The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Françoise Bourzat — The Maven of Consciousness Medicine (#519)

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Françoise Bourzat (@Francoise_Bourzat), co-founder of the Center for Consciousness Medicine, which trains people to become guides in a holistic method of psychedelic-assisted therapy, and coauthor of Consciousness Medicine, published by North Atlantic Books.

Françoise served on the advisory board for the Oregon Prop 109 initiative and is currently helping to design training for future facilitators of mushroom experiences. She is also collaborating with the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California, in an FDA-approved research study on psilocybin-assisted therapy for COVID-related grief. She leads mushroom ceremonies and retreats in Jamaica for bereaved parents.

Françoise has a Master of Arts in somatic psychology and is trained in the Hakomi Method. She has taught at CIIS in San Francisco, and she lectures at other academic institutions, such as Yale, Stanford, and UCSF. She runs online courses and contributes to advisory boards and organizations offering value-aligned trainings on the topic of mushroom ceremonies.

Transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!

P.S. During the podcast, Françoise shares a few stories of people participating in her retreats, and she wishes to inform listeners and readers that these people have given her consent to speak about them and their experiences.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#519: Françoise Bourzat on Consciousness Medicine, the Art of Guiding Psychedelic Journeys, Finding Forgiveness, Salvia Divinorum, the Power of Chaos Music, and Inviting Sacredness


Tim Ferriss owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as his right of publicity.

WHAT YOU’RE WELCOME TO DO: You are welcome to share the below transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles (e.g., The New York Times, LA Times, The Guardian), on your personal website, in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., Medium), and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include attribution to “The Tim Ferriss Show” and link back to the URL. For the sake of clarity, media outlets with advertising models are permitted to use excerpts from the transcript per the above.

WHAT IS NOT ALLOWED: No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Tim Ferriss’ name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. For the sake of clarity, media outlets are permitted to use photos of Tim Ferriss from the media room on or (obviously) license photos of Tim Ferriss from Getty Images, etc.

This interview was transcribed by

Tim Ferriss: Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs, this is Tim Ferriss, welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is always my job to deconstruct, at least interview, world-class performers from all different fields. My guest today is Françoise Bourzat, B-O-U-R-Z-A-T, on Twitter @FBourzat2019. She has been bridging the divide between Western psychology and indigenous wisdom in collaboration with healers in Mexico for the past 30 years. She is a co-founder of the Center for Consciousness Medicine, which trains people to become guides in a holistic method of psychedelic assisted therapy. She’s also the co-author of Consciousness Medicine, which I have just about 10 feet away from me, published by North Atlantic Books.

Françoise has served on the advisory board for the Oregon Prop 109 initiative, and is currently helping design the training for the future facilitators of mushroom experiences. She’s also collaborating with the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California in an FDA-approved research study on psilocybin assisted therapy for COVID related grief. She leads mushroom ceremonies and retreats in Jamaica for bereaved parents; that is a topic we will explore certainly early in this conversation.

She has a master of arts in somatic psychology and is trained in the Hakomi method. Françoise has taught at CIIS in San Francisco, and she lectures at other academic institutions, including Yale, Stanford, and UCSF. She runs online courses and contributes to advisory boards and organizations offering value-aligned trainings on the topic of mushroom ceremonies. You can find her online, Franç, and you can find the Center for Consciousness Medicine at, on Instagram @Françoise_Bourzat, on Twitter, once again @FBourzat2019. 

One quick preface note: Françoise shares several stories about people participating in her retreats, and she wants to assure listeners that these people have given her consent to speak about them and their experiences.

Françoise, So nice to see you, welcome to the show.

Françoise Bourzat: Thank you, Tim, thank you for having me.

Tim Ferriss: There are a million and one places we could start, you and I have spent some time together, so it’s going to be an embarrassment of riches with the number of things we can explore. We will run out of time before topics. So let us start with something mentioned in the bio, and that is the bereaved parents in Jamaica. Can you describe what that means, and what the experience was like, how it came to be?

Françoise Bourzat: In my work and support of people in various challenging situations of life, the pain that I’ve encountered that is most tragic is the loss of a child. Parents are really struggling, sometimes quite crippled emotionally and debilitated, really, and burdened by this grave for many years. And in my opportunity to work with some parents, I had observed that mushroom experiences were very, very healing and transformative in alleviating this heaviness, and also helping them recover their love of life, and the love of vitality and creativity. So I decided to, with the collaboration of other people in the field of palliative care and grief counseling, to organize these retreats in Jamaica where the practice of mushroom ceremony is legal, and to offer these retreats to parents in bereavement.

And it took some time to organize this retreat, the first one, and we’re continuing to organize them now, and offer them. Articles are being written, an article is going to come up in The Atlantic I think next month, and there’s a lot of very interesting reception of this offering. And the retreat was an amazing exploration for the parents to be together, to support one another, and to be supported by a team of psychologists and grief experts and me, mushroom specialist, in exploring and grieving and letting go of this very challenging burden. And the results were amazing, the parents are really transformed, and they’re looking at the way their child is now with them, the way they’re returning to life, the way the child’s spirit would like them to continue being alive and not staying in a “dead zone” with them.

And it’s also a fabulous and very rich invitation for the parents to really look at their own life, their own childhood, their own parenting of this child, as well as their own experience being parented. So it’s a rich exploration, I would say, even beyond the topic of grief for their child. It’s a very fascinating process and we’re really excited to offer that, and we’re going to be presenting at the Palliative Care Conference in 2022 with my colleagues from Los Angeles and from Jamaica as well.

Tim Ferriss: Well, you’ve traveled an eclectic and winding path to then find yourself in Jamaica. So if that is one bookend, and there are many ways we could start the story, but let’s go back in time and visit an earlier experience in north Thailand that seems to have been formative in many ways. Could you please tell the story that I’m alluding to?

Françoise Bourzat: I was 23 years old, and I had traveled in South America for nine months when I was 19 and 20. I had a sense of the world and what it was like to be in foreign countries, and different environments and cultures and people and language. And this time I had decided to go by myself in Thailand, and I was traveling in Northern Thailand. I was in the town of Sukhothai, which used to be an old capital, the ancient capital, before it became Bangkok it was Sukhothai. And I was visiting the beautiful temples that were outside of the modern city. And I was walking down this path and I met this man from India, he was a civil engineer, and he was himself visiting those temples. And we decided to visit, together, these temples, and he was sharing with me these different spiritual aspects of this culture of Buddhism that I was very unfamiliar with.

And we had lunch together, and we talked, wonderful gentleman. And then we decided to go on a separate path outside of the compound of those ruins to see a more remote temple. So we’re walking down that trail, wide path, and behind us were two Thai people. And as we were talking, I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder. We both turned around, and we were shot, sort of immediately, just point blank, two feet away, and we got shot. My friend Ramesh was shot in the forehead, and I was shot somewhere in my body, which I didn’t know where. And I collapsed on the ground, I saw him collapse, and it was pretty gnarly and pretty gory.

And I fell on the side of the path, and remained there. The bandits came to me and tore my watch, and took my bag from my shoulder, and ran away, left me there for dead. I was holding my belly, I wasn’t sure where it was shot really, and when I looked at my hand, I realized there was nothing there, but then I saw the blood in my leg, so I had been shot in my thigh. I can’t even remember being really in pain, I was in a total state of shock, my body was in shock. And I looked and I saw my friend, almost dead, barely breathing, and the sight, I don’t want to describe the sight around his body, but that was pretty terrible.

And I started to walk away to find help for him, which was of course totally unnecessary. There was nothing to do for him, but I heard some breathing, and I walked away, and a farmer came on a bicycle and signaled to me to sit on the back of his bicycle, and he took me to the road where he flagged a pickup truck that picked me up and took me to the nearest police station, and then to the hospital. And then they went to get Ramesh and brought him to the surgery room where I was being operated on to get the bullet out of my leg, and he died there next to me in the hospital, although he was really brain dead before, but somehow his last breath was there next to me.

So then I was brought to the police station, and I had to make a deposition, a report, and then I was brought to the doctor, and to the English teacher who was going to translate, and I was brought back to my hotel, and I had a bodyguard on my hotel to protect me from the bandit, and I had to be guarded at all times. If I was transported from my hotel to the police station, or to the doctor, I had to be lying down in the back of a car with a blanket on me so the bandit would not recognize me and kill me, because they wouldn’t want me to be alive still. And then about a day and a half later — 

Tim Ferriss: To testify, or to identify.

Françoise Bourzat: That’s right, to identify. And the important piece of this episode actually was when a couple of days later, I was still in Sukhothai doing all this paperwork and talking to the ambassador in Bangkok for me to have a new passport, and to get support. The police officer told me that they had found some documents and I was to be on the lineup and identify one of the bandits. And so I went to the police station, and it was not a one-way mirror, they were all there in front of us, in front of me, police chief and me. And I was looking at all these different people, and I saw the man who shot Ramesh. I didn’t see mine, my assailant, but I saw — and I looked at him, and at this moment I felt, I could send him to be dead, or I can forgive him. I don’t know, in this moment I had almost a spiritual moment where I felt it was not for me to decide his life or his death.

And so I looked him in the eyes and I said, “I don’t recognize.” And I was let go, and I guess he was let go. It taunted me for many years, should I have recognized him? Or should I have been in this forgiveness place that is a different level of relationship with him? So that’s the story. And the gift of the story, of course, is beside this moment where I was really feeling the deep love of humanity of this man and his blindness, or his disregard for human life, I was also determined to have a life. And I didn’t really know what I was doing, I was 23, I was drifting, I didn’t have any goal, and I seized my life in that moment. I said, this is so fragile, it’s so fleeting, we’re so delicate, that I decided to do something with my life, and I saved money and moved to California. And that was the beginning of an entire new chapter for me.

