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Psychedelics and Trauma Summit

trauma summit flyer
A 3-Part Virtual Event on September 25, 2022
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. PT
In recent years, trauma has become a buzzword. Oftentimes, different kinds of trauma get grouped together, from ancestral trauma to sexual trauma, systemic trauma, and acute PTSD. In the psychedelic community, we often talk about trauma as being the underlying cause of mental health indications, from depression to anxiety and beyond. There’s this belief that people receive mental health diagnoses, but really what’s going on, on a deeper level, is that their trauma is manifesting as this diagnosis and that psychedelics can get to the root cause of it. 
Meanwhile, MDMA, ketamine, psilocybin, and ayahuasca, among other substances, have all shown promise for the healing of treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder. But how do you know if you or a loved one has it? What even is trauma? And might a psychedelic journey be the answer? We also talk in the psychedelic community about the connection between individual, communal, and planetary healing—this idea that if an individual heals their trauma, that they then might become a more conscientious global citizen and begin to heal the problematic systems that perpetuate trauma more broadly. But is this true? And what might the limitations of this belief be? We cover all this and more with some of the leading voices in psychedelics on trauma at DoubleBlind’s first summit. 
*Can't make the live event? The summit will be recorded.

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Psychedelics & Trauma Summit

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$ 99
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  • DoubleBlind's Resources for Preparation, Navigation, and Integration

Scholarship opportunities are available. Please email [email protected] to learn more.

September 25 | 10:30 - 11:30 am PT
Xiaojue Hu
Charles Nichols
Julie Holland
Lorna Liana, Moderator
MDMA, sometimes referred to as ecstasy, is slated to be legal in the next five years for post-traumatic stress disorder. Meanwhile, veterans are already going to the Amazon, with groups such as Heroic Hearts, to do ayahuasca for their PTSD. There have also been smaller studies which have found that classic psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD may be useful for trauma. But do these substances really cure trauma permanently after a few trips? We often hear that MDMA is rewiring the “amygdala,” the fight or flight response part of the brain, which is hyperactive among people with PTSD. We also often hear that MDMA releases “oxytocin,” sometimes referred to as “the love hormone,” making it less frightening for people to revisit traumatic memories and share them with others. When it comes to more classic psychedelics like mushrooms and acid, the most common explanation in pop science is that they quiet the Default Mode Network, which is the part of the brain where we process our sense of selves. This all sounds really fancy, but is it true? Especially with the growing interest among pharmaceutical companies in taking the “trip” out of the psychedelic, people are asking: Is the psychedelic working on a physiological level to heal conditions such as trauma or is there something about the experience of the trip itself, and the memory of it afterwards, that heals? Before getting into how you and loved ones might explore psychedelics for trauma, this conversation lays the foundation for our summit.
September 25 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm PT
Psychedelics & somatics: healing trauma in the body
Ido Cohen
Mati Esther Engel
Lauren Taus
Shelby Hartman, Moderator
More and more, we’re hearing in the psychedelic community about the importance of thinking about how traumatic experiences live in the body. This conversation was popularized in 2014 when “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk became a New York Times bestseller. Alongside this conversation, “somatics,” a therapeutic modality which helps people become aware of what’s happening in their bodies, is growing in popularity as a counter to talk therapy. In this panel, we cover how someone might begin to explore what lives in their own bodies, as an access point into what’s going on for them physically, spiritually, and psychologically. We discuss the limitations and benefits of the mind, somatic tools that people can do both at home and while supported, and how all of this goes hand-in-hand with preparing for, navigating, and integrating psychedelic experiences.
September 25 | 1:30 - 2:30 pm PT
Psychedelics for systemic trauma
Paula Kahn
darron smith headshot
Darron Smith
Inti Garcia Flores
Inti García Flores
Darren Springer, Moderator
We know that healing from psychedelics is not just about doing a psychedelic: it’s about what comes before and after the experience. And, in today’s world, there are some practical challenges to that. Communities which have historically been marginalized and targeted by the War on Drugs have a harder time accessing psychedelics, because of the cost and stigma. And even if they can access psychedelics, if they are continually exposed to new traumas—as a result of systems of oppression that are embedded within our culture—it can be challenging to integrate and heal in a lasting way. That said, there are groups—Indigenous communities who have been using plant medicines traditionally for generations and communities established in more recent decades—who are doing powerful healing work, not only for themselves but for their ancestors and generations to come. Around the globe, Indigenous groups—from the Amazon to Gabon—offer prayers of healing, not only for themselves, but for their communities, the spirits, and the land. We’re also seeing more research emerge about how psychedelics can be used to heal ancestral trauma and trauma associated with political conflict, including one small study looking at Israelis and Palestinians who drink ayahuasca together. In this panel, we explore some big and timely questions about what psychedelics might do, not just for individuals, but for humanity at-large and the real world limitations of this ambitious goal.
Dr. Charles Nichols
Professor of Pharmacology

Dr. Charles Nichols is a professor of pharmacology at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. He is also the lead scientist at the life science company Eleusis.

