Healing the Earth, Healing the Self: Psychedelics as Catalysts for Planetary Wellbeing


Episode 223

Rosalind Watts, Ph.D.

In this Psychedelic Podcast episode, Paul F. Austin welcomes the esteemed Dr. Rosalind Watts, clinical psychologist and founder of ACER Integration, to discuss the power of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.

Dr. Watts shares about the powerful transformation she witnessed in clinical trial participants for psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. She also reveals the research and insights that led her to create the global online integration community ACER Integration.

Together, Paul and Dr. Watts explore the potential of psychedelics to help restore environmental health and usher new paradigms of growth and healing.

Rosalind Watts, Ph.D.:

Dr. Rosalind Watts is a clinical psychologist and the founder of ACER Integration. As the former clinical lead on the psilocybin for depression trial at Imperial College London, Dr. Watts led a clinical team that facilitated over a hundred psilocybin treatment sessions. Having recognized that safe and effective use of psychedelics requires substantial integration support, Dr. Watts co-founded the UK's first psychedelic integration group, and is now launching a global online integration community, ‘Accept, Connect, Embody, Restore’ (ACER) where members follow a 12-month process together.

Her contributions to the field of psychedelic therapy are numerous and include the development of the ACE model ‘Accept, Connect, Embody’, which has been used in clinical trials of both psilocybin and DMT, as well as the Watts Connectedness Scale, a psychometric tool for measuring outcomes of psychedelic therapy. Dr. Watts sits on the clinical advisory board of the Usona Institute.

Podcast Highlights

  • Dr. Watts’s journey into psychedelic research.
  • Patient transformations in Dr. Watts’s first psilocybin therapy sessions.
  • How psilocybin fosters a deeper connection with self and the world.
  • The challenges of integration in a society that still stigmatizes psychedelics.
  • The importance of finding a community of ‘fellow travelers’.
  • Compelling research on psilocybin and Nature Connectedness.
  • Psychedelics as a medicine to restore environmental health and usher a new planetary paradigm.
  • ACER Integration’s community-based program structure.

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Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.0 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners. Welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave, connecting you to the leaders and pioneers of the psychedelic renaissance. Today, I'm speaking with Dr. Rosalind Watts, the founder of ACER Integration.

0:00:13.1 Dr. Rosalind Watts: In an ayahuasca using community and indigenous group. The idea of Integration doesn't make sense. It doesn't exist because they don't need to integrate in the same way we do, because they live in a way, there's more balance with nature and connectedness in small groups of people, whereas for us it's like so urgent that we create the infrastructure and a community around just being there for people when they come out to the psychedelic experience and they're like, "Whoa, I don't wanna go back to that disconnected." Well, it's like, Okay, well, we're here we hear.

0:00:45.6 Paul F. Austin: Welcome to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave audio mycelium, connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the psychedelic renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors, and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance, and collective transformation.

0:01:18.7 Joseph Anew: Today's episode of The Psychedelic Podcast is brought to you by Psyched Wellness. Psyched Wellness has this amazing product, it's called Calm, and it has been developed by wellness professionals, along with leading scientists, and is the very first over the counter Amanita muscaria extract that may help you reduce stress, ease muscular tension, and promote deeper, more restorative sleep. This natural supplement is lab tested, it's been detoxified, and it is fully safe for consumption. For the first time in modern history, scientists working with Psyched Wellness have successfully distilled the restorative and healing elements from the Amanita muscaria mushroom and placed them into a powerful extract that is now the first legal Amanita muscaria extract available for sale in the USA. If you would like to be one of the first to try this breakthrough product, then you can go to shop.psyched_wellness.com. That's shop.psyched, P-S-Y-C-H-E-D_wellness.com, and use code Third Wave Pod, that's Third Wave Pod P-O-D, to get 15% off when ordering. Again, that is shop.psyched_wellness and use code Third Wave Pod to get 15% off your order.

0:02:48.1 Paul F. Austin: Hey listeners, this is Paul F. Austin, founder and CEO at Third Wave, and I'm back with another profound conversation about the power of psychedelics to heal our connections with ourselves, each other, and the planet. And today's guest is Dr. Rosalind Watts, a pioneering clinical psychologist in the psychedelic landscape, and the founder of ACER Integration. As the former clinical lead on the Psilocybin for Depression trial at Imperial College London, Dr. Watts led a clinical team which facilitated over a hundred psilocybin treatment sessions. Having recognized that safe and effective use of psychedelics requires substantial Integration support, Rosalind Co-founded the UK's first psychedelic Integration group and is now launching a global online Integration community Accept, Connect, Embody, Restore ACER Integration, where members will follow a 12 month process together. Her contributions to the field of psychedelic therapy are numerous and include the development of the ACE model Accept, Connect, Embody, which has been used in clinical trials of both psilocybin and DMT, as well as the Watts Connectedness Scale, a psychometric tool for measuring outcomes of psychedelic therapy.

0:04:02.0 Paul F. Austin: In my conversation today with Dr. Rosalind Watts, we explore the sacred moments of her first psilocybin assisted therapy sessions where her patients not only found greater healing within themselves, but also a deeper connection to nature and the overall essence of existence. Then we dive into her research that paved the way for the creation of ACER Integration, a global online community dedicated to the Integration process. And finally, we discuss the importance of finding a community of fellow travelers who are also on the journey of exploration and healing. As always, follow the link in the show notes to all of the resources that we mentioned in this episode. And if you wanna let us know what you thought of this episode, drop us a line in our free community platform at community.thethirdwave.co. Alright, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy my conversation today with Dr. Rosalind Watts. Ros, it's great to have you on. Thanks for joining us.

0:04:54.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Thank you for having me. Nice to be here.

0:04:58.5 Paul F. Austin: So you were, and have been a pioneer in the psychedelic therapy space. You were involved with Imperial College in a lot of the clinical research that they were doing on psilocybin in sort of the quote unquote early days of the psychedelic renaissance. And the question that I love to open up with for you is, is really about the why, the impetus for getting involved as early as you did, because although, you know, we're now 2023, there's less stigma, there's more research, right? It's becoming easier and easier for people to come professionally involved in the space. When you made that choice and that decision, I would imagine there was quite a bit of professional and potential reputational risk. So bring us back into that, that moment, that decision. Why is it that you chose to commit to this, this work at such an early early stage?