Tim Ferriss: There’s so many different departure points from that story, and you and I have spoken about this story before, because I also felt very conflicted hearing the end of that story.

Françoise Bourzat: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Ferriss: And the story I told myself was, this is someone who’s probably done what they did more than once, they will probably do it again, and I was quite upset by that outcome. And so I know we’ve spoken about it, and it’s easy, I suppose, to paint black and white pictures, but I’m not saying necessarily in this case, for me, from my perspective, but a lot of life is in the gray, and learning to navigate that can be very challenging. And I think the experience of that gray is sometimes in the aftermath of events. And I would love to hear, after that experience, after witnessing someone shot in the face right beside you, who then dies beside you, what helped you to process that experience? Was there anything that stood out, that helped you to, in some way, process that experience? If that’s even a good question.

Françoise Bourzat: It is a good question, I think there are many layers and many times of process. I think the first thing that was really quite touching is the way the Thai people surrounded me with care, with beauty, with love, with attention, with support, it was really, really touching. They organized the whole party for me, with dancers and feasts and flowers everywhere at the house of the police chief. I mean, it was very, very touching how they were sorry, and it was almost like they apologized for the people of their nation for what had occurred to me.

Then there was another layer, which was very personal to me, is that because of my reporting of Ramesh’s death to the Indian ambassador, and what I knew of him, they were able to locate his family in India, in Pune, and they were able to bring his body back to Pune for cremation and the rights. And his family wrote to me to thank me and to invite me to India, and to count me in their family, and to ask me what was the last day of their family member, of Ramesh.

So that, to me, was a very helpful and loving and touching process to tell the story, and reminisce of that day, and the beauty of that man, and the consideration of his spiritual self, all these details were helping me in a way be with him once again, and feel loved by people who said, “We are feeling lucky that you are alive, even though our brother and son has died.” That was extremely helpful, really. To be surrounded by love is really what has guided me in my work as a guide, the power of this presence and this care in the worst moment possible of life, just like the bereaved parents. We can have all kinds of techniques, we can have all kinds of tools and theories, but ultimately this care is really key.

When I came to the United States, and after a couple of years there, I met some people who were involved in medicine work, psychedelics, so they were involved in doing MDMA, and doing mushrooms, and doing therapy with this context of adjunct processes with the medicines, with the different compounds. I entered that space with a lot of fear. I knew what was sitting in me, even though it was a few years past that, maybe four years past, but it was sitting in me, this fear of the other, this contraction in my body from feeling the emotions that were associated with my fear, my grief, even my love, where to put the spiritual opening that I had had, it was a lot of material that was sitting and not being able to be processed.

And when I started to do MDMA, and when I started to do mushrooms, I realized how my physical and energetic bodies were being relaxed, were being brought out of this contracted place to ease into whatever feelings and emotion and sensation, and whatever I had to go through was being processed with being happening, with being reflected, with being digested, essentially. It’s almost like I had not digested anything, and now I was digesting all this, slowly and over some time, of course. But that’s really the key for me, why I’ve been doing this, why I’ve been on this path, it’s because I know the power of this healing on a very, very personal level.

Tim Ferriss: Would you mind sharing some more details of your personal healing as it relates to this wide spectrum of destruction, grief, and also then inspiration and transition. Was it a particular tool, like MDMA, that helped you? And for those who’ve listened to some of my podcasts, or looked at the phase three trials involving MDMA, they’ll know that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is associated with treating PTSD, or complex PTSD. Was it the mushrooms, was it a combination of those things over time? For those who may not have any firsthand experience with these things, what is the experience of healing like, and how would you describe it?

Françoise Bourzat: The experience of healing with MDMA, especially this specific episode, was one of being able to be with all the details that I had never wanted to revisit. The details of the moment where I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I knew something was going to happen. Or the moment the shot happened, between the shot and the bullet in my leg, I was able to slow down the entire process to a crawl, to a very, very slow mo, to really see the many different layers of time and space that were happening. So I remember being on MDMA and having this very clear, detailed, microscopic inventory of every fraction of a second that happened between the shot and me being shot, which was incredibly complex, rich.

I remembered thinking, oh, I’m getting shot here, what a dumb way to die. Oh, I’m being shot here, my mother will never know how I disappeared. Oh, I’m getting shot here, I have letters in my purse that are destined to my sisters, they will never read them. Things like this that I was thinking at the moment, you would think, well, really? You think of that, you don’t think of saving your life? But all these different layers of my thoughts were present in this fraction of a second.

And then when the bullet hit my leg, in my MDMA journey I felt, that’s it, I’m done. This is where it ends. What’s my life? I’m too young. I shouldn’t die now, it’s wrong. But it was wow, that was a ride, okay, this is the end, okay. The acceptance of death, almost the acceptance of what is about to happen. And all this different minutia of my thoughts that I had not been able to identify, or create an inventory of, were coming back one by one. And for me, that was the healing. Or when I knelt next to Ramesh’s body, and what I was seeing, and what was going on for me, what do I do here? I get help. Does he really need help? Well, I don’t think he needs help anymore, but he’s breathing, my God, what a sound. What do I do with this? Okay, but I’m going to get help now because I’m not dead, he’s dying, but I’m not dead.

All this different decision-making were coming back to me in the MDMA journey. I was tracking my process piece by piece, and that for me created the healing, the revisiting all these details that I have totally blanked, and trauma and freezing and overwhelm and adrenaline rushing, and everything in my physical body, I’d not been able to process it, but now I was. It was time, it was time dedicated to three seconds, but for me that was the big healing moment, and to feel like I was alive and I was able to track all this again.

In the mushroom journeys, because I visited this story a few times in journeys, there was this sense of this, like it was my destiny to have this experience, I was meant to have it, I was accepting that it was part of my knowledge, part of my building block, part of my resilience, part of my survival, part of my spiritual wisdom. Like I said earlier, for me it was an intense spiritual moment of some understanding, I don’t know, not cognitively, but spiritually, my place in the world. So it was all this other dimension of accepting and saying yes to that and not fighting it, and not complaining, and never feeling like a victim of that moment.

Tim Ferriss: At that point in time, did you have a teacher or support? For instance, after the MDMA experience, or even during the MDMA experience, did you have someone who was acting as a support or guide for you, or was it really a self-contained healing experience where the healing was felt in that re-experiencing and recontextualization, and that is where the work was done?

Françoise Bourzat: I had a guide. I had a guide, thank God, I had a guide who cared for me, who loved me, who had heard, who was knowing me, who was knowing my strengths, my weaknesses, my youth, my potential, my personhood, and he was very skilled and very artistically poised to know what to do, when to do, what to say, what not to say, how to wait, how to prompt, how to support, how to coax a little bit. I had a guide, I had a very talented guide to help me in these first steps of this re-orientation, yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Can you give any examples of how that skill manifested? Were there certain things that this guide did or didn’t do that in your mind clearly separates them from a novice or less competent guide? You could also speak about it holistically, it doesn’t have to be limited to that experience, but just overall.

Françoise Bourzat: Well this man in particular, we’re talking about Pablo Sanchez, this man in particular had the experience of being a tribal man from the Four Corners Reservation, Navajo Pueblo man, as well as Mexican. He was also a man who had been, and I think it’s important to mention that because that’s really part of what he was holding as a wisdom and as a human being in this culture, he had been sent as a soldier in the Second World War, as a photographer of the US army, to document the liberation of the concentration camp.

He had seen horror. He had seen the worst of human condition of the result of human disconnect and cruelty, and he had inside him a wisdom, a patience for the human condition, the human predicament, the human wounding and how it reflects, and the human wounding and how it is felt. He had seen that, he had been close to it, he had had to take pictures, which by the way, nobody in this community ever saw. He had boxes, and nobody could have access to those boxes of pictures, he would not at all let anybody see them. And I think that his humanity, and his breadth of what he had seen was really equipping him to be capable of holding a lot.

He had a lot of bandwidth of what he was capable of holding, a lot of compassion, a lot of love, a lot of patience, like I said, and a lot of artistic tool to help people move out of the stuck place, because he believed in rituals and he believe in artistic expression, he was a painter, he painted, he was a photographer, and he believed in nature, and he believed in the power of rituals on the earth, and he believed in other things beside verbal psychotherapy and processing, and he believed in all just different resources that create a holistic framework for healing. And I learned a lot from him, not just by listening to him, or watching him work, but by receiving this, I saw the value and the efficacy of such a model.

And he would send me, he said, “Well, you’re going to do a journey on Saturday. I want you to go on the land, and I want you to talk to that tree, and I want you to bring a piece of branch from that tree and put it on the altar. I want you to bring your tree of prayer into your ceremony room.” Or, “I want you to do some movement to pray to the earth, and to give back to the earth your pain, because the earth can take it.” He would have this narrative. When do you hear that in psychotherapy? Never. And he would have this advice and indication like that was my prescription, go paint the sky, or go home and lay down and listen to that music, and that drumming, or make that ritual. He had all these different ways that now I call it integration practices in my book, this is all tools and techniques and resources to actually embody the thing you’re going through.

Tim Ferriss: You have a quote I found. It’s pretty funny doing homework on you. I mean, it’s always funny doing homework on people I know for interviews, because I find these things I’m like, wow, that’s really smart. And one quote I quite enjoyed, you can tell me if this is a misquote, I hope it’s accurate, it’s from one of the MAPS bulletins, but it says, “It is an insult to the potency of this inner work to not take the time to integrate what has been revealed.” And I think we will spend a fair amount of time discussing what integrate and integration means, and the importance of that, but I don’t want to leave Pablo just yet, because I think it is very natural for humans to want to find the one way, the one approach, the one style that is the best style. 

