Unlocking the Potential: Psychedelic Workforce Insights with David Drapkin

Host April Pride engages in a conversation with David Drapkin, Director of Education & Training for Psychedelics Today, to review the report titled “The Emerging Psychedelic Workforce” released by Vital, a psychedelic facilitator training program. Gain a better understanding of how individuals trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy are incorporating their skills into various careers, the role of personal experiences in career choices, and the intention to serve diverse communities.

The Emerging Psychedelic Workforce

In this episode of the High Guide podcast, host April Pride is in discussion with David Drapkin, Director of Education & Training for Psychedelics Today. They review a report titled, “The Emerging Psychedelic Workforce” that was released by Vital, a psychedelic facilitator training program.
After listening to this episode, you’ll have a better understanding of:

  • How those being trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy are incorporating these new skills into an existing career
  • The significant role between personal experience and success with psychedelics on guiding career or practice choices.
  • The broad intention to cater to diverse and often underserved communities over financial gain.
  • Areas of interest to apply new training beyond non-facilitation specialties, including media, academia, biotech, cultivation, marketing, and finance.

Episode Guests

David Drapkin, Director of Education & Training @ Psychedelics Today

Episode Resources & Additional Reading

Psychedelics Today

More Episodes from the Podcast

Podcast Episode Full Transcription

April Pride, host: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The High Guide podcast. I’m your host, April Pride, and today is a bonus episode. It’s also a bit different in terms of its format than what you typically hear here. I sat down with David Drapkin, who is the Director of Education and training at Psychedelics Today, which is a podcast about, you guessed it, psychedelics. Recently, Psychedelics Today surveyed 130 students and graduates of the 12 month intensive professional certification program Vital. That is part of their ecosystem, I guess you could say. And vital focuses on training individuals in the realms of safe, safe, ethical and effective psychedelic support and integration. The objective of the survey, in part, was to help them understand why so many people are getting involved in the psychedelic field, how they’re building their careers and how they are or will be servicing clients, businesses and communities. A few findings that were revealed that stuck out 47% of people are not switching careers. They’re incorporating psychedelics and altered states into their current career for the first time. Personal experience and success with psychedelics. Nearly 87% have been influenced by their own experience. I think it’s more interesting that 10% of the people have not had. A psychedelic experience that was of any kind that has successfully helped them treat a condition or trauma. 50% of participants are interested in working in areas beyond facilitation and therapy, including media, me, academia, biotech, cultivation, marketing and finance, indicating the breadth and diversity of interest in the field.

April Pride, host: [00:01:55] And this last detail I will get into with David later on in the show. A staggering 98.3% of respondents indicate that making a lot of money is not their primary motivation to enter the field. So please listen on as David and I are in discussion. But first, before Dave and I do begin our discussion, I want to thank our sponsor of Like Minds, Seattle’s trusted source for psilocybin mushroom products. You can find their full menu at of Like minds.co online. And it’s the holidays. They have gift cards. If you don’t know what to get that special someone in your life, I bet they would like some magic mushrooms. And I’ll tell you what you should actually get them specifically. Are the Museum dose capsules. They’re awesome. Let’s get even more specific. I would recommend that you get museum dose capsules and a deck of set set and put a date on the calendar to take those capsules together. Play set, set together, and then I want you to email me directly. You can email me at aprilapril pride.com and tell me what you thought, because that’s what we’ve been doing here in Seattle and it’s really fun, especially on these rainy nights. So do something different this Christmas. Buy an experience that you will never forget of like minds. Disco. You heard it here. Happy holidays. Listen to the conversation and yeah, send me an email. Tell me what you think.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:03:42] My name is David Drapkin. I’m a licensed clinical social worker. And yeah, I’ve been a sidekick a two and a half years. Um, my role now is director of education and training, and I’m just doing things I didn’t know I could do I would be any good at. And, um. Yeah. So I’m doing the education piece. I’m leading study groups and helping coordinate lectures, developing training courses, which is like, wow, amazing stuff. I’m so privileged to be doing that. And then podcasting, like, you know, I love to talk. I’ve realized. And it was like overcoming an insecurity of mine and just, yeah, talking and stepping up and being seen and being witnessed. So doing things I’d never thought I could do. But I’m really enjoying challenging myself.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:04:26] Great. Yeah. And the training. So the report that came out, which is the. Facilitator training component offshoot, perhaps of psychedelics today or sister company. I think I might be explaining that correctly. Um, you all put out a report because you want to get a feel for, okay, we have 130 participants in this cohort or included in past cohorts that have gone through the training. And what do they look like? What are their motivations for being in the psychedelic industry and for becoming a facilitator and helping others use these medicines to optimize their life? Um, heal from trauma, to begin to step into, you know, what their real, their selves, their real selves are. And that’s, that’s that’s one that I, um, can relate to. So what were some of your what is the background? Why did you decide to do this study? What prompted it and what were some surprise findings?