0:05:53.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Hmm. Yeah. It was a very different, it was a very different situation back then. And it was certainly when I explained to people that I was leaving my job in the National Health Service in a community mental health team as a clinical psychologist, kind of a standard clinical psychologist job. And when I mentioned to people, especially my family, that I was moving into a psychedelic research study, it was definitely met with some suspicion and concern, but the reason for it was... And it's funny actually thinking back it now, because I never doubted for a second whether it would be what I would do for the rest of my life. Like I really knew then that there was not a single hesitation of like, is this a good idea or not? Is this wise? Is this risky? I think a lot of people thought, you'll be out of a job in a few years because if you do this, you are losing your job security and you are going to really wish you hadn't made this foolish, foolish error.

0:06:58.3 Paul F. Austin: Right 'cause Who knows where this is gonna go and is it gonna turn out to be anything actually? And all those things.

0:07:08.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So it was a kind of roll of the eyes and a kind of like, that's a bit of a left field thing to do that I received. The reason why I did it was because, well I suppose we all know the power of a story of somebody who has had a psychedelic experience that has helped them move from stuckness and suffering to feeling suddenly free or suddenly a sense of opening up to life again. And my... When I was at school my very, very dear friend Caris really started to kind of struggle a bit in our teen years. And then when she went to university, she had a really, really tough time. And she tried antidepressants and going to the GP and having some therapy and nothing, nothing was working. And then she dropped out of university, and there was... And she moved back home to our hometown.

0:08:05.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: I'd been living with her in London, actually. And it was realizing that she was really in a quite stuck place. And she had this very, very critical kind of critical self-critical mindset that it was very hard for her to break out of. And then she said one day that she was going to go to Peru and drink ayahuasca. And I had never heard of ayahuasca. And I... My sister Googled it and said, "tell Caris, she mustn't go because it's really dangerous and people have died and it's a really bad idea."

0:08:35.7 Paul F. Austin: Wow.

0:08:36.9 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And I remember pleading with her saying, please don't go. It is dangerous, she sold her car to pay for the retreats, and it was like... It was kind of last attempt, you know, she was really banking everything on it. And I was like, "this is so foolish. Don't go, don't go" And then she came back from Peru and she... It was that whole thing about like, the lights being turned on again, like from the darkness, a spark. And I think when you've seen that firsthand with someone you care about so much. You just want to... You just wanna dedicate your life to bringing it to anyone that can benefit. So that is one...

0:09:16.2 Paul F. Austin: And when was this Ros?

0:09:20.1 Dr. Rosalind Watts: That was in... So her experience would've been... My daughter was born in 2015, and that's when I was on maternity leave that I had time to really think about it. But her ayahuasca experience was probably two or three years before then.

0:09:35.3 Paul F. Austin: Wow.

0:09:39.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And so I'd been kind of thinking about it, looking into it, but then it was only when I was on maternity leave from my job as a therapist that I had some time when I'm breastfeeding in the early hours of the night, I was kind of Googling, Googling things. And then one day found out that there was this psilocybin study down the road from where I was. And because I was on maternity leave, I had time, well my daughter's dad was doing lots of parenting as well, so I could spare a day a week. And I went to be a volunteer assistant guide in the Psilocybin for Depression trial.

0:10:11.8 Paul F. Austin: And that was in 2015 that you did that 2016?

0:10:14.9 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yeah. That was in 20... Yeah, the end of 2015, I think. Maybe the beginning of 2016. But yeah, she was, my daughter was like six months old or something. So she was still quite little.

0:10:31.5 Paul F. Austin: And I'm just curious, like generally who... Was this with Robin Carhart-Harris's lab? Yeah. Was this with like, who were you sort of collaborating with on that? Who was helping to lead that? And what was sort of the context around those trials at that point in time?

0:10:42.3 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Well it's such a funny story because I emailed Robin 'cause I thought it... The article I'd read online was called the Trip Treatment. And it was by Michael Pollan. And it was like, yeah, it was a really good article. I think it was in the New Yorker. And it was just such a good overview and it gave Robin's name. So I emailed him and he replied straight away saying, yeah, we need someone, like now we need a female psychologist. Like yesterday when like, when can you start? Kind of thing. And so then I remember going to meet one of the psychiatrists from the team in a Mexican restaurant. And I was thinking like, this was like a preliminary thing for like, you know, preparing myself for the long process of interview. But she basically said, right, "this is the schedule, which days can you do?" And I was like, "oh, right. This is my interview, I'm already in." So I was like, well, yeah, I can do Mondays.

0:11:40.6 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And she was like, brilliant, because we are all so tired and we've been working so hard, we need backup. So you start on Monday and then Robin has an evening in a pub for the new people that had... Were gonna be recruited as guides, 'cause I think they got a lot of emails all the time. I was just very lucky with the timing. It was just when they realized they needed to look into it. And my very dear friend, Michelle Baker Jones, who was another therapist on the trials, she and I both went on the same day to the pub to meet them all. And I remember we both arrived early and it was like, "what are we doing?" Like she was a integrative counselor, both of us mothers, both of us. Like, why are we in this pub about to like volunteer in a psychedelic trial? But we became very good friends. And that was the beginning of our journey, which we've actually taken together because we've worked together along the way and we still work together now. So yeah, that was wonderful to meet her.

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0:14:07.5 Paul F. Austin: I think a few years after that, I forget the exact date, you'll probably have a better sense of the exact date, but you gave a TEDx talk, about the potential of psilocybin for depression. So just talk our listeners a little bit through, like, you come up, you show up that first day on the job, right? Yeah. You're supporting as a volunteer psychologist in these psilocybin trials, you've made that choice and that commitment, you don't really know what's gonna happen. How does your involvement continue to grow during that time? And what results do you start to see? How do you notice that psilocybin, even in this relatively rigid controlled clinical environment, how does it impact people? What are people going through and experiencing?

0:14:50.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Hmm. Well, I remember my first session I joined towards the end of the trial, so I missed a lot of the first participants. But the first I remember the first session I was in, it was me as the kind of secondary guide alongside a psychiatrist. And it was just so, it was, I'll never forget it because I'd come from the National Health Service doing cognitive behavioral therapy where you have short amount of sessions and a short amount of time, and it's quite formulaic and directive. This is the manual and you never really, you never really feel that you are really getting to know the person. And they certainly don't get to know you because you are a kind of blank, you're supposed to be like a blank screen. And, but in psychedelic therapy, obviously, and as we know so much more now you have, there's so much more time needed so that people feel safe to let go.

0:15:47.1 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So it's the therapy model because you are requesting people or inviting people to take this huge risk, this kind of like jumping, it's kind of like a skydive or something. It's like right, jumping into the unknown, especially people that have struggled with their mental health and have tried other treatments that haven't worked because it's such a big risk for people and a big kind of courageous thing to do. It requires so much support and care and preparation. It means that by virtue of its kind of intensity, you just get so much more time with the patient. So the prep sessions were like a whole afternoon long.

