Frequently Asked Questions
Is Psilocybin Safe?
According to recent clinical studies, psilocybin has been scientifically proven to be significantly safer than tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol. Psilocybin is non-addictive and non-toxic, and, with proper screening and taken within a structured setting under the supervision of a professional guide, presents no physical risk. Evidence shows no link between the use of psychedelics and an exacerbation of mental health issues. Indeed, lifetime use of psychedelics has been associated with reduced psychological distress.
That being said, psychedelics are not suitable for everyone and there are some contraindications to consider. I have a comprehensive health screening process based on modern clinical psilocybin trials, ensuring that these experiences are safe for all those I work with.
What Are Your Prices?
The cost (or ‘investment’, which may sound corny, but it truly is an investment in yourself) for my services shall be a negotiation between us. I've created a protocol that, through research, and testimony, genuinely seems to help people that are dedicated to following the process though with their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and/or even financial wellbeing (this is where I can put on my business hat, having done an MSc in Entrepreneurship at Europe's leading university to do such a degree, founded and ran a start-up for several years, and worked at a 'Big-4' Management Consultancy firm for several years more on their prizewinner projects. Because struggling to pay bills is one of many potential stressors).
Although I can of course no guarantees regarding outcome, we can discuss what the value of potentially resolving / helping to significantly alleviate your woes are worth to you. Which of course not only affect you, but everyone around you. And then we can discuss what that value is relatively to your net worth. In short, the more financially fortunate you are, the, more you have to offer. Which then allows me to work with the financially less fortunate. It can even be results-based. If you are a high net-worth individual and invest a higher amount than the average, and then you don't experience a demonstrable difference after working with me throughout the protocol (and it will require work, from both of us), then we can discuss returning a portion of your investment (we can hold it in some form of escrow until then end).
What Is Included in the Guided Psilocybin Process?
• Comprehensive health screening (free)
• 30-min inquiry conversation (free)
• Accepting agreements of what this work involves (e.g. not a magic bullet; requires effort, support outside of me; and to be relatively stable in life)
• 3x 60-min preparation conversations
• 1st journey
• 2x 60-min integration calls
• 2nd journey
• 2x 60-min integration calls
• 3rd journey
• 2x 60-min integration calls
• Light meal after each journey
• Custom recorded meditations and comprehensive written guides to use before, during, and after the process
• If required: Preparing your existing therapist or coach
• If required: referrals to other specialists after the process
• Invitation to a private integration group with others who’ve gone through the process after the process
What Is the Minimum Age for the Guided Psilocybin Process?
This is a somewhat contested topic. Some believe that psychedelics can be offered as a rite of passage early in life, as many traditional cultures do, whereas others believe that people should wait until later in life. I offer no definite answers. However, my personal belief is that, although some cultures do include young people in their psychedelic ceremonies, this is part of a community-led cultural framework that we don’t have in the West. I also align with the idea that we need to have an established ego in order to potentially transcend it, hence the minimum age of 25.
Will I Have a ‘Bad Trip’?
A ‘bad trip’ is an experience that is unnecessarily challenging and has no therapeutic value. The chance of having such an experience within an intentional context has been shown to be extremely low. It’s worth noting that challenging (not necessarily ‘bad’) experiences can counterintuitively lead to positive outcomes.
As psychiatrist and psychedelic researcher Stanislav Grof says, “The full experience of a negative emotion is the funeral pyre of that emotion". Keep in mind that if something challenging arises in connection with a past traumatic event, we are not facing an exact repetition of the original situation, but rather the first full experience of the appropriate emotional or physical response to it. We have to feel it to heal it, as the saying goes. If something overwhelming happened to your younger self due to not having a fully developed nervous system or psyche, you can rest assured that your adult self now has the resources to deal with it, especially with support. Whatever arises, we can work through it together so that it can be processed and released. Only then will it no longer influence you from the unconscious.
What Are Your Professional Boundaries?
I abide by the code of conducts of the Complementary Medical Association, Mind Foundation’s Psychedelics & Coaching Professional Section, Guild of Guides, and North Star. In fact, I was the lead author of the Mind Foundation's Psychedelics & Coaching Professional Section code. As such, the boundaries in our relationship are exactly the boundaries that you would expect in a traditional therapeutic relationship. During the psychedelic experience, therapeutic touch can be used (such as a reassuring hand on your arm, or light bodywork) but consent will always be established before any touch is made. If you would prefer to have a female present with us during your journey, we can arrange this. Your comfort and peace of mind is my primary concern.
