"Trip of Compassion" — The Most Compelling Movie I've Seen In The Last Year

“I felt like I went through 15 years of psychological therapy in one night.” 

– Actual patient featured in “Trip of Compassion

This post is about the most compelling movie I’ve seen in the last year.

I first watched “Trip of Compassion” about six months ago, when I was sent a link to a private video. The film had been broadcast once on Israeli television, but it wasn’t distributed or available anywhere else. This documentary affected me so deeply (and immediately) that I flew to Tel Aviv, met the filmmakers, and offered to help launch the film digitally worldwide. Everything I am doing for this film is 100% pro bono, and all proceeds go to the filmmakers.

Why am I doing this, and why is this film so exciting to me?

Tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Millions more have suffered from emotional and physical abuse but never get diagnosed. I would put myself in the latter category for reasons I’ll explain another time.

Trip of Compassion” documents one unusual approach to healing trauma that might astonish you, an innovative treatment involving the psychoactive drug MDMA (commonly known as “ecstasy”). As you will see firsthand, if the therapy is well designed, true rebirth and transformation can happen in a matter of weeks and not years.

If you’ve ever felt held back, felt defective in some way, or felt that you’re not living up to your full potential, this film will give you hope.

This is also the first feature documentary to show actual therapy session footage (to our knowledge), to which the patients consented because of the incredible results they experienced.

Filmed at the Beer Yaakov Mental Health Center in Israel, “Trip of Compassion” provides a rare glimpse into a treatment process that can restore optimism and even the will to live.

Thank you for watching this film (just click here to stream) and, if you find it as powerful as I did, thank you for sharing it or this post.

***

In addition to helping launch this movie, I am supporting broader access to MDMA-assisted therapy in the USA and elsewhere by donating to MAPS.org, a non-profit dedicated to making this treatment available to those who need it (e.g., phase 3 trials, regulatory work, scholarships for low-income patients).

If you also decide that this work is important, please consider visiting MAPS.org to donate. NOTE: Be sure to specify the following in the donation form (there is a field for this, as they have many initiatives): “Funds are restricted to MDMA phase 3 trials.”

***

Thank you so much for reading this far. I couldn’t be more excited to share this film.

And remember as you watch: this is possible now. To quote William Gibson, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

Let’s help make this treatment more evenly distributed.

More to come,

Tim

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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53 Replies to “"Trip of Compassion" — The Most Compelling Movie I've Seen In The Last Year”

  1. I can’t wait for your next book, I heard you talking about it with Susan Cain and judging by this post, documentary and your interviews (podcast) I have a feeling your next book is going to be very deep and personal. Am really excited for it!

  2. I’m fortunate enough to not suffer mental disease or traumatic incident but I do have compassion for those who are affected by it. Tim, I’m following your work for many years now and I’m astonished by your incredible growth and contributions to help others. Even though you are a public person and you already shared much of your stories in the interviews and your recent Ted talk I respect your privacy to not share too many details of your personal struggles.

    Just after watching the doc you immediately decided to go and meet with filmmakers in Israel. That’s the part that inspired me the most. Your effective lifestyle choices started with 4-hour workweek created this ”platform” that now allows you to do stewardship projects like promotion and distribution of Trip of Compassion.

    It’s remarkable and please continue to lead the way for others. Creating more time, awareness and economic framework is vital for all ambitious endeavours.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment (and thanks to everyone leaving comments!). This made me very happy to read, and it’s true — I finally have the space and velocity of life… deliberately slower.. to notice and pay attention to some of these deeper layers. I’m very fortunate and hope to do my part while here.

  3. Quote I’m pondering —

    “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship, that makes unhappy marriages.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche

    Felt like copy and pasting this part of your 5-bullet Friday. It was just last night that a visiting friend said to me “What’s that Nietzsche book on your nightstand?” The title read Aphorisms on Love and Hate. “Such a small book and a big title” … We both curiously shifted through the pages and I began to read the the ones that would strike me in less than say 5 seconds and, once more, arriving at a very same destination, you and me, the same quote. So, I will leave here the same idea, same Nietzsche, another one quote:

    Friendship and marriage. The best friend will probably get the best wife, because a good marriage is based on a talent for friendship.