0:16:27.6 Paul F. Austin: Wow.

0:16:34.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And I just remember this feeling of like, wow, here as a human being telling us his story and it's not just a little bit, and then here's some homework, see you next week. It's like we are going deep, three hours in, we're still hearing him really bear his soul. And because people are going to be having a psychedelic experience where they're going to be potentially bearing their soul in an even deeper way in front of you, it kind of, it's almost like just, the mask just comes off. There's much more of a sense of authenticity that starts from the very beginning. So I absolutely loved it. And it was amazing to see how the session helped him, how the session had its own kind of narrative arc and intelligence and wonder and magic around how it... How he was able to... In a way it was like a kind of theater around him developing of the people in his life and the conversations and the ideas and the themes and the archetypes and this kind of amazing theater that was unfolding in... We didn't see it happening, but in the Integration session the next day when he explained, 'cause obviously people are just lying there still, so you have no idea how much drama is actually going on, but...

0:17:46.8 Paul F. Austin: Hopefully they're lying there still, right?

0:17:49.6 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yeah. Hopefully, yes.

0:17:50.9 Paul F. Austin: Like in a good case.

0:17:52.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Well, actually at one point he did actually wanted to leave because it was so intense. He was like, "I'm out of here." And that was quite challenging for my first ever session. It was like, Ooh, okay. But yeah, I mean, so from that point onwards I could... From the very first session with him, I could see that this was extraordinary, this was just, if kind of like if CBT is like a printed page of like black and white type, psychedelic therapy, all that first session I saw was like technicolor, three dimensional, like five dimensional. Like, it was just so full and so rich and there was so much to work with. And it was such a pleasure as a therapist because he was doing the work himself, he was saying, and then I saw this, and then I realized this, and I understood that I needed to let go of that. And then I connected to the fact that I'm actually, you know, a good person. And this is something that as a therapist, you can work for years and you... It's very hard to shift those kind of beliefs about the self that so many of us have that we're not good enough 'cause of our culture that makes us feel that way.

0:19:06.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: But suddenly it's like it broke, something broke through all of that and it was this amazing shift that I saw. So, I was a huge advocate and enthusiast and just thinking this is it, this is going to change the world straight away. And then before I did the TED talk, the reason I did the TED talk was because I'd only been in six psilocybin sessions in the trial. Three low dose, three high dose and but what happened was I realized that we really needed to gather qualitative findings about people's experiences long term because all the research that was happening was like short term data gathering, but nobody was asking the participants their stories and nobody was doing this long term. So I did a study where I interviewed all of the participants of that trial. So there was 20 of them. Six months after their final session about how the psilocybin had affected them, had it, just open ended questions really. And it was from the qualitative analysis that I did on their interviews that I, a thematic analysis that really found that connectedness was really important for people. They went from disconnectedness to connectedness.

0:20:21.3 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And that was why I did the TED talk, because I wanted to share those, their experiences, their viewpoints around how they tried lots of antidepressants and therapy and it hadn't really helped them feel more connected. And then the psychedelic therapy session had really disconnectedness was quite powerful and relatively long lasting, it was months rather than days.

0:20:41.9 Paul F. Austin: Wow, 20 interviews, six months after the session, there's a often quoted talking point that, and I'm not saying that this is true necessarily but that psilocybin, that psychedelics are curative. That you have this one experience, it can substantially and dramatically shift someone's quality of life on many fronts. And that, once you have that one experience, or I think in the case of MDMA, it's three sessions over 12 weeks, potentially this is one of the talking points you'll never need to use or work with psilocybin again. You're sort of free and can go back to your everyday life. And yeah this is something I want to unpack a little bit with you 'cause there's a lot more nuance here. And yeah when it comes to connectedness, I think in particular, there's so many ways that our normal everyday life is not connected. There's a way in which, Integration, to come back into that state of wholeness and connection is actually quite difficult in the sort of modern industrial world that we exist within.

0:21:51.0 Paul F. Austin: So I'm curious, like as a first question, you mentioned connectedness. What, when people were talking about this feeling of connectedness, what were they feeling connected to or who were they feeling connected to? And what were some of your observations around this sort of tension between curative or long lasting impact? While still, maybe in some cases, symptoms coming back and what people were struggling with as they were actually out in the real world, navigating their everyday reality.

0:22:32.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yeah, such an important question. Thank you. So in terms of connectedness, so people describe connectedness in different ways. But through the qualitative analysis, through the thematic analysis, I had the sense they were all talking about the same thing, but that it just has different domains. So, I've written about this, about connectedness as having overall connectedness, this state of connectedness, having three aspects, connection to self, connection to others and connection to wider world. And if you think of it as like an expanding. Almost like a kind of circle that gets like an expanding focus and expanding circle. So, if you start off with the kind of status quo for most people in our culture, especially people that are suffering from anxiety and depression, we exist in a very small circle, which is kind of there. It's kind of in the mind. We're existing in the kind of the prison of the mind. It's quite a small world we inhabit, and we're constantly thinking about what we should have done differently, what we're going to do later, worrying, focus on ourselves in an anxious way or a depressed way.

0:23:49.3 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And because of that, we can't really focus on what else is around us. We're just living in our heads. But then and that's how the people in the trial described their lives, just kind of, head on a stick, ruminating a lot. Somebody said that his ruminations felt like his head was a washing machine on like repeat cycle, just the thoughts going round and round. And then it was like the psychedelic experience allowed that circle to just get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and expand out. So it starts to include your senses and your emotions and your body and your memories and your sense of identity and who you are in a broader sense than that just the kind of the worrying ego and the this kind of connection to purpose. And then there is this it broadens out further. And then people were connecting to their loved ones, thinking about family members, partners, children, parents with so much compassion and connecting to people that they might have had challenging issues with before, with so much sense of deep, fellow feeling. And then the circle expanded even more because people were describing deep connectedness to people that never met before.

0:25:07.8 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So refugees, quite a few people mentioned refugees in the sense of global humanity and a sense of we are all one and compassion for people that we've never met. And that continued after the session in the sense that like there's a little off license by the Imperial Clinic. And it's sold kind of like crisps and chocolate and stuff like that. And the morning after the session, one of the participants went into that little corner shop to buy some chocolate or something. And he said that he looked at the shopkeeper, the person behind the desk and the kind of interaction that you have like very regularly and don't even notice the person. And he looked into the eyes of this man there and saw his sacredness. And, like buying that chocolate bar was so much deeper than just the normal interactions, really deeply connecting to the man in the shop. And then so, yeah, so connecting to other people that you know, but then also ones you don't know strangers, people on the other side of the world. And then that sphere of expansion of connectedness got bigger and bigger until it included nature and a sense of universal love and a sense of everything being interconnected.

