We are, as an organization, excited about the way things are taking form and the particular way we would like to bring a vision to fruition. Our organization has a desire to serve humanity and we view our work as bringing a specific prayer into form; a prayer for a more equitable and balanced future, where individuals feel a responsibility to one another’s well being and where every person has an opportunity to thrive and to know their value and purpose within the great unfolding of life. Our mission is to be in active service to the birth of societal paradigm that centers interconnectedness, systemic balance and interspecies sustainability through wise and respectful engagement with psychedelics.
Where we come from and where we are going:
Gather Well Psychedelics is an evolutionary iteration of the Center for Consciousness Medicine or “CCM.” CCM, led by Naama Grossbard, was founded with the intention to evolve the approach and body of work of her parents, Francoise Bourzat and Aharon Grossbard and to create a new generation of practices to meet contemporary standards of the developing field of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Gather Well Psychedelics, the most recent iteration of this effort, does so to an even greater degree. We believe that while Francoise and Aharon’s bodies of works were pioneering in making an initial translation of certain indigenous practices to contemporary western life and practice, they also revealed the limitations and fault lines of working primarily in an individualized 1:1 therapy model, and attempting to blend the practices and values of psychotherapy with those of indigenous ritual practice, which we find to have some fundamentally contradictory principles.
Gather Well is a group of impassioned individuals who have considered deeply how to integrate past lessons, both the positive and difficult aspects. Throughout this past year, the organization has undergone a deep and thorough process. Numerous consultations have taken place in which advice has been sought around alternative models of leadership, operation, program development, and developing an organizational ethics infrastructure. Along this journey we have gained considerable clarity about what, why, and how we want to contribute to the world of psychedelic healing and in what ways we might best proceed with our efforts.
We stand in clarity that Gather Well will proceed:
- With respect, continuing some practices that remain relevant to our evolving approach while changing or releasing others that are not in service to the well-being of those we wish to serve and or to the collective transformation we wish to contribute to.
- A format for guiding that is relational to the collective and connected to the earth rather than the individualistic models coming out of the psychotherapeutic lens that is majorly influencing the “industry” and our previous programming.
- With commitment to ongoing reflection and awareness building that informs the evolution of our work and how it is offered.
- With our belief that ethical guidelines and accountability are vital for clients’ well-being and for operating in relationship with the norms of our culture considering the complexities of working with these transpersonal and dynamic states of consciousness. Likewise we are committed to our own accountability to these values.
We believe that in this current moment, in our contemporary Western culture, with our range of collective challenges – racial injustice, wealth disparity, gender inequality, political divisiveness, rampant addictions, the global climate crisis, spiritual disconnection – a particular shift in consciousness is called for. We believe that many of these ills stem from a lost awareness of one’s connectedness, to self, a sense of belonging, and responsibility to the collective, the earth, and to a larger context of existence. With that in mind, we are designing programs that cultivate a restoration of this awareness, a set of requirements that we see as important for facilitating these powerful and dynamic experiences with Psychedelics. We are excited to provide rich opportunities for practice and oversight.
Our programs are crafted based on these core principles:
- Focus on quality rather than quantity of trained guides
- Offering and training in a group-oriented framework that focuses primarily on collective transformation rather than individualized therapy
- Flexible training timeframes to respect and ensure adequate personal inquiry into the path of being a guide and proper development for safe and skilled guiding
- Conducting a prerequisite psychedelic-experiential program focused on cultural, social, and ecological systems awareness and one’s personal capacity to be in an aware, awake, and engaged relationship with the imbalance within these systems
- An apprenticeship heavy training program versus a predominantly curricular training
- Cultivation of the creativity and personhood of the guide, supporting the particular ways they are moved by and resonant with spirit and being of service, rather than training clinical technicians
- Guidance, care and support at all levels of programs. Requiring considerable skill development and supervision for apprentices and guides
- Programs held within an accountable and rigorous organizational ethics infrastructure
We believe that psychedelic healing modalities, held in an attuned, ethical and culturally sensitive way, are a promising contribution to support the wide-scale healing and growth this world needs and should be available to all who can safely benefit. Our primary activity has been and will be the preparation and education of psychedelic practitioners.
If you want to understand more historical context, please refer back to other blogs, particularly “An Update from CCM” HERE “Some Facts about the Center for Consciousness Medicine” HERE or “An Update on the Ethicist Review” HERE.