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Q&As From MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference 2023

Vanessa Dale
Vanessa draws upon her in-depth knowledge of psychedelics acquired through her graduate studies. With a dedicated emphasis on the medicinal applications of these substances, her content divulges their transformative power in promoting healing and personal growth. By highlighting the positive impact of psychedelics, Vanessa sheds light on how they offer a unique path toward well-being and self-discovery.

The recent Psychedelic Science Conference in Denver, organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), was a true testament to the booming growth and significance of the psychedelic movement.

Picture this: a crowd of 12,000 attendees and 500 speakers altogether, participating in mind-expanding discussions on all things psychedelic. From medical breakthroughs to community involvement, the conference covered it all.

MAPS curated a captivating lineup of talks and workshops, featuring panels discussing the medicinal potential of psychedelics, their legal status, cutting-edge research, equity matters, and much more.

This year, Psychedelic Passage’s co-founders Jimmy Nguyen and Nicholas Levich showcased what services we offer at the conference. They discussed establishing solid standards for facilitators and tackling crucial but often overlooked issues like vetting, advocacy, reporting, and harm reduction.

However, it was hard to ignore the darker side of the psychedelic industry at the conference, as drug abuse was unfortunately prevalent. In contrast, harm reduction strategies weren’t given much attention.

In the midst of all the excitement at the conference, it became clear that the psychedelic industry still grapples with many unresolved issues. Luckily, we at Psychedelic Passage have been addressing challenges that haven’t crossed the industry’s radar yet since 2019.

All in all, the conference left us with more questions than answers. Today, we’re here to tackle some of the most common questions we were asked at the conference and shed light on the services Psychedelic Passage offers. 

Q: How can psychedelics help me?

With interest in psychedelics growing today, one of the most common questions people have is “how can psychedelics help me?”. From improved mood to treating medical conditions, psychedelics have proved to be effective for many.

Below, you’ll find a list of the various areas in which psychedelics have showcased their potential. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, as there are still countless other conditions and areas where psychedelics may prove to be effective treatments.

Medical Conditions

1. Depression

Most notably, psychedelics have been shown to effectively treat depression, especially treatment-resistant depression. Essentially, psychedelics work by rewiring the brain, such as reorganizing and forming new neural connections.

The psychedelic experience alone can also help people take a break from their negative thought patterns. This altered state of consciousness opens doors to profound self-reflection and the exploration of your emotions.

2. Anxiety

Psychedelics can help you process intense and repressed feelings and emotions without feeling overwhelmed. Unlike other treatments on the market, psychedelics provide quick relief of anxiety symptoms.

In addition, psychedelics have been a popular choice for soothing the symptoms of anxiety for end-of-life patients, as they are often bombarded with negative thoughts of death.

3. PTSD

Psychedelics, like MDMA, offer a distinct therapeutic approach to addressing traumatic experiences for those suffering from PTSD.

When under the guidance of a psychedelic professional, psychedelics create this mind-altering state where you can dive into your traumatic memories in a safe and controlled environment while viewing the event from a different and more empathetic perspective.

4. Eating Disorders

For those struggling with an eating disorder, psychedelics have the potential to offer a transformative opportunity that will shift your current perspectives and break free from negative thinking patterns relating to food. 

Through the psychedelic experience, you can gain a fresh outlook on your body, empowering you to challenge deeply ingrained beliefs and patterns tied to body image, food, and control. 

5. OCD

Psychedelics can induce an altered state of consciousness that disrupts rigid thought patterns and promotes cognitive flexibility in those diagnosed with OCD. This flexibility allows you to challenge and reassess your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Self-Improvement

Psychedelics unlock a door to heightened openness, creativity, and introspection. This mind-expanding experience can give you a fresh perspective, boosting your psychological flexibility.

When you dive into the psychedelic experience, it’s like diving deep into your own thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. This heightened self-awareness can provide valuable insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for personal growth.

The transformative experience can lead to profound insights and a sense of connection to something greater than yourself. These insights bring you clarity, purpose, and a whole new outlook on life, supporting personal growth and self-improvement.

