“Finding Your Own Best Answers”: Healing from Adverse Childhood Experiences


Episode 247

Brian Alman, Ph.D.

In this Psychedelic Podcast episode, Paul F. Austin delves into the power of the unconscious mind and healing from ACEs with Dr. Brian Alman.

Dr. Brian Alman explores the profound role of the unconscious mind in healing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). He reveals that unlocking the unconscious can lead to deep healing and growth, shedding light on the impact of ACEs on individuals. Dr. Alman shares his unique approach to therapy integrates conscious, subconscious, and unconscious realms alongside the healing potential of nature.

The conversation closes with an introduction to Dr. Alman’s new Enlightn app for personalized assessment and treatment of ACEs.

Dr. Brian Alman is the CEO & Founder of True Sage. A passionate facilitator with a Ph.D. in psychology, and author of 14 books, he is one of the world’s leading authorities in wellness and personal growth. Using knowledge of the conscious, subconscious, and Unconscious, he has significantly contributed to psychology, medicine, education, clinical research, wellness, parenting, business, and sports.

He was nicknamed “The Doctor of Last Resort” at Kaiser Permanente — the world’s largest nonprofit healthcare provider. By discovering and facilitating the unconscious, inner potential of each person, he has helped hundreds of thousands of people and contributed to making the world a better place. With his inventions, books, training workshops, one-on-one mobile technologies, and online programs, Dr. Alman is now helping people help themselves more than ever before in the fields of weight loss, stress reduction, healing, and healthcare.

Podcast Highlights

  • Finding your own best answers: An introduction to Dr. Alman
  • Understanding the unconscious mind and its healing potential
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their impact
  • Psychedelics, the unconscious, and healing
  • Dr. Alman's approach for deep healing work
  • The healing power of nature
  • Influential teachers and mentors
  • The Enlightn app
  • Conclusion and gratitude

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This episode is sponsored by Soltara Healing Center - a renowned retreat center working with the Amazonian plant medicine ayahuasca under the guidance of Indigenous Peruvian Shipibo healers. With locations in Costa Rica and Peru, Soltara specializes in transformative plant medicine healing in intimate group sizes with extensive before- and aftercare support. Working with trauma-informed facilitators, experienced therapists, and distinguished advisors, including Dennis McKenna, Dr. Gabor Maté, and Bia Labate, the center offers a uniquely integrative approach.

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Also brought to you by The Coaching Certification Program by Third Wave’s Psychedelic Coaching Institute. To learn more about our flagship 10-month training program for coaches who want to integrate psychedelic modalities into their practice, click here.


Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.0 Dr. Brian Alman: Hey listeners welcome back to the Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave where we explore how the safe and responsible use of psychedelics can catalyze individual and collective transformation. This is your host Paul F. Austin and today I am speaking with Dr. Brian Alman the Founder and CEO of True Sage.

0:00:19.3 Dr. Brian Alman: Learning how to tap into your unconscious mind that's the game changer. Whether it's emotional physical psychological all the jewels all the greatness inside of you will come from your unconscious mind the innermost you the true authentic you.

0:00:41.9 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.

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0:02:30.3 Paul F. Austin: Hey there listeners and welcome back to the show. This is Paul F. Austin founder and CEO at Third Wave and today we're delving into the profound realm of the unconscious mind and the role it plays in healing the impacts of adverse childhood experiences also known as ACEs. My guest today Dr. Brian Alman is a leading expert in this field. He is the CEO and founder of True Sage which offers clinically proven stress management solutions for workplace wellness. A passionate facilitator with a PhD in psychology and an author of 14 books. He is one of the world's leading authorities in wellness and personal growth. Using knowledge of the conscious subconscious and unconscious he has contributed to psychology medicine education clinical research wellness parenting business and sports. He was nicknamed the doctor of last resort at Kaiser Permanente the world's largest non-profit healthcare provider. Dr. Alman has helped hundreds of thousands of people with his inventions, books, training workshops, mobile technologies and online programs. And he focuses on the fields of weight loss, stress reduction, healing and healthcare. I met Dr. Alman about a year ago in San Diego through a mutual friend. We had the great pleasure of spending an evening together getting tacos and deeply connecting.