Is Psilocybin Legal?
As of 2021, psilocybin is legal or partially legal in Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Greece, Jamaica, Moldova, Nepal, Netherlands, and Samoa, and is decriminalised in many other countries and US states. You may be aware of the Decriminalize Nature movement in America, which began with Denver decriminalising psilocybin in 2019, and is gaining increasing support in many cities and states across the country.
We will have the psilocybin experience in Amsterdam, where psilocybin is 100% legal.
Who Should Avoid Psilocybin?
Although psilocybin is considered to be remarkably safe, in line with current modern clinical protocols I screen out the following people:
Those with a direct or first-degree history of schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar, dissociative identity disorder, or borderline personality disorder
Those who have periods of being actively suicidal, or who are presently self-harming
Those with severely impaired impulse control
Those going through a ‘spiritual emergency’ process
Those with serious heart issues
Those with an ongoing current narcotic or alcohol addiction
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Those who find it significantly difficult to trust others (i.e. me) in a short period of time
Those who have no interest in exploring their inner or outer worlds
Those who have no support or are going through a period of great change in their lives (e.g. in the process of changing careers or moving country, etc.)
Can I Be on Antidepressants Or Other Medications?
I review each person on a case-by-case basis. Regarding antidepressants, it should be noted that psilocybin works by stimulating the 5-HT2A receptor, whereas antidepressants work by blocking it or blocking the serotonin reuptake pump. This can potentially lead to a blunted effect, and may even have the potential to cause serotonin syndrome. Therefore, it is recommended for most antidepressants to gradually taper off under the supervision of a medical professional (tapering duration will vary depending on a number of factors, including time spent on the medication). Ideally, the person will be fully tapered off for a period of 5-6 weeks before the psychedelic experience in order monitor withdrawal symptoms (which typically peak within 5-14 days, and gradually resolve over 2-3 weeks in most users).
In such circumstances and regarding any other medications, especially ones that work on the serotonin system, you will need to consult your prescribing doctor, and, if you have one, your therapist or coach.
How Long Do the Psilocybin Effects Last?
After ingesting the psilocybin, it will take between 20 to 60 minutes for you to start feeling the effects. By then, psilocybin will have metabolised into psilocin. The effects will peak approximately two hours after ingestion, with the peak lasting about an hour. After the peak, it will take three to four hours for you to slowly return to normal consciousness. The bulk of the effects are felt over a six hour period, which matches the timing of when the metabolite psilocin enters the bloodstream to be eliminated through the kidneys. Psilocybin is clear from the blood and urine within 24 hours.
How Do I Take the Psilocybin?
I combine the truffles with a herbal tea and fresh ginger to alleviate any potential nausea.
Will I Be a Different Person After My Psilocybin Journey?
Only if you want to be! It’s certainly possible that after your psychedelic journey you might want to make some positive changes in your life. This is part of the integration process.
Beyond this, although there are no predictable experiences, psychedelics have the potential to offer insights into the nature of consciousness, the psyche, and possibly even the nature of reality. Once the filter of the ego is temporarily removed, one may relive perinatal experiences related to one’s own birth, or experience consciousness as transpersonal, beyond the Freudian idea of the individual psyche. The experience can have holonomic features, and the dichotomies between part and whole, experiencer and the experienced, determinism and free will, form and emptiness, or even existence and non-existence can be transcended. For some people this can have a distinctly mystical quality. Often, such experiences open up the journeyer to a treasure chest of endless fascination regarding the mystery of existence. However, it is up to the individual, through the process of integration, to adjust their life accordingly. If you don’t want to change your behaviours or worldview then no one can force you to - it is entirely in your control.
How Much Psilocybin Will I Take?
It depends on what your desired intentions are. That being said, for most people I recommend consuming between 25mg and 30mg of psilocybin, which are commonly the amounts used in clinical studies (note that this is the amount of pure psilocybin, not the amount of psilocybin-containing truffles). This is a fixed amount, as there is evidence supporting the view that body weight does not affect the subjective effects of psilocybin. We can discuss the cost/benefit profile of different amounts during the preparation stage.
Will All My Problems Go Away After the Psilocybin Journey?
