PT390 – Vital Psychedelic Conversations

February 16, 2023
Featuring: Mackenzie Amara & Dr. Ido Cohen

In this episode of Vital Psychedelic Conversations, Johanna takes the helm for the first time, hosting a conversation with Jungian analyst-in-training, writer, researcher, 5Rhythms® teacher, and Vital student: Mackenzie Amara; and clinical psychologist, long time PT collaborator, and Vital instructor: Dr. Ido Cohen.

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In this episode of Vital Psychedelic Conversations, Johanna takes the helm for the first time, hosting a conversation with Jungian analyst-in-training, writer, researcher, 5Rhythms® teacher, and Vital student: Mackenzie Amara; and clinical psychologist, long time PT collaborator, and Vital instructor: Dr. Ido Cohen.

As this episode features three huge fans of Jung (Johanna wrote her Master’s dissertation on The Red Book and teaches a course through PT), they focus less on education and the future of psychedelic therapy, and instead get pretty deep; shining a light on an integral part of psychedelia (and life) we often avoid: the shadow. What is the shadow and what is true shadow work? What did Jung give us, and why is Jungian psychology so relevant for integrating psychedelic experiences? 

They discuss the notion of the unconscious as a place you can develop a relationship with and access by very different means; the idea of the healer as the container; the problematic binary of good vs. evil; the flawed concept of ego death; the differences between authentic and neurotic suffering and personal and collective consciousness; the archetype of the wounded healer and why facilitators should both be wounded and in the process of healing; and how wonderful it is that society is beginning to embrace the weird and what makes us unique. 

There are no shortcuts in life and there is no “cure” for the parts of the human condition we aren’t comfortable with, but in the capitalist, efficiency-above-all-else West, we aren’t raised to sit with the unpleasant, and instead learn to seek a quick fix, which has created an environment where we’ve lost the ability to feel in the ways that we need to. Can you be with someone else’s pain if you’re running from your own? Can you have real compassion if you’ve never suffered? Can you be complete without knowing your shadow?

Notable Quotes

“Yes, we’re all suffering and suffering is scary and shadow is scary and it can overwhelm us and it takes time. And there is this thing where we can build a relationship with it. It’s all about the relationship.” -Ido

“Nature is a perfect representation of how the unconscious is. It’s unfinished. It’s in process. It’s not perfect. It’s human consciousness, and [it’s] our egoic, persona-driven striving that have us believe that we can be perfect, AKA not human, AKA have no shadow. So the shadow is this part of the unconscious; it’s the frills, it’s the weirdness, it’s the awkward pauses, it’s the burps and the disgusting stuff and the repulsion, and also the quirks, the idiosyncrasies. In Swiss German, they talk about a square that’s missing a corner – it’s the missing corner. You need to have a piece missing so that life can live there.” -Mackenzie

“There is no ego death. You can have ego disidentification, you can release the center of your consciousness from your ego, but you will never kill your ego, and you shouldn’t want to kill your ego. If you’re going to kill your ego, who’s going to be home to integrate? Where are you going to take all these beautiful experiences? Who’s going to synthesize them and alchemize them for you? …That is a way in which we’re banishing the feminine, which is process, which is yes, being in my body and suffering, because there is also so much beauty in suffering, because if you can’t be in your body to suffer, you’re not going to be in your body and experience love. They work together.” -Ido

“Psychedelics are the opportunity to get outside of oneself far enough that then I can come back and say: ‘Do I consciously want to choose to continue to be the way that I’ve seen that I am, or do I want to use my power, my influence over myself to make different choices?’” -Mackenzie


PT308 – Dr. Ido Cohen, PsyD – Vital Psychedelic Conversations

PTSF79 – Psychedelic Facilitator Abuse and Space Holding Ethics with Dr. Ido Cohen

Psychedelics Today: Ido Cohen – Re-Turn to Wholeness: Jung and Integration

Psychedelics and The Shadow: The Shadow Side of Psychedelia How to Become a Psychedelic Integration Therapist Marion Woodman Quotes

Trauma and the Soul: A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption, by Donald Kalsched Marie-Louise von Franz quotes

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D. Charlotte Joko Beck quotes

Mackenzie Amara 2

In this Episode

Mackenzie Amara

By trade, Mackenzie is a writer, researcher, consultant, & 5Rhythms® teacher. By vocation, she is a Jungian analyst-in-training & Clinical Psychology doctoral student. By design, she is a collection of fractal, holographic cells dancing around some strange attractor for the sake of who knows what to live an insignificant, mythic life reflective of the mysterious vital spark within her. She identifies as a series of memories & unverifiable subjective experiences of self-hood to which she is rather fondly attached. She has a penchant for scholarship, the occult, pedantic erudition, morbid humor, grandiosity, nihilism, & semi-responsible hedonism. Born in the shadow of New Age culture into a fractured family system & the subjective experiencer of (arguably) extreme early childhood trauma, her life’s work is to heal psychic wounds — her’s & other’s — that she & others become strong enough to contend with the unconscious quicksands & transpersonal abysses which lap at the periphery of developing consciousness. She is an emergent property of Being playing at becoming sovereign. She really, really loves butter.

Socials: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

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Dr. Ido Cohen

Dr. Ido Cohen, Psy.D – serves individuals, couples and groups in San Francisco. He received his Psy.D from the California Institute of integral studies and trained at the Jung Institute In San Francisco. He works with a diverse range of challenges childhood trauma, inner critic, relational issues, lack of fulfillment, psychospiritual growth as well as psychedelic integration and preparation sessions with individuals and groups. His doctoral study researched the integration process of Ayahuasca ceremonies, while applying Jungian psychology to better understand how to support individuals in their process of change and transformation. He is the founder of “The Integration Circle” and facilitates workshops on the different dimensions of integration and the intersection of mental health, spiritual health and the entheogenic experience. Ido believes that the intersection of our psychological, emotional, somatic and spiritual dimensions can develop our relationships with our inner and outer worlds and create the changes we want to see in our life. Ido is passionate in supporting individuals to create long term, sustainable change leading to vibrant, authentic, expressive and love filled lives.

Socials: Instagram / The Integration Circle instagram