And to some people listening, if they have any firsthand experience with facilitators, they may, in their mind, think of a journey music, and they think of something like very unobtrusive spa music. Maybe there are some whale sounds, maybe there’s some flutes, maybe there is some type of babbling brook in a Zen garden, but there are many different tools in the toolkit, and many different styles, many of which can be really, really, highly effective. Could you please define and describe the experience of chaos music, and chaos music sections?

Françoise Bourzat: My favorite topic, chaos music, oh my God, you got me going now. Well, I have a reputation around this. Everybody else is like, “What’s wrong with you?” So Pablo used to play chaos music, and the chaos music is a section in the arc of the playlist, so to speak, that is designed to create disturbance, to create disintegration of ego, or to create the edge of resistance, or to bring people at the edge of a fear place, or an anger place, or agitation, whatever. It’s designed to raise hell in people’s mind and body and psyche, and I adored that piece. I adored that piece. It was for me meeting my inner chaos, I guess. We all have a piece of everything in us. We are, after all, whole being, and that includes a piece of chaos.

And I just could never reconcile where is it? What does it look like? How does it feel to be with my inner chaos, or my inner mess, or my inner craziness, or something. And so, because having been shot, you want everything to be very much in order, and very much in control because God forbid something would happen, so there’s a lot of controlling contractedness that happened. So when the chaos started to happen and I felt safe enough to lean into it, I would literally lean into the big, gigantic, blue foam padded speakers Pablo had that were about three feet tall and two feet wide, these old-fashioned speakers in the ’80s. And I would go and hug the speaker, and be merging into the chaos, putting my head into the speaker just about, pushing my head into the foam so I could be more into it, and I just loved it.

My body felt relaxed, it felt met. My body was like, oh yes, I love this. I know people said, “You are crazy, nobody likes that stuff.” And I said, “Well try it, try to lean into it, because you’ll see how it challenges a border of you that has to let go, and it just has you, it rolls you over.” I mean, some people really have a different opinion about that, but I personally love it.

Tim Ferriss: I think we owe it to the listeners to paint a detailed audio picture, maybe an example of what we’re talking about, and so to give you an idea, I’ll tell you what we’re not talking about. We’re not talking about some very calm consistent drumming necessarily, but in fact there are examples. I’m blanking on the woman’s name, but I have heard some tracks. I would love for you to tell people who this is, because they can look it up and get a sampling, but of this woman just screaming bloody murder.

Françoise Bourzat: I love her.

Tim Ferriss: Do you recall the name of this woman? Because I — 

Françoise Bourzat: Oh yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I was impressed by just how intense these tracks are.

Françoise Bourzat: Her name is Diamanda Galás, G-A-L-A-S. And she screams. I went to a concert once, my husband and I went to a concert of hers in Berkeley, she was sitting all goth, dressed in black, she was sitting at the big piano and she played the piano and essentially she screamed for two hours. And then at the end of the concert everybody got up, everybody left the room except four or five people, and when we all looked at each other, we were all in Pablo’s journeys. We didn’t know we were all there. The people in the audience that had been sitting there transfixed into this chaos realm were all journey people. We laughed hysterically, we were the only ones sitting there in an empty theater. Yeah, it’s a fabulous creation to render the depth of this inner human space. I mean, who does that? Who paints that, who creates that?

Tim Ferriss: I find this worth exploring, and there are really so few people who could explore this well, especially on podcasts, so it’s very fun to have this conversation with you, because there are many people out there who if they listen to this track would say, this is the last thing you should ever play to anyone on psychedelics. And I think that many of those same people would be of the opinion that in a psychedelic journey, your duty as a guide is to comfort and support the journeyer, but there also seems to be, and just to be clear for everybody listening, this is not prescriptive, we are not giving medical advice nor recommending taking any compounds, especially those that are illegal, federally and otherwise, so this is a discussion of practices that we’ve been exposed to in various ways, informational purposes only.

But all of that preamble out of the way, in addition to different levels of support, there are different types of support, and that disintegration, that allowing of, and perhaps even overcoming of resistance by force, is something that doesn’t get talked about a whole lot, but it is also something that you can witness in some of the very old traditions in South America with Icaros, there are certain types of songs that just pummel people into submission. They’re highly repetitive, they’re unrelenting, and they just pound your psyche into some version of surrender.

So I would love to ask you, in the world of facilitator and guide lore, that is to say what people perceive those people should do, let’s start with, if you could help distinguish between a facilitator and a guide, and then also talk about perhaps some of the, what you would consider myths or fallacies of guiding or facilitating. Because I think there’s a lot of dogma, some of which may be helpful, a lot of which is not.

Françoise Bourzat: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So facilitating is in between sitting and guiding, I should say. So people who are called sitters, and facilitators somewhat, are people who are, apparently, from what I understand, creating a safe environment, a supportive place, physically safe, who are creating either a playlist, or some sound, that are helpful to people’s internal exploration. They don’t intervene, they don’t touch, unless the person is really needing a hand to hold, or is really agitated and needs a bit of a soothing that might be a moment of touch. So those are the behavior, or the context of sitting and facilitating. But the guiding is a different story because the guiding is really connected with the indigenous context in which this work has been practiced for all these thousands of years, which is that the person holding the space and guiding the space is, like you say, singing, or doing some drumming, or doing some smoking, or doing some applications of various oils, or water, or earth, or grass, ground tobacco, onto the person’s body.

There’s applications of things, there is body manipulations. When there is stuckness in the body, when there is fear, there is actions that are being taken on the body of the journeyers. And that’s the way journeys have been held in the tradition of the mushroom, for example, which is what I feel capable of sharing here. I’ve been known to be really, I was hitting places of fear, and places where I was contracted, and my guide in Mexico would come to me and put her hand on my belly and check things out and massage me and touch me on my belly and on my sternum, and she would massage my head and she would pull my toes, and she would do all kinds of things to liberate my body from this contraction, and she had all kinds of different tools and techniques to do that.

And it was really interesting when I first got there to see, oh my God, there’s a lot of action in this room. This is not just Pablo playing music that is very evocative, and then leaving me to work, with a staff present, of course, and everything. This was hands-on work, big time, and that’s really the guiding. The guiding is, you have skills, you have techniques, there’s a situation happening, you intervene. This is what’s asked of a guide. So the guide has to know what to do, what not to do, the consent, to do these different techniques, and to know the techniques from having received them too, how does it feel to receive that? Of course we cannot project our experience on someone else, but at least we have a sense of what that is. Yeah, there’s a lot of difference between sitting for someone and creating a safe place, and guiding and really actually intervening in the process to facilitate the opening and the healing happening.

Tim Ferriss: And I think also, this is personal opinion, but that each of those distinct roles can have tremendous value, and one of the most important things is that you recognize the limitations of your competency and stay within the most appropriate role. So if we look at Zendo, which is a nonprofit, it’s peer-to-peer support that you’ll find in different festivals, and so on, which provides a safe place for people having difficult drug experiences, including those people on psychedelics. And they train volunteers ahead of time in a very non-directional, supportive role so they can, in a sense, scale quickly to add more people for that type of low-touch assistant role.

And then you have facilitators, as you mentioned, which requires additional skill sets. Pablo had a lot of training, and it’s worth noting also that Pablo would use many tools for the preparation and integration. So the session was really just one component.

Then you have guides, and then parallel with that, or perhaps you get in a separate category, you have people with, in many cases, decades of indigenous training, and they might consider themselves curanderas, curanderos, ayahuasqueros, tabaqueros, whatever it might be. And I would love to know when you personally became interested in learning about the craft and the toolkits associated with these medicine, because the connective tissue around these experiences and within these experiences is so important.

Françoise Bourzat: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Working with Pablo gave me a very interesting and creative launchpad for my learning, my being immersed in it, my watching him, my assisting him, and all these different ways he had to prepare people creatively, physically, spiritually, in the land, and same for integrations. Those were very interesting multifaceted, multidimensional techniques that essentially were partially part of his tribal background, and partially part of his moment-to-moment creation, which was great for me because that means that it didn’t put me in a box of having to do it a certain way, a certain recipe, but rather to draw from my intuition person-to-person and create later on in my practice preparation styles, or integration styles, that would be adequate and potent for each individual. So it’s not like there’s a certain way to do something, but rather it’s designed according to the person’s strengths, the person’s weakness, the person’s balance.

And so Pablo was very, very inspiring in helping me create, from the ground up, from scratch, really, what would constitute good preparation and good integration. Now, in my further training, and immersion with the indigenous tradition of the mushroom in Mexico, I got to be accumulating a new layer of traditional and old techniques of what preparation means, and what integration means, and what happens in the journey, like we just spoke about, all this intervention, all these techniques. So there was a lot of weaving between the original creative pool that Pablo was giving me, and then this more traditional way of holding these mushroom ceremonies and how to best support people around that. So it created a web of a safety net that was composed both of my original training with Pablo, but also of course very much colored and flavored by what I learned in Mexico.

Tim Ferriss: And we will certainly spend some time discussing the Mazatec tradition, and how that entered into your life. Before we get there, and I don’t know if the chronology is actually in this order, but Ralph Metzner. For those who don’t know this name, could you describe who Ralph was, and perhaps speak to his zone of genius, and what you felt he was particularly good at?

Françoise Bourzat: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, Ralph Metzner was one of the three people who started the experiments with psychedelics, with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, that became Ram Dass. So they started this experiment, Ralph was a young student at the time, on the east coast, and further down the line, Ralph became the Dean of CIIS, the Dean of Professorship there. And he was an alchemist. Ralph was a genius alchemist. Ralph was extremely educated in yoga, Agni yoga, especially. He was extremely educated in breathwork. He was extremely well-read as far as ancient traditions of the West, of old Europe especially. He was a literary genius, he was a highly educated man who was bringing together so many facets of wisdom and knowledge into a context of growth of psychotherapy.

