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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***

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Where is the love?

One of the most prevailing and significant elements of a profound psychedelic journey is often an encounter with an all-encompassing force of Love (capital L intentional).

However, Love is not discussed much in the overall psychedelic research and medicine landscape. Instead, they talk of connectedness, oceanic boundlessness, unconditional positive regard, self-acceptance, etc. There are good reasons to discuss these elements of a psychedelic experience and not use the L word, from misunderstandings to misuses and abuses of power dynamics.

However, the fact remains that Love is there and if we are to truly understand and learn the lessons our psychedelic encounters with love are offering us, we need to accept the challenge of looking Love right in the beautiful face. Thankfully, Dr. Adele Lafrance on the scene.

Psychedelics and the healing power of love promo Dr Adele LaFranceDr. Adele Lafrance is a clinical psychologist, research scientist, author, and co-developer of emotion-focused treatment modalities, including Emotion-Focused Family Therapy. She is also a leader in the research and practice of psychedelic medicine, with a focus on ayahuasca, MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine. Currently, she is the clinical investigator and strategy lead for the MAPS-sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study for eating disorders and a collaborator/clinical support on the Imperial College study for psilocybin and anorexia nervosa.

She is a founding member of The Love Project, which has thee elements.

  1. Survey research among those with experience with psychedelics where love was a central theme, including medicine guides/therapists
  2. Qualitative research interviews among those with experience with psychedelics, including medicine guides/therapists
  3. A film project that includes interviews with those with experience with psychedelics, including medicine guides/therapists (separate from the proposed research above)

The survey is presently still open to participants as of the release of this episode, so if you have had an encounter with LOVE while on psychedelic, I encourage you to go participate in The Love Project by filling out their research survey at psychedeliclove.org

With respect to the episode you are about to listen to today, though…

Our conversation begins with an exploration of emotional processing and how difficulties and deficiencies in emotional processing both our mental health, our relationships, and our general wellbeing. We then step into psychedelics and the role they play in supporting our emotional processing capacities.

From there we turn towards Love, what it is and all the accidental ways we conflate it with things that can include love but aren’t love itself: romance, lust, infatuation, attachment, obsession, etc. We talk about the healing power of Love, both in our day-to-day lives and in various forms of healthcare, and why as a society we need to better learn how to wield and integrate that healing power of love.

We then talk about encounters with Love as a transpersonal force during psychedelic experiences, the role of love in supporting people in their psychedelic experiences, and even the strange phenomenon of being harmed by too much Love on 5-MeO-DMT.

Of course, although love itself is not sex, with any mention of love we evoke consideration of sexuality, sexual dynamics, and sex itself. Thus, we also talk about sexual healing, the complexity of sexual energy and behaviour in therapy, and even the risks, challenges, and opportunities of having sex while on psychedelics.


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Episode Breakdown and timestamps

  • (0:00) Opening
  • (1:35) Episode overture and guest bio
  • (5:45) Patreon thanks
  • (6:43) Interview begins
  • (7:44) Emotional processing and the damaging impact of poor emotional processing
  • (12:49) Culturally conditioned deficits in emotional processing
  • (19:50) Learning to own triggers, rather than project them
  • (22:14) The role of psychedelics in emotional processing (and vice versa) | Decomposing The Shadow
  • (28:02) Our emotions are the most reliably true aspect of our psychedelic experiences
  • (31:18) Disambiguating “Love”
  • (37:01) Love as a transpersonal force
  • (40:01) Love in psychedelic experiences
  • (44:08) Being harmed by too much love on 5-MeO-DMT
  • (48:03) Our sociocultural context can negatively impact our psychedelic integration
  • (50:05) The role of love in our healing journeys
  • (51:48) The role of love in supporting people in psychedelic experiences
  • (53:59) We need to acknowledge love is a transpersonal force
  • (56:40) The complexity of sexual energy and behaviour in therapy
  • (1:05:11) Psychedelics and sexual healing, and sex on psychedelics
  • (1:15:57) The Love Project: what it is, how it came to be, and how you can get involved
  • (1:23:33) Closing regards
  • (1:24:25) Outro

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4 Comments

  1. As always, your podcast is fantastic, James. It is hands-down the BEST psychedelic podcast anywhere. You are such an excellent, knowledgeable, thoughtful, inquisitive interlocutor, and you have your pulse on the community in a way that no one else comes close.
    This podcast on Love and Psychedelics was particularly good, and I will definitely contribute some of my own experiences to your guest’s Love project.
    Keep doing what you are doing. You are deeply appreciated. And good luck with your upcoming book.

  2. Helen Loshny Reply

    Brilliant, thought-provoking, moving, inspiring! An homage to Love. Brava!

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