Solidarity Fridays - Week 10 with Kwasi Adusei
Release Date: 06/05/2020
In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. Anne Wagner: Toronto-based clinical psychologist, founder of Remedy (a mental health clinic combining therapy with research through their corresponding Remedy Institute), investigator on the MAPS-sponsored trial on cognitive behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD, and current lead investigator on MAPS' trial of cognitive processing therapy + MDMA for PTSD. She talks about working with Candice Monson in 2013, having her first MDMA therapy session with Michael and Annie Mithoefer a year later, her first couples study on PTSD using MDMA, her MAPS training...info_outline PTSF 42
In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe talk about last week's incident at the US Capitol and point out that the most recognizable figure from the protest calls himself a shaman and promotes the use of psychedelics. This leads to a discussion about how we in the psychedelic community like to believe that psychedelics lead to connection, self-actualization, and love, but they can also lead to crazy ideas, an openness to conspiracy theories, and other dark paths. They talk about how they both went down conspiracy rabbit holes for years, but ultimately came to the realization...info_outline PT226 - Veronika Gold & Harvey Schwartz from Polaris Insight Center
In this episode, Kyle interviews psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist, Veronika Gold, and author and clinical psychologist, Harvey Schwartz. They are co-founders (and Gold is the CEO) of Polaris Insight Center in San Francisco, which offers ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Together, they work as co-therapists, as trainers on ketamine-assisted psychotherapy through Polaris Insight Center, and as investigators in MAPS' Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy clinical trial for the treatment of PTSD. They talk about their training model, the benefits of co-therapy and how a...info_outline PTSF 41 (with Mendel Kaelen of Wavepaths)
In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle takes the week off and Joe jumps into the podcast backlog for his conversation with who he describes as "the world's foremost expert in music for psychedelic sessions," neuroscientist and founder and CEO of Wavepaths, Mendel Kaelen. Kaelen talks about his first mushroom experience in a Meow Wolf-like house and his realization of the similarities between psychedelic and musical experiences leading to the creation of Wavepaths. He talks about what Wavepaths has done (experiments in facilitating psychedelic (and healing) experiences through...info_outline PT225 - Gary Michael Smith, Esq. - Psychedelic Law
In this episode, Joe interviews author of Psychedelica Lex, general counsel to the Peyote Way Church of God, founder and president of the Arizona Cannabis Bar Association, and practicing attorney for nearly 30 years, Gary Michael Smith, Esq. Smith talks about what he specializes in- the law and how it relates to psychedelics, and what's happening most in his world right now: people trying to create new religions, people fighting for their religions to be legally permitted to use entheogens, and investors rapidly trying to push psilocybin and MDMA through the FDA as prescribable...info_outline PTSF 40
In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe have a discussion about spirituality and spiritual development. Joe was rubbed the wrong way by a podcast he recently listened to where a previously very psychedelic-oriented Qabalist said that psychedelics didn't really help with spiritual growth. This leads to a discussion built on many questions: what is spiritual development? What is enlightenment? Does drug-taking always need a set intention based on growth? Do "I need a break from bullshit" or "I want to have fun with my friends" count as intentions? And who are we worried will...info_outline PT224 - Dr. Dan Engle - The Concussion Repair Manual
In this episode, Joe interviews Medical Director of the Kuya Institute for Transformational Medicine, consultant to Onnit Labs, consultant to several international treatment centers, and author of one of Joe's most referenced books, The Concussion Repair Manual, Dr. Dan Engle. Engle is quite knowledgeable when it comes to concussions and traumatic brain injuries and the brain’s ability to heal. He specializes in psychiatry, neurology, peak performance methods, and healing through regenerative and plant medicines. He talks about the sadly very different stories of his siblings, the factors...info_outline PTSF 39 (with Jonas and Kristina of the Psychedelic Literacy Fund)
In today’s Christmas episode of Solidarity Friday, Kyle and Joe take a break from the news and instead sit down with Jonas Di Gregorio and Kristina Soriano of the Psychedelic Literacy Fund, a donor-advised fund working to raise money and co-finance the translation and publication of the most important books on psychedelic therapy into a variety of different languages. Their first project is both volumes of Stan Grof's The Way of the Psychonaut, which they hope to have translated into German, French, and Italian by July (for Grof's 90th birthday), and they have started a list of future...info_outline PT223 - Daniel Carcillo - Life After Sports
In this episode, Joe interviews "Car Bomb"- the 9-year NHL veteran, 2-time Stanley Cup winner (as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks), founder of The Chapter Five Foundation (an organization helping athletes transition into post-sports life), and advocate for the healing power of psilocybin, Daniel Carcillo. Carcillo tells the story of his struggles and depression brought on from post-hockey life transition, 7 diagnosed concussions, and the death of his good friend and fellow player, Steve Montador, who struggled with similar issues before his sudden death in 2015. He talks about the stress of...info_outline PTSF 38
In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe talk about what they've been up to in the last few weeks: doing drugs! Kyle first tells us about his recent experiments with revisiting salvia (which is legal in his state) and how different the experiences were from his young-and-dumb experiments as a teenager- how smaller doses in more ceremonial settings with years of experience in breathwork-inspired non-ordinary states of consciousness helped him see salvia differently. He talks about feeling like he just met the spirit of salvia, and the first message was to "respect the plants." He...info_outline
In today’s Solidarity Fridays Episode, Kyle and Joe interview Kwasi Adusei, Nurse Practitioner, and board member of Psychedelics Today. In the show, they talk about the root of protesting, privilege, the country’s leadership, the importance of this conversation and ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
- It's difficult for all groups of people to talk about, not everybody is coming from the same place on this topic
- Kwasi says it's wonderful to see so many people rising up to fight against injustice
- These things have been happening for a long time, and it speaks to the history in America
- Kwasi grew up in The Bronx, and it wasn't uncommon to hear about deaths, gun violence, etc
- Kwasi went to receive his Doctorate, but reflects on his time in middle school and barely graduating
- It wasn't because of him and his willingness to learn, it was because of his environment
