Our podcast showcases in-depth interviews with the dynamic teachers and thinkers who are part of Esalen Institute. Hosted by Sam Stern, a former Esalen student and current staff member, the podcasts have featured engaging conversations with authors Cheryl Strayed and Michael Pollan, innovators Stan Grof and Dr. Mark Hyman, teachers Byron Katie, Mark Coleman and Jean Houston, Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, and many more.
These podcasts are made possible in part by the support of Esalen donors and are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.
Listen to the latest episodes here, and subscribe to Voices of Esalen on Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
Bill Donius is the New York Times Best Selling author of Thought Revolution: How to Unlock your Inner Genius. He is the creator of a simple but powerful methodology designed to unlock potential in all areas of your life by using your non-dominant hand as a direct pipeline to right-brain wisdom. Bill is an innovator, a facilitator, former CEO of a major bank, and a member of Esalen’s board of trustees. He’s helped major corporations and organizations all over the world tap into their creativity and intuition.
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Lauren Taus is a licensed clinical therapist with a specialty in addiction and trauma treatment. She utilizes ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in her clinical work, where she’s had success treating a number of challenging conditions, including depression, anxiety, suicidality, eating disorders, OCD, and more.
Lauren trained at The Trauma Institute in Boston in Trauma-sensitive yoga, and with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for complex PTSD. She's an experienced clinician whose work is firmly rooted in creating a safe and loving connection between herself and her clients. She's also the host of a podcast about Psychedelics and Psychedelic Psychotherapy: INBodied Life. To check out her show and her practice, visit her online at inbodiedlife.com.
Sara Gael is the Harm Reduction Officer at the MAPS-sponsored Zendo project. Sara received her master's degree in transpersonal counseling psychology at Naropa University. She started working with MAPS in 2012, coordinating psychedelic harm reduction services at festivals and events worldwide with the Zendo project.
Sara served as Director of Harm Reduction at MAPS from 2017 to 2020, and she continues to train individuals and organizations in principles of psychedelic peer support. Sara is a therapist for MAPS clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder. She also maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma, integration, Non-ordinary States of consciousness, and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. She's presented at conferences, universities, and events around the world, serves on the board of directors at DanceSafe, and as the harm reduction advocate on the city of Denver psilocybin policy review panel. Sara believes that developing a comprehensive understanding of psychedelic medicines through research and education is essential for the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities, and the planet.
Terence Ching is a US-based Chinese Singaporean currently completing his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Connecticut. Terence has assumed a co-therapist role in a MAPS-sponsored trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, where he infused the research process with culturally-informed recruitment and assessment procedures. Terence is working on his doctoral dissertation with an emphasis on examining possible differences in efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD between white participants and participants of color across MAPS-sponsored study sites. We spoke about intersectionality, diversity with regards to identity, and how psychedelics can change conditions previously thought of as intractable, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Laura Mae Northrup is a somatic psychotherapist and podcast creator. Her remarkable show, Inside Eyes, focuses on the use of psychedelics and entheogens to heal from sexual trauma, drawing largely on personal stories from survivors of sexual violence and exploring the ways they have used these medicines to heal. Laura's work focuses on defining sexual violence through a spiritual and politicized lens and supporting the spiritual integrity of collective humanity.
Trigger warning: this episode contains frank descriptions of sexual violence and trauma, so please, take care of yourself and use discretion while listening. This episode is not appropriate for children.
To listen to the entirety of Inside Eyes, please visit www.lauramaenorthrup.com/inside-eyes-podcast.
Laura Dev is a Postdoctoral scholar in public political ecology at UC Merced whose work investigates the relations and practices surrounding ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant mixture, focusing on the pathways by which plants, rituals, and knowledge associated with the use of ayahuasca travel between Shipibo communities in the rural Peruvian Amazon and the Global North. Together we chatted about global ayahuasca tourism, why ayahuasca became fashionable among middle-class and upper middle-class American searchers and seekers, the various specificities of the "Ayahuasca Economy," how spiritual use of plants can transform native landscapes, what socially responsible use may look like, how Laura asks for and receives wisdom from plants and sometimes helpful writing advice.
Charlotte James and Undrea Wright are the founders ofThe Sabina Project, a Black-led platform for psychedelic education, legal ceremonies, and integration whose mission is to return reverence to sacred earth medicine ways, to look to and learn from ancestral practices, and to support radical self-transformation in the name of collective liberation.
We spoke about what just and equitable modes of interaction with psychedelic medicine looks like to Charlotte and Dre, who they were ten years ago and how plant medicine has changed their lives, what's most challenging when it comes to educating about anti-Black racism, whether there's a distinctly African psychedelic tradition (there is, and Iboga is an example), what is Kambo, if there is required reading for this moment, and finally, how the founders have been able to manifest their dreams and embody the change they wish to see in the world.
Visit Charlotte and Dre online at www.thesabinaproject.com.
Dr. Mellody Hayes is an evidence-based and spiritually-centered medical expert in the emerging clinical science of Psychedelic Medicine. Dr. Hayes is a graduate of Harvard and UCSF medical school and is an anesthesiologist, leader, public speaker and founding member of Decriminalize Nature. She’s also the founder of a Bay Area clinic that offers psychedelic ketamine therapy. Dr. Hayes is the creator of How We Heal, an online community of healers and leaders committed to creating belonging, safety, and health for all people, particularly those from historically marginalized communities.
We discussed the mechanics and science of ketamine-based psychedelic therapy, the need for diversity within the psychedelic community, her optimism for the practice of psychedelic medicine in creating cultural change and cultural healing within contemporary society, and the healing power of story.
To learn more about Dr. Hayes's work, please visit www.drmellody.com and howweheal.net.
Alex Belser is the founding member and administrative director of a Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Trial at NYU School of Medicine where he’s investigated if psychedelic mushrooms can ease anxiety for folks facing end of life. In his psychotherapeutic practice, he focuses in part on preventing suicide amongst young gay and bisexual men. We spoke about his queer critique of the psychedelic world from his vantage point as a researcher and a queer cis-gender man, and ruminated in depth about queer spirituality, queer wisdom and the subversive nature of psychedelics.
Ismail Ali is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, otherwise known as MAPS. His job is advocating to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research by developing and implementing legal and policy strategy. In this interview, Ismail discusses the history of the war on drugs, the intrinsic differences between drug decriminalization and legalization, how MAPS has been able to achieve specific goals with the FDA under the Trump administration, Joe Biden’s "tough-on-crime-Democratic-Party" drug policy history, with respect to the R.A.V.E. act and the 1994 Crime Bill, how medical insurance will play in a landscape where psychedelics may become legalized or medicalized, how MAPS has become a thought leader with regards to social justice within the field of psychedelics, and whether Ismail believes psychedelics can bestow a knowledge of unity, oneness, and connectedness that can affect views and policy on racism and environmentalism.
Effective October 29, 2021 in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all public indoor spaces on campus if the county is still in high or substantial levels of transmission. This guidance includes people who are vaccinated. Please review our updated COVID safety guidelines.