While countless women have contributed to the evolution of psychedelic research, practice and more mainstream societal acceptance, the psychedelic renaissance continues to grapple with gender disparity.
As the burgeoning psychedelic space grows, it is important that we encourage female leadership and highlight the valuable contributions women are making in the field.
If this movement is committed to diversity, women must continue to contribute their wisdom, experience and ideas and have ever-expanding opportunities to do so.
We will start here by amplifying insights from 40 contemporary female leaders in the psychedelic movement, in random order.
“It is no surprise that psychedelics, with their activation of deeply healing intelligent capacities, seem to spontaneously engender internal and interpersonal experiences of love.”
— Dr. Adèle Lafrance, Ph.D.
“If you’re in a relaxed environment with the right setting and right music, and you’re not being overstimulated and don’t have an agenda of a party, you start to go places in your autobiography, in your past… You can start to deal with some very difficult material.”
— Dr. Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D.
“With psychedelics … there is this epiphany that everything is connected. That we’re all tiny little beings on a huge planet. If you pull back and see the big picture, you see that we are all one organism, interconnected or interdependent.”
— Dr. Julie Holland, M.D.
“Although many of us think of psychedelics as dangerous drugs, it’s time for a rethink. They are non-toxic, non-addictive, have very few side effects, and could potentially offer relief for people suffering from a range of psychological difficulties.”
— Dr. Rosalind Watts, Ph.D.
“I figured psychedelic therapy must be addressing the root of the problem rather than suppressing the symptoms.”
— Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, M.S.W
“The opportunity that we have in the landscape of psychedelics, I really think, is towards unity.”
— Dr. LaMisha Hill, Ph.D.
“No one is saying that psychedelics are necessarily what everyone wants, but as in traditional societies, if one has a few explorers of consciousness they can bring back findings and help society generally.”
— Amanda Feilding
“Psychedelics alone are not the answer and we must be careful not to make such claims. Rather, they are one of many tools that need to be used in combination with many other modalities and processes.”
— Rachel Aidan, PhDc.
“To understand nature as a teacher, we must first realise that we are nature.”
— Dr. Rachel Lovie, Ph.D.
“Part of the way you change people’s minds is by sharing stories of healing… Everyone has a role to play in the shaping of this movement.”
— Amy Emerson, Ph.D.
“As we experience a resurgence of interest in psychedelics, we can again fantasize about a different future.”
— Erika Dyck, Ph.D.
“The key to becoming an excellent psychedelic facilitator lies in holding no expectations for the outcome, and knowing it is not you who is doing the healing.”
— Natasja Pelgrom
“There is a coming home. A home base. Psychedelics help you reconnect with home.”
— Ann Shulgin
“Psychedelics do help us remember things that we have repressed, but obviously, they also make us very vulnerable and things might come up. Having somebody witness that and validate those feelings that are expressed and shown can be incredibly healing for people.”
— Dr. Malin Vedøy Uthang, Ph.D.
“The ego needs to undergo many deaths if we are to transform into a more authentic version of ourselves. We need to peel through the layers to reach through to the core of who we really are.”
— Maria Papaspyrou, MSc
“Psilocybin can offer a means to reconnect to our true nature—our authentic self—and thereby help us find meaning in our lives.”
— Mary Cosimano, LMSW
“We are being trained by the plants, the fungi and some other marvelous molecules to see what truly is.”
— Kathleen Harrison, MA
“Psychedelic research, and particularly indiginous shamanic practices of psychoactive plant use, offer a way of disrupting [gender] binaries, which have become naturalized and assimilated into the norm.”
— Lorna Olivia O’Dowd, Ph.D.
“During ceremonies, guides need to be responsible for ensuring a safe container for the exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness and the healing process.”
— Eleanora Molnar, MA, RTC
“Sacred plant knowledge and its benefits are a cultural, therapeutic and spiritual legacy for humanity, and should be preserved for future generations.”
— Anja Loizaga-Velder, Ph.D.
“I believe that psychedelics do have the power to heal community in a real, profound and permanent way.”
— Courtney Barnes, Esq.
“Go and discover what you don’t know. What are you afraid of?”