He was essentially a psychotherapist, and he was a medicine man. He had explored many different medicines through his life, he had immersed himself in South America to do ayahuasca way before it came ever on the Northern continent. He had explored mushrooms, he had been a very close friend with Terence McKenna and explored things with him in the ayahuasca world. He was very immersed into the mushroom world, into the LSD world, into the MDMA, the 5-MeO world, he was very, very curious to see the potency and the application of each medicine.

He was very curious, and what I learned from him over the 35 years of very wonderful and affectionate friendship with him, I kept learning to develop new context. Ralph was a constant inventor, he kept changing his mind on things. He was taking high doses, and then he was not believing in high doses, he believed in lower doses, and then he believed in leaving people alone to journey, and then later on he believed in guiding people, and he would guide people, he would create this visualization and induction that he would tell us, while we were in journeys, and it was this fabulous, fabulous — 

Tim Ferriss: Like a guided meditation?

Françoise Bourzat: Yes, guided meditation while you’re on — 

Tim Ferriss: Of sorts.

Françoise Bourzat: Yeah, going back into ancestors, into the grandmother of your grandmother. And you know what, you knew who she was when you were guided by him into these places, or the archetype of healing. What is the shape of the archetype of healing that is true for you? And he would guide us into this amazing visualization, or inductions that were brilliant. What was brilliant about Ralph was his cadence. He knew when to talk, and he knew when to wait. He knew when to deliver, and he knew when to let things gestate in people’s psyche. He was a brilliant man, and he was curious until the end. I remember he came to see me to learn about salvia, and I had to guide him into a salvia journey because he wanted to develop a protocol, so him and I designed a protocol together that he wanted to do with some people, because salvia is legal, he could do salvia here.

And he was very curious, he was constantly trying to design new things, and to help people and to explore the psyche. It was an infinite world of creation was Ralph, and he was always very exact, very applied to the preparation and the integration, to the psychotherapeutic benefit of explorations, to the transformation of life. Ralph was not very much into having experiences and collecting experiences. He was into, what do you want to work on? What do you want to explore, and how do you feel transformed on the other side? And for me, that was really fascinating to sharpen my mind into focusing on this important aspect of, how do you prepare, how do you integrate? Again, it was another layer of those themes was Ralph in the picture. Very interesting.

Tim Ferriss: So the mention of salvia is, I think, a good excuse to segue to the traditions in Mexico. And in many respects, maybe full stop, I mean, in most respects, the psilocybin mushroom, the so-called magic mushrooms that are so widely known globally at this point, were, as I understand it, you could correct me here, but introduced to the Western zeitgeist by Maria Sabina, who imparted, or I should say exposed, Gordon Wasson and others to these mushrooms in Mexico. And certainly you had Albert Hofmann, you had Richard Evans Schultes. And I mentioned salvia simply because Salvia divinorum, or diviner’s sage, grows in similar areas, and is also used by the Mazatecs. How did you become, or how were introduced, to those traditions? How did that relationship develop?

Françoise Bourzat: It’s funny, I was on vacation with my daughter in the Yucatan, just her and I having a mother-daughter moment, and we were staying at a little hotel that had been recommended to us. And the guy who was running this hotel was a wonderful guy, a German-Mexican guy. And he was a very good friend with my teacher who has since passed away a few years ago.

And when he heard about my interests and my work with Pablo and all my, whatever, we were sharing, we were talking as friends and acquaintances, he said, “I should take you to someone. You have to meet someone.” And I said, “Okay.” And he said, “Yeah, there’s some destiny there. I should take you and bring you and bring you to her.” I said, “Okay.” So I was like, “Okay, that sounds like a good idea.”

And so we met in October at the airport in Oaxaca. Sort of a who is this guy? I’m going to travel with him for 10 days. That sounds a little, whatever, bold, but he sounds like a good person. And we traveled together and he took me all around Oaxaca. And then we drove up to the town where my teacher used to live and he introduced me to her and we bonded.

She took me into her ceremony room and showed me the menu, so to speak. Served me many plates of mushrooms and sort of took me into her world in a quite a mighty hand, which was actually very masterful, loving, deeply caring and highly skilled. And I thought I have everything to learn. And she did teach me a lot over the next 20-something years. We traveled the world together and I went there many times, bringing many people. And I got immersed into this original tradition of the mushroom and the salvia.

And she initiated me to the salvia, which I did not know, which is a very fascinating plant, endemic to the region. It belongs to the region, unlike other things that grow in different places. 

So she showed me the leaves. She showed me her plant. We had to go to her place where she was, what my teacher was born to be able to see the plants that were growing near the house. We had to visit the plants and we had to talk to them and ask permission to take some leaves and bring them back to the house. And then she had me go into ceremony and gave me some leaves to chew. And she prayed to the goddess and to the earth mother and to the lady of the plant, the shepherdess, the ska pastora, it’s called.

And initiated me into this very feminine tradition of the salvia, which is a very beautiful space of the green world, seeing the world through the eyes of a plant is a very beautiful experience that is life-changing.

Tim Ferriss: All right. So let’s focus on the feminine for a minute because you’ve mentioned Pablo. My understanding of the lineage that you were exposed to by your teacher is that among the indigenous, in that part of Mexico, it seems like the mushroom traditions, which it sounds strange to even put it that way, but the medicine traditions are held in a very matriarchal lineage.

I mean, I’m sure there are male practitioners, but what’s that we’re going to come back to salvia. We’re not going to leave that open-ended because I know people will be interested to hear what that can be used for and what it should not be used for, perhaps how it should not be used. I certainly have some thoughts on that too. But was that your first time being exposed to a female centric tradition or to experts in medicine work who had a very sort of feminine orientation?

Françoise Bourzat: It was, and it was a really amazing moment for me. I was very grateful to Pablo, of course, I was very grateful to Ralph. I was very grateful to Salvador Roquet, who had been also a teacher of Pablo and a person in my life or so. But this was a men’s world and I had not had any women to lean on, so to speak, and to learn from. And being a woman in this field, 30 years ago was kind of lonely.

Even though there were other women interested in psychedelics, of course. And then my friends now and all that, but in terms of learning and studying and immersing oneself into someone as a teacher, and there was Stan Grof, of course, out there. It was not my teacher, but there were other men, of course, that were wonderful teachers in the field or knowledgeable people was a lot of wisdom.

But when I went to meet my teacher and I started to lean into this feminine environment — well, as a woman it felt natural. It felt coherent to my understanding of the space. My being a mother felt also part of resonance with my teacher who was a mother too. My personal closeness with the world of nature was very much in resonance with hers because she was also a farmer and carrying wood and picking up the coffee and planting her corn and all that and making her tortillas.

And so we would kind of have a togetherness in, again, the mushroom ceremony and how she would teach me how to guide it, but also in the life in general. And again, I think that what was really important for me was, sure, what she was teaching me in the ceremonial way, but how she was a teacher as a woman from my life, from much more aspects than just a ceremonial technology or context of her work.

And that’s what I think I learned a lot. I mean, she was not an ideal person. She had a personality in her moments like everybody else. But her way of being a master at what she was doing, and then a very humble woman otherwise, and a funny woman. And she, we were cracking up all the time and we would go and gather plants and drink a beer I don’t know, in the patio, do stuff that were kind of fun and rambunctious together.

And that world of a woman, what it’s like to be a woman master, it’s not just being serious in your ceremony room. There’s a whole life around. Life with the kids, with the grandkids in her case. And the people and the women in the market, and the way she eats and the way she cooks and the way she relates to the rituals of lighting candles and burning copal and all these different things that were part of her life, not just in the ceremony room.

And I think this is what touched me a lot was who she was as a woman with her imperfection, but who she was as a woman master of mushroom ceremony in her globality, in her wholeness.

Tim Ferriss: It makes me so happy that we’re able to cover so many different corners of this world through this conversation, because we talked about chaos music and having a woman screaming into your psyche, tearing you apart, breaking you down one step at a time, which can have tremendous value.

And then on the other side, you have had this deep exposure and training through these Mazatec traditions where they might bring a grandchild in during the ceremony to sing a song. They’ll ask you how you’re doing and check in with you and be very focused in their work and prayer and their efforts as a guide and clinician, while grasping very lightly, if that makes sense. It’s a very different touch and both can be extremely effective. I find that very reassuring.

And I would love to hear you describe how these indigenous groups, before we get to, because I realized I was getting ahead of myself. I was going, I was saying, we should discuss how and when, and so on, salvia should be used. But before we talk about how we might use salvia, I think it makes sense to talk about how traditionally salvia is used as well as mushrooms. And if you want to mention morning glory, we could talk about that as well. Just in terms of the tools that are used historically, for what purposes would these things be used?

Françoise Bourzat: it’s interesting; you were just starting by mentioning such a contrast in context, right? Between Diamanda Galás screaming in your ears, and then an indigenous teacher, “How you doing?” and praying over you and all that caring for you. And I think that what’s important too, I just want to do a little a wrap up on this, if I may, I think that what’s really important is to realize that the common denominator is the skillfulness of the container. 

Meaning, Pablo put Diamanda Galás with me, for me, and knew that I would feel safe because he was there and he was containing my experience, and I could feel the container of his faith in my process. That’s a really big precision, so to speak, to add, and my teacher’s the same thing. She could be there. She could check how I was doing. She could talk to her sense and order the mushrooms to do this or that on me, or touch me.

