In this episode, Kyle interviews Dr. Ido Cohen, co-founder of The Integration Circle. In the show, they talk about themes that arise from transformative experiences and the different ways to integrate them through attitude change, environment, and community.
3 Key Points:
- A common theme after a transformative experience is the calling for an attitude change. The experience is only the first step, the integration is where the real work begins.
- The environment is a critical part of integration. You can’t always change your environment, but you can change your relationship to it by forming new coping mechanisms than the ones used before a transformative experience.
- Joining consciousness events, finding a therapist and looking for integration circles are all great way to not feel so ashamed or alone after a transformative experience.
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- Ido is a Clinical Psychologist based in San Francisco
- He works with individuals and couples in integration groups
- Ido graduated from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
- He did his post-doctoral internship at C.G. Jung Institute in San Francisco
- He went to India and it opened up the psycho-spiritual realm for him
- He realized there is a lot more to this reality than what we see
- He had a powerful Ayahuasca experience, and it led him to choose his dissertation project
- He wanted to know how to take his experience and integrate it into his daily life
- Ido began talking to people who had big transformative Ayahuasca experiences (pre, during and after)
- He interviewed people at a year out of an Ayahuasca experience, so they had time to reflect
- “For most people, something is calling them. Either curiosity or suffering.” – Ido
- The message comes through a relationship that we are having with something
- People felt that they had to go through something personal before they were able to go into archetypal realms
- A theme afterward was a difficulty of re-entry (integration)
- Another common theme was people realizing that they need to change their attitude in order to heal
- It starts with small steps, maybe instead of watching TV for 2 hours you go for a hike for 2 hours, you open up to make room for change
Ego and Self
- Jung’s idea of ego-Self axis; there is the ego that takes things and organizes them and processes things into our reality, and then the self that is the unconscious, the imaginary and dream state
- The idea is to look at the relationship between the two
- Are they fighting or are they in harmony?
- The role of community is so important
- “We need to learn to integrate not just the negatives, but also the positives.” – Ido
- Having pleasurable experiences can feel unsafe to a person who has been through a lifetime of negatives
- Personal and Environmental
- Most people have these experiences, and come back to the same urban environment, the same work mindset, the same cultural ideas about “achieving”, the instant coffee mentality
- “We want things fast because we don’t want to suffer, we don’t want to wait, we don’t want to invest, we don’t want to change.” – Ido
- “When people come back with this new experience but to an old environment, then the question is, ‘How can I not let the pressure of this old environment get in the way of my experience?’” – Ido
- It really is all about changing your attitude
- Maybe go journaling, go into nature, go dancing, etc.
- “How do I honor my process and not succumb to the pressures of using the same coping mechanisms as I had before?” – Ido
- Integration is a complex process
- You can’t always change your environment, but you can change your relationship to your environment
- You can start looking for integration circles
- You can start looking for therapy
- You can go to consciousness events, meditation/yoga groups
- It really depends on the person but it’s all about finding resources that help you feel more connected, less ashamed, and less alone
- One of Ido’s clients said to him “I realize I have to break my own heart if I really want to change”
- Ido suggests a great book on understanding spiritual bypass
- Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters
- When you start to be really critical about an experience, that’s where you need to be more curious
- The shift from criticism to curiosity
- Jung says that this is ‘the lifelong process where we are slowly descending into our authenticity’
- Seek community
- Don’t do it alone, even if you think you can, you don’t have to
- If you’re shy, come anyway, we’re all just doing our best
- Encourage people to seek out knowledgeable communities
- Take yourself seriously, honor these sacred experiences and honor yourself
About Ido Cohen, Psy.D.
Dr. Ido Cohen is a clinical psychologist who got his doctoral from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He practices relational and depth-oriented psychotherapy with individuals and couples in San Francisco. As his Doctoral research, he conducted a 6-year study on the integration process of ayahuasca ceremonies from a Jungian perspective and has been providing preparation and integration services to individuals/couples/ groups in the bay area. He is also the co-founder of The Integration Circle, a community of practitioners who offer integration circles as well as diverse support to those who are preparing or integrating experiences of expanded states of consciousness.