Psychedelic Medicine


How to Choose A Psychedelic Facilitator or Retreat Center with Joël Brierre


This week’s episode of the Plant Medicine podcast features a discussion of what to look for in a psychedelic retreat center or facilitator to ensure the experience is as safe, comfortable, and effective as possible. Joining the conversation is Joël Brierre, who shares his expertise as a 5-MeO-DMT facilitator to provide some concrete tips. Joël is the founder and CEO of Kaivalya Kollectiv, an educational platform that offers transformational retreats and training for plant medicines, yoga, meditation, and more. Joël has spent two decades studying yogic practice and has been a teacher for 15 of those years.

In this conversation, Joël shares personal stories and his expertise as a facilitator to help guide you in making good decisions when choosing psychedelic services. Joël starts by bringing up the idea of the “container,” which is a term to describe the atmosphere, preparation, and expertise involved in the facilitation of psychedelic experiences. The idea of a container is helpful for evaluating what situations facilitators would be prepared to navigate: Do the providers have training to respond in case of an emergency? Do they have systems in place to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place?

Joël then dives into the specifics of what makes for a good container. As safety is always important, especially when working with a substance as powerful as 5-MeO-DMT, Joël recommends facilitators have training to ensure they are able to respond to medical emergencies should they arise. Similarly, retreat centers should have professionals available to respond to any psychological emergencies, both during and after ceremonies. Joël also suggests that facilitators ought to have grounding in some practice or philosophy which allows them to respond with wisdom. And of course, facilitators should have deep personal familiarity with the substances they facilitate.

In This Episode

• What you should look out for when choosing a retreat center
• How to verify that a facilitator is qualified and experienced
• The importance of the intake process for retreats and facilitators
• How standards of practice developed around 5-MeO-DMT


“I think people being extremely mindful of and holding space for those traumas and how they come up is really important.” [8:03]

“There is nothing more dangerous than an ego that thinks it’s enlightened.” [22:43]

“Ask them what their preparation protocol is and ask them what their aftercare and integration protocol is. And they should have an answer ready for you.” [24:57]

“Discussion and boundaries are quite essential for a safe container.” [35:50]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.