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Choose Your Guide Well for Psilocybin Therapy

I've been touched to sit many journeys over the last few years, as I have been among the first therapists in Canada offering government-approved Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for those with Sec 56 exemptions. Here's a Vice article on a journey I co-sat for a woman with depression.

In December 2021, the government announced applications should go in to the Special Access Program (SAP) instead of the sec 56 exemptions. This allows your MD to request access to Psilocybin Therapy for you if you have a serious illness and you've already tried other forms of treatment. Some have been approved for Major Depression. Unfortunately, it requires an arduous application process and the legal approvals have been slowing down.

Psilocybin Therapy is not typical therapy. It is about entering the space beneath the words and gaining access from the deeper wisdom of your emotions, your sensations, even your pain and tensions!

As the journeyer, we also need to be steady enough in our lives to be able to gain the benefits because journeys can stir so much stuff up from the past and leave us feeling very raw and vulnerable.

Having a therapy background, I believe that true integration of expanded states requires preparation because while activating these states with the help of plant medicine can be very powerful, Western therapists are only just learning how to work ethically and professionally with this in a heart-centered way. It can be especially challenging in the midst of so much hype and inflation around the benefits, which can actually get in the way of the true magic of a journey because it focuses on something happening to you. If we focus instead on the work that we can do with support from the mushrooms than we make way for the expression of hidden feelings. Like therapy, which often moves at the pace that the ego can integrate, psilocybin work often exposes attachment wounds and shows you the ways that you have adapted to compromised care, revealing your deepest knowings about what you need to return to the sense of a flowing inner wellspring.

Original traditions have always worked with expanded states through dance, song and sometimes with psychotropic plant medicines, in order to help ultimately remember the sacred essence of life itself. These cultures are steeped in deeper philosophies and understandings of the sacred that make it natural for members of the community to follow the procedures that the particular traditions deem important for preparation and integration.

Most of us in the West live disconnected from our ancestral roots so many of us are now turning to therapists who we can trust to guide us in this process. That said, the community traditionally chooses the community healers, the ones who hold wisdom and humility, and not the other way around. Age and experience can be factors, but most important is the personal work that space holder does and has done themselves.

Some people skip steps and call themselves "healers" before they are ready because of the incredible pressure to make money and pay bills in the modern world. They have heard the call, but have not received the required guidance yet to be able to hold sacred space with their full presence. This leads to consequences rippling out into the population of seekers who need the help the most.

Be thoughtful in your choice of guide.

In addition to legal journeys, I am more than happy to continue to provide integration sessions for people who are returning home from plant medicine journeys that have been difficult, confusing or not held in a proper setting with reverence and respect. I get it and have been blessed with strong and grounded mentors in those times.

I feel honoured to assist people as they re-establish trust with their bodies and their healing intelligence in a safe and brave space with gentleness and curiousity.

This will give you an idea of a high-dose journey: Bill Richards (2020): What is a Psilocybin Session like?

I am now happy to be teaching at UVIC, supervising and training new graduates of the Therapsil program.

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