Step into the “Microdosing For Healing” podcast with host Kayse Gehret as she delves into an inspiring conversation with Nick Levich and Jimmy Nguyen, the co-founders of Psychedelic Passage.
Explore the intersection between heart-centered healing and the fast-paced world of business through their engaging stories, and get a sneak peek into their journey from self-funded beginnings to becoming the nation’s first psychedelic concierge service.
Our hosts illuminate the paradox of choice within the psychedelic realm, where the abundance of options intersects with the vulnerability of seekers. With clarity, they emphasize the emergence of a relational medicine framework over the traditional transactional approach, highlighting the importance of authentic connections.
With candid insights, the hosts dissect the misconception that psychedelics are a quick fix for discomfort. Their informative and introspective dialogue encourages listeners to rethink their approach to psychedelics, fostering a deeper understanding of preparation and transformation.
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Microdosing For Healing – Revolutionizing Access and Support in Plant Medicine
Kayse: [00:00:06] Welcome to the Microdosing For Healing podcast. I’m your host, Kayse Gehret, and together we’ll be discovering and learning from inspiring voices of healers, medicine keepers, and visionaries.
Every episode, we’ll explore the world of health, vibrant wellness, and natural medicine for a new era of human society. Welcome to today’s episode.
Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for being here. My name is Kayse Gehret. And today, I am so, so happy to introduce you to two of my very favorite folks in the medicine space, Nick Levich and Jimmy Nguyen of Psychedelic Passage.
I have so much respect and admiration for these two. Psychedelic Passage was one of the very first psychedelic-oriented companies to go public.
They were founded in December of 2019. When I was creating our platform and community for Microdosing For Healing and I was looking around for collaborators in the space, guest experts to appear in our course programming, Nick and Jimmy were the only other people [laughs] who were public and out of the “psychedelic closet.”
So, to watch them grow, evolve, adapt, and blossom in this rapidly growing field and do so with heart, to do so with integrity, has been just so inspiring to me, and so many other people who have gotten to know and work with them. So, thank you both so, so much.
I’d love to start off with introducing Psychedelic Passage and really learn the inspiration. It’s so novel, never been done before. So, I’d love to learn a little bit from you, guys, how you came up with the idea and what the personal and professional inspirations were.
Early Inspiration and Evolution of Psychedelic Passage
Nick: [00:02:07] Yeah. And thank you for the warm introduction, by the way. Thank you. Perhaps, I’ll start by just acknowledging what we do currently and then explaining how we even got to here. Essentially, we function as a concierge service that provides personalized referrals to a curated network of pre-vetted psychedelic guides all across the US.
I know that’s a little bit of a mouthful, but essentially, that’s not what we had initially set out to do. It’s actually something that from my perspective became a necessity after seeing the education gap between journeyers and then where facilitators are coming from.
And so, the original impetus to this whole thing was helping a human find a reputable guide in their local area, because essentially before we started, the only way to find a guide was through the underground market.
That made it extremely hard for folks that weren’t plugged into medicine communities, spiritual communities, or even just coaches who maybe had personalized referrals. And so, that was the impetus to starting this whole thing.
When we first started, Jimmy and I were the only two guides. We were doing all the facilitation ourselves, and that was, I would say, very rewarding. And then it also got to be very exhausting, because were flying all over the country to go sit with folks.
We then faced an internal inflection point where we had to decide whether to view this as a network and expand our ability to offer services by including other providers in the network. And that was a big leap of faith in and of itself.
And then what became very clear from there is that journeyers had no idea what they wanted, no idea what they needed, no idea what made a guide qualified, and that created this environment that was just very ripe for power imbalances, predatory practices, and essentially journeyers getting taken advantage of.
I think a large part of that stemmed from the fact that this is an unregulated industry. It’s very hard to figure out who is “legitimate,” and who’s not. And so, by morphing into this concierge service, we effectively function as the middle person between the journeyer and the facilitator in a way where we can do two major things.
One is pre-vet the facilitators in our network to a standard that we believe is appropriate, and I’ll just tell you is higher than what, for instance, the state of Oregon is going to require of licensed facilitators. And then the other piece is building recourse into the model.
So, if we do get reports of folks in our network who are basically violating ethical standards, codes of conduct, or engaging in facilitator abuse, we have a means to essentially investigate that and then remove them from the network if that’s warranted.
And so, that creates this feedback loop where they’re screening on the front end, screening collectively. Because we are the intermediary, basically the moderator of the network, we’re able to advocate for the clients that come through from a place of not being biased.
At the end of the day, we don’t care which facilitator they sit with or if they sit with anyone at all. We’re just there to help them find the next right step in their journey.
Jimmy: Yeah. Thanks for that, Nick. Also, thank you for that wonderful introduction, Kayse. I’ll back up a little bit further to share that our main impetus for doing anything with psychedelics publicly really stemmed from a desire. Well, I guess, let me just share this.
So, Nick and I were altered in a recreational setting, in a very public, musically oriented setting. He and I had been through separate, but parallel spiritual processes and personal growth processes that were heavily–
Sometimes, I say accented and influenced, but it was really determined by psychedelic medicine work in our own ways. Nick and I felt the power and the value of being the only ones in our friend group and family group to see each other through this process, let alone support each other through this process.
At some point in that evening, Nick turns to me and says, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if our life’s work was somehow related to psychedelics, and this was also the way that we could make a living, and this could be public facing, and we don’t have to hide and keep secrets, and all of this?”
Basically, in the middle of the rave, I sit down and I start crying. I was like, “Wow, this is almost something that had been done– a conversation that was already headed this way and here we are having it.”
And so, I share that many people have that epiphany moment, many people have that calling moment, and I’ll tell you that that is not enough, because that then just started this mountain of work that was– [crosstalk]
Nick: And it was a mountain.
Jimmy: And continues to be so. [laughs] So, the other part of this is that, when that started, I think the first thing that we did was we reached out to our community, we started asking people, “Okay, what is it that people need right now?”
Because another part of our origin story with Psychedelic Passage is we were interested in helping people now before regulation, before all of that because we knew that there were thousands and thousands of people exploring and engaging with psychedelics with literally zero infrastructure that Nick is describing as a part of what we do now.
And so, as we interviewed those folks, we realized there was a lot of varied opinions that there really wasn’t an idea of what people need now. And so, we realized there’s this gap of tangible actionable information that could actually help somebody even make the decision on, are psychedelics right for me in this juncture of my life right now?
And then, all of this unfolded from there. Nick and I started to facilitate. Nick and I started to bring people into our facilitator network, into this evolution of this concierge service, this advocacy service, this intermediary service.
The other really interesting thing about this is that, Nick and I went through a whole conundrum on, are we allowed to do this work, are we qualified to do this work, should we go get coaching certifications, should we go for mental health licensure?
I still think that that very much exists today on basically who’s allowed to do this work or not. And that opens up a whole conversation in the mental health realm, opens up a whole conversation in medicine lineage and in that inclusivity realm.