Psychedelics can open up your mind to new ideas and ways of thinking. They ignite that creative spark, encouraging you to explore alternative viewpoints, imagine new possibilities, and unleash your creative potential.

Q: How can I become a facilitator?

Specific qualifications aren’t required to become a psychedelic facilitator. However, assisting individuals throughout psychedelic healing experiences calls for a diverse range of skills.

Becoming a psychedelic facilitator is honestly a journey in itself. You can approach it from a spiritual and holistic healing perspective or from a medical standpoint. Regardless, below are a few steps to consider as you progress toward becoming a psychedelic facilitator:

Dedication to Your Own Healing Journey

It’s important to wholeheartedly commit to your own personal healing journey before becoming a facilitator. By doing so, you’re able to approach your role with clarity and authenticity when assisting others. 

This commitment requires you to set aside your ego so you are able to provide support during moments of utmost vulnerability. Overall, the more you understand yourself, the more you will be able to understand others.

First Hand Experience

One of the most important requirements for becoming a psychedelic facilitator is to have firsthand experience with psychedelic substances and build a personal relationship with the plant medicine. 

It’s crucial to navigate the terrain yourself before assuming the role of guiding others, as this is the only way to fully grasp the journeyer’s experience. This personal exploration deepens your empathy and compassion for others as well.

Additionally, engaging in psychedelic therapy or healing sessions under the guidance of a qualified facilitator will enhance your understanding of these substances, their potential effects, and the facilitation session itself. 

Shadowing a Psychedelic Professional

Before becoming a psychedelic facilitator, you should secure an opportunity to shadow a psychedelic professional. No matter how much you read or research, nothing can prepare you quite like observing a psychedelic facilitator during transformative healing sessions.

Seeking practical experience is an invaluable step toward becoming a psychedelic facilitator. Practical experience shows you how to apply your knowledge and skills in real-world contexts.

For example, you could volunteer or work in relevant domains such as mental health clinics, addiction treatment centers, or research institutions focused on psychedelic studies.

Additional Education and Training

While training and certifications can increase your knowledge and provide useful frameworks, they alone do not guarantee professional qualification for this work.

For example, the state of Oregon offers a training program to become a psychedelic facilitator. This program requires 160 hours of coursework and 40 hours of training. However, this program doesn’t require you to have firsthand experience with psychedelics, which is crucial.

You should also be up to date with harm reduction strategies, as your client’s safety should be your main priority. You can also minimize the risks associated with psychedelic use by being aware of your client’s medical history and medications.

Developing a solid foundation in a relevant field such as psychology, neuroscience, or counseling can be helpful as well, as you will fully understand the psychedelics involved, the diverse range of possible experiences, and the connections between the mind and body. 

Hone Useful Skills

One crucial skill to have is the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately with individuals in sensitive situations. This includes creating an atmosphere of openness, trust, and comfort, allowing individuals to process and freely express their emotions.

Another key skill to have is crisis management. This includes effectively addressing issues such as health emergencies, adverse reactions, or the resurfacing of traumatic memories.

Before becoming a psychedelic facilitator, make sure to conduct thorough research on the legal requirements and limitations specific to your state. Adhering to legal and ethical guidelines is a must to ensure safe and responsible practice.

If you’re thinking about joining our network of psychedelic facilitators, please reach out to us! 

Q: What type of facilitators does Psychedelic Passage have?

At Psychedelic Passage, our network of guides come from a wide range of backgrounds, ranging from scientific expertise to more holistic approaches. While their own paths in this work may differ, they all share the same qualities and values.

Within our network, every facilitator undergoes a selection process where their psychedelic experience and facilitation abilities are carefully evaluated. This process ensures that only the most qualified individuals are entrusted with guiding others through transformative experiences.

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For harm-reduction purposes, we provide links to online psilocybin vendors, local stores, delivery services, and spore vendors for growing your own medicine at home.

Q: Is the psychedelic medicine enough?