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:05:31] Yeah. So we realize that we are going through something right now. We don’t quite know what it’s called. Some people call it a psychedelic, psychedelic, renaissance or resurgence, but I think it’s more than just that, that we’re going through and. We are, you know, in a sense, have a duty, I believe, to try to express what we think we’re going through, through the voices of the people that are going to be part of the psychedelic landscape in the next few years. They are the ones around the world building companies, serving their communities and crafting careers out of, yeah, their own realities, their own needs, their own experiences of using psychedelics, of doing their own healing. So we said, okay, let’s ask our students who are part of vital or graduated from vital, our 12 month course, to answer these questions and tell us, who are you? Why do you want to be part of psychedelics? What does that mean to you? What roles do you want to have? What communities do you want to serve? What kinds of vision do you have around the work that you’re doing, and how that’s going to help move the needle collectively for humanity? How important is diversity and inclusion to you? Um, so these are, you know, and what kind of characteristics do you have as a man or a woman or trans gender or what? Sexuality, you know, what kind of income bracket do you have? And so we’re really getting a picture of what does this psychedelic workforce look like? Um, and therefore I think we can extrapolate what is this psychedelic industry and what are these psychedelic ecosystems that are just being kind of cross-pollinated around the world? Um, and I think, yeah, in a sense, we can do some reverse engineering from, from that extrapolation to say, ah, this is what’s happening.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:07:17] And this is what at least our 130 students and graduates are using our course and using their own, um, yeah, intuition to build. And it’s beautiful to see. Like one of the big things that we found out, 98% of our, um, participants in the study said they are not interested in financial gain as their primary objective for developing their careers in this way and getting this, you know, psychedelic training course done. It’s a 2% said yes. So that was probably, you know, one person or two people. And that’s totally okay. But I think primarily it’s because 84% of people have had their own experiences with psychedelics. That’s one of their primary motivators for like, why are they entering this space of why they want to give back, of why they feel called to change their career or to to move their career in a new direction? So it’s not about money. It’s about kind of often service giving back. And. Expressing and channeling their their own experiences into some kind of collective container for the long tum growth and transformation of self and the collective.

April Pride, host: [00:08:24] So I want to I would like to talk about those numbers stuck out to me to less than 2% were motivated, had financial motivation. Um, I sold I’ve sold three companies. Um, and one I guess my the largest exit I had was to Canopy Growth in 2018, and I personally saw what a financial win does for so many people, not just me. I invested $1 million in other people’s brands and dreams and visions. So when I saw that number, David, I have to tell you, I was very disappointed. There’s a huge opportunity here for generational wealth. And when you have 62/3 of the participants are women, and the decisions that are being made at the top need to be made with our needs in mind. And people aren’t motivated by capital, and that’s the society that we’re living in. That really, really struck me. And it may be an unpopular sentiment in this space, but I’ve seen, having worked in the cannabis space in Canada, starting before it was even voted in by Parliament. And then, you know, through its inaction when it was enacted in, um, late 2018, we need money. We need people. Money is energy, right? And we want people who can make decisions for those who who are disenfranchised, for people who are part of communities that have been marginalized.