And ultimately, what we landed on was this question, does the medicine trust us and can we continue to move forward in a way that continues to earn the trust of the medicine?
And so, ultimately, we don’t know, but we’re trying our best to continually move forward every day in a way that the medicine, primarily psilocybin for Nick and I, and then accented by other entities, medicine spirits as it relates to psychedelics. We’re like, “How do we keep moving forward in a way to keep earning that trust of the medicine?”
Balancing Heart-Centered Business in Capitalist Framework
Kayse: [00:10:01] Beautiful. I appreciate that so much. I would love to hear your takes on– You’re going into your now fourth year, right and things have grown and changed exponentially in the last four years.
One of the great challenges, I think, right now in our field is to take a heart-centered, spirit-centered business of service and fit it into business [Jimmy laughs] like the capitalist framework that we exist in. There’re so many edges and there’s so much friction.
There’re so many people moving into the space very quickly now who want to open a retreat center and want to open a business and these different concepts. It’s a big challenge right now, because we’re trying to create future businesses, but we’re here in our capitalist reality.
So, I would love to hear from you from a business perspective, some of the growth and learning you’ve experienced over the last four years to maintain the heart-centered and integrity that you both possessed, but within the framework of a rapidly growing business at the same time.
Jimmy: Yeah, maybe I can start with this, Nick, and then let’s see what you have to add, [laughs] because it’s a question that has a lot of nuances and a question that has a lot of layers, and I think that before we set out to do anything.
Obviously, when you hear my story about us that night, of course, there was a financial component, can we have this sustain our living? Can we break the broke healer archetype?
Can we combat against this what’s valued in our society where if you buy a new car and spend $40,000, everybody’s like, “Yeah, that makes sense?”
But then when you spend $40,000 across a couple of years in therapy, people are like, “You’re wasting your money.” And so, we realized that there was a little bit of that combating against social conditioning essentially.
Nick and I, before we even came up with the name Psychedelic Passage, this is how early it was. We got together and we made some agreements. We were like, first and foremost, this organization never gets in the way of Nick and I.
Our brotherhood and our friendship and all of that is first and foremost. Nick had a history of working through organizations that were not human-centered and focused first.
I had a history of working with many organizations that claimed to be human centered and heart focused, but actually use that as a tool for manipulation, coercion, and to rally the workforce.
And so, we very clearly came to each other and said, “Hey, now being founders of this organization, we have this opportunity to do it our way, which is, no matter what, it’s human first, human first, human first, human first.”
Personal Growth, Trust, and Integrity
Jimmy: [00:13:07] Then once we agreed with that, then it was like, “Okay, how do we use the tools that are available to us now?” Because my whole thought about this is, I circle around this question on, how do we bring medicine work to this society as it exists right here, right now?
Because I think that there’s this very romanticized idea of returning back to 200 years, 300 years, 400 years, 500 years ago where medicine keepers, and elders, and spiritually significant members of the community are a part of the community.
They’re ingrained in the community. Maybe they live on the edge of community, because they’re going through that wild transformational, transmutational stuff on behalf of everybody else. But we don’t have that here.
We barely take care of elders and elderly people in our community, let alone trying to weave in medicine work to this. And so, it became very clear to us that, “Hey, we need to use the tools that are available to us now.”
So, one thing that’s an important distinction, I believe, between Nick and I and with our organization is that, what’s first? The first is people and medicine, really. I would argue which one is first or second [laughs] or whatever, depending on the day, and then everything else trickles down from there.
And so, one thing that I’m very proud of with Nick and I and our organization is this infusion of, “Okay, it has to be both.” We talk a lot about living in both worlds as one of Nick’s great mentors says, “How do you live in both worlds?
How do you take all of the tools of capitalism, and organizational building, and business building? How do you take the tools of medicine work, and spirituality, and personal growth work? How do you, in our way, merge the two together?”
So, it’s an ongoing discovery, for sure. But I do think that in order to have a sense of “legitimacy,” a sense of people taking you seriously in this environment where there’s new businesses and organizations propping up all the time with psychedelics that you do have to have a sound ability to look at finances and to work a Google spreadsheet or to think about a marketing campaign.
And in our world, it’s like, how do we effectively communicate to people that these services and things exist? And so, I just wanted to speak on that a little bit to that evolution on how we’re here. Nick, I’d love your follow-up thoughts on anything I just said there.
Nick: Yeah, good context. I also just want to acknowledge it’s not easy, because one of the things that we constantly wrestle with is accessibility.
I think there’s a big difference between making things accessible, and then the value that we think they’re worth, just recognizing that the recipients of this type of healing or clients are also subject to the societal capitalistic pressures and that creates disparity in wealth and a disparity in access.
This is just a very multilayered thing. It’s one of the main reasons that we deliberately haven’t sought any outside investment. Everything that we’ve done has been bootstrapped and self-funded.
It inherently limits the pace at which we can grow, but it also allows us to do it in an organic way where we’re not subject to the pressures of an investor who just wants ROI as the only thing that matters.
So, ultimately, I think what it’s forced is– We choose to do this, but it forces us to operate in a way where we can’t cut corners. Intention is one of the words that’s often used in relation to medicine work.
Really, what it’s required is that we set the intention that we’re going to do what’s right, even if it’s the more expensive route, even if we have to spend a little more, even if we have to pick up the phone and spend more time with this other human.
To me, it sounds so cheesy, but I really think that’s going to be one of the signs that dictates who makes it long-term and who doesn’t. Because the second the quality of care is diminished, people are going to go to the place where they get the quality of care that they want and deserve.
And so, it’s this funny juxtaposition of having a high touch, high care org in the midst of a capitalistic society that for all intents and purposes does everything they can to cut costs and raise prices.
Jimmy: Yeah, I’d also like to add that the self-funding and bootstrapping. Nick and I didn’t pay ourselves for about the first three years of this organization. We had to source our income through our own direct facilitator work. It wasn’t like Psychedelic Passage is paying us.
Through that self-funding, through that bootstrapping, and we poured a good chunk of cash of our own profit into this organization. It’s really forced us to slow down. We have this desire to do this thing and implement this project and all of that.
But it’s actually been really miraculous that in that slowdown, things start to emerge, problems start to emerge, questions start to emerge, dynamics within the industry that a lot of people aren’t aware of start to emerge.
It’s in that slowdown process, like, we had this really awesome, yet scary mantra for the first part of this, which was one week at a time. We’re like, “Can we just do what’s right in [laughs] our service one week at a time?”
And then that extended out to three weeks at a time. We’re like, “We have no idea where this is going, but can we move three weeks at a time?”
So, that’s been really helpful, because Nick and I personally moving through our own relationship with capitalism. Might I also say our own relationship with colonization, because capitalism is a tool of colonization.
And so, there were many times where Nick and I were sitting there being like, “We’re the least paid people in our organization. Are we doing what we’re supposed to be doing? Are we driving this mission that we’re supposed to be driving?” and then having to deconstruct that within ourselves.
