Psilocybin Guide, Psychedelic Guide, Psyche Guides, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems (Ifs), Therapeutic, Coach / Coaching, Trauma-Informed | London, UK, Amsterdam

My Approach

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My Approach

Broadly, I take an evidence-informed approach while honouring tradition and ritual. Although my approach is informed by various ideas and methods (see below), I take a spiritually- and philosophically-agnostic position, so please feel free to bring your own beliefs, whatever they are. And I take my work, but not myself, very seriously - this work calls for reverence, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a few laughs along the way.

More specifically, I take a trauma-informed, holistic, and relational view using a unique 7 Lens approach that I developed: Internal Family Systems; Grofian (based on the work of Stanislav Grof); Jungian (based on the work of Carl Jung); Scientific; Shamanic; Mindfulness; and Trauma/Somatic. Some concepts overlap within each lens, speaking to the deep truths they contain. I consider each one of these lenses to be invaluable, and this broad view allows me to flexibly meet your needs, whatever the nature of your experience, worldview, or goals.

I include more information about each lens below in order to provide transparency on the influences of my approach. This way you can make a clearer assessment as to whether I am the right person for you to work with.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) Lens

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a modern evidence-based, non-pathologising therapeutic model. It’s based on the premise that we consist of multiple parts found within the psyche and body, a bit like an inner family of subpersonalities. Sometimes we get frustrated at these parts, as we often experience them as getting in our way. But these parts are on our side - they’re trying to protect us from being hurt again. Once we understand them, we can extend compassion and gratitude to them for looking out for us. Having been lovingly witnessed, over time they learn that they’re no longer needed. 

 

In line with ancient wisdom traditions and Jungian and Grofian psychology, among others, the IFS model also assumes that at our core is the wise Self, which has an innate drive towards wellbeing and wholeness. In IFS this Self consists of 8 ‘C’s: calmness, curiosity, clarity, compassion, confidence, creativity, courage, and connectedness. This is our essential Self, beyond our concerned and wounded parts. As with other modalities, the relationship between practitioner and client can be healing. However, in IFS the most healing relationship to establish is between the client and their Self, which is always with them.  

 

Sometimes experienced as an inward voyage, similar to a guided meditation, IFS is a remarkably effective way of understanding, offering compassion to, and ultimately releasing our limiting parts. Interestingly, IFS is used in some psychedelic therapy protocols because the Self and parts can spontaneously and naturally emerge within the psychedelic experience. However, as with all of the lenses, its application is broader than just psychedelics, and I apply it to all my services.

Jungian Lens

Although renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung never took psychedelics himself, his psychology is highly relevant for the psychedelic process - before, during, and after - and is generally relevant for understanding oneself and the world. Below are some of the concepts that inform all my services:

  • Jung’s transpersonal model of the psyche (including both the personal and collective unconscious)

  • Seeing the psyche as a self-regulating system, as well as life energy yearning for creative expression

  • Following the path of realising our full potential (individuation)

  • Understanding our personal and collective shadows - all that we ignore, deny, and repress, whether perceived as positive or negative

  • How we are influenced by deep archetypal forces

  • The pitfalls of archetype identification

  • How myths and fables (in religious and spiritual texts, fairy tales, etc.) represent ancient patterns and can be insightful and instructional

  • How imagination is sacred, and how to harness it

  • How contact with the mysterious or awe-inspiring (numinosum) can be healing

  • How we need to have an integrated balance of the feminine and masculine (anima/animus), on both a personal and a societal level

  • How psychedelics can lower the threshold of consciousness, providing access to the profound vastness of the unconscious

  • Understanding projection - the things we find disagreeable in others often pointing to unresolved parts within ourselves

  • Understanding complexes and how they influence us

  • Tuning into intuition and instinct

  • Applying alchemy to our lives – for example, how blackening (nigredo) precedes purification (albedo)

  • Jung’s animistic ontology (anima mundi)

  • Increasingly in line with quantum-relativistic physics, seeing the nature of reality as ‘one thing’ that’s profoundly connected (unus mundus)

  • Befriending paradox (coincidentia oppositorum)

  • Understanding the signs and symbols of our unconscious, and what they’re trying to tell us

  • Dream analysis as a way of understanding the unconscious, beyond our limited ego view

  • The value of mandala drawing (‘mandala’ meaning ‘circle’ or ‘wholeness’ in Sanskrit)

  • How both the rational knowledge of scientific empiricism and the inner knowledge of spiritual experience can coexist 

 

And many other concepts (Jung’s work is a deep well!).