April Pride, host: [00:09:54] We need power in those circles. And that is the money is the name of the game. So I’d be curious what you know, I understand the way that you explained. It makes so much sense to me. Of course, you’re not motivated by money when your life has been changed by something that has given to you, by nature, it’s free for everybody, right? And that’s what we want to do. We want to be able to make sure more people can heal. I think as an as an industry and people who are coming into the industry, I wonder if they realize the opportunities that are really there and the opportunities that they may be passing by, by just money is bad, right? Money creates evil. Yeah it is. It’s probably not what we’re here to talk about, but it is something that I think is really an important point as we move into a space where there will be more generational wealth created, just as there was in cannabis.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:10:45] Yeah, yeah, I really appreciate that reflection, April. It’s a it’s a good nuance for us to keep in mind, you know, and I think moving out of the shadows of prohibition, the dark ages and the underground. Yeah, I think we had low expectations. We kept things, you know, very, um, hush hush and, and I think we are doing things that often risking our lives or our licenses and our professions and our freedom to help others. So we’re we’re used to doing that in a sense, sacrificing a lot. So perhaps that that number, that data point does express some of the sacrifice that we’re willing to make for others and just to do what is right, whether or not we’re we are reimbursed just to save a life. Yeah. And I’ve never sold a company. I’ve got a very complicated relationship with money. Um, and yeah, I’ve gone through a period of my life just totally rejecting it and hating it and really trying to avoid any kind of responsibility and, um, relationship with money, just really being very poor and wanting to be kind of an itinerant beggar at times. And homeless. Uh, yeah. Vagabond traveling through the world because I just could not have a mature relationship with money. And I did not trust myself to be able to earn money, have a family. And now I’m married with kids and I have a mortgage, so I’ve kind of worked through that personally. But, you know, I think often what we need as well as, you know, as money is a sense of the meaning, the vision. What does it mean to me? Who am I? And finding a sense of place in the world of what I need as foundations to feel safe in and then to to start to build a bit of a vision that could lead to that? Yeah. Um, intergenerational wealth, because I think we’ve got lots of intergenerational trauma that we are processing. But yeah, that intergenerational kind of collective wealth as well. So yeah. Lovely point. Uh, thank you for that.

April Pride, host: [00:12:38] Yeah. I mean, obviously having an exit doesn’t mean that you’ve got a healthy relationship with money, right? Or that you’re not working through it. Um, I just have a a real desire for women’s needs to be met with these medicines. And I’ve seen what happens when the decision to invest in research, um, just isn’t prioritized. And so that’s, you know, I’ve got that’s my soapbox that I stand on. I, we really need a lot more medical research, specifically when it comes to women and in cannabis and psychedelics. So I look forward to, you know, these channels opening up and academic institutions being able to do more research. I think that’s, um, that’s where we are. And there will be I would not be surprised if people who have gone through your training program find themselves researchers or working with researchers, or helping to shape some of the studies that will go on to be hugely impactful for how we use this medicine. For women, for everybody, for non-binary individuals, the gender, it only matters because of biology. And we have very specific ways in which these, um, natural and not natural necessarily, but compounds work with our bodies. And we understand how hormones play a huge role in their effect, overall outcome.

April Pride, host: [00:13:59] We know enough to know that we should be asking more questions. So and seeing that two thirds of your graduates, or at least the participants in this survey, were women, is fascinating to me. I have a a friend who’s at NYU, um, in their graduate program to become a therapist and out of 202 or men. So that’s an interesting question. We know how important it is. I have two sons, and, you know, it is not part of the culture for us to talk about how you’re feeling and, and some and some cases, I think that they are more comfortable talking to women. In other cases. I think that it’s really important that they’re able to talk to a man. And so what can we do to attract more men to become facilitators? Because that role, that masculine energy that we bring, you know, in divine masculine energy that we can bring into ceremony, into one on one is is it is so, so important. So I’m just, you know, I think we’re competing with tech jobs in my head is what I’ve told myself. So what do you think it is?

