We are, as an organization, excited about the way things are taking form and the particular way we would like to bring a new vision to fruition. We shared this next bit of writing in the intro section in our letter to prospective Executive Directors and we wanted to post it as a blog as well, as it most clearly articulates where we are at this moment. Our organization has a desire to serve humanity and we view our work as bringing a specific prayer into form; a prayer for a more equitable and balanced future, where individuals feel a responsibility to one another’s well being and where every person has an opportunity to thrive and to know their value and purpose within the great unfolding of life. Our mission is to be in active service to the birth of a new societal paradigm that centers interconnectedness, systemic balance and interspecies sustainability through the wise and respectful engagement with psychedelics.
Where we come from and where we are going:
The Center for Consciousness Medicine founded in 2020. CCM, led by Naama Grossbard, was founded with the intention to evolve the approach and body of work of Francoise Bourzat and Aharon Grossbard and to create a new generation of practices to meet contemporary standards of the developing field of psychedelic-assisted therapy. The organization has made some important pivots with an intentional and respectful departure from some of the former ideologies and practices. We believe that while Francoise and Aharon’s bodies of works were pioneering in making an initial translation of certain indigenous practices to contemporary western life and practice, they also revealed the limitations and fault lines of working primarily in an individualized 1:1 therapy model and attempting to blend the practices and values of psychotherapy with those of indigenous ritual practice.
The new version of the org currently comprises an impassioned team of individuals who have considered deeply how to integrate what we have learned from our predecessors, both the positive and difficult aspects. Throughout this past year, we have undergone a restructuring and redesigning of our offerings as well as our identity as an organization (we are still in a re-naming process). During this time, we have engaged in numerous consultations and have sought advice around alternative models of leadership and operation, program development, and developing an organizational ethics infrastructure. Along this journey we have gained considerable clarity about what, why, and how we want to contribute to the world of psychedelic healing and in what ways we might best proceed with our efforts.
We stand in clarity that we will proceed:
- With respect, continuing some practices that remain relevant to our evolving approach while changing or releasing others that are not in service to the well-being of those we wish to serve and or to the collective transformation we wish to contribute to.
- A format for guiding that is informed more so by the indigenous approach of the lineage of knowledge that informs our practices than that of the psychotherapeutic influence.
- With a new awareness of the challenges and opportunities for evolving how this work is done. We know our learning will deepen and continue in perpetuity.
- With our belief that ethical guidelines and accountability are vital for clients’ well-being and for operating in relationship with the norms of our culture considering the complexities of working with these transpersonal and dynamic states of consciousness. Likewise we are committed to our own accountability to these values.
We believe that in this current moment, in our contemporary Western culture, with our range of collective challenges – racial injustice, wealth disparity, political divisiveness, the global climate crisis, spiritual disconnection, technology addiction, rising mental health challenges – a particular shift in consciousness is called for. We believe that many of these ills stem from a lost awareness of one’s connectedness, sense of belonging and responsibility to the collective, the earth, and to a larger context of existence , made rampant/epidemic by the forces of capitalism and colonialism. With that in mind, we are re-designing programs that cultivate a restoration of this awareness, a set of requirements that we see as important for facilitating these powerful and dynamic experiences with Psychedelics. We are excited to provide rich opportunities for practice and oversight.
Our programs are crafted based on these core principles:
- Focus on quality rather than quantity of trained guides
- Offering and training in a group oriented framework that focuses primarily on collective transformation rather than individualized therapy
- Flexible training timeframes to respect and ensure adequate personal inquiry into the path of being a guide and proper development for safe and skilled guiding
- Conducting a prerequisite experiential program focused on cultural, social, and ecological systems awareness
- Apprenticeship heavy training program versus a predominantly curricular training
- Cultivation of the creativity and personhood of the guide, supporting the particular ways they are moved by and resonant with spirit and being of service, rather than training clinical technicians.
- Guidance, care and support at all levels of programs. Requiring considerable skill development and supervision for apprentices and guides.
- Programs held within an accountable and rigorous organizational ethics infrastructure
We believe that psychedelic healing modalities, held in an attuned, ethical and culturally sensitive way, are a promising contribution to support the wide-scale healing and growth this world needs and should be available to all who can safely benefit. Our primary activity has been and will remain, the preparation and training of psychedelic practitioners.
If you want to understand more historical context, please refer back to other blogs, particularly “An Update from CCM” HERE “Some Facts about the Center for Consciousness Medicine” HERE or “An Update on the Ethicist Review” HERE.
This and additional blog content are now housed over at our new Gather Well Psychedelics website. gatherwell.org