Rafael Lancelotta and Alyssa Gursky come on the podcast for a Round II to discuss the Psychedelic Goldrush. This time, the question is, what do we do about it?
We explore our different perspectives on a collective vision in the psychedelic movement, at the institutional, community and interpersonal level. Can we integrate all of what we are coming up against, and address it nonviolently, or with different tactics than the ones that create the problems in the first place?
Rafael discusses how colonial structures can easily be replicated in movement building. They speak to the importance of acknowledging the pain and destruction caused by colonial structures, and slowing down to feeling, witnessing and working with what we have. Capitalism presents a narrative that resources are so abundant that we can throw it all away and start again. This isn’t necessarily possible anymore.. can we make something beautiful from the mess? Can we make use of everything that is here, and be in right relationship?
Next the conversation shifts to cancel culture, which Alyssa describes as a culmination of playing hot potato with abandonment wounds. There is a vulnerability in saying, “I did this thing and I’m not proud of it.” We discuss repair and accountability, and the complexity of these topics in practice. Interpersonal ruptures can be polarizing, and while cancel culture has significant issues, survivors can end up being the ones “cancelled” if steps aren’t taken to address the harm and mitigate potential future harms on a community level. We discuss how tricky repair can be when reality is not agreed upon.
We name capitalism as a perpetrator in the psychedelic gold rush, and discuss the responsibility of people to hold organizations accountable to proper care.
Adequate training, supervision, the skills to provide trauma informed care and a commitment to accountability is essential for psychedelic therapists, integration providers. The rise of autonomous, disjointed clinical practices presents a difficulty and precariousness around upholding these values on the collective level. Isolating oneself is an act of harm; building relationship with self is protective against harm. It’s important to get psychedelic therapies covered by insurance, and we call for more practitioners to try to coordinate care holistically with other practitioners. Nurturing community that clients be part of may also bring about more deep and lasting change. Alyssa discusses the idea and feasibility of Ketamine assisted group therapy.
Leia shares about interpersonal harm reduction – resourcing ourselves and our communities with the skills and tools for grappling with interpersonal conflict (such as nonviolent communication, conflict resolution, mediation, restorative/transformative justice, skill with nonhierarchical organizing, awareness of consent and power dynamics).
Adding psychedelics to a community adds a whole level of complexity. We must recognize how our shadows can touch others and create harm, and be accountable for that. Being in community means coming into relationship again and again, with ourselves and each other.
The conversation winds down with a discussion of reaching out as a valuable survival skill. Trusting in relationship can allow people the courage to change. Bringing shadow to light is important. We can see other people not as static, but in process. The semicolon initiative – a situation in life doesn’t have to dictate the end; it can be a pivot. Let’s embrace our own and each others’ capacity for change. In the words of Claudio Naranjo – “falling in love w/ one’s circumstances.”
The caliber of our healing work hinges on our capacity to recognize our privilege. It is critical and of ongoing importance that psychedelic spaces be more inclusive and engage in reciprocity.
Bio: Rafael Lancelotta is a Social Work PhD student at The Ohio State University focusing on levels of social/therapeutic support and their relationship to improvements in mental health symptoms in the context of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Before starting their PhD program, they worked as a somatic-focused, trauma-informed therapist in private practice in Golden, Colorado supporting clients’ use of cannabis and ketamine to facilitate the therapeutic process. They have authored, co-authored, helped design, carry out, and present over 20 research papers and projects on psychedelic use and psychedelic-assisted therapy. They serve as a Founding Board Member and Secretary of the Source Research Foundation, a foundation which aims to connect, inspire, and support students who study all contexts of psychedelic use. They are passionate about expanding accessibility to psychedelic-assisted therapies to all people that may benefit as well as helping to raise awareness as to the responsible clinical applications of psychedelics/entheogens. They hope to continue working to help develop evidence-based practices for psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions and integration to empower individuals to make lasting positive change in their lives and in their communities. They are also the administrator of 5meodmt.org, which is a forum dedicated to facilitating community discussions on harm reduction, integration, and safe practices around the use of 5-MeO-DMT.
Bio: Alyssa (she/they) is a therapist, researcher, and artist based out of Portland, Oregon. They received their master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, concentrating in Transpersonal Art Therapy. They are an above-ground trained Ketamine & MDMA-Assisted psychotherapist and are incredibly passionate about the intersection of somatic awareness, creativity, and relational healing. She is passionate about creating spaces of safety for those who identify as LGBTQIA+ in the field of psychedelic therapy. Creatively, she focuses on mixed media & collage art. Alyssa can be found at www.alyssagursky.com or on Instagram at @mycelialyssa