Beyond the Narrow Life: A Guide for Psychedelic Integration and Existential Exploration


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By Kile Ortigo, PhD,

Foreword by William A. Richards, PhD

From the Publisher: With the second renaissance and re-emergence of psychedelics in Western society, the public and therapists alike are confronting new areas of exploration with few comprehensive models available to aid in the profound process of integrating such powerful and mystical-like experiences into one’s life. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy offers one useful model for this work, but access to even traditional therapy is limited due to expense and inadequate specialized training. With questions surrounding legal access, criminalization, and medical indications and contraindications, the immediate future of psychedelic-assisted therapy remains shrouded in uncertainty, even in the face of expanding interest and promise.

Beyond the Narrow Life seeks to ‘thread a needle’ by addressing profound themes elicited by psychospiritual and therapeutic use of psychedelics while avoiding merely ‘preaching to the choir.’ This book explores common topics that emerge during psychedelic journeys by integrating several frameworks, spanning evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy, Jungian depth psychology, existential philosophy, compassion and mindfulness practices, comparative mythology, pop culture, film, and scientific understandings of the cosmos. Instead of a dry overview of big ideas, Dr. Ortigo gently guides readers through an awe-inspiring journey that confronts the deeper questions and concerns we all face as humans in this modern time.

Praise for the Book: This is cosmic awareness meets practical assignments; a paradoxical yet well balanced approach, grounded in deep and light language. I consider this book a talented offering, bringing the profundity of the great mystery together with our everyday questions of happiness and life’s meaning. –Françoise Bourzat, MA; Author, Consciousness Medicine: Indigenous Wisdom, Entheogens, and Expanded States of Consciousness for Healing and Growth

Cultivating a deeper relationship with one’s own psyche and with the collective psyche of humanity is an unending journey that can be filled with adventure and fulfillment. Dr. Ortigo offers here a thoughtful and well-developed map and guide for the journey–from preparation through encounter through grounded integration into the activities of daily life. This is a marvelous book! –David E. Presti, Professor of Neurobiology, University of California, Berkeley, Author, Mind Beyond Brain: Buddhism, Science and the Paranormal and Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey

The wisdom, warmth, and maturity of Dr. Ortigo’s understanding of the responsible use of psychedelics is reflected on each page of this provocative and insightful book. Dr. Ortigo offers a comprehensive map to ethical and personalized meaning-making while remaining deeply attuned to the myriad ways in which people are different. He succeeds in offering an authentic approach for navigating both the psychedelic experience and everyday life itself, using the timeless language of myth. One that is inclusive of people regardless of sexual orientation, gender, and cultural background. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone that aspires to work with psychedelics. Avid and aspiring psychonauts, professional facilitators, therapists, experts and first-timers: everyone will find plenty of valuable lessons in this compelling read! –Daan Keiman, MA; Psychedelic & Buddhist Chaplain, Lead Facilitator & Director of Ethics & Advocacy, Synthesis Institute; Co-founder, Guild of Guides Netherlands

Few therapists in the field of psychedelic science can hold the complexity of both pragmatic concerns alongside the deep mystery of the psyche the way Dr. Ortigo does here, and with a humble grace that focuses more on generating questions than it does with answering them for you. What might be most impressive about Dr. Ortigo’s work is the accessibility, even to newcomers, of his enticing invitation into deeper reflection, self-awareness, and ultimate transformation. Dr. Ortigo offers a crucible for the expert and novice alike as they embark into the journey of self, bringing opposites together in an artful play that many will find illuminating. –Evan Sola, PsyD, MAPS Phase 3 Study Psychologist & Co-Therapist

Beyond the Narrow Life serves as an atlas for any explorer seeking a greater sense of connectedness to themselves, others, and the universe. Dr. Ortigo deftly synthesizes existentialism, religion and spirituality, technology, and various schools of thought in psychology in order to guide readers toward “the big questions” with clarity. Depending on the motivation and intention of each individual reader, this book supports a range of expeditions from a tour through more mindful awareness to a full-fledged hero’s journey. Bon voyage! –Chris Stauffer, MD, Oregon Health & Science University, Department of Psychiatry, MAPS Phase 3 Study Co-Investigator & Co-Therapist

About the Author: William A. Richards (Bill) is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a consultant/trainer at sites of psychedelic research internationally, a teacher in the Program of Psychedelic Therapy and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a clinician in private practice in Baltimore. From 1967 to 1977, he pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of psychedelic substances in the treatment of alcoholism, depression, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer including their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals. He is the author of Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences released in 2015.

ISBN: 0907791832    –    EAN: 9780907791836

Additional information

Weight 16 oz
Dimensions 9 × 7 × 1.5 in