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:15:10] Yeah. So I’m a social worker. And when I did my two master’s degrees in England and Australia. Yeah. Vast majority were women and and you know, I think it made me feel a little bit safer in those learning environments. Um, and at the same time, I feel like on a global level, we are hopefully, you know, birthing into a new paradigm where there is a greater level of balance between between the poles of, of, you know, kind of gender archetypes, but also between the paradigms of, yeah, capitalism. Um, and post capitalism and just different versions and iterations of that. You can’t get rid of money, but we can change our relationship with each other and, and the inequality that we’ve got. So I think my sense with being a man and how to bring more men into it is around our relationship with complexity and our and our need for, uh, certainty. Yeah. And in a sense, some of the rigidity that men particularly tend to have more of around needing to have answers and needing to kind of have certainty. Um, and that, I think, is starting to, uh, break down like in our current contemporary society. Yeah, there’s just too much complexity. And I think we’ve tended to paper it over with some quite superficial veneers of meaning making, um, whether that’s sports or, you know, celebrity culture, you know, or just. Yeah, politics and certain nationalism, things that tend to give us a very easy sense of identity. Oh, yes. I’ll subscribe to that one.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:16:45] Great. That’s who I am. That is my calling in life. Um, so when we deconstruct that, it’s very vulnerable. It’s it’s really scary, right? Me personally, I like I got electrocuted when I was 21. I tell you about it another time. But that was what gave me my life calling. I was going to be a multi-millionaire stockbroker, you know, mergers and acquisitions guy. I was a bit of a dick, to be honest, and I was deeply traumatized and had a lot of issues that I just totally swept under the carpet. But being electrocuted made me realize I didn’t have a clue who I was or what my life was for, and everything was just a big sham up until that point. And that’s why people, in a sense, often find psychedelics gives them that sense of being electrocuted or having this snow globe shaken to get a sense of, oh gosh, I really don’t know who I am or what life is for. Gosh, it’s much greater than I thought or I have no idea. And I really want to know. I really want to be a part of a community of where we can just sit with complexity and uncertainty and maybe not even needing to know, just having amazement and awe and wonderment and being able to kind of hold space for that and just experience what that feels like. I think like, yeah, let’s just do that for a couple of centuries, and then I think it will help us out, you know?

April Pride, host: [00:17:55] Oh my goodness, a couple of centuries. Okay, I know I’m definitely a product of our let’s fix it. Now. How do we do that. You know, um, but I think that obviously psychedelics helps us to slow down and realize that we’re just we’re just getting started, right? I was, um, I was at the remind conference, which is part of MJ biz last week. And it was very interesting people saying about the cannabis industry, we’re just getting started, right? And I’m like, I don’t think anyone’s going to stop smoking weed any time soon. And you realize, like the alcohol industry is nearly 100 or is 100 years old, 100 years old post prohibition. And, you know, I mean, we are just getting started with cannabis. But you realize, like we’ve been told, you’re going to miss the opportunity if you don’t do this now. And there’s a little bit of a sense of that when I talk to people who are like kicking the tires in terms of should I should I go into the psychedelic space? They don’t necessarily want to be facilitators. I think, um, I think one challenge that people have is, what do I want to do with this? Right? I, I like psilocybin, I like MDMA.

April Pride, host: [00:19:10] That would be a cool job. It’s kind of where it starts. But I think what I found. Have gone to now to four conferences over the past year, and people that are in the space and have been for so long, it is you have to be you have to be passionate about the work, period. This is really talk about just getting started. This is just getting started. People are just starting to feel some people are starting to feel comfortable bringing this into the mainstream. And so the 130 participants in your survey, I mean, it would be so fascinating to hear their stories, right? How did you what I mean, you probably have heard many of these stories. You do know, um, so what what now for them? How do they find their first clients? One of the, um, one of the interesting things in the first conference that I went to at Pacific or Horizons Northwest last September 2022, that I thought was interesting was so many facilitators were going to continue to operate underground. They were not going to participate in the legal or licensed program that was coming out of, of Oregon. And I’m curious, what is. Yeah. What are you hearing from your graduates now?