The conference was filled with products claiming to amplify your psychedelic experience, such as bioacoustic feedback mats and VR experiences. Do these products truly enhance the journey, or is the true power of transformation found within the psychedelic medicine itself?

In all honesty, these products aren’t necessary for your psychedelic journey. In a way, these products are almost overcomplicating the experience, creating a perception that your journey requires additional “tools” to be beneficial.

While psychedelic medicine is a powerful tool for transformation and healing, it alone falls short of completely providing a safe and fulfilling psychedelic experience. Support systems play a key role in providing benefits and minimizing the risks associated with these journeys.

Psychedelic experiences can be intense and bring up repressed emotions. Without support and guidance, you may find it difficult to navigate these experiences alone, potentially leading to distress or retraumatization. 

Having an experienced psychedelic therapist or facilitator who can offer guidance throughout the journey can help you navigate these challenging thoughts and integrate the lessons learned into your life following the experience.

Support systems are also important for the preparation and integration phases of a psychedelic experience. Prior to the journey, your facilitator will help you set an intention and establish a solid foundation for the experience through trust.

Your facilitator will work with you throughout the integration phase, which includes processing and making sense of the emotions that emerged during the journey and incorporating the insights into your lifestyle. 

Additionally, psychedelics can have significant effects on how you view the world and yourself. Without support and guidance, individuals may struggle to integrate these changes into their life, leading to feeling disconnected or overwhelmed. 

While it’s true that additional products can potentially enhance your psychedelic experience, they are by no means necessary. What truly matters is having a reliable support system in place and, of course, the psychedelic medicine itself.

Q: As a mental health professional, how might offering psychedelic therapy affect my medical licensure?

Mental health professionals must be mindful of the legal and regulatory landscape surrounding psychedelics in their state. Engaging in psychedelic therapy without proper authorization can result in serious consequences for their medical licensure. 

Because the landscape surrounding the therapeutic use of psychedelics is rapidly evolving, staying up-to-date with the current laws, regulations, and guidelines is necessary to avoid any legal or ethical issues. 

In addition to meeting legal requirements, it’s crucial to undergo proper psychedelic training and obtain required certifications before incorporating psychedelics into your therapy practice. This not only ensures compliance, but also lessens the risk of jeopardizing your professional license.

Q: What to do when regulating bodies get complaints against licensed facilitators?

When regulating bodies, like government agencies or public organizations, receive complaints against licensed facilitators involved in psychedelic therapy, the most important thing is to remain calm and handle the situation with care.

The first step is to carefully review and evaluate the nature of the complaint to determine what course of action should be taken. Does it relate to the behavior of the licensed facilitator? Their adherence to legal and professional guidelines? 

Once the complaint is assessed, it’s crucial to follow the established procedures and protocols for investigating and addressing complaints against licensed professionals, such as gathering relevant evidence.

Because laws regarding psychedelics differ between states, evaluating the complaint within the context of the applicable laws and regulations helps determine the appropriate actions and potential consequences for the licensed facilitator.

Q: How is Psychedelic Passage able to legally service all 50 US states?

We want to assure you that the services we offer completely operate within the bounds of the law. However, it’s important to acknowledge that this is uncharted territory, and there is little to no precedent regarding how authorities would handle unforeseen circumstances.

We also don’t supply you with the psychedelic medicine for your healing journey, as this allows us to maintain complete transparency, legality, and an above-ground presence.

It’s also important to remember that possessing a Schedule 1 substance can come with consequences. However, these risks are reduced as more states decriminalize psychedelic substances, as most drug charges are pursued at the state level rather than the federal level.

Additionally, our extensive network of guides spans across the entire country, ensuring that no matter where you are located, you have access to a therapeutic psychedelic experience.

Q: Where do I fit into all of this?

In the ever-evolving and captivating realm of psychedelics, many wonder where they fit into this and how to get involved. At this point, everyone is still trying to figure that out. Here are a few recommendations on how you can get involved now:

Self-Exploration

Experiencing psychedelics firsthand is the most important thing you can do to fully understand the psychedelic world. Take time to explore your values, interests, and what impact you hope to make.

