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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***
The mushroom is the fruiting body of a large underground network called mycelium.
That mushroom, once fruited, releases spores. Those spores, if lucky, land in an environment that allows for their growth. They transform from spores into microscopic filaments called Hypha. Hypa only have half the genetic material to reproduce so they grow and branch “seeking a genetic ‘mate’.” Once that mate is found, the two hyphae combine their forces to gather nutrients and eventually become the mycelium that will allow for new mushrooms to grow and spores to be cast out into the world.
The mushroom’s life cycle has been used as a metaphor to understand the spread of ideas and the altering of culture as a result [Radical Mycology]. Single spores transform through sharing nutrients into a culture of mycelium that gives rise to new mushrooms and new spores. Single ideas can grow through conversation into action and into a social culture that, from which, new ideas can emerge and spore back into the idea ecology in which the culture exists. Evolving and adapting each time. This episode efforts to facilitate this process.
The premise is simple: two highly accomplished women in psilocybin therapy–one in the scientific research and the other in traditional medicine–come together to share and compare notes.
The theory is a bit more complicated: the discourse that unfolds in this episode is like hyphae (mind’s) meeting and together nourishing (conversing) a larger mycelial network (the conversation itself) to fruit (the episode) and spore (you listening to it). And, hopefully, the ideas will hypha in you and, eventually, the process will repeat through further discourse, inoculating the culture at large.
Lofty goals, I know, but not unreasonable given the brilliant wealth of knowledge, experience, and wisdom each of these women—Francoise Bourzat and Rosalind Watts—bring to the conversation.
Dr. Rosalind Watts is a clinical psychologist and serves as the Clinical Lead of the Imperial College London Psilocybin for Depression study. Her qualitative research indicated ‘connectedness and acceptance’ as fundamental mechanisms of change in psilocybin therapy. She developed the Watts Connectedness Scale (WCS) and a therapeutic framework for conducting preparation and integration sessions in psychedelic therapy trials known as the ACE model (Accept, Connect, Embody). Rosalind has written about psychedelics as agents of connectedness and given several talks on the subject, including a popular TEDx talk.
[see my one-on-one interview with Dr. Watts here]
Francoise Bourzat holds a MA in Somatic Psychology from New College of California (San Francisco, 1990). She is a certified Hakomi Therapist (1991). She is an adjunct faculty in the East-West Psychology Program at CIIS. Since 1987, Francoise has apprenticed with shamans and healers in the U.S. and Mexico. In the last 20 years, she has traveled with groups to Mexico, incorporating her counseling practice experience with her knowledge of expanded states of consciousness where she partners with Mazatec healers in Sacred Mushrooms ceremonies. She is also the author of the book Consciousness Medicine, which showcases her decade long knowledge, bridging indigenous practices, and Western psychology.
[see my one-on-one interview with Francoise Bourzat here]
Each a leader in the field of psilocybin therapy and medicine, Francoise and Rosalind are on the show to talk with each other about psilocybin for depression, trauma, dying; as well as integration, the role of community in getting the most out of our psychedelic experiences, why the depression comes back after psilocybin therapy, and the challenges of being a woman in psychedelic research. We also discuss the ethics of screening people for therapy, using mushrooms in naturalistic settings, ego inflation, and the impact of venture capitalism is having on psychedelic culture.
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- The basis of why these two women have come together for this episode
- Francoise’s upcoming Research on psilocybin and grief
- Navigating the Challenges of being a woman in psychedelic research, and science in general
- Team support structures for handing difficult psilocybin therapy sessions as a facilitator
- Preparing a team to research psilocybin therapy and processing grief
- The masculine striving and the feminine building of community and family
- The role of grief and grieving in the process of healing with psilocybin
- Encounter with eternity help us reconsolidate the dying process
- The integration processes used during the psilocybin for depression trials
- How long should we wait between psilocybin journeys?
- A point about the value of heart rate variability as something o measure during psilocybin research
- Discussing why (and how) the depression comes back after psilocybin
- Psilocybin therapy and trauma healing
- Comparing MDMA to psilocybin insofar as trauma healing
- Concerns around how fast psychedelics are being mainstreamed
- The ethics of screening people for psilocybin therapy
- The role of community in getting the most benefit from psilocybin
- Building that community using the ‘pollinator model’
- Discussions on the psilocybin service initiative in Oregon
- Using mushrooms in natural settings
- Discussions about psychedelic medicine in the context of capitalism
- Psychedelic ego inflation and narcissism increased by psychedelic use
- Why profitable psychedelic therapy will likely be poor therapy
- Quality psilocybin therapy vs ‘kfc’ therapy
- How big business legislation may hurt good people to keep doing their work in the context of legalization