Trauma is caused by feeling profoundly unsafe – physically, emotionally, or spiritually – and is often the root of mental illness. Despite the misperception that PTSD is most commonly caused by a single event, for many people, simply existing in a society that marginalizes their identities is inherently and perpetually traumatic. Violence, poverty, and discrimination can all contribute to traumatic experience at both individual and collective levels. These ongoing traumatic experiences – enhanced and compounded in people who exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities – are often under-diagnosed and thus under-treated. MAPS’ MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research, and research with other psychedelic-assisted therapy, shows us the vast potential for psychedelics to heal trauma and help people approach wholeness. But how does that healing potential stand up to systemic oppression? This panel seeks to explore if – and how – psychedelics can contribute to the healing the trauma that stems from injustice and hopefully, ultimately, contribute to stopping the cycles of trauma, injustice, and oppression in the first place.
History of the Drug War, Colonization, & Racism. Psychedelic Community & Racial Justice Series, Part 1
First we’ll look at the history to understand how we got to this moment and how we can advocate for policy that repairs the harms of the past, from colonization to the drug war and modern policing.
Decolonization, Collective Liberation, & Intersectional Solidarity. Psychedelic Community & Racial Justice Series, Part 2
How do we embody decolonization at the individual and collective level? On “Independence Day,” we’ll offer a roadmap via the intersections of Indigenous rights, intergenerational healing, and environmental, migrant, and racial justice. Each utilizing a harm reduction lens, join psychedelic psychotherapist Danielle Herrera, decarceration strategist Paula Kahn, researcher Yarelix Estrada, and community educator Mohawk Greene as moderator.
Defunding Police & Ending Prohibition. Psychedelic Community & Racial Justice Series, Part 3
Where do we go from here? How do we build a better, more equitable and caring future? What does the world look like after ending prohibition and all its systems of harm, including over-policing, surveillance, and mass incarceration? What do the new systems look like, including restorative/transformative justice and reparations for drug war victims? What can we learn from recent protests and Black Lives Matter? How can the psychedelic community support the transition?
Challenges & Opportunities of Psychedelic Therapy Within the System. Psychedelic Community & Racial Justice Series, Part 4
How do we make psychedelic healing accessible to people of color and marginalized communities in an ethical way? What are the blind spots in protocols designed by white-only practitioners? What are the pros and cons of psychedelic medicalization? To what extent is working within the system effective and transformative vs playing into harmful structures?
Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth
It is becoming more and more apparent that the causes and cures for the current ecological crisis are to be found in the hearts and minds of human beings. For millennia we existed within a religious and psychological framework that honored the Earth as a partner and worked to maintain a balance with nature. But somehow a root pathology took hold in Western civilization–the idea of domination over nature–and this led to an alienation of the human spirit that has allowed an unprecedented destruction of the very systems which support that spirit.
In Green Psychology Ralph Metzner explores the history of this global pathology and examines the ways that we can restore a healing relationship with nature. His search for role models takes him from shamanic ceremonies with the Lacandon Maya of Mexico to vision quests in the California desert, from the astonishing nature mysticism of Hildegard von Bingen to the Black Goddesses and Green Gods of our pagan ancestors. He examines the historical roots of the split between humans and nature, showing how first sky-god worshiping cultures, then monotheisms, and finally mechanistic science continued to isolate the human psyche from the life-giving Earth. His final chapters present a solution, showing that disciplines such as deep ecology and ecofeminism are creating a worldview in which the mind of humanity and the health of the Earth are harmoniously intertwined.
User Perceptions of Mental Health Consequences of Hallucinogen Use in Self-Identified Spiritual Contexts
Aims: The article aims to gain insight into the private worlds of users of hallucinogenic drugs in spiritual contexts, with a focus on the self-perceived mental health implications of their practices. This will help us understand the rationale behind and consequences of hallucinogenic drug use. Method: Respondents were recruited at several internet fora for individual email-mediated interviews (n = 5) or group interviews in public discussion threads (n = 11). They were predominantly males in their 30s or 40s with stable jobs and living conditions and extensive hallucinogen experience. Results: Both positive and adverse consequences were assessed, and respondents emphasised the capacity of hallucinogenic drugs for healing and personal growth; even adverse experiences (“bad trips”) were regarded as valuable for these purposes. The dependence potential of these drugs was regarded as low because of an inherent self-regulatory mechanism whereby positive effects disappear with overuse. A minority of participants reported mental health problems that may result from their hallucinogen use, but the majority have experienced no significant adverse reactions after many years of use. This should be seen in light of the low frequency of their hallucinogen use. Conclusion: The study obtained evidence of a predominantly male group of mature users taking hallucinogens in carefully prepared sessions for the purpose of personal spiritual growth, acknowledging some risks but also several benefits from this practice.
This 2-day conference is part of Chacruna’s Women, Gender Diversity, and Sexual Minorities speaker series. It highlights the voices of queer visionaries within the psychedelic community as well as examines the history of psychedelics from queer and non-binary perspectives. As the so-called psychedelic renaissance reaches a pivotal moment of mainstream interest and regulatory legitimacy, it is vital that traditionally under-represented communities share a seat at the table and have their voices heard so as to ensure access to all the benefits that psychedelics and plant medicine offer. Additionally, it is vital that queer spaces be established for exploring the unique needs, gifts, and strengths that LGBTQI communities bring to psychedelics and psychedelic medicine.
Neurons to Nirvana
A stylish, in depth look at the renaissance in psychedelic drug research in light of current scientific, medical and cultural knowledge. The film explores these socially taboo substances as adjuncts to psychotherapy, as crucial but neglected medicines, and as technologies of consciousness. From Neurons to Nirvana: The Great Medicines features interviews with some of the world’s foremost researchers, writers, and pioneers in the growing field of psychedelic psychotherapy. These radical healers and dissenters are using everything from ancient concoctions to newly created designer molecules to the once demonized psychedelic drugs of the 1960s. They argue convincingly for the legal right to incorporate these substances into therapeutic practice.
Psychedelia: The History and Science of Mystical Experience
PSYCHEDELIA is an hour-long documentary film about psychedelic drugs and their ability to induce mystical and religious experiences. The film chronicles their use in controlled research studies prior to the cultural upheaval of the 1960s, when LSD was regarded as a promising medical breakthrough, as well as their recent re-emergence in psychiatry.
Featuring leading experts in the field of psychedelic research, the film tells the story of medical professionals who have re-introduced these compounds into a legal and growing field of study. First-person accounts from a study on end-of-life anxiety explore the profound, life-altering insights psychedelics induce in participants and what these insights might mean for society at large.