    1. The filmmakers labored for years over this and never recouped their costs, so all proceeds from the Vimeo views go directly to them. I don’t make a penny. In fact, I’m spending a lot of money to get this out. Once the filmmakers make a decent (and well deserved) chunk after years of nothing, I’m hoping I can convince them to offer it for free online, even if for a short time.

      1. thank you for your kind amazing help to my film and to heal other people in our suffering world.

        gil karni -TRIP OF COMPASSION director

      2. This film is worth every penny and then some. Thank you, Tim, for being an advocate for this work. The care and commitment of the therapists in sessions was incredible to witness. Gil Karni, I can’t wait to see more of your films.

      3. More than happy to pay and for creators to get their share. My concern is that Vimeo (unlike other platforms that do allow paid content too), does not have the amount of apps and penetration on devices like others do with much larger distribution.

  4. Thank you Tim! This needs to get mainstream exposure. I did work with MDMA and other psychoactive substances in therapeutic “workshops” some years ago and later became a co-facilitator. I can say that the work has changed my life more dramatically and positively than anything else that I’ve encountered…including years of therapy. MV

  5. This sounds very promising. Wish I could find a local guide. I can’t even afford to rent the video. No support in my difficult journey. Feel isolated

  6. Hi Tim,

    Firstly, thanks for supporting such a film. Shoot me an email as I have some resources that I’d like to share with you and the filmmakers – they fit very well as a component for distributing documentaries specifically like this one. There’d be the ability to screen in group settings both theatrically and in community venues as well as through licensing to universities, non-profits, and governmental groups. I’m happy to share what I know and connect you. I have a personal connection to the subject matter of this film and I’d love to help get more people to see this film and have engaging discussions about the topic.

  7. Interesting topic. I really appreciate that you encourage donors to specify that funding only goes to phase 3 trials. What do you want to achieve with the promotional effort? Would you like to accelerate the clinical adoption of MDMA treatment of PTSD. I took a quick look at the medical literature and there are some high impact publications on this topic. As you may know it takes on average 17 years to go from research finding to clinical implementation. The process of shifting paradigms in medicine is about more than just accumulating evidence.

  8. Dearest Tim,

    I’ve discussed with Dr. D’Agostino many times about how you have already helped me save my own life. I’ve had 5 organ failures, multiple diagnoses, and a pontine brain stem stroke. By listening to your podcasts and amazing guests, after being in bed for 6-years, I was able to extricate myself from that prison. In September of 2017, I began using concepts and science that you made available and I have now been out of bed consistently for 11-months. Thank you!

    I’ve learned very recently that all of the health issues I’ve experienced since I was an infant, are a direct result of childhood trauma, which then led to adult trauma. I am in the process of recovery and healing and have been following as much of the latest information regarding studies and information related to psychedelics. I am patiently waiting for their approval. I appreciate all that you do and make available to the your audience. You intuitively know that we need the information directly. You do so many great things, but giving the power back to the people is in my opinion, your greatest treasure. I already donate to MAPS and am enjoying the amazingly far-out art book by Stanislav Grof they sent me. I hope to see the same kind of visions some day very soon because this PTSD from child abuse has had its reign, and now it’s my turn! By you focusing your energy on helping others, you have once again provided me with more pertinent information that will accompany me on my journey forward. Thank you for being my unknowing guide and for the gift of this documentary.

    With love,

    Briana

    P. S. I’m so glad that your mother got the library post card. There are no mistakes as I fully understand and appreciate now.

  9. Thank you so much Tim for this important recommendation. I didn’t know it had English subtitles, so happy to be able to share it outside tiny Israel, especially with you backing it up. I hope the research will extend to CPTSD patients as well, and not as a last resort after frying our brains with toxic chemicals 24/7/365. Much love <3

  10. I’m 90 percent certain this comment will not get approved, but here goes: Does this film deal primarily with Israelis, or does it discuss the plight of Palestinians as well? I understand that this film is about therapy for those afflicted by PTSD, and that’s a universal phenomenon, but surely the social context for this discussion is important? If it deals primarily with Israelis, I suspect it may receive some blowback from global critics, considering that the West Bank and Gaza are basically giant PTSD factories. In any case, I’d be eager to see this film.

