Beyond Peak Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Psychedelic Use With Stefana Bosse and Ciara Sherlock / Women in Psychedelics Series

psychedelics women in psychedelics psilocybin retreats integrated approach shamanic traditions
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Join Stefana Bosse and Ciara Sherlock, two pioneers of European psilocybin retreats, discussing their experience initiating hundreds of people from all ages and walks of life into psychedelics. Stefana and Ciara will share what they have learned over four years running psilocybin retreats, their transition to new organization Alalaho, as well as their anticipation of the future of this growing industry in our increasingly volatile world.

The conversation will shed light on weaving the Western clinical approach with ancient shamanic traditions, on integrating the spiritual, the psychological, and the material (earth + body), as well as on the benefit of a group setting as part of a holistic approach to psychedelic use.

Stefana and Ciara are two of the co-founders of new retreat organisation, Alalaho, and previously co-directors of the Psychedelic Society’s Experience Retreats programme.

Women in Psychedelics Webinar Series is a regular online event that hosts psychedelic women from around the world. Among them are scientists, researchers, psychiatrists, therapists, artists, bodyworkers and healers.       


Stefana Bosse

I am co-founder and co-director of the Experience Retreats programme (soon to be Alalaho). The path that led me here has been guided by a sincere longing to be of service to life, and a continuous inquiry as to how to go about that. I spent my teenage years and early adult life working on socio-economic and political issues, initially with children in India, Brazil, Peru and England, then on deforestation and human rights issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo & Papua New Guinea. As life started schooling me through the illness and death of my mother, and the discovery of psychedelic medicines, I became increasingly focused on the inner dimensions of healing and delved deeply into psycho-spiritual work.

Over the last years, I have trained in various psychotherapeutic modalities with The School for Essential Counselling, delved into sensuality and sexuality work with different tantra and embodiment teachers, studied in shamanic lineages of the Americas, predominantly in the Lakota and Shipibo tradition, embarked on the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist path, and participated in a modern Mystery School training in New Zealand. I am also learning to listen and express through gardening, dancing, singing, my friends and my family. It is a tremendous blessing to be able to draw on the wisdom of each of these approaches to support my own and others' journeys through the multifaceted nature of what it means to be a human being.

Growing up has been a continuous waking up to the fact that life is very different than what I have been conditioned to believe and expect, both much more challenging and also infinitely richer, vaster and more beautiful than I could have anticipated in my wildest dreams. It is my greatest passion and honour to contribute to the creation of a culture where we open up to the unfiltered wisdom at the core of our being, become empowered to take responsibility for our lives and feel free to express our unique gifts. 

Ciara Sherlock

I have always had a passion for bringing people together to experience the magic that comes from authentic connection and from exploring uncharted areas of their inner worlds. My own curiosity led me down the psychedelic path, but I could never have expected that using psychedelics in a conscious and considerate way would create a catalyst for huge positive life changes and act as incredibly important tools for personal healing and growth. 

Other meaningful tools I have discovered along the way that influence my work include bodywork and shamanic practice. Having trained extensively in BioDynamic Bodywork, I practice mainly massage therapy but also holotropic breathwork, body movement techniques and dance with the aim of releasing both physical and emotional tension and trauma. I am a student of Celtic Shamanism at the Center for Shamanic Studies in Ireland (my homeland), where I practice the use of drum journeys, ritual, nature connection and Shamanic Counselling techniques as a means of healing deeper levels of the Self. What excites me most lies at the intersection of psychedelic, shamanic and body-based healing. Trainings that have informed my work of holding psychedelic sessions include drug welfare training with ChillWelfare (UK), Psychedelic Integration Training and modules of Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy training with Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies - MAPS (US).

What I love most about this work is the fact that the process we create has the potential to have an immensely profound impact on people's lives in both simple and very deep ways. To see people's souls being touched by the medicine of the psilocybin and the medicine of the group is one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed. This work has become an integral part of my life and it brings me such joy to share it with the team and those who attend our retreats. I'm most content when I'm gardening, foraging, playing music, adventuring in my van, or in an Ecstatic dance class.

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