0:26:31.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: This idea of the web of life and that people were part of it. So it's like people were going from disconnectedness, living in their heads, a very separate self to connecting to their emotions, their feelings, their bodies, other people they knew, other people they didn't know, nature and ultimately, this absolute total interconnection of all things. So, it's quite, it was pretty cool to watch and not everybody connected in that, you know, it wasn't always as kind of clear as I've made it. But overall, I got the sense from all the interviews that...

0:27:07.8 Paul F. Austin: These are the themes.

0:27:07.9 Dr. Rosalind Watts: That was the theme. Yeah.

0:27:12.1 Paul F. Austin: And so how, tell us a little bit then about because a lot of your focus now, and I want to get into this, we will have time to talk about this is on the importance of Integration. You have your own metaphor and framework called the ACER Integration Protocol that you've developed. And so I'm curious, as you're interviewing these people six months after they have their experience, are some of them struggling again with certain things or some of them expressing an interest that they wish that they could do the psilocybin again? What do you notice in terms of struggles and challenges as they've started to go out back into the world and navigate their lives? Which in many cases are the quote unquote same lives that they had right before the psilocybin experience.

0:27:49.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yes. So, I can really vividly remember those those interviews. And most people said that their depression had come back, but their depression had only just started to come back. And so they weren't yet in the deep. They were noticing that it was back. Some of them were really struggling, but most of them were just noticing that it was back. But it was after that, it was after the sixth month point that really people started to really feel quite hopeless because, I think at the six month point, the depression had come back for most of them. They said things like, I remember one amazing participant who said, she showed me her orchids and said, I know that my depression is back because when I look at them, they're just orchids. Two months ago, I looked at them and they were like breathing and talking, they were these beautiful beings. And now they're just flowers and I don't get much joy from them.

0:28:51.2 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And another participant said that it was like turning on the lights in a dark house in the session and that the lights had stayed on in his house for a few months. But then he said now the lights have gone dark again, they've dimmed again. But at that point, and everybody wanted another session. And at that point, they were still hoping that they were gonna have another session at Imperial because I think many of them had I think thought that they were going to be able to have a repeat dose at Imperial. So, they were holding out some hope for that. And yeah, they were hoping that they would be in the next trial. And some of them were really desperate, like really desperately wanting further sessions because it had worked better than anything else. And they were really struggling, as you said, going back to a very overwhelming disconnected culture where not only had their depression come back, but and they can't access anything to help it go away again.

0:29:47.6 Dr. Rosalind Watts: But also, there aren't that many people they can talk to about their experience, because if they go to their doctor, the doctor is going to say, because it was a different time then. The doctor would say, why on earth were you taking psychedelics in a trial? And none of their friends and family were interested in, all positive about psychedelics, really. I mean, a few were, but mostly it felt still quite stigmatized and misunderstood, and they felt lonely. And they were... Yeah, I just think really kind of exasperated at the fact that they couldn't access further sessions. It was really hard that that's the way these trials work.

0:30:29.0 Paul F. Austin: And that sense of nature connectedness, I mean, just to get to this point of universal love, nature connectedness, the web of life, this feeling of connection to something greater, it feels like that is often in many cases, it's missing across the board and at least, for me personally, whenever I spend time in nature, whenever I spend time outdoors, whenever I, whether I'm on mushrooms or not, there's sort of a way that it helps to calm down the nervous system. There's a way that it helps me to get out of the mind and sort of into the body. And so I just kind of come back to this sense of, it's hard to perceive psychedelics as fully effective when we're living in a world that is so antithetical to the lessons and the insights that we glean from them.

0:31:29.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Absolutely, totally. And when sometimes it's hard for people as well, when they open up to this more connected way of being, the world seems like modern industrial dominator culture feels extra harsh and cold and inhumane. And it is an inhumane system that we are living in. And even if we don't look at the injustices and the harms that are that our culture is perpetrating at an increasing extent, not through our, kind of not in our name, but it's still we're part of this society that is that we have very little control over. And even if we're not looking at the harms to other people in our own lives, we don't even realize, I think a lot of the time what we're missing, because we're so used to fragmented individualistic competitive culture and patriarchy that hurts all genders equally. It's not, certainly not just women that are are deeply, deeply wounded and hurt by patriarchy. And I think we live in this way that is, we thirst and hunger for connection for being in a, I think Gabor Mate has written about it recently, we have evolved to be in a group of 50 to 80 people.

0:32:49.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: We've evolved to grow up with various attachment figures of wise elders, not just the person that was our mother and the person that is our father, but a whole range of people that we can see as as kind and caring people. And we're not meant to grow up in these nuclear families where everyone's stressed and isolated and there's pressure, financial pressure. We've grown up in inhumane conditions. And we've been told that shopping or drinking or gambling, or any of the things that we've, that we get fed to numb us that that is a way to live. And I think psychedelics make people realize that that's not a way to live. And when you realize that, but yet you can't you're the status quo is still the status quo, the paradigm that we all want to shift is shifting, but we still most of us living in the kind of very much fragmented, isolated way. And all the competition and all the pressure is getting more extreme, actually, and the financial pressures are getting more extreme. So I think it's really hard when people are more sensitive and open and they can see that we're living, we've become misaligned with the codes of nature.

0:34:04.2 Dr. Rosalind Watts: About going growing slowly and being cyclical with the seasons and being interconnected with each other, we've got out of balance with that. And yet we feel disempowered as individuals to change that, like how we'd love to, everyone says often psychedelic session, I'm gonna quit my job and I want to live in a different way. But it's like, the reality is, there's bills to pay and responsibilities. And often, actually, when people do kind of leave the matrix and want to set up something else in a kind of psychedelic way, that often kind of goes wrong too, because when it's done in haste and done with a kind of slight slightly manic energy of like, we're going to build the new way like that often also has a big shadow with it as well.

0:34:53.2 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So, there are no easy answers, but I feel like there's definitely one thing that helps in this funny transition that we're all in culturally, but also after psychedelics or when we transition from a psychedelic experience back to the culture we live in. And that's community, that's other people, fellow travelers, that makes the world of difference, I think.

0:35:15.6 Paul F. Austin: And why is that, in your estimation, why is it that community makes makes a world of difference?