  11. Thanks Tim. Just watched the film. Wow. Need to sit with it a bit. I appreciate all of the things you share. You have quite a gift.

  12. Hey @tferriss! Thanks for sharing this video. I’m going through some difficult time, dealing with the health of a loved one, and I’ve been doing research on compassion. So, this video is most timely. I look forward to watching it.

    On a side note; I’ve been following your work for a few years and it’s been very refreshing to witness how a successful hardcore guy can become an even more successful compassionate human. Kudos and thanks

  13. You sold me on the film, excellent to see this work being done. However, I just can’t sign up for “automatic payments to Vimeo, Inc. ” I just want to buy the movie, one time. Bummed. But will continue to follow this excellent work, thank you for promoting it.

  14. If I am not mistaken, I watched a TV show perhaps 20/20 or Dateline or 60 Minutes – many years ago and they showed x-rays of a girl’s brain that had holes blown through her brain as a direct result of using “ecstasy”. There was a brain scan and or x-rays done when she was in an accident sometime during her late teenage years – and then again a few years later when she was a drug addict and had been using the drug ecstasy. They compared the x-rays and showed holes in her brain. I don’t recall much about the story but I will never forget the x-ray images of her brain and for sure they said it was caused by “ecstasy”.

  15. The viewing options for this movie are both poor — we can either pay to rent, or pay to “own” (as long as we’re online, and the service exists and decides to let us). Sorry, but I’m opting out – please let us know when there are real options to own a copy of this movie.

  16. The movie was great. I appreciate you sharing and supporting this film. I wish we could hear the stories of the other 7 people that were in the study but 3 is better than none. I thought it was thought provoking how they all had different types of trauma and how each reacted to the treatment. I hope these studies continue to progress in a manner that helps more and more people to a point where it’s a go to treatment. We need to help PTSD patients deal with the problem not numb the symptoms.

  17. I was unable to watch this movie – living in Israel it was just too close to home, and even the trailer made me extremely uncomfortable. But I do thank you for sharing this with the greater population. My friend’s son, suffered from PTSD from his army service [Moderator: additional text and link removed.]

  18. Tim,

    I cannot even get through your email without almost crying. The movie trailer for the Trip of Compassion is so emotional and raw.

    I will have to attempt watching it during the daytime with a cup of coffee.

    Everyone is going to cry during the movie. You know, the world is going to see this movie after if gets mentioned on JRE. Hopefully.

    Also. Please don’t take your own life like Brody Stevens did. I miss him.

    Be Good,

    eric

  19. Tim, I know you’ve written a bit about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). This seems like a good time for you and your readers to revisit the last few years of science/research into the use of HBOT for PTSD/TBI/Concussion. Data demonstrate results using this benign intervention to help HEAL the brain damage done by wounds to the brain, whether by blast, falls, stroke, impact and/or substance abuse. Numerous veterans working pro bono have helped heal brain wounds in over 6,100 cases in clinics across the US and around the world. Dr Shai Efrati in Tel Aviv/SAGOL Center continues remarkable research into the healing powers of hyperbaric oxygenation. We find that too many military casualties with diagnoses of “PTSD-only” damage really are suffering from TBI-induced brain wounds. Though PTSD can clearly be diagnoses in cases where no physical damage was incurred, we know from research that PTSD can lead to brain damage. The jury is still out on MDMA’s negative effects on the brain. We encourage everyone with PTSD to consider HBOT while also pursuing other functional medicine approaches. TreatNOW

  20. Tim, I have been inspired and uplifted by you up to this point. However, I am horrified that you are using your extensive mailing list to push Ecstasy. I would strongly recommend that you find out what the actual effects of the drug are on body and mind before you destroy your own (up to now) immensely powerful one. Keep doing good and don’t join the drug pushers. There are enough of those on this planet already.

  21. A long term fan of your journey and ever intriguing discoveries. This film brought more than a few tears as it profoundly managed to represent the overwhelming shift in these peolples well being. I lost my brother to poor mental health 364 days ago so the timing of the email and film for me is profound. Thank you for sharing your insides and the personal impact the film made… i will look into UK or Euro based trials also as andult mental health is a growing concerns in our modern communities 🙏

  22. Dude. You were in Tel Aviv?! How did I not know about this. Such a bummer! Considering the 100 or so friends we have in common (and the many ways your work has impacted my life), I would’ve very much liked to show you around a bit.

