Psychedelic Integration: Psychedelics, Healing, and Spiritual Practice

About the Course

In this 6-part lecture series, researchers, psychotherapists and psychedelic facilitators come together to discuss the research around psychedelics and integrative practices that harness changes to the brain and nervous system in the wake of psychedelic experience.

with Isa Gucciardi
The millennial age has brought a renewed interest in using psychoactive plants for therapeutic purposes. Plants like Ayahuasca, Psilocybin Mushrooms, San Pedro, and Iboga are just some of the plants being used in this way that we will explore. This workshop is designed for those who are working with, considering working with, or simply interested in learning more about psychoactive plants. We will explore different kinds of plants, practices and settings for working with plants, and how to effectively integrate the experience with plant medicine. This class will also be an introduction to working with the intelligence of plants in a non-altered state to better access their teachings and healing properties as has been done in shamanic cultures for thousands of years. (We will not be ingesting plants in this workshop, nor is personal experience with hallucinogenic plants required to participate.) Counseling professionals will find this course useful for working with their clients.
with Alexander Belser
In this workshop, we’ll ask three questions. (1) What do we know about psychedelic medicine? First, I’ll outline the key findings in scientific research in psychedelic science in the last fifteen years. We’ll discuss the broad implications of this new paradigm for the treatment of depression, suicidality, anxiety, PTSD, and we’ll also explore how psychedelic compounds can be used for the betterment of well people. (2) How do we know what we know? I’ll present findings from the NYU study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety and depression among cancer patients. We’ll focus not just on symptom improvement, but the qualitative experiences of the patients as explored via in-depth interviews. (3) How do psychedelics work? Current research consistently suggests that a “complete mystical experience” is the mechanism of action that leads to symptom reductions. However, the standard measure that’s used privileges a certain type of mysticism: a monistic experience of the Void which is formless, shapeless, colorless, odorless, and soundless. Other spiritual experiences are often overlooked, including experiences of voices and visionary experience, pain and suffering, ecstasies, creative expression, spiritual longing and devotion, friendship and compassion are often overlooked. We’ll explore clinical implications for integration and ongoing practice.
with Rachel Harris
Based on her research, Rachel found that 74% of people using ayahuasca reported an on-going relationship with the spirit of the plant. She’ll discuss how this relationship can heal attachment issues from our earliest experiences in life. People also reported improvements in sense of self, emotional moods, personal relationships, healthier lifestyle, and joy in life. Rachel will explore the therapeutic and spiritual meaning of the current psychedelic research on the Default Mode Network and how mystical experience or ego dissolution offers the opportunity to deconstruct our egos and consciously choose how to be in the world.
with Jae Sevelius
Psychedelics, when used safely and with intention, have demonstrated tremendous healing properties in various cultures and contexts for millennia. While the benefits of psychedelics for increasing openness, healing trauma, and disrupting negative thought patterns are becoming well-known, the unique impacts of psychedelics on sexuality and identity have been less explored. The mystical and ego dissolution experiences that are often cited as the source of emotional healing also can have liberating effects on self-awareness and self-acceptance among sexual and gender minorities as well as those who embrace more mainstream identities. When psychedelics show us that we are more than our bodies, more than our cultural programming, we can learn to embrace and express all of ourselves beyond binary notions of the human experience.
with Kenneth Tupper
In this presentation, Kenneth Tupper outlines the theoretical foundations for “entheogenic education”—how psychedelic drugs and visionary plants can be helpfully understood as cognitive tools that promote learning. Most contemporary psychedelic research is focused on the potential therapeutic applications of drugs like LSD and psilocybin, with results of clinical trials generating considerable excitement in the medical community for the prospect of improved options in treating conditions like anxiety, depression and addictions. Yet for centuries, certain American indigenous cultures have revered certain plants and fungi—such as peyote, ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms—as entheogenic “plant teachers,” and regarded their powers as multivalent, affecting the mind, body and spirit. This presentation draws on contemporary neuroscientific, psychological and educational theories to make the case that circumspect uses of psychedelic plants and drugs may catalyze scientific and artistic creativity, generate thoughtful insights, and stimulate valuable types of cognition. It contextualizes current psychedelic research in historical and cross-cultural terms, illustrating how modern Western approaches to knowledge—particularly text-based propositions and quantifiable facts—may represent an epistemic blind spot with respect alternative ways of knowing. Through conceptual framings of positive psychology and embodied cognition, it suggests that important qualities of the entheogenic experience—especially emotions of wonder and awe—have historically been overlooked in educational philosophy. Participants will be prompted to reflect on how a richer understanding of the human condition may be facilitated through the lens of entheogenic education and to appreciate the potential of psychedelic substances as important yet misunderstood cognitive tools for learning.
with Zach Walsh
This talk will explore the potential of mindfulness-based therapies to enhance the outcomes of psychedelic experiences. The decades since the first wave of psychedelic-assisted therapies subsided have witnessed profound shifts in the broader terrain of psychotherapy, with the emergence of new approaches that emphasize mindfulness and acceptance. We will explore how developments in understanding mental suffering and human behavior can inform the therapeutic use of psychedelic medicines. We will suggest how emotion regulation, distress tolerance, decentering and other constructs prominent in “third wave” behavior therapies such as DBT, ACT and MBCT may be germane to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, and consider how these constructs can help us to interpret results from recent research with psychedelics. Finally, we will explore practical ways that these approaches might inform psychedelic preparation and integration. The concepts addressed in this talk may be of interest to those working with psychedelic medicines to treat disordered behavior, enhance well-being, and facilitate awe.