— Madrinha Rita
“Psychedelics have the potential to actually work at some root causes and have some healing potential that are much more growth oriented whereas current treatments seem to be more oriented towards suppressing symptoms.”
— Amanda Eilian, MBA
“What’s been really helpful is looking out and seeing all of these peers that I have, these embodied, strong, capable, compassionate women.”
— Liana Sanada Gillooly
“As psychedelics are poised to become prescribed medicines, we would do well in the psychedelic community to promote an ethos valuing self-reflection, particularly regarding the needs of women clients.”
— Kylea Taylor, MS, LMFT
“With open science… our interest is truly to find a way to accelerate and get this medicine out there for people.”
— Tura Patterson, M.A.
“There needs to be a retreat center somewhere where politicians and teachers and community advocates and people who have their finger on the pressing, complex social problems that face us can have a transformational experience.”
— Malynn Utzinger, M.D.
“I see psychedelics as one of many tools available to respond to the rampant disconnection consciousness of our time, such as the mental health crises, isolation, divisiveness, intergenerational trauma, ecological devastation and the loss of the sacred.”
— Frederica Helmiere, MAR, MESc
“Psychedelics have been used by humans as tools for healing for millennia. Ample clinical trials have shown that these compounds are both safe and non-addictive if used correctly. Additional studies are being conducted to establish its full therapeutic potential and the mechanisms by which they act on the body. I am convinced that psychedelic medicine will forever change our understanding of brain health.”
— Sonia Weiss Pick, M.B.A.
“I think psychedelic medicine has the potential to help heal the wounds of those suffering from racial trauma and bring healing to the consciousness of those who perpetrate and perpetuate racial violence.”
— Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D.
“In many, many ways, all of us are indebted to Indigenous peoples and their traditions and their knowledge when we are interested in these medicines.”
— Beatriz Caiuby Labate, PhD
“In the psychedelic arena, more broadly, organizers of events, media outlets, and anyone else with a platform must prioritize hiring leaders of varying races, sexualities, and genders. Despite indigenous peoples being the keepers of plant medicine knowledge for thousands of years, their voices are often peripheral at conferences.”
— Camille Barton
“Most health care providers learned nothing about psychedelics in their training, so in order to ensure that psychedelic medicines are accessible by everyone who can benefit from them, the doctors, therapists, and other clinicians that patients go to seek help need to be well-informed about these therapies so that they can share that information with their patients.”
— Dr. Lynn-Marie Morski, M.D., Esq.
“To ease fears and uproot untruths, we need to educate folks on the basic science behind psychedelics, what’s happening in the body and the brain, and why therapy is such an important piece of that experience. We know that psychedelic treatment shows tremendous impact when you have therapy coupled with it.”
— Hanifa Nayo Washington
“Many of the tribes in North America are matrilineal societies. That puts a sacred responsibility on us, as Native American women, to care not only for our families and communities but also the environment in which we live. This includes the care of sacred plant medicines and making sure there is enough medicine for future generations.”
— Belinda Eriacho, MPH
“Our work is about a mindful relationship with a sacred plant or fungi. We ‘work with’ or ‘journey with’ or ‘commune with’ but we would never ‘use’.”
— Zoe Helene, MFA
“There are people around this world who want to heal the trauma of those who fear that they can’t go on any further - and it is up to us to push that work forward. It is up to us to find ways to disseminate those resources and stop leaving them at the top, in the most elite research institutions.”
— Jamilah R. George, M.Div.
“The session itself is only the beginning,”
— Marcela Ot’alora G, M.A., L.P.C.
“I view psychedelics–and more specifically– well-supported psychedelic psychotherapy, as being a wonderfully powerful tool for the kinds of changes we need as a society.”
— Stacey Wallin
“Early research on the use of psychedelics to treat trauma has focused primarily on combat veterans, a vast majority of whom are men. Without careful attention paid to make psychedelic therapy safe and inviting for women and people who are genderqueer or transgender, norms which make it safer for cisgendered men to participate in such healing will only intensify.”
— Betty Aldworth
With deep gratitude, we give thanks to the hundreds of women whose contributions are furthering mission-oriented work on our planet. The world is better because of it.
If you'd like develop a career path as a psychedelic facilitator, we invite you to take a look at Psychedelic Practitioner Training, our 18-month professional certification program.