0:03:51.6 Paul F. Austin: And I ran into him at an event several months later and brought up the idea of having him on the podcast. He was super keen for it. So in our conversation together we explore Dr. Alman's journey, his insights into the unconscious mind and the far-reaching impacts that ACEs have on individual development. We'll dive into the intersection of psychedelics the unconscious and healing as well as how healing nature can be. But that's not all. Dr. Alman also introduces his groundbreaking new Enlighten app which offers personalized assessment and treatment for ACEs. This conversation is an invitation to discover your own best answers as we delve into our inherent capacity to heal from the enduring wounds of adverse childhood experiences. However before we dive in take a minute to follow the Psychedelic Podcast on your favorite platform or like and subscribe on YouTube. And for more support and resources around all things psychedelic join our free community platform at community.thethirdwave.co. All right without further ado here's my conversation with Dr. Brian Alman. Dr. Alman or I'll just call you Brian probably from now on. It's great to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us.

0:05:01.0 Dr. Brian Alman: Thank you Paul. Thank you for inviting me. I'm excited to be here and I'm looking forward to sharing what I've been taught by hundreds of thousands of people with all your listeners.

0:05:12.3 Paul F. Austin: So we met probably about a year ago now through a mutual friend. We ended up sharing some tacos in Encinitas together and I was really just struck by your very balanced approach at healing the mind when it comes to stress and resilience. And so as a starting point I would just love just for you to set the scene a little bit for our listeners. You know when people ask you who is Brian Alman? How would you describe yourself in the current present moment?

0:05:47.9 Dr. Brian Alman: I would say I practice what I teach. And for me it's all about finding your own best answers in your unconscious mind your inner wisdom for your mind, for your body, for your emotions, for your spirit because the unconscious mind is even smarter than we are. And we've all heard we only use 15% of our mind. Some people say well I know people that probably use 1% or 2% of their mind and maybe some people use more. But just think of all that untapped mind. I mean 86 billion neurons, trillions of connections. And if we're only using 15%. When it comes to healing getting well whatever it is physical, emotional, historical, generational we all have that ability. So that's my purpose. It's my self-practice. It's what I teach others to do all around the world. They come here or I go there. But that really is who I am is okay it's about inner wisdom. But it's about the how-tos. How do you do it? I get it. I need to be wiser. I need to connect with my inner doctor. I get that but show me how. And that's my favorite part. Is okay I'm going to show you how.

0:07:19.5 Paul F. Austin: And I wanna go into your approach, your protocols, the how but I'd love to just first start with hearing your perspective on what is the unconscious mind? There's a lot of talk about the conscious, the subconscious, the unconscious. And I'd love if you could just flesh out a little bit more about what is the unconscious? What does that even mean to start with?

0:07:45.3 Dr. Brian Alman: Right. Your unconscious is your deepest self. The inner part of you that's spontaneous, in the moment, present. Nothing planned, no special affirmations, nothing cognitive, nothing I'll think positive and I'll be positive. No the unconscious mind is like the deep parts of the ocean. You cannot even see them but there's a world in there. Like looking up at the stars we can't even see all of the space out there. And yet it's out there. The deep ocean, the stars, the galaxies we have the same inside of us. That's our unconscious our deepest inner ocean, our furthest outer sky, stars, planets. Every single one of us has that inside of us. That's our unconscious mind undiscovered because it's always brand new different every single time. Yes that's you. That's your unconscious. Now just to qualify that Paul, the conscious mind we all know that's the everyday thinking mind. How am I feeling? How are you? Nice to see you. Sort of the social graces and the let's get something to eat. Let's skip the workout. I got to get to work. Oh no there's traffic. That's the conscious mind. The subconscious mind very often misunderstood is the junkyard. The basement. The place you push all the stuff you don't wanna deal with consciously, whether it's from your childhood or work or your relationship or anything you're stressed or worried about.