Students who take this course will:

  • learn about psychoactive plants
  • explore what  psychedelic integration means
  • look at how psychoactive plants are used for therapeutic purposes
  • explore different kinds of plants, practices and settings for working with plants, and how to effectively integrate the experience with plant medicine
  • discuss the benefits that psychedelics and plant medicine offer
  • learn about the integration of plant medicine in shamanic cultures practiced for thousands of years
  • discuss recent research of plant medicine
  • examine the history of psychedelics from queer and non-binary perspectives
  • (We will not be ingesting plants in this symposium, nor is personal experience with hallucinogenic plants required to participate.)

About Isa Gucciardi

In the mid-nineties, Isa began developing Depth Hypnosis as she entered into clinical practice. Her studies, both in academia and in the field, of cultural and linguistic anthropology, comparative religion, and transpersonal psychology formed the basis of her approach with clients and students. As the body of work that grew out of her clinical practice became larger, she began teaching others so that more people could benefit from the techniques she had developed. In order to accommodate the number of classes that grew out of this process, she co-founded the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, which is now a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, California, serving hundreds of students each year. Isa teaches and speaks nationally and internationally, and she has published numerous articles, podcast episodes, videos, and the booksÊ<em>Return to the Great Mother</em>ÊandÊ<em>Coming to Peace</em>. She maintains a private practice with institutions and individuals in Depth Hypnosis and Coming to Peace processes. Isa speaks five languages and has lived in eleven countries. She is the mother of two children and lives with her partner in San Francisco.

About Jae Sevelius

Jae Sevelius, PhD is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. At the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, Dr. Sevelius’ federally-funded community-led research is focused on leveraging data to develop and evaluate transgender–specific, trauma-informed interventions to promote holistic health and wellness among transgender people, with an emphasis on serving transgender women of color and those affected by HIV in California and São Paulo, Brazil. For their scholarship on transgender health, Dr. Sevelius was recently awarded the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award by the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Sevelius holds a Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Dr. Sevelius’ research and clinical interests lie at the intersections of social justice, sexuality, health, and identity.

About Rachel Harris

Rachel Harris, PhD is a Psychologist with both a research and a clinical background. She was in the 1968 Residential Program at Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA and remained on the staff for a number of years. During the decade she worked in academic research, Rachel received a New Investigator’s Award from the National Institutes of Health and published over forty scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals. She also worked as a psychological consultant to Fortune 500 companies including the UN. Rachel was in private psychotherapy practice for thirty-five years specializing in people interested in psychospiritual development. Rachel is the author of Listening to Ayahuasca: New Hope for Depression, Addiction, PTSD, and Anxiety.

About Alexander Belser

Alexander Belser, PhD is a Clinical Research Fellow at Yale University, where he supervises therapists in training. He also teaches graduate school as an Adjunct Instructor at New York University's Department of Applied Psychology. Dr. Belser was a founding member of the Psychedelic Research Group at NYU in 2006. He has been involved in a number of studies exploring psychedelic medicines as treatments for depression, anxiety, OCD, addiction, trauma, and for the betterment of well people. He serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Psychopharmacology, and has published peer-reviewed articles on topics such as mysticism, altruism, cancer and psychedelic therapy, patient experiences, case studies, and psilocybin treatment for existential distress.

About Zach Walsh

Zach Walsh, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, a Research Affiliate with the BC Centre on Substance Use, and an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he directs the Therapeutic, Recreational, and Problematic Substance Use lab. He has published and presented widely on topics related to psychedelics, cannabis, mental health and psychotherapy. He is the lead investigator for several ongoing studies of the therapeutic use of cannabis including a clinical trial of cannabis for PTSD, and has worked clinically on trials of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Zach’s clinical focus is on the application of “third wave” mindfulness-based behavior therapies to address trauma, relationship conflict, and problematic substance use.

About Kenneth Tupper

Kenneth Tupper, Ph.D., is the Director of Implementation & Partnerships at British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, where he supports efforts to improve the provincial addiction treatment system through scientific research, health professional education and clinical care guidance. Kenneth is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, where his research interests include: psychedelic studies; the cross-cultural and historical uses of drugs; public, professional and school-based drug education; and creating healthy public policy to maximize benefits and minimize harms from psychoactive substances. His 2011 Ph.D. dissertation, titled “Ayahuasca, Entheogenic Education & Public Policy,” explored some of the socio-political implications of the transnational expansion of ayahuasca drinking practices. Kenneth has published in numerous peer reviewed journals, presented at international health and drug policy conferences, and has twice been appointed to Canadian delegations to high-level United Nations international drug policy meetings. More info at:

one-time payment

This Course Only

  • Access to this course
  • Member Only Content access to 50+ other courses
    Unlimited access to premium articles, special podcast series, and other member only content.
  • EPTV Streaming Video Service
    Access to EPTV Original Series and our video library of over 250+ hours of lectures, talks and workshops.
  • Wisdom School Courses
    Access to 60+ on-demand courses plus two new courses every month.
per month

Unlimited Membership

  • Access to this course, plus…
  • Member Only Content
    Unlimited access to premium articles, special podcast series, and other member only content.
  • EPTV Streaming Video Service
    Access to EPTV Original Series and our video library of over 250+ hours of lectures, talks and workshops.
  • Wisdom School Courses
    Access to 60+ on-demand courses plus two new courses every month.