There is a growing and compelling body of evidence regarding the remarkable potential for emotional breakthroughs and general betterment with the intentional use of psychedelics. However, despite this, I cannot offer any guarantees regarding the outcome (and I advise caution of anyone who does). It is also important to see the experience as a process rather than a single event, where any potential is realised as a consequence of effort made before, during, and after the experience. Not seeing the experience as a magic bullet is especially important if you are seeking to have a psychedelic experience for healing purposes. The intentional use of psychedelics can greatly help along the path of discovery, betterment, and transformation, but the journey is a lifelong one, not a day’s work.
I have thought carefully about how to create the optimum mindset and setting in order to realise the potential, and I’ll be there to support you throughout the process.
What’s the Difference Between Psilocybin Truffles and Psilocybin Mushrooms?
Truffles and mushrooms are both in the fungi kingdom, and they both contain the same psychoactive alkaloids - psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin being the most prominent.
The main difference between them is that mushrooms are the above-ground fruiting body of fungi, whereas truffles grow underground, and are made from clumps of mycelial strands.
The reason why I work with psilocybin truffles is because they are fully legal in Holland, whereas psilocybin mushrooms are not.
Is Therapeutic Coaching Therapy?
Generally, the lines between coaching and therapy can be blurred due to there being so much variance and levels of quality within each discipline. Therapeutic coaching, then, makes the line even blurrier.
Broadly speaking, a psychotherapist will provide a space that is almost entirely led by the client, whereas what I do provides a little more structure. For example, using the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, I may ask the client which part they would like to work with in the session. I will then guide them through a process, similar to a guided meditation, where we can explore this part in detail. As is often the case with IFS, this can instinctively and spontaneously reveal a core wounding, often from a time when the client was young. We can then offer this part compassion and nurturement, helping to release it. So although I provide the framework, the material still emerges entirely from the client.
Learning to relate to ourselves in this updated way is a habit, and may look like practicing metta/loving-kindness meditation, offering ourselves nurturing touch, or whatever else that this part needs. Whatever it is, it will need to be practiced regularly for it to become a meaningful and lasting update to our life scripts. The same goes for psychedelic integration. For me, this is where the coaching element shines. As we know, establishing and sticking to new habits can be challenging, hence why it can be useful to have a coach to offer support, encouragement, and accountability. Moreover, there are certain practices that have been proven to be beneficial to all of us, beyond our individual parts. These include regular exercise, spending time in nature, meditating, embodiment practices like yoga, practicing gratitude, and so on. I can support my clients in starting and maintaining such practices so that they become habitual. As such, therapeutic coaching can be more future-orientated than psychotherapy - if we unearth an insight, we can look at ways to embed the lesson by changing habits moving forward.
Another meaningful difference is that I mostly use the body as a way into an emotional root, whereas generally psychotherapy uses the mind as a way in. This approach reflects my Somatic Experiencing Lens, and my training in IFS and Somatic Experiencing. It’s said that every overwhelming event or period in our lives will have a specific somatic manifestation associated with it. So by tracking sensations we can enter a sort of therapeutic wormhole, taking us directly to the root cause, and thus bypassing the narrativising and misleading ego mind.
In line with IFS, I consider the most important relationship to establish being between the client and their Self. The relationship with a coach/therapist can be healing too, of course, but it's the Self that heals the most, and it is always with us. As such, this is an approach that empowers the individual. We don't need an 'expert' to analyse us and tell us what we need. We are the experts of ourselves, and with the right guidance, we have everything we need within us to achieve healing, happiness, and wholeness. As is most often the case, we need to get the thinking mind out of the way for this to happen.
The training between psychotherapy and coaching is also different. With regards to my psychedelic work specifically, being such a nascent field, there was/is no one training programme that felt comprehensive enough for me, hence why I created my own curriculum based on my unique 7 Lens approach. There are also certain elements of a ‘regular’ psychotherapeutic training that I have recreated - I went through my own deep, personal process over several years, I have supervision, I have mentors who are respected in this space, and I am part of several peer support groups for guides, coaches, clinicians, and therapists. Professional oversight is also important to me, so I am an insured member of the Complementary Medical Association, a founding member of the Mind Foundation’s Psychedelics & Coaching Professional Section, member of the Medical Psychedelic Association, and I am a pledge signatory of North Star. All have codes of conduct that I abide by.
Therefore, much of what I do has therapeutic outcomes, without being a psychotherapist. However, there will be times where people will present material that is beyond my scope. In such cases I can refer them to another professional, be they a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or from whichever discipline that would be most helpful.