Laying the Foundation for a Client-Centered, Trauma-Informed Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Practice

Laying the Foundation
  • December 6, 2023



This training seeks to create a bridge between two important and prevailing models regarding the mechanism of psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT): the neurophysiologic, as exemplified by Carhart-Harris and Friston’s REBUS model, and the psychological, exemplified by the ancient concept of the Inner Healing Intelligence (IHI) and reflected in the long-standing PAT mantra of ‘trust, let go, be open’. This effort is undertaken in recognition of (a) the fact that these two perspectives on PAT theory and practice are not sufficiently informing one another in the current psychedelic medicine discourse, and (b) the need for PAT facilitators to ground themselves in a nuanced understanding of how these models inform one another, and inform practice, if we hope to create true safety and optimal outcomes for our clients.

The training will begin by demystifying both of these models in practically useful and relatable terms for the non-specialist trainee, and proceed to a nuanced discussion of the ways in which the two models complement, deepen and enrich understanding of one another, showing how psychedelics serve, at the brain level, to catalyze endogenous, psychospiritual healing processes. This novel, integrated synthesis will inform the latter part of the training, engaging trainees in a detailed, pragmatically-focused discussion of how this understanding enhances our capacity as facilitators to create an ethically robust, attuned presence and relationally safe space throughout the processes of preparation, experiential sessions and integration.

The training will emphasize a necessary paradigmatic shift in our conception of the roles we as facilitators play, which is ultimately one of attunement to and empowerment of the client’s profound, non-verbal, non-conceptual IHI. We will leave trainees with a firmer grasp on the knowledge and wisdom necessary to engage in what we perceive to be the PAT facilitator’s core competency: epistemically humble, non-directive assistance in the client’s Self-directed healing of the long-standing blockages to the IHI’s energies that have locked them into states of chronic suffering and disconnection, toward a Self-led, self-sustaining state of integrated wholeness, life-affirming connectedness and well-being.