0:09:32.4 Dr. Brian Alman: I can't be thinking about that all the time. I got to get to work. I can't be thinking about that all the time. I have my priorities. So you push it down into the subconscious and then of course it comes back up an hour later, 10 minutes later, a few hours later and you push it back down and then it comes back up. So the conscious and subconscious are always interacting with each other in that I can deal with this now. So here I go says the conscious mind. I can't deal with this now pushes it down into the basement the junkyard the subconscious. So when people in the self-development world and the health world and all the workshops, all the seminars say get to your subconscious mind to find your best answer. You're going through the junkyard. You're going through all this stuff you've repressed and pushed down and gotten rid of. Maybe and occasionally it's true you'll find a coin. You'll find something special. So yes there are answers there but it is a needle in a haystack. 99% of what you're gonna find is oh God I don't wanna deal with that. I pushed that down. No no no. So that goes on every day years, decades almost all people go back and forth between the subconscious and the conscious.

0:10:44.8 Dr. Brian Alman: And they're even advised to do that because you'll get your answers in your subconscious they're told but nobody ever does. It's a fool's errand but of course 0.001% of the time you do and you say like oh wow I got something out of my subconscious. Well now it's gonna take you another 30 years to get something else. Your unconscious mind is always available 24/7, 365 days. It's present right now with every single one of us. It is accessible. It's available to help us. And learning how to tap into your unconscious mind that's the game changer whether it's emotional, physical, psychological, having to do with going on trips to discover your best answers to resolve your issues whatever it is. It's all the jewels, all the greatness inside of you will come from your unconscious mind the inner most you the true authentic you.

0:11:50.2 Paul F. Austin: So I'm going to hop around a little bit.

0:12:00.1 Dr. Brian Alman: Okay.

0:12:01.1 Paul F. Austin: I'm seeing that. Yeah I'm going to hop around a little bit because the next question that I have and I'll bring it all together but just in reviewing and doing a little bit of research before our conversation together. There's a way in which you focus on ACEs, adverse childhood experiences, and bringing those into awareness. And we've talked about those a little bit on the podcast but again just to help sort of set the stage for the rest of our conversations. Can you just explain to our listeners what are adverse childhood experiences and what impact do those have on the growth and development of human beings?

0:12:39.1 Dr. Brian Alman: Okay. So Dr. Felitti who's the co-principal investigator of the ACE study the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and I have been collaborating since before the ACE study began all through the ACE study still to this day and will in the future. So we've been partnering. He's the MD that did the assessment. And I'm the treatment solution expert and the founder of the ACE treatment solution. So that's my relationship with ACEs which goes back to before it even started and is still happening. And we collaborate we're together once or twice a week and have been for decades. The ACEs are adverse childhood experiences. It started off as 10 questions. And it actually started when we were working in the weight loss center and the wellness center at Kaiser Permanente where I was working with the group facilitators and the therapists and the physicians that were helping people to lose weight at the center and to obviously be more well. And it was really interesting that the weight loss was very successful. And then the people that were most successful gained all the weight back really fast.

0:13:53.0 Dr. Brian Alman: Because at first we thought wow look how smart we are. Look how great these people are doing. We're helping people lose 50 pounds, 20 pounds, 100 pounds, 150 pounds it's amazing. Look at us. And then they drop out we're like what happened? And then we follow up. And the ones that we followed up with we could get back to us had gained the weight back. So we're missing something. So we started talking to them and interviewing them. And one person in particular told about the sexual relationship she had had with her father. And it went from 13 to 18 until she finally stopped it and like that's really amazing. Well and yeah. And she gained I think 75 pounds the year that that started. So in one year that was the year she gained all the weight. We saw this over and over again as we got smarter about listening to the people. And that's how the ACEs started. We realized wow more than half of the people in this weight loss program have experienced sexual abuse. Well if that's true we would've learned this in graduate school and medical school. People aren't taught and this can't be true. And we started interviewing people and talking to people. Well it was true more than half of the time. And then we realized that wasn't the only trauma or adverse childhood experience.

