Live online video courses with leading transformational thinkers
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With Brad Burge of MAPS

Special Guests: Rick Doblin, Allan Badiner, Kokyo Henkel, Ryan LeCompte, Nicholas Blackston, Sitaramaya Sita, Julane Andries, Kevin Franciotti, and Donna Dryer

5 Sessions • Starts November 4

 

Discover how to apply insights from psychedelic science to your life with leading experts in the fields of psychedelic research, medicine, and spirituality.

 

Scientists around the world are now exploring the risks and benefits of psychedelics—such as MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and more—to explore consciousness, recover from trauma, enhance creativity, and enrich our spiritual lives. While psychedelics are still illegal outside of research in most countries, we can still apply what we are discovering to how we understand and live our lives. In this course, you’ll explore:

  • What does research say about the connection between psychedelics, spiritual experiences, and healing from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and anxiety?

  • How are psychedelics being studied for their ability to help enrich our spiritual lives?

  • How do indigenous cultures around the world use psychedelics in spiritual and religious ceremonies, and how are these uses changing in the 21st century?

  • Is there a way to integrate psychedelic experiences with Buddhism or other ancient spiritual traditions?

  • Can psychedelic therapy help people reduce their fear of death and dying?

  • How can you use insights from psychedelic research to improve your relationships and spiritual practices?

In this unique course, you will explore the frontier of current knowledge about psychedelics and spirituality, learn how researchers are studying these fascinating compounds, and discover how you can help create contexts for the safe and beneficial use of psychedelics for healing, spirituality, and personal growth.

Brad Burge of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has invited a diverse and fascinating group of experts to help you understand, integrate, and learn to use insights from this transformative field. They include:

  • Rick Doblin, Ph.D, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

  • Allan Badiner, writer, activist, and editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics

  • Kokyo Henkel, Zen Buddhist priest and Head Teacher at the Santa Cruz Zen Center

  • Ryan LeCompte, U.S. Marine veteran and founder of Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy

  • Nicholas Blackston, U.S. Marine veteran and participant in a clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD

  • Sitaramaya Sita, plant medicine practitioner trained in the Shipibo tradition and founder of PlantTeachers

  • Julane Andries, LMFT, co-therapist in an ongoing clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness

  •  Kevin Franciotti, science writer who recovered from opiate addiction through ibogaine treatment

This course is your chance to go deeper, and find out how to directly apply insights from modern science and ancient spiritual traditions to your own healing, exploration, and personal growth.  Recent years have seen a marked shift in popular attitudes toward psychedelics. In the word of MAPS founder Rick Doblin, “The last gasp of the Baby Boomers will be the legalization of marijuana and psychedelics.” Over these 5 sessions, you will explore the implications of this  new frontier of psychedelic use for your personal experience with some of the world's most informed and thoughtful experts.

You will be part of the discussion, able to ask your questions on camera, just like a Skype call. If you happen to miss a live session, you can view a video recording at any time. These sessions will be filled with provocative information, expansive first-hand testimonials, and practical advice from teachers, scientists, and leading advocates in this cutting-edge field.

Learn about:

  • What current psychedelic research is teaching us about drug addiction and recovery

  • Understanding psychedelic experiences from a Buddhist perspective, and vice versa

  • How modern practitioners prepare to participate in ayahuasca ceremonies

  • How spirituality and art can play a role in healing from PTSD through psychedelic therapy

  • How scientists are exploring the use of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to help people feel more at ease with death

Join Brad and his guests to gain a deeper understanding of how you can integrate insights from psychedelic science, medicine, and spirituality more deeply into your life. Learn from this diverse group of international experts how to transform your relationships, deepen your spiritual practice, enhance your creativity, and gain a more complete understanding of how to harness your own innate healing potential.

Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Learn more at maps.org.