So, I was having one of the talks during the conference. I was talking about how in order to dismantle these structures, if we truly want to dismantle capitalism or rebalance capitalism, I might argue. A lot of people actually think destroy it or you know what I’m like, “Maybe it’s a rebalancing. I don’t know.”
We first have to do that process internally with ourselves. It’s very clear that and it sounds rosy and exciting. It’s really hard. It’s really, really hard to do that. One good litmus test that Nick and I have, I’m like, “Okay, are we living our principles? Are we doing the right thing?”
Is like, “Are we doing the stuff for ourselves? Is it painfully beautiful, this process that we’re going to know?” And so, it’s challenging. I couldn’t tell another person, “Okay, how do you find your balance in breaking capitalism or using capitalism or profit versus all that?”
I don’t have answers for other folks. I do know that what we’re doing is the model that I hope to see more of in the world, and that’s just our corner, our little corner of the world in doing that.
Challenges and Nuances in the Psychedelic Space
Kayse: [00:21:07] Amazing. Thank you. I appreciate you both being so candid on the subject that it is a challenge, and it’s a daily, weekly challenge ongoing. There’re a lot of opinions, and there’re a lot of spectators in the space suddenly.
We’ve gone from no one really paying attention to what we’re doing to suddenly lots of attention and lots of opinions about the way things should be done, and who should be doing it, and how, and who has permission.
It’s very different being a spectator versus being in the arena. I think people who are in the arena are uniquely positioned to share the wisdom along the way. So, I appreciate your truth bombs. [laughs] Bring them.
Nick: Well. Thank you.
Nick: I just want to say that that’s one of the other reasons that we even got started was we realized, “Hey, we can either sit back and poo-poo how other people are doing it, or we can put our own hat in the ring.”
And let me tell you, everything changes when you put your own hat in the ring and give it a go yourself. It is much easier to critique others than it is to try to be a model for how to do it where there effectively are no models to look to. You’re just figuring it out.
Jimmy: Yeah. I was just going to say I’m grateful that you think that we’re even in the arena, because I very much view us like, we’re over here in our little corner of the world serving our community, serving the people who are drawn to us.
And then it just happens that people are looking, and paying attention, and asking questions because I do think that we are at a juncture of this space. I’m very resistant on saying it’s an industry or a movement or whatnot.
But in this space right now of psychedelic exploration coming to the mainstream, there’re a lot of folks looking towards the answer, how could it be done? What’s the right way to do it?
What are structures and standard procedures and things we should think of? Is there a model upon which somebody could institute, adapt, implement within their own organization?
We don’t claim that our way is the way. What we do claim is that it’s to our highest integrity, the way that we’re trying to do it, which is full of mistakes, full of failures, full of not getting it right.
And then every now and then we get a couple of things right, which then helps us to keep going and go another three weeks or another three months or what.
Nick: I would sum it up by like, this is our heart expression of what this can look like. We never had a business plan. We never really knew where it was going.
It was this constant, like, can we just take the next right action in a way that we are internally at peace and feel like we’re doing genuinely the best we can?
Kayse: Beautiful. I would love for you both to reflect on where we are in this very moment. When I first connected with you–
Reflections on the Evolution of the Psychedelic Movement
Kayse: [00:24:17] [laughs] When I first connected with you three years ago, it was such a different place where– I know when I made myself public, I was legitimately like, is anybody going to be there? [laughs] Anybody going to be ready to do this and even know what this is?
And now, we’re in a place where it used to be people who found us had to seek it out to do some work to even find us. And so, they had brought this spirit to searching, and exploring, and volition, and sovereignty to the process where they had to seek it out and be proactive and participatory in the work.
Three years later, it’s a whole different story where people are coming more from a consumer product experience thing, where it’s a different level of expectation, a different level of entitlement to the public.
I would just love for you guys to reflect on given you’ve been part of the evolution over the last four years and seen it up close firsthand, where it started four years ago, where you see the public now, and any kind of caveats that you would like to share, as well as what are the really heartening things that you’re seeing from the public?
Jimmy: Yeah, I would answer this question in two different lenses. One is the lens of the psychedelic-curious individual of which when I see– This answers the heartening part.
When I see that there are options out there, when I see that conversations around psychedelics are more normalized, when I see that people are not relegating psychedelics to just a fun event or a possibility of going clinically insane or some of those things that the war on drugs were telling us, that’s really heartening for me.
That’s really amazing to hear that somebody who didn’t have access to these things, now do. That’s really beautiful. That’s a really beautiful story to tell.
There’s a shadow side to that, because on the other side of the psychedelic-curious person are the people who are responsible or interested in bringing those services to market.
I say that specifically, because I’m using terminology and language of our culture and of our society. And a part of bringing things to market is also bringing things to community, that’s also as important.
Where I believe that we stand within this space right now is that there’re a lot of ideas and opinions of how that process happens that are in this crucible process right now. Things are being tested. We’re going to see what works and what doesn’t work based on these ideas.
The other thing that I see happening is this race to plant flags, this race to say, “Hey, I have the best nutraceutical supplement that goes along with microdosing psilocybin. I have the best proprietary model for a non-psychedelic, substance-oriented, altered state of consciousness.
I have the best model for psychedelic facilitation. I have the best model for how psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy works.” If you’re listening to me, this is colonization. This is planting flags. This is like, I’m claiming that I know better.
That’s also the spirit of entrepreneurship. So, it’s both. There’s a shadow side and a light side to it where a lot of that can be great. The Wright brothers wanted to fly a plane and get that thing off the air, but then they had to go through a lot of heartache and heartbreak to do it.
I’m sure that there are other people are like, “They stole my idea,” so on and so forth. And so, we’re in that similar place. One thing that really became clear to Nick and I, we were at the Psychedelic Science Conference last week.
Nick: It feels like a lifetime ago.
Jimmy: Yeah, it feels like a long time ago, but we were there, we were physically there, and we looked at each other and we were like, “How many of these organizations do you think will be around in five years?”
We looked and we were like, “70% of them will be gone.” 70% of them will be gone. I think that that’s both chaotic and good, because what is happening here, in addition to this, my idea might really set out to help folks.
My idea might be the best way to do this. What’s also happening is gatekeeping, because what you’re saying is if these are the ideas that are prevalent here that then invalidates all of these other ideas, and so that then becomes really confusing to psychedelic-interested folks.
When you have 20 companies that are saying that this is the proprietary method and this is the best way, this is founded in research, and this also respects the medicine. We have this all dialed in and figured it out.
I think that’s the other thing that’s happening in this industry right now, where a lot of people are claiming that they have it figured out, and I don’t think people even know what questions to ask, let alone figure it out.
So, we’re just in this funny thing. I almost equate our organization and where the psychedelic space is right now as the awkward teen phase. You’re trying to figure out your identity, you’re trying to figure out what matters to you, you’re trying to figure out who are your friends and who aren’t and all that.