0:35:24.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: I think for all of the things that we do, all the things we try with our work and with our, all of our efforts and striving is really coming back to the same thing that we want to feel a sense of belonging. And we have... Because we've been, I'm 42 and my kind of age group people, it's kind of have grown up with decades, our whole lives in individualism, many decades of individualism. And we have been, because our society is essentially run by corporations that have to make profit, that have to prioritize profit over the wellness of people. It's a kind of psychopathic system. And because we've grown up in a system that depends on making humans into consumers, and making those consumer units feel inadequate, so that we buy things. So, we've grown up with all the messaging around us telling us that we're not, we don't look right, that this isn't right, that isn't right. There's problems with us, we need to buy things to feel that we belong and that we're cool and that we're loved.

0:36:40.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And yet at the same time, the same culture that gives us that messaging makes life so difficult because it's so individualistic, we don't share the work, we don't share domestic tasks with each other. We don't share childcare, we don't share looking after elderly parents with each other. So, we're completely overwhelmed and exhausted by the... 'Cause we're doing all the jobs that it takes a whole village to do as one person. So exhausted on the one hand and overwhelmed, especially now with social media and tech, and the internet. And on the other hand, we have this sense that we're not good enough, because that's written into the system that we are in that we have to be made to feel inadequate. So because of those two things, on the one hand, exhausted and overwhelmed because of all the stresses on the other hand, feeling inadequate. The antidote to both of those things is a group of a smallish, but not too small group of people who you feel that you totally belong with, who accept you unconditionally, who can help you with your life. And a forest together is much stronger than a single tree.

0:37:44.9 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And you can cross pollinate together, you can grow together, you can share resources like trees do. But also, you witness each other with this this sense of you're fine as you are like that all the vulnerability that Brené Brown has written about, with all of the nonsense that we grew up with about needing to perform and to be good and to be the best. That's all falling away now when we're looking at each other. I mean, one of the quotes I love most from Ram Dass is that he says we should look at each other as trees in the same way as like, when we look at a tree, we don't expect it to be any different than it is. It might be very wonky, it might be missing a branch, it might be spiky, it might be solid, it might be slim, it might be stocky. But we would never expect that tree to be any different to how it is.

0:38:33.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And that when you look at other people with that sense of acceptance of who they are, and just an appreciation of like diversity, then I think that feeling of like, oh, finally I'm seen, I can be my authentic self, like all of my imperfections. I can still be loved as I am. I think that is a balm so deep that I would go as far as to say that, that that kind of belonging is probably even more important than connectedness. You know, it's like that's the bedrock of everything.

0:39:09.5 Paul F. Austin: And my sense is that oftentimes when we're working, especially with high doses of psychedelics, it's a similar type of balm that's incredibly deep, right? There's often this feeling of unconditional love that people experience in the throes of a high dose experience. That it's very much an internally, internal felt subjective experience. And I think what you're describing is sort of a balm that then is the external reflection of that, right? That sense of...

0:39:41.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yes.

0:39:43.0 Paul F. Austin: Being in belonging, of being in community, of being led for who we are is so so incredibly important. I mean, I even think back to the way that I was raised, like, I was very fortunate. I had two parents, I had a couple sisters, my parents still live in the same house that I was born in 33 years later. There was a lot of unconditional love in that, in that family unit. And we know that a lot of trauma comes from these adverse childhood experiences where, from a very early age, maybe because we have an alcoholic parent or because we've been sexually abused or because of any, we didn't have the love we there. You know, there was an issue with attachment potentially the imprint isn't there for that feeling of unconditional love. And it feels like psychedelics can help us to remember that that's still possible. That that is something that exists in reality. And it's not just this sort of utopian thing that they write about in fantasy novels or whatever.

0:40:47.1 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, that was, I think the most moving thing to observe again and again with people is that sense of, I, it wasn't actually a session that I was in, but it was my dear friend Michelle, and actually someone that I've now come to work very closely with, one of the participants from this session that I now work with as a colleague. And then there was this realization in the session of like, I'm not broken and having this realization that she'd grown up thinking that there was something wrong with her. And then suddenly, and that happens so often, I think, in these psychedelic sessions. Not always, sometimes people have, you know, they're not always roses, sometimes they are harrowing, but there is often a sense of rediscovering the beauty of who we really are.

0:41:33.5 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. Heaven and hell as Aldous Huxley talked about with the Doors of Perception. So I still wanna, I want to talk about ACER Integration. I want to get into that, but just to set the scene a little bit more for what it is that you've created there over the last few years, you've done some really interesting research with, I believe Sam Gandy and Sam has written for Third Wave a couple times about this sort of how psilocybin when done in a more natural or nature connected way amplifies some of these benefits that we noticed with psychedelics. So I'd love for you to just to talk a little bit about that research, the importance of nature connectedness, the importance of the sort of cliche trope of doing mushrooms and hugging a tree. What did, what did you notice or observe with some of that research? Tell us a little bit about that.

0:42:22.6 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So yeah, so the Nature Connectedness score, so in the psilocybin for depression in the, in the second trial, so the one I was talking about before was the first one with 20 people. Then we went on to do a randomized control trial comparing antidepressants with psilocybin. And that was bigger. And in that trial, we gave everybody the nature connectedness scale. And Taylor Lyons, who is a wonderful wonderful researcher from I think she's not at Imperial now, but she was at Imperial, and she has analyzed the data and she shared it with me. And it was wonderful to see that in the trial, the psilocybin group, the nature connectedness scores went up significantly higher than the a citalopram group in the, in the antidepressants group. The nature connectedness scores didn't increase, but in the psilocybin group, they did after psilocybin nature connectedness increased. And that's so interesting. If you think about people having a synthetic capsule of synthetic psilocybin in a hospital with no windows, like in hospital.

0:43:30.1 Paul F. Austin: Oh, so this wasn't even done like in...

0:43:33.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: No.

0:43:34.8 Paul F. Austin: Oh, interesting, okay.

0:43:36.6 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Just in the hospital room. And yet they still connected to nature and still had these amazing kind of realizations about being part of nature and had experiences of trees and webs and mycelium in their, in their sessions. And this is on a synthetic psilocybin capsule, but although I did cover the room with pictures of trees, so, you know.

0:43:57.7 Paul F. Austin: Right.

0:43:58.2 Dr. Rosalind Watts: I was maybe slightly...

0:44:01.3 Paul F. Austin: Priming them.

0:44:02.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Slightly Priming them, yeah.

0:44:03.7 Paul F. Austin: Yeah.