But it always, because you have people who are master guides, trained guides, skilled at what they’re doing, and whatever they’re doing, you receive and surrender, and you receive and trust that they do the right thing for you. So it’s about the quality of the guide that creates the safety and the trust in which all this can take place, whatever it is, Diamanda Galás or a nice little touch. So what was the part of your other question? Sorry! I wanted to put that out because I thought that was important.

Tim Ferriss: It is important because there is some common ground underneath kind of the obvious surface level tactics. So I think that’s important. The question was how the indigenous in that sort of Oaxacan region in the mountainous areas, for what purposes they use mushrooms or salvia or morning glory?

Françoise Bourzat: Well, they tend to use mushrooms in the rainy season, because that’s when they grow and they eat the mushroom fresh there. So the rainy season is generally between June and end of September, roughly. So during that time, there’s a lot of mushrooms. A lot of mushrooms. Trays and trays of various kinds of mushrooms arriving at the house. And you can’t keep up with them, basically.

And various mushrooms. Not just the cubensis, but the derrumbe, the pajaritos, the different mushrooms — all mind-altering mushrooms, of course. And then the salvia grows all year round by the little creek, in the shade, in the dappled shade, dappled sun. So the salvia is a medicine that can be used all year round. The morning glory seeds are growing at the end of the dry season, and they are blooming. And after the bloom people gather the seeds and the seeds can be, of course, used any time in the year. They can be kept forever.

And the seeds are chewed, or they’re soaked in warm water, and then chewed and they’re kind of pretty unpleasant on the stomach, I have to say. But that can make people a little nauseous. And then the journey is like an LSD journey, essentially. Very visual, not very physical, but very visual. So, that’s the morning glory seeds that create basically an LSD-like journey.

The salvia is traditionally chewed. It should not be smoked. I repeat. It should not be smoked. The smoking, the leaves of salvia, it’s an insult to the plant. It’s not appropriate. It’s not a fire element. It’s a water element. It’s a feminine watery element. And so it is supposed to be chewed, or some people have made tinctures with the leaves. And then the tincture can be brought into the mouth with a little hot water and left under the tongue to be absorbed by the sublingual membrane.

Salvia is not ingested in the stomach. It doesn’t affect you if you chew the leaves and swallow them immediately, they are absorbed by the sublingual membrane. The journey of salvia depends on the dosage one absorbs. And different people have different sensitivities towards salvia. Some people are very sensitive to it. I am one of them. Some people are not sensitive to it very much.

Tim Ferriss: Inside joke. Yep.

Françoise Bourzat: Cut that part! But memories, memories!

Tim Ferriss: Trip down memory lane. Assuming one has set sail with salvia, how long is the experience, generally speaking?

Françoise Bourzat: The experience is about an hour long. Again, depending on the number of leaves chewed, or drops of tinctures kept in the mouth, the journey can be anything from strangely relaxing on a physical level, a sense of quietness and suspension and ease, and sort of a somatic physical meditation that has no content, that has no much sensation. Just a sense of ease.

When the quantity is augmented, people tend to have access to very early memories. Early life memories, which can be very endearing, such as I remember remembering the underneath of the kitchen table in my childhood home, which is sweet. The memory bank of a young child of two years old, or three years old, looking under the table and having this world of what the world looks like, like this to the way my school bag was closing, this little closing of the school bag that they had in the old days in the ’60s.

And so it’s very sweet to have access to memories like this, of course, and Ralph and I were looking at that, it can be an incredible access to places in the psyche that are traumatized, that are holding memories, that are a lot more challenging. And by guiding the people into this field of access, one can remember physically or energetically or visually certain instances of trauma.

And Ralph and I had designed, or we designed, this protocol where people would be guided into accessing those places of pain, while also accessing the places in them that were healing that had the tool and skill to heal that very place or survive that very place. What was present at the time that allowed the young person to actually survive or cope.

So, very interesting introspective possibility was this medicine. I’m very interested in working with this for different reasons, because first of all, it’s accessible and it’s legal and it’s short acting. And when it’s held in a very careful way, it can have a lot of healing potential.

On a higher dose, salvia can be bringing people into very strange landscape of two-dimensional, nonphysical dimension, like the smell of a flower, becoming a smell or becoming a color or becoming a sense of time between sounds. So that can really take people into a sort of bizarre landscape, which I find fascinating.

Some people say, “You really like that?” And I said, “Yeah, because it’s the edge of consciousness. When are you going to become time? You got to take salvia for this.” And I love that. I love the idea of exploring weird dimensions. This is going to be my ultimate explore. How far can I go into weirdness?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it’s just to second that. I’d never heard you describe that experience of the bottom of your childhood table. The hypermnesia, the opposite of amnesia, that incredibly detailed access to old memory is really remarkable. I had a very parallel experience of remembering the brown corduroy of this couch when I had to be an infant. But it was as clear as crystal, this couch that I then recalled from old childhood photographs and so on.

And what was so incredible about the experience, and I should also just emphasize for people that salvia is legal in many places, it is not legal in all states. So make sure that you check your local jurisdiction. And I also would second your strong cautionary note that smoking for both, I would say reasons of respect to the genesis of these plants in the historical context, it’s inadvisable that one smoke a water plant, but secondarily, if you overwhelm yourself with a huge bolus of salvia, it is very often incredibly unpleasant. And a lot of people will try to run away from their experience and trip over couches and hit walls and things like that. So a lot of things to advise against it. 

But the lower range is being able to direct your memory also, was able to direct my memory to languages that I had studied decades ago, that I had no conscious recollection of, it was fascinating.

At the higher doses, it is extremely bizarre. If you want to, like you said, experience being time between the beats or inhabiting object consciousness as a lamppost or something like that, then this may be the tool for you. And it’s incredibly distinct for me. At least from any of the classic psychedelics that act strongly on the serotonin type 2A receptors. I mean, it’s acting on the kappa opioid receptors. It’s completely distinct.

Françoise Bourzat: That’s right. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Ferriss: And for what purpose would a Mazatec use salvia or mushrooms, what problems would they be trying to solve? What goal would they be trying to facilitate? What are the, just like a doctor might say, “Hey, take two of these and call me in the morning. I’m going to give you this anti-inflammatory to decrease inflammation. I’m going to give you this painkiller to deal with this particular issue.” What are the problems or goals that they use these things for?

Françoise Bourzat: Well, they use mushrooms for an overall access to the spiritual world to clearing and cleaning their heart and to circulate energy in the body, to clarify relationships, and to pray. To have a devotional practice, to have access to their relational pathway with the divine God, as they call it, and to the Earth. They believe in praying to the Earth, just like praying to God. They believe in praying to the mushrooms’ intelligence, just like praying to the divine, disincarnated.

The salvia seems to be more used there. I have a little less knowledge of that plant. But what I understand and what I’ve talked with them is that they use the plant for divination, for finding out something, finding out what is the source of that disease, finding out if a loved one is well, finding out if who is cursing them. They talk a lot about energies there and someone wishing them wrong can be impacting their energy field, and they’re treating that very seriously. They call it envidia.

If someone has envidia, it creates a distorted field around the person who’s receiving that, not curse per se, but bad wish or envidia, envy. And so they want to know who is creating that envy feeling, where does that come from? And once they know where it’s coming from, they can have more tools to actually block energetically the source of that disturbance. So it’s more used for finding things out, which is a divinatory power of the plant really.

Tim Ferriss: Well, it is Salvia divinorum after all. Diviner’s sage is literally the name.

Françoise Bourzat: Yes, exactly.

Tim Ferriss: And just to translate a few things that you said, or to emphasize them, underscore them, the mushrooms could be used for disharmony in the family, right? If a couple is in a huge fight, or if there’s just some degree of discord within a home, that’s one use case. Then there’s this entire spectrum of possible uses ranging from connecting with God or the sacred all the way to “Who stole my donkey?” which I actually saw this old footage of.

There’s this show from the ’50s, I want to say, called One Step Beyond. You can find this black and white video on YouTube. It’s actually a really an incredible anthropological watch. But they visit a curandero in Mexico, working with mushrooms, and a local has come to this person specifically to find out where his donkey is that has been stolen. And so it goes all the way from the deeply sacred on one side to the secular and profane and very mundane.

Françoise Bourzat: Practical.

Tim Ferriss: Practical.

Françoise Bourzat: Pragmatic, yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Donkey locator.

Françoise Bourzat: I mean, Tim, the fascinating thing about how this people will consider the mushroom, it’s a doctoring. I mean, they say it does everything. I mean there’s, this is the magic pill for them. I mean, I’m not making fun of them, but whatever’s wrong, they go to the doctor and the doctor is the mushroom. So the doctor is going to show them their illness, show them the spirit, show them everything they have to see.

So they go there and they know they’re going to see whatever they need to see. And it’s appropriate to where they are. So this is really the ultimate and only doctor. I mean, these are very poor people who don’t have access to medicine. So the only thing that helps them to restore their energy, to clean themselves, this is a lot of cleansing and mushroom, right? Purification.

And so that process is really restoring them to health and they’re right. It works. It is a process of restoring health through moving things and finding things out and revealing memories and different emotions that are lodged. And so they’re right. It circulates energy and it purifies the whole system. Yeah. That’s what I’m describing in the book a little bit. The circulation of energy is what creates the healing.

Tim Ferriss: And if we look at these, for instance, this particular indigenous tradition, there are so many things to be gleaned and learned from a skilled practitioner, say amongst the Mazatec, someone who has been doing this for decades, but is actually a part of a lineage that extends for hundreds of thousands of years. And many things that might be dismissed ended up being very practical also. Let’s just say, eating mushrooms with the front teeth, right? Which, or combining it with honey and cacao. 