You’re trying to figure out your future, you’re trying to do that, and it is messy and highly emotional. And so, I would say that we are in the awkward teen phase of the psychedelic movement right now.
Challenges of Choice and Consumer Responsibility
Nick: Yeah. I want touch one thing that became very apparent to me as we were maturing in our own organization and also just watching what was generally happening across the space as a whole, which is, more and more options become available, which on one hand is awesome, but the paradox of choice is so real.
And so, I think about something which may be more relatable to some folks, which is finding a therapist. In a lot of ways, that mirrors finding a facilitator.
And you’re like, “Okay, there’re hundreds of thousands of providers. How do you choose?” And ultimately, the burden falls on the consumer to know what they’re looking for, to know what they’re after. It’s a lot of responsibility for the consumer to hold.
Then the flip side of that is how do you as a facilitator or as a therapist, however you want to think about it, differentiate yourselves? Because at the end of the day, we do have to put out our little bat signal that says, “Hey, I’m over here and I’m taking clients with this specialty and this is what I’m good at.”
Even if you’re not jamming your services down someone’s throat, there’s still this element of attraction. And so, it became very clear to me that there had to be an element of helping consumers navigate this, because it is so chaotic and there’s so much choice.
For a lot of people, that results in overwhelm. Oh, and by the way, these are vulnerable populations. Many of whom are disconnected from their intuition, don’t necessarily function that well, and maybe can’t even get out of bed.
Oh, but you’ve got to make the determination of who’s best suited to care for you. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on someone who just wants to heal. Then all these facilitators, we were like, “Well how are they going to grow a private practice?”
If everyone’s got a website that’s, “Hey, I’m Joe, the facilitator and I offer preparation ceremony and integration.” How is anyone going to determine what differentiates you from Sally whose website says that she offers the same thing?
And so, that was another thing that we wanted to be able to offer to facilitators is like, “Hey, we’ll vouch for you,” in the sense of like, “We’ll prop you up on a pedestal, so that you can have a sustainable private practice provided that you’re acting in the best interests of the client and the medicine.” If that for whatever reason wavers or changes, we’ll just remove it from– [crosstalk]
Jimmy: We’d address it at that time.
Jimmy: We have to address it in real time, because sometimes we have a client of a facilitator who reaches out and it actually goes towards restoration and repairing of the relationship.
Then there are times where we investigate something, we’re like, “Oh, this is clearly something deeper and something more.” To what Nick is talking about, it’s a really tall order.
It’s not so simple as say– Here’s the story that every psychedelic practitioner is going to have. I went through my own trauma. I had a calling of the medicine to do this work and serve people.
My practices are built on the best standards out there that we’ve lineage medicine work, and clinical trials and studies, and I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve been supporting people. I think that for a lot of people, practitioners, that’s very valid.
I also know that that’s the same story that every single person is going to have. [crosstalk] How do you differentiate that?
How do you know if somebody had a direct calling from medicine because that the medicine respects and trusts them versus a manifestation of ego? It’s really hard to tell. It’s really hard to tell until you’re already in service with them. I argue at that point– [crosstalk]
Oversight in the Psychedelic Industry
Nick: Then the true colors usually come out.
Nick: I think that’s why this role of this moderator of this network has become so pivotal to what we’re building. We didn’t know how important that was until we were already in the work.
Because at the end of the day, someone can do 50 ceremonies flawlessly and then just blow it. This is about a real time feedback loop, not a, “Hey I got licensed, and now I’m forever green carded, and clear to move forward no matter what I do.” That’s not how this works. You constantly have to be acting in integrity.
Nick: I think that this is one of the things that at least I realized when were at this Psychedelic Science Conference is I thought, “Oh, this was a Psychedelic Passage problem.
We have to figure out what to do with facilitator complaints and review processes and all that.” No, it’s actually an industry. Well, we’re not going to use that term. It’s actually– [crosstalk]
Jimmy: I’m not going to use that term. Use whatever term you want. [laughs]
Nick: It’s an industry wide problem. It’s not unique to us.
Jimmy: Industry denotes that there are common standards of service that already exist, and we’re not there yet. That’s why I don’t use the word industry.
Nick: But there are some other providers out there, and it’s very clear to me that nobody’s figured this out yet. I’m located here in Oregon, and I went through this whole process of looking at the OHA website to see if they have a formal complaint filing process, to see what their grounds for removal of licensure were going to be.
I found nothing, I found nothing. And so, I’m going, “Okay, so the state of Oregon is going to have, call it, 500 licensed facilitators by the end of the year, many of whom have never even journeyed themselves before.”
So, just little caveat there. But then what’s going to happen when the state starts getting complaints? These are so nuanced. The only reason we know is because we’ve had to work through a couple.
So I just have a lot of questions around how this is all going to unfold. If nothing else, it’s made me so certain that this role of an oversight independent body is so important, because we’re all human and at any given time, we can make a mistake.
We can let our shadow get the part of us. We can have an off day. What do we do with that, because there is a human on the receiving end? It’s way different than going to a restaurant and having a bad meal.
You now have potential damage done to your mental-emotional state because of a facilitator misstep. And so, these are mistakes or missteps that have very large implications to the receiving party and to the facilitator.
But it’s just important for me to name that because I’ll tell you right now, of all the people we talked to at that conference, only one person brought this up to us.
Everyone else was still focused on the, “Let’s all take psychedelics and heal the world” and whatever, which I appreciate the enthusiasm, but it’s a very limited view on the actual implementation of what’s happening here.
Kayse: I love that. It’s such an important topic, and I think it’s one of the edges I spoke about when we try to place this work into modern industrial frameworks. I think we’re moving from a time of, especially in the healing arts transactional to relational medicine.
I think that was one of our great learnings over the last few years in our microdosing community. So, when we first started out, we work with a lot of beginners and they establish a relationship with the medicine with microdosing, and then invariably they become curious and want to do deeper work with the medicine.
At the time, the only frameworks available were just like the traditional western medicine where it was pulling a name out of a framework, a list, a directory. [giggles] These people have these degrees and these qualifications and they’re in my geographic area.
Very quickly that sounds right to our conditioned minds. But in the actual real-life practice, it didn’t work at all, because very frequently the right guide for you has going to be nothing to do with who’s close to you. [laughs] They’re not interchangeable.
The right guide for you, it’s going to be so nuanced, and energetic, and spiritual, and soul connected that we really encouraged people to open their minds. Especially for your first journey, this is going to be a once in a lifetime experience, and one of the most profound experiences of your life, perhaps.
It’s worth taking your time and really finding the right fit for you and really getting to know them. One of the things, instead of just listing guides that were vetted, we also got to know them like you are, where you personally know the guides.
You can match people with a much better way, because you’re in relationship with all of the guides. And so, you know the client, you know the guide, and that’s so different than the way the current therapist or medical field works who’s covered by my insurance. Is that [crosstalk] that happens, right?
Nick: So, what I hear you saying is that convenience is actually not the number one factor to select a guide.
Kayse: [laughs] Exactly.
