There is a place for coaches in the psychedelic industry
As some of you know I have recently stepped out of my corporate role in the Wellness Industry to build a business that focuses on coaching, consulting and spiritual healing. One of the big reasons for the departure is due to the birth of the Psychedelic industry. I’ve spent the past 6 months meeting all sorts of inspiring leaders from emerging Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy start-ups and non-profits entering into the space. They have inspired me to lift my voice and bring my unique toolkit to help shepherd this upswell of innovation. And I am a big papa bear when it comes to psychedelics. I always always promote safe, sacred and intentional use with trained professionals. I want to see this thing done right--done ethically, with inclusivity, reciprocity and sustainability at its heart. That is a pure and true intention and an ingredient that I know that leaders will need to anchor on that with me. Because I will be very direct in saying that I do not trust mega medical industrial complex pharmaceutical giants to do the right thing here. I really don’t.
This week marks my third week of no corporate identity. So it’s getting pretty real. I’m sure that some of you readers have made similarly inspired transitions before. So you know that while there is certainly a thrilling high that occurs with a leap like this, there is also an equal amount of unequivocal terror that accompanies it as well! And it was in one of those moments I found myself today! In the DMV no less. There is No better place to engage in a self-deprecating inner dialogue if you ask me. SO, I waited in line thinking about why the hell I did what I did and what on earth I was going to say that is in any way a unique or valuable contribution. Thankfully I arrived at the beginning of an answer.
One of the biggest hurdles on the horizon for the psychedelic industry is that it will soon be exiting the first R&D phase of compounds and treatments and will be essentially medically open for business to the approved public. That’s only two years away in Oregon. While it sounds like a fairly limited scope (think early days of medical cannabis) you also have to ask yourself the question: who the hell is going to administer all of these sessions? Supply of trained therapists will be low and has no chance of meeting demand. These are highly efficacious interventions now backed by Science and getting loads of press. The dominant cultural narrative around their use is changing. Hands down. I know for a fact that there are some really talented minds working on this solution set and it gives me so much hope--and it’s also not my solution set to work on in the present moment.
So what about Integrative Wellness coaches? How can we help? That was the question that brought me out of the malaise. Because I just so happen to be one. And I just so happen to have an open panel. *wink & smile*
My grand statement is this: There is a place for coaches in the psychedelic industry. I believe coaches and psychedelics are a good idea for the following 5 reasons:
Coaches help individuals hold themselves accountable to behavior change. This directly supports the work of integration within psychedelic therapy. I always say that integration is where the real work of ceremony begins. Integration is the antidote to spiritual bypassing. It is the act of digesting the information gifted by a psychedelic experience and transforming it into behavior change. Coaches are incredibly effective at helping behavior change become lasting change.
Coaches are space holders. Coaches with specific training and experience with psychedelics can be especially helpful in creating a safe, empathetic container to help the client make meaning out of their experience. The difference between speaking with someone who has been through a psychedelic therapy session about your experience and someone who hasn’t is palpable. Despite the best of intentions it really helps when someone can empathise with what you are going through. Coaches are great at holding space for emergence to occur.
Coaches are not therapists. The therapeutic relationship cannot be the singular container for all growth conversations. I have clients who tell me things that they would never think to tell their doctor. That’s not a brag, that is a valuable piece of information that I can reflect back to their patient to speak with their medical professional about. The first wave psychologists proctoring these protocols will not be heroes or saviors. They will need to support and there will need to be a whole diverse community of support services that extend to support the first patients.
Coaches are resources and connectors. One of the aspects of the coaching relationship that I love and respect is that it can be very experimental. I love having the ‘have you ever thought of trying X,Y,Z?’ conversation with clients. Folks this is new. We do not have a cultural language that supports openly talking about psychedelic experience. The level of acuity presenting in the clinics will be high. Coaches who understand the psychedelic experience and are connected to the community can help get folks into the right container for their process. We can also get people connected to therapists if they aren’t yet and integration resources that will help them heal.
Integrative coaches are experts in mind-body-spirit-emotion alignment. The psychedelic experience is non-ordinary and non-linear. While protocols are developed to produce replicable results, the realms that these medicines take individuals to is profound and influences all spheres of wellness. Integrative coaches live the wheel of integrative health and we are trained to explore the intersectionality of wellbeing with mind, body and spirit. The integrative model is critically important to supporting the health and recovery of the Whole Individual.
If I am being honest, I'm not sure how many people at this point are campaigning against coaches joining the field. But my experience inside the corporate wellness industry is that coaches are still an undervalued resource. We are the ones you really want to include in your strategic plan but once you see the costs you baulk. I've had to do it myself, to other coaches. It sucks. So maybe instead I am presenting these options less as a means to justify, but rather to lift up. To shine my own small spotlight with this post on a group of skilled, caring professionals who are literally trained to talk to people and help them accomplish their goals. And I think we can all agree that the world needs more of those people to overcome what faces us. That's why I chose to do what I am doing. Because the world needs more Love in it, and we all deserve to be seen and the experience of our life believed.
If you want to dive deeper into this or other topics, please leave a comment below or drop me a note through this website.
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