Dr. Nichols earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and biochemistry from Purdue University in 1989. He went on to receive a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 and completed his postdoc in pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in 2002.

Darren Springer
Educator, Researcher, Event Organizer

Darren Springer is an educator, researcher, and event organizer based in the UK. Known around the world for his Shroomshop Master classes, he is a keen mushroom cultivator and teacher and has been growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms for the last ten years. By day he is an Organic Horticulturist and Food Enterprise tutor and has translated his home growing experience into a social enterprise. Although not often recognized by researchers and scientists, fungi and plants have been used by indigenous Africans, and those in the diaspora for spiritual and community development for millennia. Several groups use these sacred plants in their rites of passage initiation ceremonies and daily ritual. Darren is also a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker who is passionate about sharing his research and findings on ancient African plant medicines, the history, mythology, and various applications.

darron smith headshot
Dr. Darron Smith
U.S. Army Veteran, Researcher, Author

Darron T. Smith is a U.S. Army Veteran, and a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at the University of Memphis. His research and scholarship examine US-based systems of racial oppression and systemic inequality in all societal domains, including healthcare, the family (transracial adoption), healthcare disparities, religion, sport, culture, and politics. Dr. Smith’s current research and practice intertwine the study of applied neuroscience, race-based trauma, and mental illness by looking at the impact of EEG biofeedback versus MDMA-assisted psychotherapy on brainwave activity in individuals with racial trauma (PTSD) using EEG technology. He is featured in the CBS Sports Documentary, “The Black 14: Wyoming Football 1969,” as well as the Loki Mulholland film on transracial adoption, “Black, White & Us: Love is Not Enough.” He is the author of When Race, Religion & Sports Collide: Black Athletes at BYU and Beyond. Dr. Smith is a member of Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access Committee and is an Editorial Advisory Board Member with The Mormon Studies Review.

Dr. Ido Cohen
Clinical Psychologist, Facilitator

Dr. Ido Cohen serves individuals, couples and groups in San Francisco. He received his Psy.D from the California Institute of integral studies and trained at the Jung Institute In San Francisco. He works with a diverse range of challenges childhood trauma, inner critic, relational issues, lack of fulfillment, psychospiritual growth as well as integration and preparation sessions with individuals and groups. His doctoral study researched the integration process of Ayahuasca ceremonies, while applying Jungian psychology to better understand how to support individuals in their process of change and transformation. He is the founder of “The Integration Circle” and facilitates workshops on the different dimensions of integration and the intersection of mental health, spiritual health and the entheogenic experience. Ido believes that the intersection of our psychological, emotional, somatic and spiritual dimensions can develop our relationship with our inner world and create the changes we want to see in our life. Ido is passionate in supporting individuals to create long term, sustainable change leading to vibrant, authentic, expressive and love filled lives.

Inti Garcia Flores
Inti García Flores
Mazatec Historian and Professor

Inti García Flores is a native of the Mazatec mountains of Huautla de Jiménez; Oaxaca. Currently, he works as a professor and curator of a historical archive that contains many historical-cultural aspects of the Mazatec region. He has collaborated as a speaker for some universities as well as with different organizations that have shown interest in learning about the Mazatec cosmogony. He has also partnered on interviews and is currently working on a documentary that is set to come out soon. Inti continues to make various efforts to achieve such an important project of rescue, preservation, and digitization of the archive.

Dr. Julie Holland
Psycologist, Psychopharmacologist, Author

Dr. Julie Holland is a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist, and author of the New York Times bestsellers Moody Bitches and Weekends at Bellevue. She is the editor of two non-profit books: Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis. While now a medical advisor to MAPS, she was a medical monitor for several clinical studies examining the efficacy of using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy or cannabis in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her newest book is Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, From Soul to Psychedelics.

Lauren Taus
Licensed Clinical Therapist

Lauren Taus graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in Religion before continuing on to NYU for her Masters in Social Work. Lauren is licensed as a clinical therapist in both New York and California with a specialty in addiction and trauma treatment.

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As a clinician, Lauren integrates alternative modalities of treatment into her work. She trained with David Emerson under the supervision of Bessel van der Kolk at The Trauma Institute in Boston in trauma sensitive yoga, and she’s trained by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) for MDMA assisted psychotherapy for complex PTSD.

Lorna Liana
CEO of Entheonation

Lorna Liana is the CEO of EntheoNation, a media company covering psychedelicsplant spirit shamanism, and visionary culture. She is also the Founder of The Plant Spirit School, an online school offering workshops, programs, and 1-to-1 mentoring to individuals and professionals in the psychedelic and plant medicine sector. With over 25+ years of psychedelic exploration and 100s of ceremonies, Lorna is an advocate for the safe, intentional use of entheogens as a tool of self-mastery, as well as the practice of sacred reciprocity. 