Balancing Accessibility and Facilitator Quality
Jimmy: [00:40:14] Yeah, it’s just interesting because what we try to solve is the accessibility component as well. So, how do we hold this level of accessibility knowing that not everybody can travel six hours or take a week off to go to a Psychedelic Science Conference or to spend the time to do that.
So, knowing that location and geography is important. It’s not the main factor, it’s important. And then at the same time, connect somebody to somebody who we personally vouch for essentially is what it comes down to.
And then how do we balance those two? And then realizing that even then it’s not enough.
The same way that you can’t predict what happens in a psychedelic experience, a facilitator can talk all day on what they would do theoretically in a medical emergency, what they would do theoretically when they are approaching, or how they handle informed consent, or how they handle power dynamics.
You don’t really know until you’re there. You don’t really know until the facilitator is practicing and whatnot. So, I think a part of it is this pre-vetting that Nick and I do.
But then the other part is what Nick was saying about this continual loop of feedback, this continual learning, this continual, “Okay, how does this person receive feedback?
How does this person implement new practices or revisit practices or do away with some practices?” And then how do they confront that when they say, “Well, this practice was guided to me by the medicine. I got this in a direct vision transmission from the medicine.”
And then you have a conversation with them on how that might be harming people potentially. How willing are they to make those changes? And so, it becomes very interesting.
One thing that I like about Colorado, I think there’s a lot of contention around Prop 122 now, SB 23-290, I believe. But the one thing that I do like is that there’s no ability to advertise.
You can’t put your name on a billboard, you can’t whatnot have paid advertising, which I think is a foot in the right direction. But I’ll tell you what. The person who has a million-dollar marketing budget will probably reach more people than that individual who has been doing this work for 20 years and who is just putting up their bat signal like Nick is talking about.
So, even though we may have some regulatory things, what Nick was saying in the state of Oregon already shows that there are some really important and beautiful things about regulation, and not everything should be solved by regulation either.
Kayse: Thank you so, so much. Let’s talk about a little bit from the client perspective. A lot of listeners are pretty new to medicine practice. They’re in their first year, they’re microdosing.
When it comes time to searching for a guide and the screening process, are there any parts of the process that help you really, really know this person is ready and prepared for a journey in their background?
And then, can you share some of the things that you might see in a screening process where a person would benefit by slowing the role a little bit and instituting some other practices in their life to prepare for a journey?
Assessing Client Preparedness & Benefits of Pacing Preparation
Jimmy: Yeah, I’ll start off by saying that this process is actually a two-way screening process. It’s the journeyer screening the service provider and facilitator and the facilitator having the responsibility of making sure that the potential journeyer has the right conditions and set up for the potential of a meaningful experience through psychedelics, because there’s already an inherent power dynamic there.
By saying it’s that the facilitator is screening out the journeyer, it’s saying that the journeyer or potential journeyer has to meet a certain set of conditions and criteria to be good enough for psychedelics.
That’s really not the case. A lot of this is about fit. It’s fit with the medicine, it’s fit with the psychedelic, it’s fit with the service provider.
So, I just want to zoom out on this first and foremost to say that, as we talk about screening, it’s a multidirectional [laughs] process here. You’re asking a very pointed question on are there indicators for me on people who I really invite to slow down or pause or even stop the process altogether.
The number one thing that I can say is, your level of desperation and the honesty that you have with yourself with how desperate you are.
I’ll give the caveat to say that there are many people who have been suffering for a very long time, who’ve been looking for an outlet or an alternative or a resource and then now there is one that is present to them.
So, I get that. I get that there’s a level of urgency for people, but I think that that’s very different than desperation. Desperation looks like I’ve tried everything and now this is my last shot. Desperation is, if I don’t do this next week, I don’t know how I’m going to continue on.
And that’s a little different than urgency, because urgency is more saying, this is really important to me and I want to do it right. Because if you use desperation as the primary motivator, you’re going to pick who the soonest available is, we’re talking about this already, who the closest to you is, and maybe you’re going to pick who’s the right person within my budget.
That is so dangerous, because if there’s a person who’s already in a desperate state and then you pick that and then you have– Let’s say there’s no facilitator abuse at all.
Let’s say the facilitator did everything that was right in the service of the client and you had, as a journeyer, this really high expectation that I’m going to meet God, and this is going to solve all of my things, and I’m going to so on and so forth.
What if in that first experience, what it actually does is it brings all of your trauma to the surface in order for you to better access them, in order for you to better work on them.
But if desperation is your real hidden motive here, then you can see how that becomes really challenging for folks. And so, that’s probably one of my best indicators on whether a person is ready for a psychedelic experience or not.
There are also other indicators on how much work the journeyer is willing to do and how much they rely and lean on the medicine to do for them. When I tell folks, “Hey, actually, this psychedelic substance is a catalyst. It’s the same amount of work that you need to do already.”
Most of the time I don’t hear back from about 50% of those people. I think that that’s actually in the best case. And then I have some folks who I address these things.
They’re like, “Okay, I know I’m desperate, and I know I am leaning on the medicine, and I know that my intuition is telling me to do this anyways.” Like, “I want to move forward and my intuition is telling me to do this anyways.”
It’s then my deep responsibility as a facilitator, the best times that I’ve been in service to somebody is actually telling them, “No, I can’t move forward and work with you and here’s why. It’s because I care about you.
It’s because I worry what happens if this experience doesn’t meet this vision that you have in your mind, because I want you to be around.” I’d rather you be here in three months being like, “No, Jimmy, you were wrong in telling me to not do that.”
And I’m like, “Great, I’m wrong?” Then that three months have given you a little bit more time. I’ve actually had people reply back to me and be like, “Hey, thanks for having that conversation with me. I didn’t realize at that time, but I did need to slow down a little bit.”
The Transition to Embracing Discomfort
Kayse: [00:48:28] Thank you. So, so important. I think that’s, likewise, one of the biggest misconceptions I see. Especially right now, a lot of people are going through it right now. Their life and heart right now.
Jimmy: Regardless of whether you’re interested in psychedelics or not, people are going through it right now.
Kayse: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s the price of evolution and growth that we’re in right now. One of the biggest misconceptions I see is people are in the state of desperation.
They’re in the thick of a breakup or they’re in the thick of grief of loss, and they want to do medicine work to save them from their discomfort. One of the things I tell them, “The medicine is likely not going to save you from your discomfort.
It’s going to show you the truth of your situation more than it is going to rescue you from it.” So, it’s a deep deconditioning of the take the substance and you’ll feel better, right? [laughs]
Conclusion and Reflections
Nick: [00:49:30] The thing is, what I’ve recognized is that that is the Western paradigm. It’s like, “Okay, you have high cholesterol, pop a Lipitor. Don’t bother changing your diet, because that’s what’s hard and potentially uncomfortable.”
And so, people like to fit psychedelics into the same lens, primarily because they don’t know any better, and then that’s what we’re conditioned for to think, “All right, well, if I just take a microdose or I just take a big dose, I’ll just feel better. That’s what the studies say. That’s what the science says.”
