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

Illustration via 99designs

“It is an insult to the potency of this inner work to not take the time to integrate what has been revealed.”

— Françoise Bourzat

Françoise Bourzat (@Francoise_Bourzat) 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 is also the co-author 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.

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, such as Yale, Stanford, and UCSF. She runs online courses and contributes to advisory boards and organizations offering value-aligned trainings on the topics of mushroom ceremonies.

Please enjoy!

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

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear another episode with someone who understands the growing need for well-trained psychedelic therapists? Listen in on my conversation with psychotherapist and installation artist Marcela Ot’alora in which we discuss why psychedelic therapy is probably less sexy and more difficult than you think it is, resolutions to particularly trying sessions, how psychedelic therapy is like alchemy, what separates a good psychedelic therapist from a great psychedelic therapist, how you can take the first step on the path to becoming a psychedelic therapist if you think you’ve got what it takes, and much more.


  • Connect with Françoise Bourzat:

Website | Twitter | Instagram


  • How did Françoise come to lead mushroom ceremonies and retreats in Jamaica for bereaved parents, and how has the experience helped them through the grief process? [05:39]
  • How did an early experience in north Thailand prove to be formative for Françoise, and what helped her process the trauma of that experience and the difficult decision it forced her to make? [08:43]
  • How did psychedelics — particularly MDMA — really initiate Françoise’s healing process? [21:03]
  • In Françoise’s estimation, how crucial was the presence of a skilled guide to take her through these healing psychedelic experiences? To what does she attribute the skill her own guide wielded? [26:13]
  • In the context of psychedelic journeys, what is chaos music? [32:22]
  • What’s the difference between a facilitator and a guide? [38:22]
  • When did Françoise become interested in learning about the craft and the toolkits associated with these medicines? [45:05]
  • Who was Ralph Metzner? [47:58]
  • How was Françoise introduced to the psychedelic traditions of the Mazatec? [52:47]
  • After spending time in the psychedelic healing space among mostly male mentors, teachers, and colleagues, how did it make Françoise feel to be exposed to an ancient tradition so tied to a lineage that was primarily matriarchal? [56:57]
  • For what purposes do the indigenous people of the Oaxacan region use mushrooms, salvia, and morning glory? What effects might one experience when utilizing them as intended, and what problems are they traditionally used to solve? [1:01:17]
  • Can these substances be used to treat maladies in people who live outside the framework of these traditions — for instance, a Westerner from an industrialized city whose problems might seem alien to an Oaxacan curandera? [1:18:54]
  • What does a retreat in Jamaica for bereaved parents look like, and what goes into its preparation? [1:26:55]
  • During these retreats, what therapeutic purpose does the introduction of elements like art classes and walks in nature serve? [1:33:28]
  • What is the Council for 13 Indigenous Grandmothers? [1:38:44]
  • What are the potential risks of using psychedelic plants and compounds without the supervision of trained facilitators and guides? [1:41:02]
  • How does a well-trained guide help someone back to reality if their psychedelic experience leaves them existentially hollow and bereft of meaning? [1:44:29]
  • What is the Hakomi Method? [1:51:49]
  • What would Françoise like the Center for Consciousness Medicine to achieve? [1:53:28]
  • What does Françoise consider to be the criteria for a great therapist specializing in psychedelic-assisted therapy? [1:56:47]
  • Parting thoughts. [2:02:48]


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