Grofian Lens

Renowned psychiatrist Stanislav Grof is one of the great pioneers of psychedelic therapy, using psychedelics as a tool to understand the psyche, consciousness, and the nature of reality. He has overseen more psychedelic sessions than anyone else - approximately 5,000 over a 60-year career. Therefore, with regards to my psychedelic work specifically, I heavily lean on Grof’s work. 

 

Grof has made some major contributions to the world of psychology and psychiatry, which informs my approach throughout all my services:

 

  • Persuasive evidence that the brain mediates consciousness, but doesn’t produce it

  • The human psyche not being limited to postnatal biography and the Freudian individual unconscious, but also including the perinatal layer (closely related to trauma of biological birth) and the transpersonal layer (source of experiences that transcend the limitations of space, time, and the range of our physical senses)

  • Many psychosomatic and emotional disorders that are psychogenic in nature (i.e. have no biological basis) don’t always originate in childhood or infancy - they can have roots in the perinatal and transpersonal layers of the psyche

  • Spirituality not being superstitious, unscientific, or primitive, but rather a legitimate dimension of the human psyche and of the universal order

 

Some other Grofian concepts that inform my approach are:
 

  • Grof’s psychedelic psychotherapy protocol

  • COEX Systems (a similar concept to Jung’s ‘complexes’, but with an additional somatic lens)

  • Basic Perinatal Matrices (a psychological model relating to the archetypal birth experience)

  • Psychedelics as both ‘nonspecific amplifiers of the psyche’ and ‘entheogens’ (realising the divine within)

  • Inner Healing Intelligence (a similar concept to the Self in IFS)

  • The importance of understanding amplified projections and transferences/countertransferences in the psychedelic space

  • Spiritual emergence/emergencies and kundalini awakening 

  • The value of mandala drawing (‘mandala’ meaning ‘circle’ or ‘wholeness’ in Sanskrit) 

  • Using bodywork in the ‘termination period’ of the psychedelic experience

  • Using the breath as a tool for healing and accessing expanded states of consciousness (Holotropic Breathwork)

Scientific Lens

Psychedelics have been used for healing and transformation for thousands of years. Therefore, modern scientific insights shouldn't have the last word. That being said, the scientific method (for I believe science is of greatest service as a method, not a philosophy) is robust and insightful, and my approach will forever be informed and updated by the latest scientific research into psychedelics, especially with regards to safety. Moreover, just because psychedelics have the potential to give us an experiential glimpse beyond the established Newtonian-Cartesian scientific paradigm, that doesn’t mean that we should turn our backs on critical thinking or evidence. And with the advance of modern quantum-relativistic physics, the worlds of science and spirituality continue to overlap, demonstrating that there is plenty of room, and arguably a need, for both.

Shamanic Lens

I use ‘shamanic’ as a broad anthropological term that spans many indigenous, spiritual, and religious cultures and disciplines. I am not a shaman, so I don’t practice shamanism. However, although my approach will always be informed by the latest research, scientific inquiry into the potential of psychedelics is only a few decades old, whereas shamanic use of psychedelics for healing and transformation is thousands of years old. I honour this deep wisdom regarding psychedelic use and beyond, hence why the following ideas inform my approach:

 

  • Community and reciprocity being favourable to self-serving individualism

  • Our profound and inseparable connection to, and dependence on, nature 

  • The natural world as one big symbiotic dance, of which we humans are a small part (albeit with a disproportionate ability to disturb the rhythms)

  • Learning lessons from the natural world (e.g. how might adopting the qualities of the natural elements help us move through life)

  • The value of ceremony and ritual to honour an experience, as well as focus intention and attention

  • Wellbeing as holistic and relational (mind, body, soul, spirit, relationships, community, environment)

  • Seeing all things as vibrating energy and existing in an energy system 

  • Storytelling as a way to reframe our life scripts

  • Animistic ontology (e.g. psilocybin as teacher)

  • Seeing the psyche as the soul, of which parts can become disowned or undeveloped in the first place, and need to be retrieved and embodied (aka ‘soul retrieval’)

  • The archetypal process of symbolic death and rebirth.

