“It is an insult to the potency of this inner work to not take the time to integrate what has been revealed.”
— Françoise Bourzat
Françoise Bourzat (@Francoise_Bourzat) has been bridging the divide between Western psychology and indigenous wisdom in collaboration with healers in Mexico for the past 30 years. She is a co-founder of the Center for Consciousness Medicine, which trains people to become guides in a holistic method of psychedelic-assisted therapy. She is also the coauthor of Consciousness Medicine, published by North Atlantic Books.
Françoise served on the advisory board for the Oregon Prop 109 initiative and is currently helping to design training for future facilitators of mushroom experiences. She is also collaborating with the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California, in an FDA-approved research study on psilocybin-assisted therapy for COVID-related grief. She leads mushroom ceremonies and retreats in Jamaica for bereaved parents.
She has a Master of Arts in somatic psychology and is trained in the Hakomi Method. Françoise has taught at CIIS in San Francisco, and she lectures at other academic institutions, such as Yale, Stanford, and UCSF. She runs online courses and contributes to advisory boards and organizations offering value-aligned trainings on the topic of mushroom ceremonies.
P.S. During this podcast, Françoise shares few stories of people participating in her retreats, and she wishes to inform the listeners that these people have given her consent to speak about them and their experiences.
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Want to hear another episode with someone who understands the growing need for well-trained psychedelic therapists? Listen in on my conversation with psychotherapist and installation artist Marcela Ot’alora, in which we discuss why psychedelic therapy is probably less sexy and more difficult than you think it is, resolutions to particularly trying sessions, how psychedelic therapy is like alchemy, what separates a good psychedelic therapist from a great psychedelic therapist, how you can take the first step on the path to becoming a psychedelic therapist if you think you’ve got what it takes, and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Françoise Bourzat:
- Center for Consciousness Medicine
- Consciousness Medicine: Indigenous Wisdom, Entheogens, and Expanded States of Consciousness for Healing and Growth by Françoise Bourzat and Kristina Hunter | Amazon
- Bereaved Parents, Trelawny, Jamaica | Relief for Grief
- Treatment & Research In Psychedelics | Pacific Brain Health (with whom Françoise is collaborating on a psilocybin study for COVID-related grief)
- Creative Juices Arts
- Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns | UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- Psychedelics 101: Books, Documentaries, Podcasts, Science, and More | Tim Ferriss
- MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy | MAPS
- Navajo Nation Indian Reservation | Four Corners Region
- The Liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps | Friends of the National WWII Memorial
- Returning Home: The Art of Integration | MAPS
- Diamanda Galás: The Litanies of Satan, Live Performance, 1985 | Artificial Soul
- The Spiritual and Therapeutic Benefits of Icaros Songs in an Ayahuasca Ceremony | Psychedelic Times
- Psychedelic Peer Support | Zendo Project
- Agni Yoga Society
- Salvia Divinorum: Myths, Effects, Risks, and How to Get Help | Verywell Mind
- How the Mazatec Tribe Brought Entheogens to the World | Psychedelic Times
- The State of Oaxaca, Mexico | MexConnect
- Ska Pastora — Leaves of the Sherpherdess | MAPS
- Copal | Wikipedia
- Psilocybe Cubensis and Other Types of Magic Mushrooms You Should Know | DoubleBlind Mag
- Why Chewing Morning Glory Seeds Gets You High | Inverse
- What Is Hypermnesia? | Psychology Dictionary
- Curanderismo: Spirituality and Healing in Oaxaca, Mexico by Sandra Hurlong, PhD | IOU Foundation
- The Sacred Mushroom | One Step Beyond
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl | Amazon
- The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers
- Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet by Carol Schaefer | Amazon
- For the Next 7 Generations: The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers | Amazon
- Menla Retreat | Tibet House US
- Serotonin Syndrome Symptoms and Causes | Mayo Clinic
- Hakomi Method | Hakomi Institute
- Dr. Gabor Maté — New Paradigms, Ayahuasca, and Redefining Addiction | The Tim Ferriss Show #298
- How did Françoise come to lead mushroom ceremonies and retreats in Jamaica for bereaved parents, and how has the experience helped them through the grief process? [05:39]
- How did an early experience in north Thailand prove to be formative for Françoise, and what helped her process the trauma of that experience and the difficult decision it forced her to make? [08:43]
- How did psychedelics — particularly MDMA — really initiate Françoise’s healing process? [21:03]
- In Françoise’s estimation, how crucial was the presence of a skilled guide to take her through these healing psychedelic experiences? To what does she attribute the skill her own guide wielded? [26:13]
- In the context of psychedelic journeys, what is chaos music? [32:22]
- What’s the difference between a facilitator and a guide? [38:22]
- When did Françoise become interested in learning about the craft and the toolkits associated with these medicines? [45:05]
- Who was Ralph Metzner? [47:58]
- How was Françoise introduced to the psychedelic traditions of the Mazatec? [52:47]
- After spending time in the psychedelic healing space among mostly male mentors, teachers, and colleagues, how did it make Françoise feel to be exposed to an ancient tradition so tied to a lineage that was primarily matriarchal? [56:57]
- For what purposes do the indigenous people of the Oaxacan region use mushrooms, salvia, and morning glory? What effects might one experience when utilizing them as intended, and what problems are they traditionally used to solve? [1:01:17]
- Can these substances be used to treat maladies in people who live outside the framework of these traditions — for instance, a Westerner from an industrialized city whose problems might seem alien to an Oaxacan curandera? [1:18:54]
- What does a retreat in Jamaica for bereaved parents look like, and what goes into its preparation? [1:26:55]
- During these retreats, what therapeutic purpose does the introduction of elements like art classes and walks in nature serve? [1:33:28]
- What is the Council for 13 Indigenous Grandmothers? [1:38:44]
- What are the potential risks of using psychedelic plants and compounds without the supervision of trained facilitators and guides? [1:41:02]
- How does a well-trained guide help someone back to reality if their psychedelic experience leaves them existentially hollow and bereft of meaning? [1:44:29]
- What is the Hakomi Method? [1:51:49]
- What would Françoise like the Center for Consciousness Medicine to achieve? [1:53:28]
- What does Françoise consider to be the criteria for a great therapist specializing in psychedelic-assisted therapy? [1:56:47]
- Parting thoughts. [2:02:48]