She credits the intentional use of ancestral plant medicines, such as ayahuasca and magic mushrooms, for healing a lifetime of racial and colonial trauma. Her experience growing up in colonial Hong Kong informs her work on plant medicine decolonization and inspires her to further the expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the psychedelic sector.

Having personally experienced the pervasive lack of post-ceremony psychedelic integration support in plant medicine culture, Lorna was inspired to launch the Plant Spirit School Integration Coach Certification Program, which is designed to provide plant medicine practitioners with essential psychedelic harm reduction training and support them in becoming thriving integration coaches in the Psychedelic Renaissance. 

Mati Esther Engel
Palliative Care Hospital Chaplain

Mati Esther Engel is a Palliative Care hospital chaplain, a Feminist Jewish theologian, and a performance artist. She is practiced in accompanying patients and families through important life transitions, specifically end-of-life care and decision making. Mati uses her training in performance art and writing practice to develop spiritual care techniques in the service of care, grief counseling, and artistry. Her research bridges the worlds of existentialist and humanist thought; utilizing poetics and ritual as mediums for facilitating conversations within the public discourse. She received her Masters’ degree from The University of Chicago and most recently completed training in Jewish studies at the PAIDEIA Jewish Institute overseas. She currently works full-time as a Palliative care chaplain at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, serving the spiritual and existential needs of patients throughout the New England region.

Paula Kahn
Strategist, Consultant

Paula Kahn (she/they) is a movement strategist, community health worker, policy advocate and consultant conjuring transformation at the intersections of indigenous rights, racial, migrant, environmental justice and the healing arts. Paula is interested in the roles that plants, psychoactives, ceremony, ritual, music, dance, and collective experiences can play in building historical memory, advancing processes of conflict transformation, repair, and rematriation. They are currently working towards a Masters in Public Health at John Hopkins University, where they focus on the epidemiology of violence and policy design for violence prevention. Paula advocates for the rights of indigenous, immigrant, adolescents, and survivors within the psychedelic research & therapy ecosystem, and broader drug policy movement. Born and raised in the working class suburbs of Los Angeles, Paula descends from Mayan, Ashkenazi Jewish and Iberian ancestries.

Shelby Hartman
Co-Founder and CEO of DoubleBlind

Shelby Hartman is Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DoubleBlind. Her work has appeared in VICEQuartzthe Huffington Post, and Rolling Stone, among others. Shelby worked in broadcast news production for CBS News covering presidential elections, protests, natural disasters, and other breaking news. Spurred by a passion for print and investigative reporting, she transitioned to magazine writing, working as an editor at Pasadena Magazine and receiving her Master’s Degree in long-form journalism from Columbia University in 2015. Since then, Shelby has worked as a columnist at LA Weekly and an editor at Herb, the largest cannabis media company, with extensive features on post-traumatic stress disorder in the veteran community, the cannabis industry, the psychedelic research boom, and the popularization of ayahuasca. 

Dr. Xiaojue Hu
Psychiatrist, Therapist, Researcher

Xiaojue Hu, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist, therapist, and researcher. She is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the Center for Psychedelic Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, where she’s been involved in psilocybin research. Dr. Hu is also part of a group private practice at Brain Food Clinic, where she works with nutritional psychiatrist Drew Ramsey. She incorporates a humanistic, holistic approach to psychiatric practice through psychotherapy and responsible medication management. She has an insight-oriented, trauma-informed style that aims to treat clients from a whole perspective, integrating considerations on diet, lifestyle, beliefs, sociocultural contexts, as well as neurochemistry. Her areas of expertise and interest include psychedelic integration, women’s mental health, spirituality, and cultural psychiatry. She is also an assistant trainer and mentor at Fluence, which provides education in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and integration. She completed her adult psychiatry residency and fellowship in psychosomatic medicine at NYU. She is a graduate of the Program in Liberal Medical Education at Brown University, where she received her M.D. and a B.A. in comparative literature.

10:00 - 10:15 a.m. PT
Welcome and Meditation
10:30 - 11:30 a.m. PT
Psychedelics for Trauma: How Does it Work?
with Julie Holland, Charles Nichols, Xiaojue Hu, and Lorna Liana (Moderator)
11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PT
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. PT
Psychedelics & Somatics: Healing Trauma in the Body
with Ido Cohen, Mati Esther Engel, Lauren Taus, and Shelby Hartman (Moderator)
1:00 - 1:30 p.m. PT
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. PT
Psychedelics for Systemic Trauma
with Paula Kahn, Monnica Williams, Inti García Flores, and Darren Springer (Moderator)
2:30 - 3:00 p.m. PT
DoubleBlind Magazine does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. We do not provide mental health, clinical, or medical services. We are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency resources. If you are considering suicide, please call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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