Door's Perceptions:  Blog

Therapist, first take the plunge yourself! Why therapists (and other caregivers) working with psychedelics should have personal experience with these substances

In my previous blog, I used the metaphor of scuba diving to illustrate why it’s important for psychedelic guides to have ample personal experience with psychedelics before they take others on a journey. In this essay, I will argue that it’s equally important for therapists working with psychedelics, to be familiar with the terrain of altered states of consciousness. Studying the map does not suffice: therapists should actually visit the territory that they want to send their patients to. Not only does this contribute to the safe set and setting that they’re creating for their patients, before and during their journey, but it will also make patients feel better understood upon returning from the mysterious depths of a psychedelic state of consciousness. Therapists who are reluctant to take the leap themselves, miss out on a great opportunity to authentically connect with their patients from a place of personal experience. Although theoretical training will probably be enough to safely guide patients through their trip, I hypothesize that, if they were to leave the shallows of theory and take the plunge into the rich and deep waters of personal experience, this could deeply enrich the therapeutic relationship with their patients and thereby, significantly improve the therapy outcome. I would love to see this hypothesis be put through the test in a clinical trial.

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Why taking psychedelics is a lot like scuba diving & important message for aspiring psychedelic guides

I love scuba diving. The dives I made in Indonesia, Colombia and the Galapagos are among my most memorable and cherished traveling moments. What makes diving so special is not just the visual experience of seeing spectacular underwater life – I vividly remember seeing manta rays, sharks, turtles, coral reefs… thousands of brightly colored fish – but there’s a very rich embodied experience to diving. The feeling of being under water, of breathing under water… of weightlessly floating in a vast space… To be able to briefly visit this beautiful underwater world and be totally immersed in it – while not having any control of what you may encounter there – is magical... thrilling. It’s an experience that you can read about all you want but that you will only truly understand in its full embodied glory after you put on that scuba gear, jump in the water and descend into the unknown.

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Farewell letter to the OPEN Foundation

After 15 years of service, I recently resigned from the board of the OPEN Foundation. In these words of goodbye, I’d like to share some personal reflections on the foundation’s (and to some extent, my own) journey into adulthood, as well as some of my hopes for the future. 

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