    Hope you had an awesome stay. Looking forward to checking out this film.

  23. After seeing the documentary, I´m wondering if the traumatic event was deliberately brought into the consciousness of the patient by the therapists, or that the traumatic event came up spontaneously each time after ingesting MDMA ?

    1. The trauma is in the air of the room ,sometimes its just come out ,sometimes it was mentioned in another persoective.some session the trauma itself was not mentioned at all.

      There is a goal to try to go into it but its up to the safe and finding together when and how to do it.

      The therapist dont lead the process they are trying to give safe zone withe alot. Of empathy to the paitent.

  24. Tim,

    I just finished watching the purchased version of the movie and will show it to my wife….a great movie, Thanks for all your effort and desire to help….To conclude and part of a Chinese Proverb “…..If you want happiness for a lifetime, Help someone else.”……You must be an Happy Man!?

    Cheers,

    Yves

  25. Hi Tim,

    Interesting read on the “Time of Compassion” – I have not seen the documentary, but what caught my attention was the comments on MDMA, and the effects on trauma patient treatment. The ability to get individuals that have gone through some sort of trauma to recovery much faster.

    There are a number of other “natural” treatments that have been banned by various governments because of a “lack of knowledge”. One of these is the herb extracted from the ‘Tabernanthe iboga” plant. The Ibogaine drug has been proven in many studies to assist people who are addicted to a specific group of “illegal drugs” to rehabilitate much quicker and with far less withdrawal (over time).

    It may be the next step in finding alternate methods to the “legal” drugs used to get people off “illegal” drugs – many of which then become addicted to the legal drugs

  26. Hi Tim,

    I appreciate your contribution and support for this film.

    Just a gentle reminder that MDMA treatment may not be practical solution for most of your readers who want to make a change in our life (even though we were fortunate not to suffer such severe traumas) as it’s currently not legal in many countries.

    For those who still struggle with personal pain or childhood experience that affect your life today, I highly recommend checking The Hoffman Process (mentioned also by Gabor Mate in his episode).

    For me, it was a shortcut for years of therapy and I truly experienced the power of NEUROPLASTICITY – neural pathways, thoughts and behavior patterns can be changed – even without using psychoactive substances…

  27. i couldn’t get to the film. I tried tim.log/trip and tim.blog/trip. both got me to the trailor, not the film

  28. Hi, Tim. I’m a follower so if you put something up, I figure it’s been thoroughly vetted. I get that you’re Not making money here but I urge you and other readers to maybe consider others’ experiences with ecstasy. Ready? I experimented with E in my 20’s. Probably quite a few readers as well. In spite of the film makers wonderful attempt to capture the feelings on E, they obviously never tried it. Your serotonin levels spike while on the drug and you just want to love everyone. Tactile sensations while on the drug are heightened and it’s a great experience for most. Others feel they’re losing control (which they are) and go hug a wall or something. The others just get sociable. But it only lasts a few hours and then you come down or take another pill. Then you go home. When you’re serotonin is depleted, you may hit a point a day or two after the experience where you’re actually depressed. At least until your serotonin gets replenished. You might cry. You might want to hide under a rock. Everyone’s different. But you recover and go back to your life just as you left it. The point is that the drug is transient. It’s not going to give you an epiphany that will transform your life forever. It’s cool. It’s fun. But so is going to the gym or doing yoga. At least engaging in the last two actually do something beneficial and enduring for your physical and mental health.

  29. A related, and excellent film is being released in 2 days (October 20, 2019): From Shock to Awe.

    http://www.fromshocktoawe.com

    After the 2 minute trailer, there were tears in my eyes! MDMA should have been fast-tracked for veterans years ago. We have lost so many to suicide.

  30. Hey Tim,
    Have you seen Lamar Odom’s “Reborn” documentary yet? I’ve read a little about it, and it sounds like alternative medicine not only saved his life, but enhanced it.

  31. Maybe if they hadn’t focused on taking innocent Palestinian lives over the decades, they wouldn’t face hilt his trauma. The systemic taking of lives has an impact whether it’s Israel or the US or China.