0:44:04.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: But I also just thought that a tree, you know, a room full of trees feels very grounding and safe and, you know, so, but also another interesting study is, a recent analysis of self-report from experienced psychedelic users who have used psychedelics often outside in nature, but just had very nature connective experiences. So this was a survey study of people, this is a paper by Alex Irvine, and it was in Psychoactives, and it came out last year. And this was one that Sam and I were also co-authors on. And yeah, it's a qualitative study, has people's accounts, but just fascinating stories from people about how, so the title of the paper is Transpersonal Ecodelia. And it was like something about surveying something biophilia. It was all about how psychedelics, oh, surveying, psychedelically induced biophilia.

0:45:03.8 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So this idea of psychedelically induced biophilia, biophilia is like love of, like deep, deep love of the planet and kind of feeling like you are the planet and the planet is you. And so many people reported experienced psychedelic users that use psychedelics in nature describe these incredibly profound experiences of merging. So the ego dissolving the boundaries between the self and nature, the land merging. And it made me think of this concept from the Māori culture around connectedness to land. So I made a measure for measuring connectedness with the three domains, psychometric tool. And when I was, when I'd first put it out on my website, a team of Māori psychologists in Auckland said that they wanted to use it in a psychedelic study they were doing, but that I'd missed two items of connectedness that they needed to add in.

0:46:00.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And they said, connection to my land, and they call it Whenua, and that means placenta and it's connection to my land as my mother, as what feeds me. And I would never harm because it's my body and I am the body of it, and it's my, it's my mother. And the second item was around connection to ancestors. It was just so interesting that we had missed them. They're kind of, kind of not so much part of our kind of western mindset, but yeah, like when people had these experiences that they talked about in this biophilia paper, it was of deep, deep merging with Mother Nature. And I think it excites me so much because it feels to me the most important work of our time. We are, we don't have, we are in a moment where the actions we take now, the amount we can remember how much we love our mother, and how much she is our only mother, and this planet that we're on is incredibly beautiful and worth doing everything to restore to her formal glory.

0:47:07.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And that we still can, but that in a few years time, we might not be able to say that. And I think it's such an important moment and there's a lot of focus on psychedelics as treatment for mental health and things like that, which is great. But if, I've been feeling recently, like, you know, it doesn't matter how great our mental health care systems that can be on a planet with an ecosystem that is collapsing. So we need to like urgently realize that our, we are destroying our life support system, and we need to put a kind of all hands on deck to, and see what the potential of psychedelics as a kind of ecological medicine to restore planetary ecosystem health. And then we can do all the other, I mean, not that we stop doing the other things as well, but it's like, I sometimes think that the ecology seems like a kind of niche fringe slightly, you know, oh, one of those naturey people, oh, they're probably a bit vegan.

0:48:07.6 Dr. Rosalind Watts: I mean, we still have this very negative view towards eco things. And this very kind of like also co-opted green washed kind of, KFC are doing vegan burgers. And that, like we lose, it's so difficult for us to engage with the depth of the urgency and the fear around it as well. And especially now as we're starting to see the more serious consequences really kicking in, like extremely this summer particularly, it's so hard for people to stay with that, that we just cut off and numb. So I think for me now thinking about how psychedelics can be used to help policy makers and people at the grassroots level really start to put pressure on the people that make the decisions that are endangering every, the next generations and have already endangered people, you know, many, many people living in certain places, the damage is well past being done. And I think psychedelics because they have this amazing moment of opening and connectedness that the potential of that could be harnessed a lot more than we are doing now.

0:49:35.7 Paul F. Austin: Well, and I feel like that's what we were kind of, or dancing around earlier, right? Even with the qualitative research that you did with the 20 subjects were six months after the high dose, they noticed that some of those things were starting to dissipate because the emphasis is on the individual and mental health. And those people should absolutely. They deserve to have the healing that they need.

0:49:57.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Exactly.

0:49:58.6 Paul F. Austin: Right. That's so critically important.

0:50:00.8 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yes.

0:50:01.4 Paul F. Austin: And yet they're coming back within a structure and system that is naturally conducive to being depressed and anxious. And so there's a little bit of, I hear you in that the emphasis on mental health is necessary and important, I almost think is like a wedge in the door. But really what is needed is a total totally new paradigm that's rooted in regeneration, that's rooted in sustainability that's rooted in reciprocity, lineage, land, and so to end, even on that last point like mentioning psychedelics, how could they help policymakers to wake up? And in fact, just before our interview this morning, I was watching Fox News, and I'm not a Fox News person, but they just did a segment on psychedelics because they're being framed for veterans. And so you now have congressmen in Texas which is a very Republican conservative stronghold who are actively pushing for the House of Representatives to support psychedelic therapy. So I think there's a lot of great bipartisan inroads that are being made from like a policy perspective. And my focus and the folks on the podcast have heard me talked about this many times is also when it comes to business, how do we help the leaders and builders of creators and creators tomorrow wake up through psychedelic use?

0:51:23.9 Paul F. Austin: So they create organizations, products and services that have a metaphysic that's much more in line with consciousness rather than AI machines sort of materialism. Right? Because I think that that and a little bit is the bifurcation that we're beginning, we're beginning to explore, right? It's what does it mean to really be human? How do we sort of reactivate or retrieve these primordial and archaic aspects of self, and do that while still navigating the fact that artificial intelligence and the machine world is also on its own developmental path. And I think the challenge is we as humans think we, we've been conditioned to believe that we're machines and we're not. And psychedelics often help us to see how important it is to get back to our humanness and away from the sort of machine-like perspective that we've been conditioned into.

0:52:28.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yeah. Beautifully put. Absolutely, it reminds me of the work of Iain McGilchrist. I dunno whether you've, we've engaged with that, but his idea that I saw him at a conference last weekend, it was a conference all about local localism. It was actually, I think, the best conference I've ever been to. Well, it, no, it, it definitely was by a very long way. It was incredible. Charles Eisenstein was there.

0:52:50.7 Paul F. Austin: Okay.

0:52:51.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And just, it was, it was just, and Iain McGilchrist and also Bayo Akomolafe, who I'm not sure if you've engaged with, he's a Nigerian clinical psychologist who, if you do one thing this, well, actually no, there's two things. There's another book that I keep recommending everyone reads, we might get to that later. But Bayo Akomolafe is, yeah. Is a Nigerian psychologist. And his, when he speaks it, you know, I feel like I want to be his disciple and I want to follow him around the world, just like you know, bowing to him.