But what nobody’s talking about is this very real destabilization process that tends to occur, that causes you to question everything. It’s like that’s a challenging place to be, especially if you think this is a passive healing process.
In reality, it’s probably the most active healing process anyone can engage with, because it extends far beyond the actual medicine ceremony or dosing session itself.
Jimmy: Even if all of those conditions are right, even if a doctor is telling you, “Hey, take a Lipitor, and also you need to look at your diet, and you need to look at your physical exercise, and you need to look at your work environment that’s stressing you out.”
Even if there was a person, a patient who is minded to do all of those things, you’re still confronting all of those things in society that are telling you that fast food and convenience is the way that the patriarchal model of working hard to burn out.
You got to work harder to go get what you want, to go earn what you want. And so, it’s not an even playing field even if you were minded to do all of those things. I think it’s really akin to psychedelic work as well, which is like, sure, you can go through this transformational–
We actually see this all the time. Sure, you can go through this transformational process. But if you don’t bring any of this back to you into your regular life, then you’re going to be feeling right back where you started six months ago.
And so, it becomes this tricky thing, it becomes this aha moment for a lot of folks when they realize, “Oh, shit, this isn’t a magic bullet. I do got to confront all my stuff anyways.”
Nick: We ended up recording a podcast episode solely on what is the work, because people didn’t even have a frame of reference for what could possibly be required before, during, or after an experience, because the psychedelic is truly just the tool.
At the end of the day, it’s what we do with it and how we use it that dictates the outcomes. I don’t know if we’ve mentioned this in the past when we’ve chatted Kayse, but a perfect example of this is that folks that engage with one of our programs through a facilitator in our network, they prepay for integration and people don’t use it.
I don’t even know what’s going through their mind, but they decide, “No, I’m good. I don’t need this.” It blows me away because they’ve prepaid for this professional support. It’s part of the program.
The facilitator is reaching out and asking, “Hey, you still got one of these left, would love to connect and check in, and see where you’re at?” People just bail. They leave them on the table all the time.
Jimmy: Yeah, I had a client who went through that process, and then eight months later, they messaged me in crisis, and then I was like, “Hey, I’ll do free sessions” and whatever. But you’re at the same juncture again and you have to choose.
Whether it’s with me or not, you have to choose whether you’re going to continue to do this work again. I haven’t heard from them since, it’s probably been about seven months from there.
I still send them a lot of love and compassionate support knowing and trusting that that might be their process also. Like, how much are you going to sweep your stuff under the rug until it turns into a shit pile and then you’re tripping over it all the time?
Jimmy: But I really do think that it is also an indicator when we’re talking about, “Okay, what are the conditions for me to know that I’m ready for a psychedelic experience?
Are you ready to take radical ownership and accountability over your process, because there is no external thing that will do that for you? And then how honest are you about your resilience on if it is more difficult before it starts to get better?”
Because I think that a lot of people are and very rightfully so, looking for relief. And I’m like, “Are you looking for relief or are you looking for true healing?” Because those two things are very different.
Kayse: Right on.
Jimmy: If I had a mic, I’d drop it. It’s on a stand and it’s hooked up to a thing, I can’t, I can’t and I’d break it and so, I’m not.
Kayse: Oh, I love it. I love it. So, my next question. I’m super excited to ask you both your opinion on this and I will couch this and say I’m very biased, of course.
Kayse: I would love to see, now that you have years of experience behind you, the difference between when people take the time to lay the foundation of relationship with a medicine through microdosing work prior to doing the high dose experience.
I will say briefly, it has been unequivocal witnessing the difference when people practice first. For some people, it’s weeks if people have a long history of personal development work and contemplative practice, spiritual practice, it might just be a few weeks of microdosing to connect before the journey.
Other people, it’s laying the foundation for a couple of years with microdosing and other development and contemplative practice. So, we have noticed it’s a night and day different when they ultimately journey.
So, I’m so excited to hear your take on this. When people come to you, do you frequently advocate beginning with microdosing for people prior to a journey and any other reflections you have or anecdotes you have about that experience?
Nick: I’m happy to start with this one. I think one of our core values is empowerment. And so, one of the things that we focus on is giving people choice.
And so, I would say that we don’t necessarily advocate for microdosing, but we offer it as a choice with the full package of informed consent that includes risks, benefits, tradeoffs, things to consider, etc.
It’s actually one of the first pieces of things people see when they get to our website is the opportunity to download a microdosing guide. I have a hunch. There’re a lot of people that download that without even knowing whether it’s something they want or not.
They’re still trying to figure it out. And so, I still in my own experience, there’re a lot of questions around microdosing. Even though you’ve been working with folks in this for the last four years professionally and Lord knows how long it’s been around before that, but it’s still very foreign to people.
In my own experience, I have definitely seen a difference in how folks enter a medium dose to large dose journey if they have prior experience with microdosing. There’re a couple of things that come to mind for me.
One, is it starts to build this foundation of trust and rapport with the medicine, because a lot of people when they’re heading towards a high dose journey are trying to figure out like, “How does it work, how am I going to feel, what’s this going to do to me, how will I know if I’m feeling it?”
Microdosing helps alleviate a lot of that what I’ll call like pre-trip anxiety in the sense that, “Oh, I understand how these things work in my specific body. I know they’re not here to hurt me.
Yes, they may stir the pot a little bit, but there’s this sense of allyship that’s very different and I think can inspire a sense of trust when moving into a higher dose journey.”
Because they’re going to take 50 times the amount of medicine that they’re taking in a microdose, but at least they have some understanding of like, “Ah, my body responds well to this. I understand how it works.”
The other thing that I notice is, it reframes this whole healing process. Because anyone that’s had a go at microdosing can probably acknowledge that there are some days where you feel like you’re on top of the world, and there are some days where you’re like, “God, I thought I worked through this already and here it is again.”
And so, it’s not this super linear thing, but it reframes that, “Oh, the high dose is probably not going to be super linear either. I may feel worse before I feel better. But because I have my relationship with the medicine, there’s this trust that it’s all going to unfold exactly how it should.”
Jimmy: Yeah, really well said, Nick. I think the other things that I would add to this is that so much of this is about framing in our society where I actually think a lot of the process around microdosing is really misunderstood, and also not delivered well as far as the messaging around what microdosing is.
And so, there are very few people who talk about building relationship with the medicine, as Nick said, via microdosing. A lot of it is about benefit and neuroplasticity, neuroplasticity, neuroplasticity.
Nick: Or productivity.
Jimmy: Yeah, right.
Nick: I want to increase my productivity at work, like, “What?”
Jimmy: Yeah. Or, stress resilience or nervous system management like, hormonal, almost like recalibration. And so, yes, those are all potential benefits. But what a lot of people don’t realize with microdosing is that the same nonspecific amplifying effect also happens.
