Learning from Love with Psychedelics - Panel Discussion with Q&A

Hosted by The Psychedelic Society
Activity Women in Psychedelics Series
Enquiries to mags@psychedelicsociety.org.uk
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Love - it’s a big word with many different meanings and contexts. It’s what we strive to attain throughout life and what leaves us feeling broken when it’s taken away. What does it mean for the psychedelic space? What role does love play amongst an industry driven largely by science?

(The below is adapted from ‘Love and Psychedelic Psychotherapy’: https://chacruna.net/love-psychedelic-psychotherapy/

When we are unable to love, or have lived lives bereft of love, we suffer. We turn to trusted others to find our way towards the connection that keeps us alive. Likewise, a primary focus of psychotherapy has been to help clients heal from a lack of love and cultivate the capacity, courage, and freedom to love themselves and others. The vocabulary of therapy is also rich with terms of what heals, from the “holding container,” to “validation,” and “unconditional positive regard,” a euphemism for love and a powerful energy thought to create the best possible conditions for healing and growth. It is no surprise then that psychedelics, with their activation of deeply healing intelligent capacities, seem to spontaneously engender internal and interpersonal experiences of love. 

But with all that said, when we look into the scientific literature on psychedelics, only one peer-reviewed article in the past 50 years included the word “love” in its title, and this in reference to a song. Love wasn’t on the index in Michael Pollan’s ground-breaking book, How to Change Your Mind, yet love is in his pages. In his account of his journey with psilocybin, Pollan describes encountering “a cascading dam break of love.” The author goes on to admit, “it embarrasses me to write these words; they sound so thin, so banal…love is everything”.

Across a myriad of medicines, people from all races, genders, classes and diversities reach for a word to describe an experience that changes their life. And we return to the word “love”. 

This panel discussion will look deeply at the concept of love, its role within the psychedelic experience and the ways in which love should be considered a key component of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. 


Dr Adele Lafrance

Adele Lafrance, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist, research scientist and published author. She co-developed Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (https://www.emotionfocusedfamilytherapy.org/) which supports care-givers to increase their role in loved-ones’ recoveries from mental health issues. Within the organisation, she leads multiple research projects that include treating eating disorders, and her work has been featured in various news outlets, including NBC's "The Doctors". She offers supervision and training for individual clinicians and organisations worldwide, and also runs a small private practice for short-term psychotherapy and caregiver support. She is currently the Lead Investigator for MAPS MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study for eating disorders and Clinical Supervisor on the Imperial College London study investigating psilocybin for Anorexia Nervosa.

Dr Anne Wagner

Dr. Anne Wagner is the founder of Remedy, a mental health innovation community, and is the lead investigator of the pilot trial of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD + MDMA and the upcoming randomized trial of Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD (CBCT) + MDMA. This work and collaboration builds on the MAPS-sponsored pilot CBCT+MDMA trial she ran with colleagues Michael Mithoefer, MD, Annie Mithoefer, BSN, and Candice Monson, PhD. Anne is deeply committed to bridging the worlds of psychotherapy and non-ordinary states of consciousness, and has a passion for its use for relational healing. She is committed to supporting and protecting traditional and Indigenous wisdom with sacred medicines and consciousness expansion, and uplifting the voices of women in the psychedelic world. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology and an Associate Member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. She is also certified in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and is engaged in learning and practice of somatic, emotion-focused and transpersonal methods of healing. She is the Past-Chair of the Traumatic Stress Section of the Canadian Psychological Association, is a Global Ambassador for the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, and sits on the Board of Directors of Casey House (Toronto’s HIV/AIDS Hospital). 

Dr Jamie Beachy

Jamie Beachy holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology and a Masters of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, CA).  Jamie has worked as a chaplain, ACPE certified spiritual care educator, and ethics consultant in diverse contexts including academic medication centers, trauma hospitals, hospice, and palliative care settings. Her interreligious background as a former Christian minister with a deep interest in Buddhism and earth-based indigenous practices emerged through engaging the wisdom of care seekers, colleagues, students, and non-human relatives. Jamie currently directs Naropa’s Center for Contemplative Chaplaincy.  She is currently completing her teacher certification in Cognitively-Based Compassion Training through the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics at Emory University, under the guidance of Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, PhD and the Emory Department of Spiritual Health.

Kata Kalman

Kata Kalman is a Trauma and Integration Therapist, working as an Executive Therapist at Numinus (www.numinus.ca). She often works with developmental trauma, so working with adults who have had an emotionally challenging childhood. Kata’s expertise covers a wide range of presenting issues, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, different eating disorders, and certain personality disorders. Her work addresses the root cause of it all: the patient’s trauma-history. She also offers processing and integration support following psychedelic experiences. Her work is very much influenced by Dr. Gabor Mate’s framework around trauma-treatment around including the body in our compassionate enquiry, and she draws upon 15 years of mindfulness practice in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village tradition.



A proportion of profits from this event will go towards Sana Healing Collective, which provides a range of holistic services, from ketamine-assisted therapy to harm reduction and integration of psychedelic experiences. For more information, go to: https://sanahealingcollective.org/ 

This will be a 2 hour event with a Q&A session, giving the opportunity for the audience to ask their own questions. The event will be recorded and ticket purchasers will be sent the recording within a week of the event.

If you would like to attend this event but are unable to afford the ticket price, please do get in touch with us directly at mags@psychedelicsociety.org.uk. At the Psychedelic Society, we believe that everyone should be able to access our events regardless of employment or health circumstances, so we will do our best to accommodate where we can.

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