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:20:27] Yeah. So a few things I’ll share. I’ve been in a really blessed role in psychiatry today, in the vital program that I’ve been the main person interviewing students for it. So they come in for like 20, 30 minutes. It’s an interview, yes, but it’s really just getting to know them. Like, who are you? Where are you in the world? And we’ve had students from, you know, probably over 30 countries around the world enroll, and every student is doing vital or wants to do vital for a different reason. Everyone has a different vision of of who they want to become or why they are doing this work. And it’s it’s just it’s really giving us a sense of, yes, how this landscape is going to evolve. So, you know, we’ve had folks that are now we’ve got one graduate that is is opened up, an entheogenic church in Texas for veterans and first responders. We’ve got another graduate, you know, who’s from New York City. And she opened up a yeah, a cannabis wellness brand, you know, and doing integration work there. We’ve got folks doing, you know, LGBTQ and Bipoc integration groups, support groups, nonprofits got folks working in research and policy and advocacy. So it’s really been amazing to see what what everyone is doing. So there’s no one right way of being part of, you know, of this space. I think that’s one of my main things, um, that I’ve learned and what I love.

April Pride, host: [00:21:46] I love, I love that, no, there is no one right way. Of course. Yeah. Um, what was the last thing that I asked? I asked, um, if people are going to stay underground to work and be facilitators, if. Do you have those conversations? Because that seemed to be what people thought they would do a year ago when Oregon, before Oregon opened up.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:22:09] Yeah, yeah. So it’s a really important question for us all to think about. Um, how do I what do I call myself like? Am I a trip sitter, a guide, a shaman, a facilitator, a psychedelic informed practitioner, which is a title that a lot of our students are, are feeling comfortable with or my harm reduction worker and integration coach, whatever it might be. Um, a consultant, you know, um, so there’s there’s a lot of choices and we all need to go through some kind of a decision making process around. Well, you know, what’s my risk profile? What’s my preferences and tolerance around risk? And how do I counterbalance my that risk profile with my reward profile? Like, what does this mean to me? Like how important is it that I am doing this work? And for who am I doing it for? Is it for me? Is it for my wife and kids? Is it for my community? Is it because I just feel really strongly that our current policies and laws are immoral, and I just don’t want to be part of that or limited by those laws? Um, you know, I left a very cushy job being a director of an outpatient addiction center, um, ten staff, 130 clients. I just couldn’t do it because there was so much trauma and a lack of healing that I could legally talk about and offer my clients. I was like, I just can’t be part of this system anymore. So I jumped into the psychedelics boat so that these decisions are really key. Like, I might have like a salary cut, I might lose my 401 K benefits. And, you know, but I’m doing something that means a lot. And it goes back to that question we were saying before about.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:23:47] You know about the money. Um, so there’s a lot of students are staying in the underground because. The legal system seems a little bit too complicated or a bit too, um, unsafe. Um, and we don’t yet have enough data, in a sense, to know that, you know, is this a model that I want to work in for some people, if you’re a psychologist or psychiatrist, it’s a bit safer. You might feel, yeah, I can take I can dip my toe into those waters because I’ve got my license. I’m going to do that. But for some folks that are coaches that are guides outside of Oregon, there’s not that much you can really do just yet. You know, in a legal way. You can say, I’m in a harm reduction coach and integration coach or psychedelic informed practitioner. You can go work in retreat centers in Jamaica, in Costa Rica, in Mexico and do that stuff 100%. We’ve got quite a few students that are working, say, in London with their clients, and then they’re meeting their clients in Amsterdam to do medicine sessions there, and then they’re coming back and continuing to do the integration work so that they can still stay within the legal laws of it. They’re not doing the medicine in London. They’re going to Amsterdam for a week and seeing a couple of clients there a few times a year. So there’s other ways of doing it. Or they’re staffing a couple of retreats in Jamaica for a month. They’re doing like three retreats back to back. And, you know, that is going to keep them going until the summer, you know, um, so there’s ways of getting around it.

April Pride, host: [00:25:10] Okay. Painting those pictures is really important for listeners, because I do think that if you’re not in the space that you’re, you know, I call it tire kicking. But if if you’re just curious how people are doing this and you assume that either you have to live in Oregon and practice in Oregon or you’re breaking the law, then it’s true. There are so many creative ways that people who. Who want to stay on the right side of the law for for all the obvious reasons and for reasons that I think are more for the greatest good, because we’re trying to move into a space where, uh, what we’re doing is legitimized, I guess, for lack of a better word. So, you know, if you’re doing it legally, then I think that that, um, there’s a lot of, um, validity, validity, vulnerability, validity, validity that we bring to the space that’s brought to the space. Um, so, um, one of the one of the more creative combinations of how people can work together. Um, we work with a licensed therapist for our microdosing protocol and integrative microdosing protocol that we offer. And she when she’s working with clients for macro doses, she partners with someone that’s local to that person, and she does the intake and the integration virtually from afar.