Also quite a lot to be said for what that does for energy through the night, plus allowing the psilocybin to be absorbed sort of at the early stages of digestion, right? So these things that might be dismissed by researchers or doctors as superstitious in fact have some very practical outcomes, but at the same time, it seems very challenging to copy and paste what is done in Mexico to say Chicago, where the culture and maybe some of the maladies affecting people are so different. 

So my question is, and this is part of the reason I enjoy spending time with you, is that you have the extended training in these indigenous traditions, but you also have the psychotherapeutic lens and you have exposure to other tools. What are some of the challenges of say, we’ll just keep it simple, North Americans from highly industrialized cities using these indigenous traditions? Can the tools be used with people who have a pathology of extreme self-loathing or perhaps other issues that don’t present themselves as much in these traditional cultures? And how have you thought about combining different elements?

Françoise Bourzat: It is true. I hear you completely, that the industrialized world has different afflictions that are not necessarily present in an indigenous framework. The social fabric, the isolation, the disconnection from nature, the source of the food, the spiritual environment for cultural, global, social prayers are not there in the Chicago suburb, let’s say. However, if we look at the, I will say, the big picture of the mushroom, fundamentally what mushrooms are doing, they are like adaptogens, meaning like I said earlier, they will restore us to the middle place in which we settle our physical and emotional bodies.

So no matter where we live, no matter who we are, and come from, or the environment in which we live, the social framework in which we live, or the family background that we carry, the mushrooms will go inside the person to restore what needs to be re-enlivened and to calm what needs to be appeased. To fuel what needs to be fed and to bring calm to what is exacerbated like craving and wanting and addiction and pacing and fast consumerism.

So things are again, brought to a healthy middle, a healthy normal, a healthy flow. The fascinating thing is that no matter who goes into these mushroom journeys, the result of the process is the process of a human being fundamentally unified. Yes, we have our distinction. Someone from a certain race has certain burdens or stress. Real stress in life that another person from another race doesn’t have. Clearly, we’re not denying that. Or a person in a certain economical status will have different stress than a person who has less means. But when we go into the work, what I’ve been fascinated by reflecting and seeing is that people are all dealing with the same thing. How do I love myself? How do I respect myself? How do I take care of myself? How do I remember who I am in this body, in this heart, in this life, and how do I express that?

And it doesn’t really matter the culture, ultimately, because the core of the person is being treated. The afflictions, or the presenting symptoms, or the presenting stresses are unique, but the fundamental cure is the same. I was talking to my friend in the region there, my Mazatec friend, and she was having family problems. And I said to her, “Well, would you do mushrooms for this? Would you go into a mushroom journey?” And she said, “Yeah. I need to do mushrooms.”

And I said, “But you could go pray. You could do different things. What would the mushroom do for you?” And she said, “Well, I’m a human being and I have family problems and I’m going to take the mushroom to find out how I can heal myself and how I can open my heart and how can I maybe be guided in the right step of what I need to be doing for my family or for my relationship, or for whatever. I’m going to do what I need to do and the mushroom is going to guide me.” And I was telling her, I said, “Well, it’s interesting. It’s the same thing that I would tell anybody in North America who has a very different lifestyle, very different circumstances of livelihood, and people are suffering.”

And she said, “Yeah. People are suffering. People are people and people are suffering.” You’re Asian, you’re African-American, you’re Latino, you’re white. You have different circumstances that are very unique to your race, possibly, to your location, where you live with your race. But inside your heart, the pain of suffering, or the pain of addiction, or the pain of a family situation is very shared. And she said, “When humanity can really connect on the level of shared pain, we can really heal the world and society.”

We have to find a commonality. We have to find our difference, recognize our difference of context and race and social class and all this and where we live. And we have to find where we are united on the fundamental level, which was very interesting for me, because I thought she would make a distinction between while I’m here and you’re there, and this is not the same problem. And but no, she was actually finding, not the common denominator, but the common ground for what creates healing for the world, really.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I’m sitting two feet from this book, which you certainly know, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl.

Françoise Bourzat: Oh, yeah, exactly.

Tim Ferriss: And despite our many particularities, there’s a lot of core fundamentals that are shared. And I suppose part of why I asked it, the way that I asked it is that in certain cultures, whether it’s in a Shipibo village or in Mazatec town, or in a household, in an indigenous community where you have three generations or four generations, the idea of integration in some senses is built into the cultural fabric, where in the US that as one example, that may not be the case. So if we go back to the bereaved parents in Jamaica, and this’ll be a segue into discussing components of training, what makes a well-trained guide, and also what can go sideways if you do not have a well-trained guide. What did the prep end or integration, you can pick whichever, look like for that group of bereaved parents?

Françoise Bourzat: The retreat we designed was a five-day retreat, and it was five days because we wanted to live with them. It was not exclusively about the mushroom journey itself — or themselves, because we did two mushroom journeys. We did a light dose and then two days later, a deeper dive. It’s because we wanted to create an entire context for them to be together, to journey together, to support one another, and to be supported. 

And we created a series of practices. One was journal writing, creating an intention. Each parent was paired up with a guide that would spend time on Zoom before getting to Jamaica to talk about their background, talk about their support system, if they were in therapy, of course, medical background and check on their meds since some of them were on antidepressant or antianxiety due to their grief, and creating a vision for their healing. What did they wish for? What photo they wanted to bring of their child. So there was a lot of preparatory practices. Once we got into Jamaica, we also went to take walks in nature there. It was a beautiful place. And we did some sharing circles, of course, to hear each other. And we did the preparatory journey of a light dose to prepare the parents for the effect of the mushrooms since most of them had not done mushrooms before. 

Tim Ferriss: If I may interrupt for a second, what was a light dose or the lighter dose?

Françoise Bourzat: It was about a gram-and-a-half. A gram-and-a-half of dried mushrooms. Yeah. Maybe a gram, even some women were, or there was a couple of women who were very sensitive and we gave them maybe three-quarters of a gram, even. And it really got them opened up, so to speak, and started to open their grieving, which was very touching. The deeper dive was definitely a higher dose, like around between three-and-a-half and five-and-a-half, six grams for some, a couple of men needed higher doses. We did a lot of work in nature. We did land art. We went to the river. We went swimming in the river. We really wanted people to be resourced by nature and grounded in nature and surrounded by the elements. The diet was very important. I had asked for a vegetarian diet. We had a couple of meals with fish at a certain time after the journey, but not before the journey. We had no alcohol during the entire time; nobody was drinking at all.

We did some artwork with clay. We had a ceramics studio nearby and we did clay. And I want to say here, I want to name it. It’s very emotional for me. But one woman actually brought the ashes of her daughter and made a vessel with the ashes in the clay. That kind of stuff happened there. And she was crying the whole time and making that vessel so beautiful. Another woman made a vase to hold flowers on the altar for her son. So we had these moments like this of very — imagine this preparation, right? This woman is holding her daughter’s ashes to put in this clay.

So we had all these different elements of preparation and then we had the journey, the big journey especially. A lot of sharing, a lot of touching base with each parent by the guide’s presence. We had some energy work being dispensed by a wonderful Jamaican energy worker. We had some body work sessions for people to be receiving some TLC and care and attention. We protected people’s solitude if they wanted to be alone. And then after the journey we had, of course, a lot of talking, a lot of sharing, a lot of naming how parents had been so touched by each other’s journey.

There was this man who, I think it would be okay for me to say that, he was sitting up and he had a hard time considering his own relationship with his son. Yeah. It was complex. A lot of fathers and teenage sons, complex relationships. And he leaned over and he asked me to give him the picture of the other son of this other woman. And when he looked at this picture of the others’ child, he cried. He couldn’t have cried with a picture of his own child. He was blocked in a way, not in a bad way, but he was in the complexity of the dynamic and he could not access his grief.

But when he looked at this other child who had died, he accessed his tears and then he put the pictures next to each other. So he put the children together and that was so touching. I was sitting there, with tears in my eyes. I mean, this entire journey was quite an amazing experience for the staff to witness all these moments where parents would support one another and champion one another. The integration was also of course, individual talk and then some different rituals that people would do and letters to write to their child and people.

There’s this one woman. She went to the place where her child had been working and she brought some presents from Jamaica and left them there and then decided to move town. And she had not been wanting to move because she felt she needed to stay where her daughter had died, and now she could leave. She could move on with her life. So, yeah. We’re having a Zoom session, all of us Saturday, again, to follow up. We’re doing a lot of group session follow up. All the staff, all the parents, to be able to continue the weaving of the support and the listening to one another.

Tim Ferriss: Now there are a few things that you just described that really strike me, of course, putting aside for the moment, just the emotional impact of the story of the ashes and the story of looking at the photograph of someone else’s child. I mean, these are really charged, powerful moments. From a practitioner’s standpoint, a number of things — not to say I’m a practitioner — but looking at how this was formatted, a few things that really strike me. Number one is that the power of the group dynamic seems to be such an incredible, formative element in the possible outcomes for something like this type of deep grief of losing a child. And that it also presents in a way, a tremendous opportunity, because one of the challenges of providing psychedelic therapy — or psychedelic assisted-therapy is the best way to phrase it — to greater numbers of people is certainly training enough competent practitioners, which you’re spearheading in a very real way.

And then also mitigating some of the costs, which can be done through scholarships, can be done through, hopefully, insurance reimbursement and also through group experiences. And I find that very reassuring, to see not that it is necessarily as effective as one-on-one work, but that in some respects these group dynamics could be more effective for people and provide them with a support structure afterwards that isn’t entirely dependent on a therapist. 