 

SCHEDULE 

 

November 4 – Psychedelics and Buddhism

Guests: Allan Badiner and Kokyo Henkel

8 p.m. New York • 5 p.m. San Francisco

  

Most American-born Buddhist teachers and many of their students were influenced by their experiences with psychedelics and cannabis in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, however, we find many Buddhist teachers advising against using psychoactive substances to assist with spiritual development. At the same time, a new generation of meditators and seekers are exploring psychedelics and benefiting from the thoughtful, informed use of psychedelic plants and chemicals.

 

In our first session, Brad will be joined by two leading Buddhist thinkers, Allan Badiner and Kokyo Henkel, to discuss:

  • Is there a similarity between psychedelic experiences and Buddhist practices such as meditation?

  • Can psychedelics be a support for meditation and other spiritual practices?

  • What does current research show about the link between the neurology of psychedelic experiences and contemplative states?

  • What are the similarities and differences emerge when exploring non-duality through Buddhist and psychedelic lenses?

  • How have Buddhists drawn on psychedelic experiences to enhance their spiritual practices?  

Kokyo Henkel’s experience with psychedelics and Buddhism has co-evolved over time. Following an initial opening with psychedelics around the same time he began meditation practice, he was drawn deeper into the study and practice of Buddhism. Kokyo has been practicing Zen Buddhism since 1990 at San Francisco Zen Center in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and at Bukkokuji Monastery in Japan. He was ordained as a priest in 1994 by Tenshin Anderson Roshi and received Dharma Transmission from him in 2010. Kokyo is currently the head teacher at Santa Cruz Zen Center.

Allan Badiner served as editor for the first edition, and now for the new edition, of the groundbreaking anthology Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (Synergetic Press, 2015), which launched the first inquiry into the ethical, doctrinal, and transcendental considerations of the intersection of Buddhism and psychedelics. He is also editor of two other books of collected essays, Dharma Gaia: A Harvest in Buddhism and Ecology (Parallax Press, 1990) and Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism (Parallax, 2002). Allan is a contributing editor of Tricycle magazine, and serves on the board of directors of Rainforest Action Network, Threshold Foundation and Project CBD. He has been a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh for more than 25 years.

 

 

November 11 – The Path Through PTSD

Guests: Ryan LeCompte and Nicholas Blackston

8 p.m. New York • 5 p.m. San Francisco

  

For this special Veteran's Day session, Brad will lead a discussion with two former marines whose recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was facilitated by psychedelic therapy. Together they will compare and contrast the use of MDMA and ayahuasca in a therapeutic and healing contexts.

It is estimated that 10% of all Gulf War veterans and 11% of Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD, and that 7.8% of all Americans will, at some point, experience this illness. New research suggests that psychedelics could play an important role helping victims to once again live healthy lives. 

In this session, Brad, Ryan and Nicholas will explore:

  • What is the role of spirituality in healing from PTSD with psychedelic therapy?

  • Is there a difference in the transformative spiritual experiences brought on by MDMA and ayahuasca?

  • What role can art  and creativity play in the process of healing from PTSD?

  • Can psychedelics change how we think about war and conflict?

  • What does current research show about the ability of psychedelic therapy to overcome PTSD? 

Ryan LeCompte is a former United States Marine, 0311, Infantryman to be exact. He served out of Camp Lejeune, Quantico, and was a member of White House Operations unit in our Nation’s capitol. While on active duty, he watched as returning Marines arrived home from combat tours in Afghanistan as well as Iraq bearing the invisible scars of stress which follow trauma.

Ryan pursued a different direction towards helping veterans and has founded a revolutionary veteran’s support group called VET, Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy. He simultaneously earned a degree in the field of psychology where he focused his studies on the very prescription medications that are provided today by the VA. The commencement of his bachelors program eventually led towards a graduate studies and a coalition with MAPS, CNN and veterans who would go onto to try to create a positive change worldwide. Veterans need a full release of the memories that sometimes haunt us.

