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Elizabeth Nielson (Fluence): Should Therapists Have Psychedelic Experiences?

August 4, 2021

Whether psychedelic therapists should have their own experiences with these compounds as part of their training is a passionately debated subject.

Dr. Elizabeth Nielson, cofounder of Fluence, one of the foremost organizations training psychedelic therapists, has been pondering this for sometime, including how we ask the question itself. Her recent paper in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology explores the ethical considerations in offering and providing such experiences and is the subject of today’s podcast.

Our conversation begins with the ethics of discussing personal psychedelic experiences. We talk about the work of Fluence from harm reduction to integration coaching. We discuss Dr. Nielson’s article “Psychedelics as a Training Experience for Psychedelic Therapists: Drawing on History to Inform Current Practice.” We explore the paradigms of the shamanic and Western worldview. Finally, we review other kinds of altered states of consciousness that psychedelic therapists can explore, in a.

Dr. Elizabeth Nielson is a co-founder of Fluence and a psychologist with a focus on developing psychedelic medicines as empirically supported treatments for PTSD, substance use problems, and mood disorders. Dr. Nielson is a Site Co-Principal Investigator and therapist for an FDA approved Phase 3 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has served as a therapist on FDA approved clinical trials of psilocybin-assisted treatment of alcohol use disorder, psilocybin-assisted treatment of treatment resistant depression, and earlier phase 2 and 3 trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Through Fluence, she provides continuing education and training programs for therapists who wish to engage in integration of psychedelic experiences in clinical settings.

Show notes



  • :08 - The ethics of sharing a personal psychedelic experience
  • :12 - The work of Fluence from harm reduction to integration coaching
  • :26 - The value of psychedelic experiences for psychedelic-assisted therapist
  • :29 - The paradigms of shamanic vs Western medical
  • :35 - Iatrogenic addiction and need for caution and research
  • :44 - How Fluence offers experiential training in lieu of offering psychedelics
  • :42 - The value of a therapist’s pervious psychedelic experiences
  • 1:00 - Advice to therapists

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About Maya’s Podcast

A conversation series with leaders in the psychedelic community. Designed in service of therapists, healers, retreat leaders, and passionate enthusiasts

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