In this episode, David interviews Clinical Psychologist and Founder of the Psychedelic Society of Vermont, Dr. Rick Barnett, PsyD.
Barnett discusses the importance of building community in psychedelic spaces; psychedelic experiences as preventative medicine, and the differences between (and value within) the sanitized medical model and more ritualistic experiences. He talks about his own personal journey with addiction and recovery and looks at the interrelation between trauma, addiction, trust, and how psychedelics operate as disruptors – with a sense of meaning and purpose.
He discusses many of the current clinical trials happening around psychedelics and addiction; Alcoholics Anonymous and LSD; Vermont’s developing decriminalization bill (Measure H.644); the psychiatric workforce shortage and the potential solution of more prescribing psychologists; and, considering Oregon’s budding psilocybin therapy model, points out that one doesn’t need to be a licensed clinical practitioner with specific schooling to be a good psychedelic facilitator. Could we instead build models that are based largely on competency?
The Psychedelic Society of Vermont is putting on the Psychedelic Science & Spirituality Summit on the summer solstice (June 20-21) in Stowe, VT, with the goal of holding space for both the scientific and spiritual side of psychedelia. The conference is specifically for healthcare professionals, but all others are welcome to virtually attend or come to the summer solstice celebration after the conference. For more info, head to vermontpsychedelic.org.
“I had several profound experiences with LSD when I was a kid, and when I crashed and burned on alcohol and wound up in a 12-step rehab (the Hazelden Foundation), I quickly recognized that my experiences with LSD made me extremely receptive to the message that was being put forth to me in a 12-step-oriented rehab program. Concepts like surrender and a connection to spirituality, a connection to open-mindedness, willingness, being honest with oneself, taking one’s inventory – these kinds of concepts that are so common in 12-step programs – they resonated so strongly with me because of my experiences with LSD.”
“We have the ability to instill a sense of trust with our patients, and they can begin to trust themselves, and to trust the therapist, and to review some of these old hurts and really get into it over the course of therapy in a way that’s very healing. So it can happen with therapy, and I don’t think one is necessarily a substitute for the other. I think [psychedelics and therapy] work very well together. Psychedelics are yet another tool, just like therapy is a tool, just like AA is a tool, just like Suboxone and Methadone are tools. They’re all tools, and it’s really important to respect and honor that each one brings something positive, potentially, for an individual.”
“An AA program, a harm reduction program, a therapy program, a psychedelic program, [a] meditation retreat: All these things provide a nudge, and potentially a very transformative nudge in the direction of like, ‘Okay, and then what?’ What are you doing in your daily life? …That ‘assisted’ part is not just assisted by a therapist. It’s not just assisted by a drug. It’s not just assisted by a shaman or an integration coach. It’s assisted by everything.”
About Dr. Rick Barnett, Psy.D
Dr. Rick Barnett, Psy.D., is the Co-Founder of the Psychedelic Society of Vermont, the Legislative Chair and Past-President of the Vermont Psychological Association, the founder of the non-profit organization, CARTER, Inc., and is a clinical psychologist and addiction specialist in private practice in Stowe, VT. Dr. Barnett has worked as a Clinical Psychologist in nursing homes, hospitals, and outpatient programs, and has trained hundreds of health professionals through workshops on addiction and mental health issues over the past 20 years. He is in long-term recovery of alcohol and substance abuse and is an active advocate for addiction treatment and recovery resources. Dr. Barnett holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, a Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology. He is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and holds certificate in Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB-S) and Gambling Disorder.
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