I’m a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and (semi) retired chiropractor practicing in Portland OR, and have a well established serious meditation practice. In addition, I’m a long standing member of the clinical advisory board of a large, behavioral health managed care organization in the US, and have occasion in that role to weigh in on setting clinical care standards for depression, anxiety, substance abuse issues and end of life concerns nationally. During January 2019 I attended a MycoMeditations (MM) retreat in rural Jamaica as one of 13 participants (11 of us were psychotherapy professionals), and 5-6 supportive facilitators.
Overall I did benefit from the experience. The facilitators were generally supportive and caring. The setting was lovely. And the mother of one of the facilitators, Doreen, cooked some amazing food for us for our post tripping enjoyment. Our pre trip meetings were thorough, and our post trip debriefings usually helpful.
However, there were at least two significant down sides to the experience:
1- There were regular, repeated instances in which belligerent, and/or highly extroverted behaviors, both physical and verbal, significantly impinged on those of us who were having intensely introverted experiences. This felt both intrusive and threatening to me, and occurred on several occasions. To their credit, the facilitators attempted to contain these events, and to an extent succeeded, but the overarching rule of ‘trust the fungus’ seemed to fuel these occasions. While these intrusions were addressed in our debriefing sessions the next day, they then would occur again during the next lengthy trip experience, of which we had three during our 8 day stay.
2- Drug use. During our late evening, post trip meal sessions it was common place for members to be drinking beer and smoking dope. This is the opposite of the vibe and atmosphere, or context, in which I want to “hold” psychedelic experience, which for me is sacred and an occasion for ecstatic dancing as embodied movement.
When I brought up this issue, stating that I did not want to hang out in this atmosphere, the next day I was confronted and criticized as “judgmental”. Eric, the MM leader, made negative comments about my stated interests in holding psilocybin therapy sessions through my practice in Oregon, a state in which a group of us are in the process of attempting to legalize the use of psilocybin mushrooms for this express purpose.
Based upon these latter two issues I am unwilling to recommend MM for psychedelic experiences, at least at this time.
Number of Participants in ceremony: 13
Follow up integration