April Pride, host: [00:26:26] So she’s not there for the medicine portion of it. And something that she said that I thought was interesting is if that because as we know, when you take a large dose of a psychedelic, you know, we don’t quite know which direction that’s going to go or which discomfort is going to come up. Right. And so she said that over time, she’s realized that not being there has actually allowed more. It’s made her closer to her clients because she doesn’t run the risk of doing something wrong in that moment. I mean, obviously she’s giving up the opportunity to do something right. That can also be quite bonding, but it’s given her just more flexibility with her client to like, okay, you have to trust me. I’m going to connect you with this person. You trust me. So there’s that trust too that’s established. So I think that you’ll find that graduates of your program are vital, are going to. They’re going to partner. It’s very possible that they’ll partner in ways if they haven’t already.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:27:25] Yeah, yeah, 100%. Like there needs to be a whole range of relationships that do not yet exist. Or they do, but they’re underground. Yeah. And you know, ultimately there’s going to be prescribing and diagnosing. Yeah, there’s going to be the administration of injections and IVs and, you know, medications being dispensed. But ultimately, you know, I feel like there’s a really important piece. This is new, but it’s also ancient. And there’s a lot of evidence we have from centuries going back that humans have used medicines, you know, with non-ordinary states of consciousness for healing. So I think we can justifiably say that to anyone that asks us whether it’s a police officer or a lawyer or, you know, whoever it might be or employer, you know, and we can also say, well, look, look at this research that’s coming out at Johns Hopkins, you know, or Imperial College, or look how many people have been treated with ketamine now and just mind blowing a quarter of a million treatments that they’ve had. Just just that one company with, with at home ketamine, you know, that the amount of naturalistic research we can find on Reddit of people using psilocybin, you know, for depression or looking at microdosing and the benefits to, you know, something that Jim Fadiman said around women’s menstrual cycle.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:28:39] And it seems to me that’s actually one of the main benefits of of microdosing that most women have more than anything else, perhaps, or the sleep routine, for example. And it’s like, wow. So we know a lot already. So yeah, these might not be clinical trials. You know, that’s going to be FDA approved. But gosh, we’re standing on the shoulders of ancient giants and contemporary giants with all the data coming through, you know, Reddit and underground signal groups and WhatsApp groups, like, we just have a lot of knowledge and a lot of community that when that is birthed into the mainstream in some new iteration, we’re going to see, gosh, aren’t we a beautiful people? Aren’t we? Aren’t we doing amazing work here? And gosh, what were we so scared about before and why were these illegal? You know, and I think we’re just going to have to go through a real healing process around our systems and a lot of forgiveness as well of what we’ve collectively been part of. It’s like a great remembering, I think, about our ancient traditions.

