Valeria Zeitlin Harris McCarroll
Track: Psychedelics – Science, Spirituality and Therapeutic Potential
The Shadow of Modern Psychedelic Work
In March of this year, a popular U.S. magazine published an article titled "The Psychedelic Miracle". No longer confined to the recesses of academic journals, psychedelic research is experiencing a renaissance. The recent Psychedelic Sciences Conference in Oakland, California was the largest of its kind, with over 2,500 registered attendees. Treatment using MDMA for PTSD and psilocybin for end-of-life anxiety are becoming increasingly popular topics of conversation among the therapeutic community.
With so much attention being paid to the field's development, an eye must also be turned to the collective dynamics of the field itself. The use of psychedelic substances in specific containers to treat issues of health and well-being is not, by any means, a modern nor a Western development. What, then, is the shadow of modern psychedelic work? What are the shadowy aspects of a newly burgeoning field? Power, money, racism, and cultural appropriation, to name a few.
Why does this type of reflection matter? With the potential impact of psychedelic therapy being so large, so also increases the responsibility of those actively involved in the field to self-reflect, to see and understand the areas in which we fall short, where we remain unconscious, where we have turned away from ourselves. This is not only a personal charge but a group endeavor to be undertaken in service of all those psychedelic therapy touches. The shadow is not just a personal feature of one's psyche, but a collective expression of the repressed, hidden, and ignored aspects of culture. The shadow of modern psychedelic work is no exception.
Valeria is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#84346) in the state of California. She graduated from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) with a Master's degree in Integral Counseling Psychology, and is currently enrolled there in a doctorate program in East-West Psychology.
Valeria is a member of CAMFT (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists), and a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Her study and practice of Kashmiri Shaivism (non-dual Hatha Yoga) enlivens her work. Additionally, she is informed by both Ayurvedic natural wisdom and the indigenous healing traditions of the Mexican Mazatec.
As a member of the inaugural cohort of CIIS's Certificate in Psychedelic Assisted Therapies and Research, Valeria works primarily in supporting her clients in integrating plant medicine and psychedelic work. She also works with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, as well as individuals facing patterns of disordered eating. Valeria believes strongly in her clients’ innate capacities, desire to know themselves, and will to grow. As a therapist, she holds her work as a cultivation of awareness and freedom for her clients and their lives.