Wondering what qualifications the Plant Spirit School faculty have? Do you struggle with the notion of how a woman of color might possibly know a thing or two about psychedelics and plant medicines?
We’ve been paying attention to online trolling, munching some popcorn, and decided to write this blog article to help set the record straight.
If You Assumed The Integration Coaching Certification Program Founder Lorna Liana Is Inexperienced
It’s OK, we forgive you and we’ll teach you how to decolonize your heart and mind.
We get that the Psychedelic Renaissance has been branded by the face of white men — just look at some of the recent psychedelic conference lineups, which are still dominated by white males.
In Western society, there is a powerful cognitive bias at play that assumes white men are the go-to experts for anything; the merits of any white man’s self-proclaimed expertise in any sector are rarely ever questioned.
By contrast, the qualifications and credentials of people of color tend to receive excess scrutiny. BIPOC folks (especially black, indigenous, women of color) often find themselves in the exhausting position of having to work extra hard for equal status, respect, recognition, and pay in white-dominated societies.
Here are 3 common ways unconscious bias towards whiteness plays out in Western Society and in the Western Psychedelic Renaissance (which has extracted brown people’s ancestral medicines).
- Expertise. White folks are intellectually superior to black and brown folks. They can be experts in anything, even black and brown folks’ medicines and cultures.
- Moral licensing. White folks are more trustworthy than black and brown folks.
- Affinity bias. As a white person, I am more comfortable with teachers who are white like me (even if they may be less credentialed, but I will assume that they are more credentialed than any person of color teaching the same material… because point #1)
The powerful cognitive biases at play in Western societies that were historically founded upon white supremacy affect us all.
That’s why we are so passionate about the importance of decolonizing our hearts and minds, and why it is a core focus in the Plant Spirit School Integration Coach Certification programs curriculum. More on this below.
Expertise Bias Furthers Medical Industry Gatekeeping, which Benefits Big Pharma
The narrative that only licensed therapists and medical professionals are uniquely qualified to work with people who are integrating psychedelic states of consciousness has been criticized as medical and psychiatric industry gatekeeping.
Legal psychedelic therapy would entail that only licensed therapists and medical professionals would be “qualified” to distribute psychedelic medicines manufactured by authorized drug development companies, within a healthcare infrastructure.
Without decriminalization, all other uses of psychedelics, from traditional ceremonies to recreation, would still remain illegal and punishable offenses.
Recent scandals in the psychedelic therapy community have demonstrated over and over again that licensed psychotherapists and physicians can still engage in abuse.
While Western society does indeed suffer from a cognitive bias towards those with Western academic degrees, and an assortment of important letters behind their name (like M.D., MFT, or PhD), tremendous wisdom and best practices have, more often than not, come to us from the psychedelic underground.
Furthermore, indigenous wisdom keepers have been healing their community for millennia without Western psychotherapy degrees. Many contemporary indigenous Master Plant Healers still do not have college degrees.
Who Are the Faculty? Hint… They Also Teach in Other Psychedelic Programs
The Plant Spirit School faculty were selected based on practical experience rather than academic credentials. Our faculty have been facilitating ceremonies, serving as medicine guides and tripsitters, and supporting clients for years, if not decades.
Because most of the students enrolling in the Plant Spirit School Integration Coach Certification program are ALREADY facilitating, guiding, trip sitting, and working with clients in healing and coaching containers, we thought it was much more relevant to have faculty who are experienced working with entheogenic clients rather than faculty who spend their days teaching in universities, writing research papers, or designing clinical studies.
Most of the Plant Spirit School Integration Coach certification program faculty are the SAME teachers as in other psychedelic training programs. So, to diminish the program (based on the appearance of the founder) is to diminish the same exemplary faculty who are teaching in other recognized and highly respected psychedelic training programs. This does not make logical sense.
Some of the luminaries making up our faculty include:
Kyle is the co-founder of Psychedelics Today, long-time student and facilitator of breathwork, a spiritual emergence coach, and a devotee of shamanism, Reiki, local medicinal plants and plant medicine, Holotropic and Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork. His academic background is in transpersonal and somatic psychology, and his clinical practice includes counseling at-risk young people and individuals experiencing an early-episode of psychosis.
Since 2004, Atira has established numerous clinical art therapy and trauma recovery programs to help refugees, victims of environmental disasters, and the sex trafficking industry, especially throughout Asia and Australia. She specializes in Trauma-Informed Yoga & Facilitation Training Programs, Women’s Health and Leadership, Spiritual Activism, and Recovery from Sexual Abuse. Currently, Atira holds retreats and teacher trainings globally, and serves as the head of integration and yoga teacher at AYA Healing Retreats in Peru.
Manesh is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at McGill University and has lead or co-authored over a dozen scientific publications and book chapters on topics including psychedelics, meditation, daydreaming, and the default-mode network. He collaborates with some of the leaders in the field of psychedelic science and also runs a psychedelic science YouTube channel called The Psychedelic Scientist.
Skye is an Earth Medicine Mentor, Psychedelic Self-Care Specialist and Lead Facilitator for Medicinal Mindfulness’s psychedelic therapy and guide training, “Psychedelic Sitters School.” Utilizing the pioneering work of Daniel McQueen and her training in Hakomi, Skye facilitates CannAbyss Solo Journeys, 1-on-1 medicine journeys utilizing Cannabis as a spiritual catalyst for trans-personal growth.
Dr. Tone Rawlings is an artist, scientist, educator, and guide who helps people decolonize the heart and mind so they can tap into their higher wisdom and unwind from White-supremacy culture to heal the soul wound. Tone works with individuals, organizations, and companies. Included in their program is a curriculum and practices to guide people to identify, track, and heal internalized White-supremacy constructs that get passed down through intergenerational conditioning and epigenetic trauma.
MEET THE FOUNDER, LORNA LIANA
Lorna is the Founder & CEO of EntheoNation, Host of the Plant Spirit Summit & Founder of the Plant Spirit School. With over 30+ years of experience with psychedelics, Lorna’s vision is an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling human presence on this planet (Pachamama Alliance).
She is a 20-year practitioner of shamanism, with extensive training in Tibetan Bon Shamanism and experience exploring the ayahuasca traditions of the Amazon Basin. Back in 2004, while drinking visionary plant medicines with indigenous shamans in the Brazilian Amazon, she discovered her soul’s mission:
“To leverage emerging technologies to preserve indigenous traditions, so that ancient wisdom can benefit the modern world, and technology can empower indigenous people.”
This mission has blossomed into a greater purpose that utilizes Lorna’s best gifts, brings her to exciting locations, to meet and collaborate with her favorite kind of people, as her soul tribe of mission-aligned allies continues to expand around her.
Now that You’ve Gotten to Know Us…
You can see the passion and unique qualifications that each of these faculty members bring to The Plant Spirit School Integration Coach Certification Program. Even better, you might appreciate their expertise and unique backgrounds through a clearer lens, having challenged the unconscious biases that might have come up for you.
This decolonizing work is important to us. That’s why it’s a core element of the Coach Certification program’s curriculum. The powerful biases rampant in Western societies that were historically founded upon white supremacy affect us all. For this reason, it is our sincere goal to graduate future leaders of integrity, who will further diversity, equity, and inclusion in the psychedelic sector.
We hope this blog offers a new perspective and answers some of the questions you may have about this program.
Next time you feel the urge to troll on Facebook, we challenge you to be compassionately curious instead.