April Pride, host: [00:29:36] Yeah. That would be my dog. I guess he’s decided to join the conversation. I can also edit that out. Thanks, Dewey. Um. The great remembering. Yeah, I, I do wonder. I mean, I think there’s already been a reconciliation of, um, cannabis helped to to. Start the questioning at a greater scale of why are people incarcerated for this plant? Right. And so those questions started happening at a more mainstream level in the last decade, I would say. Um, and so I think that it’s been an easy add on to ask the same questions as it relates specifically in my mind to psilocybin, because they both do come from the earth mushrooms and the cannabis plant. And so it just it’s a very it’s for me, I feel like it’s an easier conversation to have. This is nature, you know. And as we know, there’s an organization, Decriminalize Nature, which has done amazing work in various municipalities. Um, in the US. I’d actually don’t know if they’re international. Maybe you have an idea there, but I don’t know. Yeah, I.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:30:44] Think there’s other comparables, but I think decrim nature is mainly America. Yeah, it’s amazing to see what’s happening in states and in towns like Massachusetts. I was talking to a student today and she was like, you know, towns there where it’s been decriminalized. And, you know, she was a doctor, you know, doing family medicine. Um, so she can now have certain conversations with people because, you know, she could reference what the laws in my town or in my state have changed. And so my, my clients, my patients are now asking me this information because they’ve read it in the newspaper. Oh, it’s been decriminalized. So I have to be able to ask them. Like it? I think there’s some kind of professional duty and liability there. If I if I say, sorry, I can’t talk to you about that. Even though we’re seeing, you know, the world is changing. And one other thing I’d say April is like it just doesn’t make sense that at one point, you know, cannabis can be, um, you know, in schedule one and so can MDMA and psilocybin. And yet MDMA and psilocybin are FDA, um, fast track breakthrough therapy medicines, where the FDA said, yes, we really need these to come into mainstream commercialization because they’re so much better than anything else we have based on preliminary data. And we want to help you get this to market as soon as possible. Psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine. Spravato, you know, and cannabis is being prescribed so much for so many different conditions around the world. And yet it’s also a schedule one drug that supposedly, therefore has no medical purpose and is, you know, very addictive and dangerous. And it’s just not based in science and data and evidence reality. It’s it’s yeah, political, cultural, um, you know, stigma and repression. So I think we’re kind of going through a massive rebalancing here of who do we trust? Um, yeah. And why was our policy like this for so many years?

April Pride, host: [00:32:29] Beer that’s, you know, fear is the root of all of these things. That’s at some level I feel like, um, I do I’m curious, you know, because medical experts, if you have if you have, if you’re an MD. Why would you be compelled to enter into vitals? Year long program? What? What are you going to learn? Right. Because, you know, doctors kind of think that they know a lot. A lot of them do anyway, um, and if you don’t have any medical background, the reasons why you would enter into this program make into vital, make a lot of sense. Right. And you feel like, oh, an imposter in a way, if you don’t start to collect these different certifications so that, you know, you feel like you’re prepared to lead someone through these journeys. But I do feel like doctors and medical experts do have a lot to learn when it comes to sitting with somebody, um, who is in an altered state. So can you talk a little bit about what they’re going to learn in the program that will augment what they already know about working with patients?