Mindfulness Lens

I use ‘mindfulness’ as an imperfect catch-all term to combine various concepts and practices from modern neuroscience, multiple wisdom traditions, and their increasing overlap with quantum-relativistic physics. Here are some of the concepts that inform my approach: 

 

  • The value of meditation and mindfulness

  • Non-attachment to the ego/illusion of a separate self - we are not just our thoughts. Thoughts are objects that rise and fall in and out of consciousness, which is a constant precondition of the mind. It is not a metaphysical claim to say that we are the constant precondition of consciousness more than we are the thoughts that temporarily enter and leave it 

  • Cultivating love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity for self and others

  • The cyclical nature of existence - how everything is in a constant cycle of dying, death, and rebirth

  • Impermanence and flow - how pain is created by trying to reach a destination or find fixity in a world defined by constant change

  • Sorrow and suffering being an inevitable part of life

  • Non-duality (in line with modern quantum-relativistic physics, the idea that the true nature of reality is ‘one thing’, beyond ego-led separations)

  • Brahman (the ‘one thing’) and Atman (all things, including us, as infinite expressions of that ‘one thing’)

  • Both the universe and us containing infinite potential (light and dark)

  • The pitfalls of spiritual bypassing (i.e. using spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs) and spiritual narcissism (i.e. assuming we have discovered all the answers)

  • The mind being naturally radiant and pure - the angry, fearful, guilty, shameful, and greedy parts of ourselves being merely temporary visitors

  • We are not isolated fragmented egos, but profoundly interconnected and interdependent on everyone and everything else

  • Our essential nature lies within, beyond the culturally-conditioned filter of the ego

  • Befriending paradox

  • Beginner’s mind

  • The middle way

  • Being of service/service learning

  • Experiencing without judgement or trying to change anything

 

And much more! (Again, it’s a pretty deep well…)

Trauma / Somatic Lens

The Cartesian mind-body dualism (seeing mind and matter/body as separate) is woefully outdated, yet still underpins many Western therapeutic models. We exalt the intellect in the West, and although the mind is a powerful tool, we simply can’t solve all of our issues in it alone. The reality is that our entire organism (including the brain) is one big interconnected and interdependent series of systems. Where some say the body has a brain, it’s more accurate to say the body is a brain. Decades of research show us that our bodies store memories, emotions, blocks, and trauma. And trauma here can be defined as the consequence of anything that overwhelms the psyche and nervous system, which kickstarts an automatic physiological response. This means that many of us may have trauma stored in the body, on a continuum, whether from an overwhelming event or period of time, including accidents or surgery. Even the process of birth can be traumatic. And with the emerging science of epigenetics, it’s possible that we have inherited trauma, too. Indeed, trauma is increasingly being understood as the foundation for most of our unwanted symptoms and syndromes - what many psychotherapists and psychiatrists call a 'disorder' is better understood and treated as a 'trauma response'.  

Hence why we need to learn how to tune in to, and release from, the body, while also understanding and healing our parts mentally and emotionally. And since the state of our nervous system informs, and often even creates, our mental and emotional states (including depression and anxiety), it becomes clear that we must see working somatically as being essential - you can't think your way out of trauma. Therefore my approach is informed by the following methods and concepts: Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing; Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory; Deb Dana’s Polyvagal Ladder; Bessel van der Kolk’s work; Gabor Maté’s work; Trauma Release Exercises (TRE); and others.

 
 
 
Psilocybin Guide, Psychedelic Guide, Psyche Guides, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems (Ifs), Therapeutic, Coach / Coaching, Trauma-Informed | London, UK, Amsterdam