Personal experiences with psychedelics allow for a more intimate understanding of the effects and potential benefits associated with psychedelics. Additionally, you can empathize and connect with others who have undergone similar experiences.

You will also be better equipped to understand and navigate the potential risks and challenges that can arise during psychedelic experiences and learn how to properly support others who may encounter similar situations during their psychedelic journeys.

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is the foundation upon which meaningful involvement is built. By actively participating in conferences, workshops, or educational courses focused on psychedelics, you can increase your understanding of their usage and extensive history. 

Before diving into the world of psychedelics, it’s important to grasp its roots and show respect for the ancestral wisdom behind it. By staying informed and maintaining a casual awareness, you can approach psychedelics with the respect and knowledge they deserve.

It’s also important to stay up to date on the latest developments and regulations of psychedelics, as it’s constantly evolving. One way to achieve this is by exploring academic papers and reliable online sources.

Volunteer

Another way to actively engage in the psychedelic world is by volunteering with organizations focused on harm reduction or psychedelic research. By offering your skills, time, and resources, you contribute to the growth and positive impact of the psychedelic movement.

There are many roles you can take on in the world of psychedelics including integration coaching, advocacy, or policy-making. It’s important to explore different paths and identify where your unique skills and passions intersect with the needs of the community.

You can also connect with like-minded individuals who are equally passionate about psychedelics by attending psychedelic events and engaging in discussions. Collaboration and collective learning play a vital role in shaping the future of psychedelics.

Be Respectful and Ethical

By embracing respect and ethics in our approach to psychedelics, we not only ensure our personal well-being but also uphold the integrity of the practice and contribute to the broader movement of responsible psychedelic use.

Many psychedelics have deep cultural and historical roots, often tied to spiritual or healing practices of indigenous communities. By honoring the substance and its origins, we acknowledge its wisdom and prevent the commodification of these sacred plants.

Respecting ethical guidelines and practicing responsible behavior ensures the safety and well-being of yourself and others involved. This includes adhering to recommended dosages and taking necessary precautions to minimize potential risks.

Q: What areas does our facilitator network service in Denver, Colorado?

      • Green Valley Ranch
      • Capitol Hill
      • Central Park
      • North Park Hill
      • Sunnyside
      • Congress Park
      • Union Station
      • Lowry Field
      • Regis
      • Cherry Creek
      • West Highland
      • Berkeley
      • Hilltop
      • Washington Park
      • Highland

    Speak With a Local Psychedelic Guide 

    We hope this article has provided a comprehensive overview of the most commonly asked questions at the MAPS psychedelic conference this year. The tremendous interest in psychedelics reflects a growing desire for engagement and involvement.

    Here at Psychedelic Passage, we are here to support you every step of the way throughout your journey. We offer a completely customizable 5-week program that includes preparation and integration support, microdose coaching, PDF materials, and email/text support.

    To begin your healing journey, we encourage you to book a consultation with us. Our team of experienced psychedelic concierges will connect you with a suitable psychedelic facilitator, as well as address any questions you may have about the psychedelic therapy process.

    If you have any more psychedelic-related questions, we invite you to explore our resources page. We have tons of articles that cover a wide range of topics related to psychedelics. If you want to request a topic for an article, let us know!

    And of course, we would like to highlight the Psychedelic Passage podcast hosted by our knowledgeable cofounders, Jimmy and Nick. Available on all streaming platforms, the podcast explores the realm of all things psychedelics, offering valuable insights and perspectives.

    Being part of the psychedelic conference was truly an honor, as we had the privilege of meeting many like-minded individuals. We are ever-grateful for the enriching experiences and interactions shared. As always, we wish you a safe and transformative psychedelic journey!

    Seeking psychedelic assisted therapy?

    Take the first step and book a consultation call with us today. You'll get access to an exclusive network of pre-vetted facilitators. We'll match you with a trusted provider based on your unique needs.

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    At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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