The other point that I want to ask also as a clarifying question, I might know the answer, we’ll see, is the reason for introducing the nature, the artwork, and these various tools, to provide people with grounding mechanisms that they can then use after they leave Jamaica when they are physically removed from the group, from the therapist, so that they feel resourced to, in some way, extend the therapeutic or deepen the therapeutic effect and they feel that they can do that on their own? Is that part of the reason why you introduce those elements, or are there other reasons?

Françoise Bourzat: It is. It is partially because I want to give them skills and tools to continue to stabilize what they have opened up in the journey. And furthermore, I mean, there’s different layers of this. One other aspect is that when they will be in nature, that sensation of being in nature will remind them of the retreat and the remembrance, or when they do clay, or when they do some ritual together on the land, or they create a mandala with twigs, they will always reminisce of what happened in that retreat. So it’s like a Pavlovian response. You associate something with something, and then you are activating the entire emotional state that was present at the retreat. So when they go swimming in a river from now on, that will remind them of the retreat. When they make some clay, that will remind them of the retreat.

When they watch this clay vessel that they’ve made, they will be reminded of the retreat. So all these different elements are bringing them back into the felt sense of the retreat. The other thing about nature that is very, very important for me and that I’ve learned from both of my teachers is that we are healed by nature. We are healed by the elements. We are here healed by the grass and the trees and the rocks and the water. We are nature. So to bring that element, it’s not just a tool in and of itself, but it is a reminder of our natural self. Julieta always used to say, my teacher always used to say, that it’s not the mushroom that heals us, it’s the nature that grows it. 

And so the ayahuasca, the iboga, all these plants, the salvia, they are messengers of nature. They are different children of nature and they look different and they have different potency and they work differently on the brain, but essentially they are grown and born of nature. So by being in nature, it’s an activity and it’s an environment, but it’s essentially reconnecting with the absolute and ultimate healer. And that’s really what the indigenous traditions are all about. It’s about earth. It’s about orientation. It’s about food. It’s about the elementals. It’s about the herbs that heal the body.

It’s all about the rituals that are done on the earth with the earth, from the earth, elements of the earth. And that’s really the only elements of indigenous wisdom that needs to be brought into our more industrialized world. And that’s important for me, as far as guide training, like bringing, how do we bring indigenous wisdom into a training format? And those are elements of the essential existence of nature. And essence of nature is what needs to be very, very central to that indigenous wisdom.

Tim Ferriss: So I don’t know if we’ll have time, but people should certainly look this up. I don’t know if there’s a particularly a good place to find it, but your involvement with the Council for 13 Indigenous Grandmothers is such an incredible story and represents such a rich cohesion and diversity in this group. I do have a hard cover. I don’t know if people can actually purchase this book at this point that describes all 13 Grandmothers, Julieta being one of them. Do you know if people can find more information about this online anywhere? And I suppose whether they can or can’t, you could give them just an overview of what that was because I was struggling.

Françoise Bourzat: I think it might still be. I know there is a website and there were some activities the Council dissolved because they’ve completed their cycle of offerings over the years since they created the council in 2004, upstate New York, as a matter of fact, in Menla Retreat Center, and that’s where this was created. And they’ve been in each other’s place, and they prayed together, but there is a website called possibly Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. That should be the word for it. And there’s a movie about the Grandmothers called Grandmothers Counsel the World, I think. Well, maybe that’s the title of the book. I forgot. But there are different things to listen, and there’s a wonderful movie that was done about all this Council that ends actually when we went to visit His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. We had a private audience with him and that’s when the movie ends, actually. Kind of early into the Council life, but it was very beautiful to have these different voices of indigenous women brought together to exchange prayers and exchange ways of connecting with the land, with their indigenousness. It was very inspiring to be immersed in that field for a little while.

Tim Ferriss: And just to add a little more description to that, these were 13 female indigenous leaders from all over the world, very different traditions in many cases. And we will put links in the show notes for people who would like to explore that more, which I highly, highly recommend. 

Let’s talk about training for a moment, and I want to explore that because of course that is one of the focal points for the Center of Consciousness Medicine. I think it makes sense to talk about some of the potential risks of using these very powerful plants and compounds. What are some of the risks if you use these compounds with untrained facilitators, or rent-a-shamans who advertise on Facebook, who really have no proper training? What are some of the things that can go wrong?

Françoise Bourzat: Well, the first and foremost warning is health safety. Someone who is not doing a safe enough intake on the health condition of the person wanting to journey, someone who’s not paying attention to the medication they may take, someone who doesn’t know if there has been known traumas, present addiction patterns, an absence of support system, a very disturbed family environment in which they would return after an experience, an issue of racism or economical hardship or oppression in their life.

If someone does not ask this question to a journeyer in the intake in the first getting to know someone who wants a journey, that can lead to some very complicated situations of feeling unsupported, of feeling endangered physically, psychologically, emotionally. That’s the first thing that comes in my consciousness when you say that: the wrong intake or the absence of intake. Then there is also the whole layer of intelligence in this process of journey. What one person can touch in those experiences is so diverse that one can be really sick physically. One can be emotionally very triggered into repressed memories or a real memory of being oppressed, of being attacked, of being mishandled as a child. 

If a guide is not an officiator, or a facilitator is not really trained, that can be really leading to retraumatization and a sense of abandonment, a sense of wounding. So that can be really dangerous and destabilizing for the person being in the journey and coming out of it. And then there is a whole layer of how is the guide or the facilitator in this case, how is the facilitator really educated in the skill, in the art of guiding, of holding a tradition, of intervening or having some skills and technique to hold the space for certain situations that open? So there are a lot of dangerous in there when someone is not really adequately trained.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. And there are red flags like you mentioned. I would consider lack of a medical intake to be an immediate red flag. If someone doesn’t ask you what medications you’re on, I’ve spoken to people who are on the verge of going to drink ayahuasca and they’re taking SSRIs and no one asks them what medications they’re taking, which can be incredibly dangerous. Serotonin syndrome is not a joke. So there are some very real health risks and psychiatric, certainly, medications can be contra-indicated. But that would certainly be a red flag. If the absence of a medical intake would be a huge red flag, let’s talk about also the ability to handle challenging experiences. And I want to use an example from your book. Consciousness Medicine discusses many facets of this type of work, many different tools, many different frameworks. And I’m looking at page 161. So, 161, and it reads as follows. I’m going to dig into a specific example because I have a friend who comes to mind and here’s how it reads. 

The following five categories include the most common types of spiritual experiences people have in expanded states of consciousness, so expanded states of consciousness here can refer to many things. It could be elicited by breathwork. It could also be elicited by something like salvia or mushrooms or another entheogen or psychedelic. So here are the five. One, meaninglessness. Two, reclaiming our spiritual life. Three, messianic and spiritual archetypes. Four, the underlying perfection of all things. Five, ego dissolution.

So some of these are easier to contend with than others. And I want to bring up an example of a friend. This is from a recent conversation who had an experience. He had a number of recreational experiences in college and then nothing for several decades, and then had a very large psychedelic experience. And he ended up finding himself in his session in what he would consider a void, if that makes sense. So he was sort of pulled into outer space and found himself in this deep, dark void. And he suffered from, and I’ve also had this experience, a degree of let’s call it ontological shock, where you’re so zoomed out in this void that it can be incredibly challenging to re-engage with the day to day of ensuring that you have lunch and handle email and your calendar.

When all of a sudden you’ve zoomed out and seen all of humanity and the species of humankind as this flickering of a firefly, it’s very hard sometimes to go back to navigating normal life. You’re capable of it, but it can be very difficult. So he struggled with that experience of what he would call kind of meaninglessness. Exactly that. I mean, it’s one of these categories for a reason. And if a practitioner, if a guide does not know how to help someone digest that or integrate it, or at least to metabolize it, it can have very long-term, lingering effects. How do you help someone with that type of experience?

Françoise Bourzat: Being in the meaninglessness can be scary or it can be very fruitful. Meaning some people touch the meaninglessness because they are very dramatizing life. They’re very like, everything is a big deal and everything is a big drama. And so they need to touch the 180 of this, right? What is the 180? Nothing matters. And so it doesn’t mean nothing matters, it means they are on the other spectrum of what they’re taking life as. I’m not saying this is the case, maybe for your friend, but this is one option of why this is appearing for them. Why? Because they have to feel what it’s like to have a life that’s not so heavy in meaning, so heavy in intellectualizing everything that happens or analyzing everything psychologically or dissecting every emotion they have. So that can be sort of taking them out of their brain, so to speak, and out of their emotional intensity. For other people, meaninglessness can also be bringing up the fact that they have absolutely no connection with spirit.

They have no practice. They have no belief. They have no cultivation of a spiritual ethos. They have no relationship with what is sacred in their life. I’m not saying imposing any dogma of any religion, but what sacred means to them. So they realize how flat their life is. So that can be another reason why someone has that kind of experience. That can be an interesting topic. I had a person once who, in a journey, was touching such meaninglessness. And she was realizing that life was like a big desert. There was no growth, there was nothing on it. And I said to her, “Well, what is sacred for you?”

I was just asking the question later on. And she said, “Well, nothing really.” And I said, “Oh, so what grows in the desert? Is the desert sacred in and of itself? I’m not saying it doesn’t have to be sacred, but can you see the sacredness in the desert, or what grows here? There’s life in the desert.” And she said, “Well, no, there’s nothing here.” I’m like, “So, how do you cultivate sacredness in life? How do you invite the possibility that things are more than flat and meaningless?” So inviting sacredness, making some ritual, putting a candle, it’s like fake it till you make it. You have to set up something, that’s going to start to cultivate the possibility of an emergence of something until it emerges. 