And so, it can bring up your trauma, it can bring up this thing that’s uncomfortable for you, it can bring up at a certain dosage if you don’t have your dosage dialed in right, a sense of flightiness or scatterbrainness.
And so, what I view actually is that, there’re a lot of different entry ramps onto this highway of which microdosing is a very viable one, of which large dose experiences are a viable one. What’s really not talked about at all are moderate or museum doses as well.
Also, non-psychedelic ways of exploring altered states of consciousness is another entrance ramp to the highway, like, breath work or things like that, or meditation and things like that.
And so, I think it’s really actually more about the reorienting on how does this all fit together, because what our industry has done is you got to choose microdose or macrodose. That’s it. That’s your choice. You got to choose. [Nick laughs]
And then I get plenty of people who in their intuition, they’re like, “You know what, I need a deep dive and I want to start my first relationship with the medicine and the deep dive.”
And I’m like, “You know what, I honor that and let’s go through this process to see if we’re a fit or not.” And then for some other folks, they are talking a lot about what Nick is talking about. We’re like, “I want to dip my toes in a little and see what’s going on here.”
So, I’d probably say, it’s a pretty even mix. I think that we have a third of folks who come through the Psychedelic Passage network who are just like, maybe they’re a one and done.
Maybe they’re like, “I’ve decided that this is my one shot with psychedelics and I’m not going to really engage in psychedelics after that.”
You probably have another third of folks who start with microdosing, and then move into macrodose territory, and then probably the other third start with macrodose, and then likely move into some type of micro– [crosstalk]
Nick: That I think is what’s been most interesting to me is the amount of folks that have no prior experience go straight into a ceremony and then afterwards they’re like, “Cool, now I’m ready for microdosing.” I really wasn’t expecting-
Jimmy: Me neither.
Jimmy: Me neither.
Nick: -to happen to that extent.
Jimmy: But it’s a thing.
Nick: It’s definitely a thing.
Jimmy: It’s definitely a thing. So, I guess my message here is that, if you are a microdosing practitioner, figure your shit out, because there’re a ton of people who say that they’re microdosing practitioners and all that and they’re just making it up on the fly.
And so, what’s also happening when we’re talking about the lack of standardization in this space and in this industry is the same for microdosing.
I can imagine that your program is effective not just because of the microdosing, it’s because of the intentionality and the care that you’re putting into this cohort, it’s because of the education that you put around, it’s because of the, “Okay, I’m Kayse Gehret.
I’m sitting here. How do I want to develop this program which I think is the most effective?” I really think that there’re a lot of folks out there who claim to be microdosing practitioners who are really just drug dealers and don’t have that extra layer of stuff around it.
And also, “Hey, I’m not going to beat you up about it. That’s what you want to do, that’s what you want to do, but what’s your intent? Is your intent to spread as much medicine around as possible or is your intent to actually support people?” Because again, there’s a difference.
Kayse: Yeah, I very much appreciate those views. Both of you, what you said emphasize the fact of how individual this process is.
It’s almost impossible to create models based on scale, and volume, and scalability, and cookie cutterization, and standardization, because it is so, so unique. I have seen that too. It’s a very common question for people to come who are brand new and say, “Should I macrodose or should I microdose? Tell me.” [giggles]
Kayse: The answer is often frustrating, because oftentimes I answer both. Both have their place and probably both if you engage, but microdosing is just opening the door. We are opening the door in our six-week programs.
Even in our six-month program, you are just starting to lay the foundation. Other people, like you said, we very much benefit by doing that deep dive who need a deep reset, and then they’re ready to do the microdosing.
So, I think programs that really allow for spaciousness and individuality while holding a safe, structured container, we have found– Like you guys, we’ve very much learned along the way, and we have evolved real time week to week based on what we’re seeing and what people are needing.
I know for myself from here forward, I’ve been really drawn to create more programming. Jimmy, for all the many, many, many people who want to become microdosing coaches and mentors.
Jimmy: I was hoping somebody would be looking at this.
Kayse: Yeah. So, we have a course now called Emergence. That’s a five-hour minicourse for healing artists. It’s designed for healing artists, but also Citizen Healers who feel called to share medicines with their friends and family and community.
So, it covers all of the basic things that we have learned after we’ve had– Right now, today, we’ve had about 750 people through our program, and I have learned so much by witnessing things that I didn’t know three years ago that you can only learn by doing.
That’s why it’s so odd to me that certification programs that don’t include medicine work for the practitioner, because it’s such an experiential process. You can really only learn by witnessing yourself and witnessing others over many, many years before you’re even ready to begin doing this work.
So, I am very, very interested and passionate in supporting other, particularly healing artists who come with a foundation of service and backgrounds of healing to how to weave the medicines into their work, to get people on the path and support them in a very intentional, mindful, reverential of nature way.
It’s funny to hear, because I’m so immersed in our community. Our work is very, very, very few people come to us for the brain hacks and work productivity. It’s interesting to me that that’s still the messaging being put out for microdosing– [crosstalk]
Jimmy: Yeah. It can be that. That’s just the thing that people understand the most. But then when you talk to people about, “Hey, a microdose can actually help you uncover some deep trauma, some repressed trauma,” They’re like, “That doesn’t make sense to me. how does that work?”
Nick: Or, maybe they don’t want it.
Jimmy: Right. You were saying something Kayse about how microdosing really just opens the door. I want to be clear to the audience that macrodosing only opens the door as well. It’s the same.
The same way that if you sat and meditated for eight hours a day, you would still run into the same problems on like, how do I implement this, how do I bring this to the life that I’m living in?
Because it’d be super easy– I wouldn’t say easy, but it’d be a whole different thing to go sit in the woods and meditate for eight hours. [Kayse laughs] It’s a whole another thing on, “Okay, how do I bring this back to the world?”
And so, when we’re talking about microdosing, macrodosing, any of these other entrances onto this highway, it’s the same thing as well.
Kayse: Mm-hmm. Thank you. My last and final question, and you guys are free to take this in any direction you would love is, yeah, we’re at this very clear inflection point right now, where we’ve been waiting for it to be mainstream and it’s here.
It’s very much here. And so, I would love for you both to reflect and share any thoughts you have on– You have the gift and privilege to see firsthand so many people moving through this process.
You also are very aware of what’s going on in the industry. So, just any thoughts or reflections you have on your hopes for the field, your vision for the field, and also, maybe areas that you see us potentially going off the rails a little bit in the field.
Nick: I’m just taking a moment to reflect on this. It’s a good question.
Jimmy: [laughs] Yeah.
Jimmy: I can start with something. This is purely an opinion of mine. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s not going to be pretty how this is all going to unfold. There’s going to be just as many people harmed from psychedelics coming into the space in the way that it’s moving as there are going to be people who receive benefit and healing.
I think in my own mind, I have this rosy idea that if psychedelics were just able to be accessed and acknowledged and honored that that the world would better, and people would start to wake up, and people would start to heal and address their traumas.