0:53:29.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: He speaks in pure poetry. He's a, he's an incredibly bright person, and it feels like he's speaking to this issue. Iain McGilchrist was doing it as well. They were in conversation together. And what Iain McGilchrist was saying is that he thinks that all the different crises that we are in now all come down to one fundamental one around the problem that we are too left brain focus in our culture. We've been leaning towards the left brain, which is the rational extractive ordering the machine. And that the more holistic, embodied, central human way of living and has become devalued by our culture so much the feminine. It's not just the feminine though, it's like the embodied. And actually Andreas Weber, if you've written, if you've, if you've read his book, he wrote a book called Enlivenment. Which is all about engaging with the, this kind of the sensual reality of nature. And it's kind of living, breathing incredible, yeah. Vibrancy. So yeah, enlivenment by Andreas Weber and all of Iain McGilchrist stuff and podcasts by Akomolafe are what get me through and help me have faith that AI is very scary. But that, well, I mean, we just...

0:54:48.9 Paul F. Austin: Hopefully...

0:54:49.3 Dr. Rosalind Watts: It's very scary.

0:54:52.1 Paul F. Austin: Hopefully make it.

0:54:54.1 Dr. Rosalind Watts: But may, so Carl Hayden Smith, who is a great guy, he has been working a lot in all of this kind of like, for technology futurism stuff. And he says that he hopes that AI will just be a wake up call into, we realize how much we need the other, that it's going to scare us into realizing that we need nature and we need each other, and we need our stories and our hearts and our souls and our bodies, not machines. We need our empathy. We need our care and our hearts. So I hope that that wake up call can happen. But what I guess the concern is that the way that Left Brain Culture Society works is that it doesn't matter what people want because the machine is, the system is rigged. And so you can't, it's like the way corporations have to make profit and shareholder profit is more important. It's like the game is kind of rigged, but I guess it's like, if you think about the machine, it's like, how do you put a cog in the wheel and just break it, you know? And I think we are, we are nearing times when disobedience and new ways of breaking the machine are gonna be urgent.

0:56:10.3 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. 'cause oftentimes for this sort of machine, no progress is ever enough. It's ever consuming. And I think the argument would be that it's getting to a point where it's eating its tail and consuming itself. And so a lot of what we're interested in with psychedelics is how do they help us to, like you said, to be disobedient to the point where a new paradigm can be created that has incentives and a structure that actually allows for the full flourishing of what it means to be human. And on that note, I am, I am mindful of time. We have about 10 minutes left, and I wanna make sure you have at least a little bit of room to spread out with, to talk a little bit about ACER and your Integration protocols since that point in time, Right?

0:56:57.1 Paul F. Austin: Since that time that you spent at Imperial and being involved in the psilocybin clinical trials, you've developed your own framework around Integration. You've mentioned this quite a bit in the podcast today. You know, you've brought up the metaphor of Tree, the tree quite a bit, the mycelial network, right. A lot of what you do is woven into nature in a really beautiful way. So I'd love for you to tell us a little bit about the framework, the protocol that you've developed from an Integration perspective, why you developed it, and just tell us a little bit about kind of...

0:57:31.0 Paul F. Austin: Growth and development. How do you wanna grow and develop what you're doing in this space? Who do you wanna support? Who is ACER Integration for?

0:57:50.2 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Oh, thank you. How lovely to have a nice bit of time to really explore. So who ACER Integration? It's for everybody. And that's what I really, you know, it's, I mean, that sounds a bit grandiose. At the moment, it's small, we're growing, and we're, you know, we're kind of growing in a kind of organic way. But it really is, we want it to be there for everybody that needs it. And I think lots of people are gonna need it. So the idea of it is that it's a kind of, from my experience of the imperial trials, where people's depression came back, and they wanted community of other people that had some experience of psychedelics, they wanted to meet the others. And it started off the ACER Integration, it stands, it stands for accept, connect, embody, restore.

0:58:32.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And it came from research that I did around kind of mechanisms, what was happening. And the first group of people we had was 20 people from the second imperial trial. And I started a year long program with them. And it was, I wrote a program where it was 12 months together, 'cause I thought, you know, Integration shouldn't be just a couple of weeks that we need a long time together. So I wrote a 12 month framework, where every month has a specific focus, but then you just carry on that framework forever. So it's like, you know, you do the 12 months together in community online, but then you can carry on with that framework with each other as friends beyond that. Forever.

0:59:15.1 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So I think I'll hopefully follow this framework, you know, I follow it too. And every month has a different tree. And every tree has a different lesson. And all of the lessons are around connectedness to self, others, the living world. And we focus in community together. And that's through a mixture of breath work, sharing circles, guided imagery journeys, loads of different ways, you know, Integration circles, just lots of different things. We have a book club, we I interviewed experts in the field about the relevant for each month's theme. For example, we had in July, it was the oak tree.

0:59:57.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And the oak tree is all about seeing the oak tree is the kind of the castle, the home that welcomes all the different animals of the forest. So an oak tree is the tree that has the most species living in it has so hundreds of species of insects, birds, deer, boar, all live in an oak tree because of all the acorns. So the idea of the oak tree is like the metaphor, 'cause each of the trees has its kind of metaphor. The oak tree is, you know, all the different parts of yourself, all the different creatures that live in you, the spider, the deer, the bluebird, the wild boar, all of the different creatures is being a home to all of them and allowing all of our parts. So it was, it was based around IFS by Internal Family Systems.

1:00:44.2 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And this idea of having no bad parts, but just welcoming them all and understanding why they do what they do, why the protector parts, why the wild boar is, you know, behaving aggressively and why the bluebird might, you know, fly away in fear. It's like understanding the parts of ourselves that are more protective and more exiles. And we had Dick Schwartz come on to the program to the platform to talk about it. So every month we have amazing people like my heroes, like, luckily, they're a lot of people. A lot of them are getting involved in psychedelics now. So they're, they're willing to come and speak with us. But so we have this kind of creative, collaborative community where new people are joining and doing things and people are put in orchards.

1:01:29.2 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So you have a group of 10 people that you go through the whole process together with. But we have lots of different kinds of sharing circles as well. And we have kind of cross pollinating places where people can come up with creative ideas together. And if they're working in psychedelics, or in you know, something to do with connectedness, they can find other people to work on that project with them. And, yeah, the idea and there's a lot, there's lots of music. So we have this amazing musician called Finn Petcher, who, and I've worked with Jon Hopkins as well. And we have this amazing music, because one of the main things I learned as a psychedelic therapist was the importance of the playlist for psychedelic therapy.

1:02:06.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And so even though in the ACER community, it's, you know, it's online for a year, it's not, we don't, you know, that we don't give anybody any psychedelics. But we have all these music meditations. And I used everything I learned from psychedelic playlists, to work with these musicians and create these playlists that you don't need any psychedelics to go to deep places inside, if you have the right music and the framework, and whether it's breathwork, or whether it's a meditation journey, you know, people go to some very, very deep places. And then after they're finished, the 12 trees, so you know, that the July was the oak tree, and I won't talk up to all the other trees. But once you've finished, you, you can then apply to be a facilitator within ACER, so that you facilitate online sharing circles, you know, holding space for other people that are joining.