You just do it, you do it, you do it, and then all of a sudden you start to, oh, it starts to work. Something is, in fact, feeling more meaningful or I’m starting to feel more in awe, in wonder. Every journey, no matter how cryptic it is, has a meaning, has a reason to be, and it’s a perfect journey for you. You just have to find out what it is. And that’s why a guide comes in because a guide who is well-trained, who has been in many places themselves in those experiences, can navigate the complexity of what can come up. And that’s the first condition of a well-trained guide is a guide that knows the inner space of the journey itself.

Tim Ferriss: And also sometimes it’s the guide simply telling you that this happens. That it is not some unique flaw that means you have a cosmic deficiency for all time. It’s like, this is one of the five categories, this comes up, and someone who can allow you or help you to make meaning of it that is serving instead of debilitating. And I like the fake it until you make it. It’s like, all right, I understand that you don’t think anything is sacred, but maybe you should ask yourself what would you do if you believed something were sacred? And let’s just practice that for a week.

Françoise Bourzat: Exactly. It’s like, unless you sit down on a mat, on a cushion, and close your eyes for five minutes a day, you’ll never know how meditation can feel like. But if you do that every day, it’s going to start talking to you, you’re going to start feeling ease, and you’re going to start to tap into quietness. And pretty soon you’re going to like it, but first it might be totally boring, right? It’s practice, right? Practice, yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Because it’s in your bio and you and I have discussed it before, I want to at least give mention to it. And that is the Hakomi Method. Would you be willing to describe what the Hakomi Method is and how it is useful or used?

Françoise Bourzat: So the Hakomi Method was created by Ron Kurtz, I think in the, I want to say in the ’80s, I’m going to take the bold move here. And it was created out of a combination of principle of mindfulness, principle drawn from gestalt, principle coming from system theory, and from Feldenkrais. I think I don’t forget anything. It’s been a long time since I’ve been immersed in Hakomi training and I was trained a long time ago. And those different aspects of this method invite people into a mindful awareness of how their emotions are organized physically, are held in the body, and how they can be transformed. It’s about looking at belief system and organization of experience on a physical level. And so, with the aid of a practitioner, one can take stock of how one feels, where is it lodged in the body, and how to identify the belief system associated with this physical experience, emotional experience, and change those belief systems and change the map of the inner self consequently. Very interesting method of looking at the inner landscape of one’s experience.

Tim Ferriss: What would you like the Center for Consciousness Medicine to achieve? What are you hoping it to do? And of course, people can find more information at I know a fair bit about your background. There are some very skilled and well-credentialed people associated. Why create it? And what are you hoping for it to accomplish?

Françoise Bourzat: You know, it has been my dream really to replicate and pass on, transmit what I’ve learned. And it has been important for me to empower more therapists to have a knowledge of indigenous traditions, of a method that is holistic at the core, to help people with psychedelic experiences when they become available. Because training skilled guides is essential for the future of what psychedelic can be for the world, for the population. The uniqueness in this formula that we are creating is that we are really bridging an indigenous arc and method and come from and philosophy into a more industrialized, Western model of psychotherapy and approach with trauma. As you well know from your podcast with Gabor Maté, you understand the intricacy of trauma, and we want to bring all this knowledge of trauma, attachment addiction, depression, anxiety, into a crossing with the indigenous knowledge and wisdom that really can anchor the psychedelic work the best, we feel.

So we are not so much looking into the clinical lens, although we value it, but we’re looking into bringing these two worlds together, which is really my passion. When I see a lot of trainings going around, I appreciate everybody’s creation, of course. But I always see that they are lacking the indigenous soul, the fuel, the roots of this entire practice of psychedelic, essentially. So for me I’m really fascinated and passionate about bringing that. So our goal is to offer these trainings to a lot of people coming from many different backgrounds. We want to make it accessible. We want to make it really reciprocal. We want to create a way to support the indigenous people who have carried these traditions. And we are actually creating a reciprocity fund as we speak, which is very inspiring for me. I really want that culture to be supported in what they’ve carried for so many years and passed on to us through — Maria Sabina and Gordon Wesson and all this, and us, right? Who now can carry the psilocybin work forward through research and through this practice.

We want to be respectful of the Mazatec tradition. I feel I have woven relationships for over 20 years with them, and I feel a very good standing in my authorization of articulating things that they want me to teach to people as we articulate at CCM, this weaving that I was talking about. And we have many years of being therapists and being in the work of psychedelic, we have 35 years essentially, of being immersed into this world. So, we feel we can offer a certain expertise and angle into that.

Tim Ferriss: I also want to say, because I don’t think we’ll get into a lot of the details of this, but I think it’s worth saying that your influence and impact in the let’s just say the psychedelic communities extends a lot further than people may realize into the medical communities, into the research and scientific communities. You have been engaged and teaching for a very long time, and that your interests are touching on multiple pillars of this rapidly growing sort of not just community, but within the realm of scientific research, clinical applications, these are all sort of overlapping portions of a Venn diagram that you are familiar with and within which you’ve spent time. And that’s part of why I’ve wanted to have this conversation on the podcast, because I think you really represent a cross-disciplinary approach that is able to customize for the patients who need it most by training well-versed and adaptable therapists or guides.

Let’s just call it psychedelic assist therapists or therapists who work with psychedelic compounds. Are there any particular criteria that you think make for a good — I’ll just use the term “therapist” to make it simple. I’m not talking about necessarily a licensed therapist in the context of state-licensed for psychotherapy, but if we’re talking about psychedelic-assisted therapy, what do you think, if any, are the criteria or prerequisites that make for good therapists?

Françoise Bourzat: I’m going to say the main number one criteria is personal experience with the psychedelic people are going to give people. So a therapist should really understand the personal experience, the benefit, the territory, the complexity, the diversity of experience one can have. Ideally speaking, I mean, in the ideal world, you and I know that in the Amazon or in Mexico, people have years of experience before they’re going to be daring to give someone else the medicine. I mean, their apprenticeship level is thorough and long. Now we can’t be replicating that because it’s just not possible, right? It’s very complicated to create such a level of apprenticeship even though I wish it for people. So the personal experience that we want to deliver to the future trained therapist is essential. So we want to make sure that people have the experience of the mushroom themselves, that they are watching guides practice, or senior guides practice, on other people, their skills and techniques. 

And we want to create a model that is both an apprenticeship and in personal experience, and also practicing on each other within the training. So it’s a multifaceted model that is very sort of time-consuming and sort of high-level, but we feel it’s essential to not dilute the quality for the quantity, even though we want to make sure a lot of people will be trained and we have a sort of a scaling of numbers, I don’t know exactly, but lots of people will be trained, but we want to be really diligent in how each therapist will be really having their own experience to really understand what it’s like to be in such space. That’s really the first condition.

Tim Ferriss: And I will say that, as someone who’s certainly surveyed the landscape for a fair period of time and dug around and considered many different options for increasing the quantity of qualified therapists who can provide these types of therapies, which is one of the primary rate-limiting steps of making these therapeutically available to more people. One of the largest problems to address — or challenges — is training therapists. And looking at the options in the field at the moment, I feel very confident that you represent — and your team, but certainly I haven’t spent time with all of your team — but a very informed, well-practiced approach to increasing the number of therapists while maintaining a very high level of quality, because there are going to be many incentives, economic incentives, business model incentives, perhaps regulatory incentives, I don’t know, to minimize the amount of training.

And I think it’s very compound-dependent. Perhaps there are compounds where a non-directive light touch can be highly effective and that it copies and pastes into the sort of current Western psychotherapeutic model, 60-minute sessions very well. But in many instances that will not be the case. And I really encourage people to go to the website for the Center for Consciousness Medicine, which is My understanding is that more and more resources will be available there in terms of roadmaps and suggestions for those who are interested in considering becoming a therapist or guide with respect to psychedelic-assisted therapies. There will be events, blog posts, and other materials to help people navigate the terrain related to training, treatment, research, and so on. And I’m very excited for you and I’m excited for the center. So I would love to know if you have anything more to add on specifically the center for Consciousness Medicine, is there anything that we haven’t discussed that you would like to add?

Françoise Bourzat: Yeah, I’m just really excited about the creation of the Center for Consciousness Medicine and the team is really excellent. And we’re really inspired to spearhead this lounge because we feel that we can be creating a culture that’s really high in level, but also very collaborative, so we’re not into being superior. We’re into being collaborative and exchange ideas and sort of bring a color of culture into, like you said, the world of medical research and treatments and education and the various organizations that are going out there. So, we’re really excited and we were grateful to be here with you today to be able to, or me as a representative or co-founder of CCM, to be here with you and talking about all this.

Tim Ferriss: It’s always great fun to see you and I’m thrilled that we’re finally able to have this conversation. People can find you online at franç, That is the jumping off point for all of these things. We’ll link to all the social in the show notes at, so we’ll make it easy for people to find everything. Is there anything else, Françoise, that you would like to add a request of the audience, anything at all that you’d like to say before we up this first conversation? There are so many millions of other topics that we could cover, so we may do a round two at some point. But is there anything else for this round one that you would like to say before we close out?

Françoise Bourzat: I’m really inspired by the movement in general. I’m really inspired by my colleagues, by everybody, really fascinated by the field and the cross-pollination that can happen. And the audience being interested in all this and sort of echoing this passion for health and transformation and growth and healing ourselves and the planet. So I’m really very passionate then and pleased to be part of this movement and to continue putting the bricks on the path to harmony. Thank you so much, Tim.

Tim Ferriss: Thank you. And to everybody listening, once again, the resources that we mentioned, the book Consciousness Medicine, the Center for Consciousness Medicine, everything else we’ve talked about, the various figures, the various people, the various resources, and so on will all be linked to, if you want to listen to some disordering chaos music, we’ll provide a few selections in the show notes as well at and until next time be safe. Keep your mind open, keep your heart open and thanks for tuning in.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 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.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)