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:33:39] Yeah, I can throw out a few ideas that will help with that. So one of the data points we got from our report was that 50% of participants wanted to be and do facilitation kind of be a guide or a sitter. That was something they wanted to do. They were interested in 50% said, no, actually, that’s not my primary reason I want to do something else. And most of them said I want to stay in my current career 47%, but just just moving a slightly different trajectory within that career, or just get this training and then see, you know, what comes up inside. So that’s really, really key to think. So not everyone needs to be a facilitator here. Um, and oh let me see. Yes. I think just trying to read my own writing. I’m a bit like a doctor myself. If I can’t read what I just wrote. I think part of what we’re going through is like a remembering, but it’s also an unlearning. So me as a as a social worker, as a psychotherapist, I have to unlearn so much of what I was taught at university so that I’m able to to sit with somebody using psychedelics or thinking about using them, or that has used them. Without getting in the way of their experience and their meaning making. Um, without stigma, without knowing the answers, without being the expert. So I have to do a lot of unlearning there. And I think definitely doctors, more than perhaps anyone, have more unlearning to do because of the way that they’ve been trained.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:35:01] You know, they’ve gone through often 7 to 10 years of medical training. With the only bit of information they ever heard about cannabis and psychedelics as being their dangerous drugs, and how to diagnose someone with an addiction. Literally, there is pretty much zero training about any medical uses or any historical uses within a ceremonial, traditional, indigenous, or even the 1950s 60s 70s research happening with psychedelics. So they have so much unlearning to do. And I feel like, you know, why would vital be a good course for them? It’s because we bring together so many different modalities and disciplines and traditions, not just the the medical, the clinical or the theoretical. You know, we include neuroscience and neurochemistry. Yeah. You know, we look at the FDA trials, um, we bring on researchers to talk about their work, but we bring on, you know, shamans and space holders and policy activists and folks that work for nonprofits, harm reductionists, you know, ceremonial guides and group integration coaches. We bring on all of these people, um, and folks that work in more in the business side of things so we can really get a just a 360 view of what what are we going through right now in this remembering, in this awakening, what is it that we need to relearn and unlearn, and particularly for a lot of doctors and medical folks, it’s that we’re not just a body made up of cells and lots of separate systems.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:36:29] Oh, I’ve got the respiratory system and the digestive system and, you know, the cardiovascular system. Okay. Yes. So those do exist. And there is a greater whole that is body, mind, spirit that we are all connected to. And there is energy that moves through them and sickness passes through these as one experience and wellness passes through these systems as one experience. And they’re constantly in a little dance together. So when we just start to compartmentalize our sense of the body, the mind, the spirit, and we start to learn about our sense of place in a social environment, like we have to heal as a community and as a culture and a collective. And so that’s what vital does. It’s like I’m not just this patient with a diagnosis. I am a family. I’m a community. I’m part of a society, and I’m experiencing whatever my culture is going through right now. So war, fear, trauma, persecution, you know, poverty, uncertainty that is part of my sickness. And I have to really meet that deep intensity in order to heal what it is that that is bringing up inside of me and with my family and community. And so we’re just re-evaluating what it means to be sick and to to be healed. And in a sense, the healing has to include where the sickness and the trauma is coming from.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:37:46] And that is happening on a very profound. I think archetypal, um, infrastructural levels of our collective existence, beyond which I have no idea what they are. But I just know when. And that’s what I was saying. Like, it will take centuries just to sit with the not knowing. Like our planet is 10 billion years old. Our universe is hundreds of millions of light years across. You know, there’s 8 billion of us here in the world, and we are probably ancient beings, have been here for hundreds of generations that we know nothing about, and we’re fighting like crazy each other, and we’re deeply insecure and it traumatized. And psychedelics help us just to go beyond our little personal narrative of understanding, you know, limited versions of reality and of myself. So when we drop all of that, that I really do know nothing. And thank God. So I can just sit with that and connect with other people that know nothing, and we can just look into each other’s eyes and we can hold that awe and wonderment with being alive without now needing to know the answers just yet, and just sit with some of the questions of how to simply be in another’s presence. That really helps us just to lay some really solid foundations. And so, yes, doctors need that. All human beings need that. And we can be part of just holding space for each other, families and communities together.

April Pride, host: [00:39:08] Very well said. And I do think that the deprogramming, um, for medical professionals is a huge service that 12 months with vital can offer. For sure. That makes a lot of sense to me, and to see that healing can happen in a variety of ways, right? Yeah. Not just through the medicine that we’ve been prescribed or that they have access to prescribed prescribing or modalities that they were taught in, you know, academia. So, yeah, we are we’re out of time. And so I want to thank you for your time, um, calling in from Israel. I appreciate you doing this late in your day and for being so on it, even though I’m sure you’re tired. If you could leave our listeners with how we can learn more, how they can learn more about vital, where they can find psychedelics today, is there a direct email that they can get in touch with you or someone from your program, if they do have questions.

David Drapkin, Psychedelics Today: [00:40:06] 100%, yeah. You’re welcome to email me. So I’m David at Psychedelics TODAY.com. Uh, our main website is called psychedelics today.com. And you’ll find all of our podcasts. We’ve got 450 episodes articles, 100 plus loads of events. A lot of them are free online events. Our training courses are psychedelic education Center.com. Some of them are free. Again, um, and then our 12 month vital course is vital psychedelic training. Com applications are open until January the 10th. We’d love to see you there. And if you’re also interested in this report that April and I have been talking about, it’s called The Emerging Psychedelic Workforce. And you’ll see it there. It’s just on psychedelics.com. It’s on our front page there.

April Pride, host: [00:40:49] Great and we will link to that in our show notes as well. Yeah, without a doubt. Thank you so much, David. Thank you for listening to this episode of The High Guide. Tune in next week for our next episode, and thanks again to our sponsor of Like Minds. Co your trusted source for psilocybin mushroom products. You can find them online at of Like Minds Co, and you can find the High Guide at the High Guide where you can sign up for our newsletter, our weekly newsletter. It’s awesome. Thanks again.

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