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Psychedelic Medicine

Association

Supporting Survivors of Psychedelic Abuse with Erica Siegal, LCSW

Summary

In this episode of the Psychedelic Medicine Podcast, Erica Siegal, LCSW returns to discuss the important topic of supporting survivors of psychedelic abuse. Erica is a psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist, community organizer, and harm reduction advocate. In 2019 she founded NEST Harm Reduction, a California-based mental health and psychedelic support organization that provides psychotherapy, outreach, education, and integration. Erica also recently founded SHINE Collective to support survivors of psychedelic harm and abuse.

In this conversation, Erica unpacks the complexities around various forms of abuse that exist in psychedelic spaces. One major form of abuse she identifies is financial coercion, where clients of psychedelic facilitators come to feel that one’s spiritual access has a paywall, or that they are having to make major financial decisions while under altered states of consciousness. Erica also discusses problematic sexual and romantic dynamics that can arise, drawing a clear line in the sand that there should never be any form of sexual contact between psychedelic facilitators and clients. In closing, she shares more about the work SHINE Collective is doing to support survivors of psychedelic abuse, and discusses ways that listeners can help support this important work

In This Episode

• What inspired Erica to start SHINE Collective
• Issues of financial coercion in psychedelic spaces
• Different forms of spiritual abuse
• Ways identify the dynamics of spiritual abuse and guard against them
• Why Erica is skeptical of husband-wife teams of psychedelic therapists or facilitators
• Issues of sexual dynamics between psychedelics facilitators and clients
• Training and integration needed prior to skillfully and safely facilitating psychedelic experiences
• What SHINE Collective is doing to support survivors of psychedelic harm

Quotes

“You also see people who are like ‘oh well if you want to keep working with me it’s this price’ and then all of a sudden the access to psychedelics—the spiritual access—now becomes ‘well I have to be paying this person $1,000 a month to just be on their mailing list because they are the person that is acting as the point between me and my spiritual access.’” [11:19]

“If you’re facilitating, you should have a consultation group of other facilitators in which you consistently welcome constructive feedback. … And be able to have case consultations, and be able to have reflection.” [26:43]

“Psychedelic facilitators should not be having sex with people they are facilitating psychedelic ceremonies for.” [30:35]

Links

* 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.