Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Series: Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy Retreats and Training with Catherine Warnock | POP 990

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What are the lifelong transformative changes that a person can experience at a professional psilocybin retreat? Why can undergoing a period of ego-dissolution be transformational to your understanding of your life, and the world around you? Why is integration essential? 

In this podcast episode of the psychedelic-assisted therapy series, Joe Sanok speaks about psilocybin-assisted therapy retreats and training with Catherine Warnock.

Podcast Sponsor: Psychiatry Institute

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Meet Catherine Warnock

A photo of Catherine Warnock is captured. She is a Licensed Professional Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Catherine is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.
Catherine is a Licensed Professional Clinical Mental Health Counselor registered in the state of New Mexico and a Licensed Professional Counselor registered in the states of Texas and Colorado. She obtained her Masters in Counseling from the University of Colorado, Denver. Prior to pursuing her graduate degree, Catherine had a career as a Forensic Scientist working as a DNA analyst and a Crime Scene Technician for over 10 years. This experience continues to be helpful in that she can provide a logical and/or emotional perspective depending on what best meets her client’s needs.

Catherine is the founder of Emotional Triggers Treatment (ETT). She developed this treatment to help clients resolve the stuckness that many of her clients were experiencing.

Visit The Mariposa Counseling Center and Emotional Triggers Treatment. Connect with Catherine on Facebook and Instagram.
FREEBIE: Email [email protected] for a free copy of the Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy Preparation Handbook

In this Podcast

  • Psilocybin-assisted therapy retreats 
  • Terminology necessities 
  • How temporary ego-dissolution can be transformative 
  • Catherine’s advice to private practitioners

Psilocybin-assisted therapy retreats 

Traditional retreats may have a more shamanistic, spiritual focus, which is great and helpful to certain people. However, these retreats are a little different. 

We focus on trauma resolution and self-awareness, and self-exploration, so we’re doing things in a more private setting, so even if it’s a group situation everyone is still getting their own space. (Catherine Warnock) 

During these retreats, even though groups of people attend them, every person gets to have their own room, and their own time, as well as the fact that these retreats have more facilitators working with Catherine so that everyone can be given attention and guidance. 

The only difference really is … how many people are sharing the costs. (Catherine Warnock)

The typical arc of the psilocybin-assisted retreat may look like: 

  • Screening people before accepting them into the retreat 
  • Organizing the set and setting which occur in advance 
  • Spending three sessions with potential clients before the retreat, which also helps with building the therapeutic relationship with the clients 
  • Holding a combined group meeting at the retreat so that everyone meets each other and gets familiar with the space before the retreat starts in earnest 
  • They do not provide hero doses for clients, and instead provide an “ego-dissolution” tea 
  • Toward the end of the retreat, clients can process their newfound deeper understanding through journaling, talking, or reflecting 
  • The integration step of the process is critical, and the retreat highly encourages clients to work with their new discoveries actually to create change in their lives for the future 

Terminology necessities 

1 – Hero dose: five grams or more 

We have found that we don’t need to go that high. We typically don’t go above four grams … I would say most people, three to four grams … and it allows for that dissolution, which is how the work can actually be accomplished. (Catherine Warnock) 

2 – Microdosing: 0.1 grams or more 

3 – “Feed the list”: clients will write a list of intentions for their experience and during the retreat, facilitators will guide the clients to return to their list to work through what they had intended to. 

No facilitator is going to tell the client what they should or should not be thinking about, but merely to remind them and keep them on the therapeutic path. 

How temporary ego-dissolution can be transformative

[The] ego is a valuable part of our mind that allows us to be safe in this world. So, our ego creates a lot of protection mechanisms that also keeps us safe in our thinking as well … Therefore I can remove myself from the equation so that I might be better to gain better understanding and empathy. (Catherine Warnock) 

The ego is a constructed self that protects you from the difficulties and pain of the external world, the wounds of others, and how they might be projected onto you. 

Your ego is a helpful tool, but at certain times, it can protect you a little too well by not allowing you to see the picture without always turning the focus back on yourself. 

Sometimes it is helpful and therapeutically healing to suspend the ego for a period, enabling us to look past our perception of what happened or happens, and rather at the emotional and spiritual environment that the situation was born from. 

People sometimes have a hard time seeing things from a more objective point of view because their own experiences are filters that absolutely affect the ways that they see those situations. (Catherine Warnock)

Catherine’s advice to private practitioners 

Mushrooms are a powerful healing medicine, and they need to be used in a specific way for someone to have positive, therapeutic results. 

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Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Series: Using MDMA to overcome Trauma, Anxiety and Depression with Jonathan Robinson | POP 989

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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