Nicholas Blackston, former Marine, was a participant in the MAPS clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Nicholas joined the Marines out of high school, saw combat in the Iraqi cities of Faluja and Ramadi, and suffered severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder until participating in experimental trials that used MDMA-assisted therapy, which allowed him to face the roots of his disorder and heal himself. His story was featured in the recent book, Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal, by Tom Shroder.

 

December 2 – Discovering Plant Medicines

Guests: Sitaramaya Sita

8 p.m. New York • 5 p.m. San Francisco

 

The psychedelic renaissance has been accompanied by a growing interest in the indigenous use of plant medicines to expand consciousness. For our third session, Brad will be joined by Sitaramaya Sita, a plant wisdom practitioner trained in the Shipibo tradition and one of the leading educators and organizers of plant wisdom events on the West Coast. They will explore how the use of plant medicines in shamanic lineages is changing the expectations of the new generation of psychedelic explorers, introducing new approaches to personal and spiritual development through entheogenic plants.

In this session, Brad and Sitaramaya will discuss::

  • How do indigenous Amazonian cultures use plant medicines for spirituality and healing?

  • What is the most effective way to prepare for a plant medicine ceremony?

  • What are the safest and most effective ways to use visionary plants?

  • What resources are available for Westerners interested in participating in traditional plant medicine ceremonies?

  • Are there specific factors that women should consider when seeking ayahuasca experiences?

  • How to prepare for encounters with the shadow in psychedelic experiences

Sitaramaya Sita began working in the physical and spirit plant realms after a thirteen year period of abstinence from all alcohol and drugs and followed a dietary regime to support her work with the spiritual aspect of the plants. After her first Ayahuasca ceremony, she came to the deep realization that the thirteen preceding years had been a preparation for her work with Master Plant Wisdom. She continues to travel and learn in the jungles of Peru and is applying the technology of plant diets to plants in the North. Together with Kwinto, she has established the Light of the Vine, headquartered in Varillal, Peru and where the land is being conserved to protect the plants, trees, animals and waterways from development. She further supports the work of Kwintobheue, bringing forth ancient plant technologies and shamanic practice to the modern culture.

Over the last twenty years, Sita has founded several organizations including, PlantTeachers.com and Light of the Vine. She uses her western Life Coaching skills in conjunction with Indigenous ceremonial work to help people integrate their learning into the practical and spiritual aspects of everyday life. Through PlantTeachers, she leads groups and organizes conferences in the Amazon, and recently organized the Visionary Convergence in Los Angeles.

[Jane Straight, who had previously been announced as a participant in this session, will unfortunately not be able to join us.]

 

December 9 - Learning to Live at the End of Life

Guest: Julane Andries, LMFT, and Donna Dryer, M.D.

8 p.m. New York • 5 p.m. San Francisco

 

Recent medical research is exploring whether psychedelic-assisted therapy can reduce anxiety for people suffering from life-threatening illnesses. In this session, Brad will be joined by Julane Andries, a licensed marriage and family therapist and co-investigator of an ongoing FDA-approved study investigating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy’s effect on people struggling to come to terms with what may be the end of their life. We are also excited that Donna Dryer, M.D., a transpersonal psychiatrist now completing MAPS' Canadian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, who often works with people with cancer in her private practice.

As the lessons from psychedelic therapy are better understood, we see how these treatments could potentially benefit all of us, as we all have to work through difficult feelings about our own mortality, or the passing of a loved one.

In this session, Brad, Julane, and Donna will discuss:

  • How can MDMA, LSD, or psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy help people come to terms with being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness?

  • What role can spiritual experiences play in psychedelic therapy sessions for anxiety about death?

  • What insights have people had about life and death when going through psychedelic therapy?

  • Do psychedelics have a future in the hospice field?

  • How can psychedelics help shift the public conversation about death and dying?