1:03:00.4 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And we're giving people free guided imagery journey and tools, so that they can go into their local communities and offer them for free to the people in their community. So it's like self seeding, and spreading this work and helping people meet people in their communities, because they're offering a tree meditation in their local town hall for free for people that live there. So it's this idea of creating the village, you know, there's that whole thing about, you know, it takes a village to raise a child. And I think I wrote a medium piece about how my TED talk was kind of misguided, because I was thinking it was all about like a one session that was gonna fix you forever. But actually, it's this ongoing work, and it takes a village to raise psychedelic therapy, you know, we need, we need community based care to hold this work, because psychedelics are powerful, we've been cut off from our lineage, we don't have the container, like people that are using them in an indigenous context have, they haven't been cut off from their container.

1:04:06.3 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And, you know, in an ayahuasca using community and indigenous group, the idea of Integration doesn't make sense, it doesn't exist. Because they don't need to integrate in the same way we do, because they live in a way that's more balanced with nature and connectedness and small groups of people. Whereas for us, it's like, so urgent that we create the infrastructure and the community around just being there for people when they come out of a psychedelic experience. And they're like, whoa, I don't want to go back to that disconnected world. It's like, okay, well, we're here, you know, you can come and we can, you know, we're trying to build the world that we want to see and, in a way using psychedelic Integration as a way of I call them like building like islands of connectedness. So in our disconnected, fragmented, numbing culture, we can create a little island of connectedness where we are, whether it's, you know, through ACER, ACER aims to be like a kind of online network that enables people to become agents of connectedness, both within that network, but also in their local communities.

1:05:10.1 Dr. Rosalind Watts: And we kind of like hub and spoke more. Model that we can support each other. But whether it's through something like ACER, or developing your own initiative, or just meeting other people in your local area and starting something that is in service of the value of connectedness, you know, I saw this picture of a pile of clothes so huge that it can be seen from space disused clothes, and a stat that we have enough clothes on the planet to clothe the next seven generations. And yet we have all these sweatshops making fast fashion with people basically under slave conditions. And it's so nonsensical. So I'm starting a thing in my local community where we get together and bring some of our favourite lovely clothes and give them to each other and share stories about them. So it's like, see the thing that makes you cry or makes you hurt and turn that pain into a little tiny homeopathic dose of what you think the world needs and just do one little thing. And then by doing that, we can start to create more community infrastructure around connectedness.

1:06:12.3 Dr. Rosalind Watts: So that's what ACER is trying to do. But it's so much bigger than just ACER. You know, there's so many ways that people can become an agent of connectedness in their own lives.

1:06:24.0 Paul F. Austin: It's almost like turning the pain into into service, right? What's the thorn that's in our side, or even the even, you know, a lot of people would say that the traumas that deeply affect us are often the greatest gifts through which we can give as well. And so I love that. That framing of create it, create the island. And then look for the other islands, because I think what ultimately what we're after is an archipelago. And how do we create an archipelago of culture that is rooted in these humanistic nature connectedness, you know, community and belonging values?

1:07:07.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yeah, I love that. I haven't, I might borrow that from you. We need the archipelago. It's so true. Yes, the islands are going together. I love it. Yeah.

1:07:21.8 Paul F. Austin: Well, Ros, thanks so much for, it's late in the UK. I think it's like quarter after nine now. So I just appreciate your time and joining us for this, this fantastic conversation. I never know where conversations are going to lead. And I love the many times We've had a chance to explore here. So just as a final note for our listeners, if they wanna learn more about ACER, if they wanna learn more about your work, what are some good resources, websites, kind of things to check out for them?

1:08:00.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Thank you. So the ACER website, so it's ACER Integration, which is A-C-E-R Integration.com. We have a mailing list where if you join that, we send out. Some free workshops and a podcast that we do. And just, yeah, if you get on that mailing list and also then if you look on the ACER website, you can learn about the program, the community, and we are just accepting the last few people for the next cohort, which starts in November. And then we'll be opening our doors again in spring. And if people are interested, then there's a kind of pack on there to give you some sense of how it works. And yeah, be lovely to see some new, some Third Wave listeners in there. It's a community mostly of people that are on a psychedelic healing journey, but we do have increasing numbers of community members who are not taking psychedelics and they're just doing it for the boosting their connectedness to each other in nature.

1:08:57.0 Paul F. Austin: Incredibly. So that's ACER Integration.com will include all the links in the show notes and any final parting thoughts or words before we wrap up.

1:09:10.5 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Yes. So I said, I said before about Bayo Akomolafe and how wonderful he is and that there was one other amazing thing that if you, if you do one thing this month and I was like. Oh no, there's another one. There is a book that I read recently, which I just, it's just such a gift to the world. And it's so linked to what we're talking about. It's, it's actually a couple therapy book, but it goes so much deeper than just couple therapy. It's around developing ways of being more relational. And ways of nurturing what the author who's Terrence Real calls us consciousness. So rather than you and me consciousness, individualism, how we nurture us consciousness. And this book has, it's like a kind of technology that you download. And it is so groundbreaking and powerful that I just think everybody should read this book. So yeah, Us by Terrence Real.

1:10:06.9 Paul F. Austin: What's the name of the book?

1:10:08.0 Dr. Rosalind Watts: It's called Us.

1:10:09.6 Paul F. Austin: Us.

1:10:09.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Us. Yeah. Us by Terrence Real. And it's in terms of connectedness and also integrating psychedelics and also just, you know, how do we build these communities and manage the relational dynamics within them? This book is a wonderful, wonderful training.

1:10:31.0 Paul F. Austin: Incredible. Well, Ros, thank, thank you again for all the work that you've done in this space for the heart and the compassion in the frameworks that you're bringing to help people navigate. This both who are working with psychedelics, but also those who are just seeking greater community and belonging. It's been a real honor to, to have you on the show today. So I appreciate, appreciate you joining us.

1:10:55.7 Dr. Rosalind Watts: Oh, thank you, Paul. It's been a, yeah, I've really enjoyed this conversation.

1:11:05.1 Paul F. Austin: Thank you. Hey, listeners, Paul here. I hope you enjoyed our episode today with Dr. Rosalind Watts. Once again, find links to everything we mentioned in the show notes. If you want to help others find the podcast, you can simply leave us a review wherever you listen to podcasts. This is a simple and small action that you can take right now to amplify psychedelic awareness and shift the cultural conversation around psychedelic substances. And if you already have left us a review, thank you for your support until next time.

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