Yes, but we are very flawed humans who have a very flawed and limited way of thinking. We have funny ways of how we interact with each other. We have funny ways on what ideas emerge to the surface when we think about groupthink, when we think about normalization and social conditioning.
So, the one takeaway that I’ve had with really just coming on the heels of the Psychedelic Science Conference is that I have completely removed any idea that this is going to be a harmonious, and collaborative, and rainbows and butterfly’s process.
I’m very clear that it’s not. I think any point of human evolution has not been like that. If you look in our history, of which version of this modern human arises to the top in our hunter-gatherer phase or whatever, when we think about all of the things that had to happen in psychiatry and therapy over hundreds of years.
There were many experiments that happened without ethical consideration and all of those things. But those things are tucked away.
Then we’re like, “Oh, we got EMDR now. We got all this new stuff.” But then we forget that a lot of that were actually experimented on marginalized populations and will continue to do so.
The amount of times that I heard– I have a client that was a Phase 1 MAPS trial participant and received a lot of benefit, and they’re sharing that they felt left high and dry. They don’t have community now.
They don’t have a connection to the other trial participants. And meanwhile, this is touted as, “Hey, look at all the beautiful stuff that we did for these people and for the advancement of MDMA.” That individual didn’t even get a response on the scholarship application that they sent for the conference.
And so, when I’m looking at this stuff, I think that there’s the rosy on the surface of what’s happening here and then there’s this underbelly of what’s really happening here, where I do see black and brown people getting tokenized a little bit.
I know I’m a pretty ethnically ambiguous looking person. I almost vomited the amount of times that I just had people walking by bowing to me and thanking me for my lineage and thanking me for my role as a medicine keeper. They know nothing about me and I’m just walking through a conference wearing like street clothes.
So, I think that there is this romanticism about psychedelics, and the sooner that the people who actually really care to progress this in the psychedelic space does away with that romanticism, the sooner we can actually confront the real problems that are going on here, because there’re a lot of problems.
There are a lot of problems and I don’t want that to overlook a lot of the beautiful things that are happening. There are also a lot of beautiful things happening, but I call it the psychedelic halo effect.
Much easier to talk about here’s how we’re supporting veterans, because there’s no politician out there who would say anything anti-veteran.
But at the same time, I think that there’re a lot of veterans out there who aren’t getting support and aren’t getting help and don’t have the cohesive 6-month, 8-month, 10-month program to support them in the right way to move through psychedelics.
And so, it’s this funny thing, because there’s so much beautiful stuff happening which in that psychedelic halo effect, the marketability of psychedelics we then overlook or want to brush under the rug all the bad things that are happening, but it’s actually in addressing the bad things can we create solutions for them. And so, it’s messier than I had imagined in my mind, especially over the next five years to seven years.
Nick: Well said. The word that comes to mind for me is discernment. And my hope is that clients, journeyers, psychedelic-curious folks start to use a level of discernment, because my own– this is once again, my perspective, my opinion.
But we live in a culture where we think that if someone’s licensed, they’re inherently legitimate. I am here to say that state licensure does not make anybody inherently qualified to do this work, nor does your mental health degree nor does your social work degree.
There are a multitude of factors that in my opinion are required to make someone truly adept at this work. And unfortunately, it’s not just licensure. We like to think that that’s enough in our culture, “Oh, you’re licensed, you’re legitimate.” That is just not how this is going to work.
The other place in which discernment comes up for me is, when we start to see these adverse experiences, when we start to see facilitator abuse, when we start to see ethical violations.
Are we as a culture going to say that this is a medicine problem or are we going to say this is a human problem? Because the medicine has been around forever.
The medicine to me is not the issue here. It’s around how we’re engaging with it, what those support services look like, what’s the standard that’s being held there, where’s the accountability?
And so, my hope is that when we see these adverse experiences, we can go, “Huh, what went wrong? What can we do better? Not psychedelics are bad.” Because that’s what we’ve done in the past.
We’ve already been down that road of psychedelics are bad. We know that there’s more to the story than that. That’s not the complete picture here.
And so, for me, what this is highlighting is the importance of proper support. Just to say it again, licensure does not mean that you’re inherently going to get sound support.
Kayse: I love you two.
Jimmy: We love you too, Kayse.
Kayse: I could talk to you too all day long. Now, I just want to again read. I have so much respect for you two and especially when you are trying to navigate, building something with expansiveness, and impact, and accessibility, and visibility, and at the same time stay true to the message.
Jimmy: Yeah, it’s hard.
Kayse: It is. It is a noble challenge though. Yeah, you two have been doing it beautifully even week to week, week to week.
Nick: [laughs] Thank you.
Nick: We feel the same about you. We wouldn’t have come on the show otherwise. We’re very clear in who we align with as far as putting ourselves out there and being on their platform. And so, the feeling is very much mutual.
Jimmy: Yeah, and I just want to clarify for folks that, Nick and I really try to not put out any air that we have it figured out, because we very much don’t.
I think the difference is that we’re willing to ask the questions and we’re willing to acknowledge what we don’t have figured out, where I think the pomp and circumstance in this environment is that it’s very attractive for people to claim that they have it figured out in the psychedelic space right now.
We are actively trying to solve on the things that we care about. Like, when I look at our facilitator network and see that it does skew predominantly cisgender Caucasian, and then I have to make that choice on, “Okay, what’s more important right now? Representation and diversity or me being able to sign off on every facilitator in the network?”
Acknowledging that there’s a reason why there aren’t as many BIPOC facilitators out there. Acknowledging that that starting line has way more hurdles than maybe somebody who is college educated, or so on and so forth, or had the ability to experiment with psychedelics with these social buffers like I did in college.
And so, we don’t have it figured out. We really, really don’t. But I think what we’re trying to do is that, in our humility of saying that we don’t have it figured out, but we’re trying to, I really do hope that invites other people to be honest with themselves on their own process of what they know, don’t know, and what they need to figure out.
Kayse: Thank you both so much. Appreciate you.
Jimmy: Yeah, really grateful to be here.
Nick: Yeah, thank you.
Kayse: Thanks, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today. I’d love for you guys to wrap us up by letting us know how people can find and follow you. What platforms are you on and what’s the website URL?
Nick: Yeah. So, the website is www.psychedelicpassage.com, and it’s the same @ for all of our social accounts, so @psychedelicpassage. We’re on all major social platforms. And then we also have a podcast called The Psychedelic Passage podcast, so also same name. We tried to make it as consistent-
Jimmy: Very creative.
Nick: -and universal as possible.
Jimmy: Very creative.
Kayse: Appreciate it, appreciate it. Awesome. All right, well, goodbye everybody. Thank you so, so much for listening. Be sure to connect and follow these guys, and we’ll see you again soon.
Kayse: Thank you for listening today’s episode of the Microdosing For Healing podcast. Are you ready to take the next step? Please visit us at microdosingforhealing.com to access our free Microdosing 101 workshop.
In it, you’ll learn more about our diverse community, our supportive group programs, and discover if earth medicine practice might be right for you. See you in the next episode.
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