Julane Andries, a licensed family therapist. Julane used MDMA during the 1980s, when it was still legal, in therapy she received for PTSD. Today her practice specializes in trauma and PTSD. “MDMA makes one feel empathetic not only towards others but towards oneself, which is what people don’t realize,” she said. “It allows you to trust yourself. You can go to places without feeling shame, without feeling guilt or embarrassment, without it being such a difficult memory that you have to psychologically shut it away. You can open all the doors and look at it and talk about it. And you can finally find a door to go through to leave it behind.”

Dr. Donna Dryer, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC, is currently a psychiatrist at the Connect Health Centre for Integrative medicine and has over 22 years experience in adult, adolescent, and child outpatient treatment. She has special interests in trauma treatment, transpersonal psychotherapy, and cognitive rehabilitation in cancer survivors.

 

December 16 – Releasing the Hungry Ghosts

Guests: Kevin Franciotti and Rick Doblin, Ph.D.

8 p.m. New York • 5 p.m. San Francisco 

 

One of the most promising frontiers for psychedelic therapy is for the treatment of addiction. In our final session, Brad's guests will be Kevin Franciotti, a science writer with an expertise in behavioral neuroscience who treated his heroin addiction in a recent MAPS-sponsored observational investigation of ibogaine treatment for opiate dependence, and Rick Doblin, Ph.D., who founded MAPS in 1986 and also experienced deep healing—including a release from excessive self-criticism—through his own ibogaine experience.

There is increasing evidence that powerful psychedelic experiences, in the right context and with the right preparation and integration, can help treat addictions ranging from heroin and cocaine to alcohol. “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety," journalist Johann Hari said in his TED Talk, "it’s connection.”

In a lively, informative dialogue, Brad, Kevin, and Rick will explore how psychedelic therapy may catalyze the psychospiritual healing process that can facilitate addiction recovery, including:

  • What does current research show about the use of ibogaine or ayahuasca-assisted therapy to treat addiction?

  • How might ibogaine therapy, or psychedelic therapy more generally, help people change their relationship to addiction?

  • What role might mystical experiences have in overcoming drug addiction and dependence?

  • What are some of the risks of ibogaine or ayahuasca treatment?

  • How does psychedelic therapy differ from existing treatments for addiction?

  • How does the therapeutic context support preparation and integration in this process?

Kevin Franciotti studied Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University from 2005-2013, where he completed an internship as a research assistant at Harvard Medical School working on the phase II dose-response study investigating the therapeutic potential of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of end-of-life anxiety. He was one of the founders of the Northeastern chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and in 2009 the group co-sponsored the Boston Ibogaine Forum. Kevin's academic and career pursuits were derailed when he became an intravenous heroin user, until in 2011 he enrolled as a participant in the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies sponsored observational investigation of ibogaine treatment for opiate dependence. He is now a freelance science writer living in Boston, Massachusetts, whose recent contributions include Reason.com, Reset.me, and New Scientist magazine.

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master's thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and three children.

 

ABOUT OUR HOST 

Brad Burge is the Director of Communications and Marketing at MAPS. Brad earned his B.A. in Communication and Psychology from Stanford University in 2005 and his M.A. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego in 2009. His graduate work focused on the political, scientific, and cultural changes required to make illicit drugs into legitimate medicines. He has also interned for the Drug Policy Alliance and has a longstanding interest in drug policy reform and activism. Brad also regularly speaks, writes, and consults for individuals and organizations working in science education, drug policy, and psychedelic therapy. He believes in the importance of communication for sharing knowledge and building community, and is committed to helping people develop honest and responsible relationships with themselves, each other, and their pharmacological tools. 

By participating in this online course, you will receive: 

  • Five 60-minute live video seminars with Brad Burge and his guests on Wednesdays November 4 and 11, and December 2, 9, and 16.

  • 30 minutes of question and answer time following each seminar

  • Unlimited online access to recordings of all sessions

Take part in this unique opportunity to explore our deepening understanding of psychedelics and how they can improve your life!

A portion of the proceeds help support MAPS' psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education projects.  

Image: "Dream Rize" by Android Jones, used by permission. 

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