- The high school he went to is now shut down because of the low graduation rates
The Perfect Storm
- Kyle says he wonders why this time in particular, why this is impacting the nation and the world more than anything else going on
- Kwasi sees it as a two part thing, it's a snowball effect, the anger around these instances continue to grow
- The other part of it, has a lot to do with the Coronavirus, people are losing their jobs, having trouble paying rent, feeding their family, etc
- They are losing their outlets to grieve, and they go through it for weeks
- Then something like this happens and it results in rage
Making the Right Statement
- It's important to look to the family of George Floyd, they are angry at the violence coming out of the protests
- Some people believe that the anger that people are showing when damaging property, is causing the same anger when lives are lost
- But some people are capitalizing on chaos, burning buildings and bringing destruction, and it takes away from the message of changing the systemic issues, it perpetuates it
- It brings the spotlight to those who are inviting hate by graffiti-ing, lighting buildings on fire, ec
- The conversation needs to prove that protests are making a statement
- We have a President that is enforcing law and order to remove peaceful protesters in a violent way
- The leadership we have is very important, how crisis is approached is really important
- “How [as a leader] do you calm the nerves of people, while getting to the root of the problem?” - Kwasi
- We have a lot of people that support Trump, and he doesn't do the best job at leading and supporting the country in a respectful way, especially in these times
- Joe mentioned videos out there of undercover cops breaking windows that are ‘bait’ to bring in stronger forces to shut down the protests
- “We should all be asking ourselves, if I care about the messaging, how do I use my sphere of influence to change things?” - Kwasi
- There are so many roots to this problem
- How much are we using to fund the police force versus funding education, community services, public health?
How to Support
- Joe says this platform (Psychedelics Today) is to create a space for people to give back, have an impact, share stories and support movements like this
- Kwasi says to look locally to give your time, money and support
- He says look to get involved in local elections, making a small difference in your local community, makes a difference on the larger scale when multiplied
- Stay informed for yourself and share that information with everyone else
- People are thinking heavily right now “where are my tax dollars being spent?”
- Instead of extra funding to the local police force, you can vote for that increase to go toward something else like education
Having the Conversation
- Our voice is our vote
- Many people who listen to the Psychedelics Today podcast are probably privileged
- The psychedelic movement is (and if not, should be) connected to so many other movements like BLM
- Psychedelics Today is mainly about social justice, changing the narrative on drug policy, the drug war, psychedelic exceptionalism and access
- Kwasi says that for those who have acknowledged their privilege, not to just keep themselves in the pillar of ‘because I support the psychedelic movement and its connected to the BLM movement, I've done enough’
- He encourages becoming an ally of the BLM movement, as well as any other movement
- Being a spiritual and privileged person, you have even more time to sit and process and think about all of this, especially when it's not affecting you
- It’s difficult to analyze one’s own privilege
- Kwasi says he went on a medical mission to Ghana, where he was born
- Going back and seeing what the lifestyle was like there, it shifted a lot in him to understand his own privilege
- He had the privilege of coming to America, receiving an education, etc
- Because of his education, he is asking himself how to give back
Making Change through Action
- If you're going to voice your support, that voice needs follow up with actions
- Actions like donating to groups, educating yourself on local authority measures, voting, etc
- Sometimes an organization's agenda isn't always aligned with what the people want
- Kwasi says that he had a few people randomly venmo him money and it offended him
- He doesn't want money, he wants change to be made in other ways
- He says for those looking to help, ask first and see what ways those who have been oppressed want to see the change and be supported
- “We can all be change makers, and all make a change in this world” - Kwasi
- Kwasi wants to bring mental health into communities of people of color
- He says email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources to Support
- Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Marie Brown: Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live.
- The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein: Analysis of laws that have maintained and further facilitated racial segregation and inequity
- Between the World and Me by Ta-nehisi Coates: The biggest concerns of racist American history reframed through personal stories of racial awakening in a letter to his son.
- 13th: An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.
- I Am Not Your Negro: Explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history.
Ways to take action; Donate to victim funds
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: These funds will also go towards the funeral and burial costs along with the counseling and legal expenses for his loved ones. A portion will go towards the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.
Ways to take action; Donate to organizations
- The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: the NAACP Legal Defense works on advancing the goals of racial justice and equality by protecting those that are most vulnerable in society. Their work includes court cases that work for a fairer justice system, increasing graduation rates among African American students, protecting voters across the nation, and decreasing disproportionate incarceration and sentencing rates.
- Communities United Against Police Brutality: The Minneapolis organization was created “to deal with police brutality on an ongoing basis.” More information can be found here.
- Campaign Zero: The organization uses data to inform policy solutions that aim to ends police brutality. Their vision is to create a better world by “limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.”
About Kwasi Adusei
Kwasi dedicates his work in the psychedelic movement to altering the stigma in mainstream channels by promoting the science, the healing potential of psychedelics, and civic engagement. Kwasi is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and graduated from the University at Buffalo. He is the founder of the Psychedelic Society of Western New York and project manager for Psychonauts of the World, an initiative to share meaningful psychedelic stories, with the ultimate goal of publishing them in a book as an avenue to raise money for psychedelic research. He is also one of the administrators for the Global Psychedelic Network, a conglomerate of psychedelic groups and individuals from around the world. Born in Ghana and raised in the Bronx, New York, Kwasi hopes to bring psychedelic therapy to communities of color.
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