0:15:15.8 Dr. Brian Alman: There were things like divorce in the family, depression in the family, drug alcohol use in the family, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect. There were all these other issues. So we decided on the 10 most popular ones and those became the 10 ACE questions. It's a yes or no question. And was there alcoholism drug abuse in your family yes or no? And we went through all of those. Was there sexual abuse physical emotional abuse psychological abuse yes or no? So you have a score of zero to 10 as your A score. So where I came in in our partnership together with Dr. Felitti is how do you help people once they realize 'cause it's a breakthrough to realize it's like wow that's the year I gained all the weight. That's crazy. I never figured that out. I never even thought of that. You know and it's the same with all of the issues. There's certain events or traumas that then cause us to have to cope like overeating to get fat to keep the riffraff away or use drinking or drugs to numb, drown, push it down into the subconscious. So what were coping skills with the food and the weight. We thought when we got people to stop overeating and lose the weight we found the holy grail.

0:16:43.6 Dr. Brian Alman: But we were actually taught by all these people tens of thousands of people, with time, now hundreds of thousands, now millions is that we were taking away their solution. That was their subconscious attempt to solve the problem which was to either comfort themselves with food 'cause we all know food can be comforting. If you have a little bite to eat you'll feel better. We all grow up like that. We all know that. But it also by getting bigger for women it keeps the sexual opportunities conflicts dilemmas away because you're kind of ignored and one of the women even said to us overweight is overlooked and that's the way I need to be. And for the guys bigger don't get pushed around, don't get bullied you know oh that guy's so big you know I wouldn't wanna mess with him. Keeps the bullies away. You still get bullied some for being overweight but not as much because well he'll sit on you and like you notice all the prison guards they're huge guys.

0:17:50.5 Dr. Brian Alman: You notice all the people that walk around. I mean that's... There's protection for women and men. So in other words helping people lose the weight isn't really what's gonna work. And all the weight loss programs why did 98% of them gain the weight back after going through whatever the program is? Because that's the solution. The subconscious solution to the underlying, the ACE. The adverse childhood experience the trauma that they're doing the best they can to cope with until they learn the kinds of solutions that we learned really from the participants who taught us what didn't work. And we learned what did work. And I'm saying that it really took a long time to do that. But we had a lot of great teachers. So that's the ACE. The ACE study. Now it's in 120 countries.

0:18:43.0 Paul F. Austin: Wow.

0:18:43.3 Dr. Brian Alman: We now have an app coming out so you can take the ACE and get the treatment solutions right in the app. That took us about 10 years to develop.

0:18:50.4 Paul F. Austin: Wow. That's fantastic.

0:18:53.1 Dr. Brian Alman: We added last year. You'll like this, Paul. We added based on the feedback from our teachers, the people, the stakeholders, the people that have been through ACEs, that've been through traumas. We added what we call the positive childhood experiences assessment and looked at the supportive people and the coach and the teacher and the friend's parent and maybe the other parent or maybe a sibling, maybe somebody that just took a liking to you. And we looked at the positive experiences we've had as kids. And then you get that score from 0-10. And we've been utilizing the positives to help with the adverse. And so that's really been a real breakthrough for us as well.

0:19:39.2 Dr. Brian Alman: But fundamentally, the deep inner healing mind, body, heart and soul of the traumas is really what the breakthrough was. And we learned what works. It doesn't take long. It helps everybody right away. You never feel worse before you feel better. And again, we were getting constant feedback. We did groups, every single week from theater groups, psychodrama, role play groups to every kind of group you can imagine. And we just learned so much from the people that we were helping, who were helping us because they wanted to see if they could help other people not go through what they went through. So they're very generous and we have thousands of hours of videotapes of these sessions and these groups. And that's the ACE study.

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0:23:09.1 Paul F. Austin: So I have so many questions coming off of this. I first heard about the ACE study through Bessel van der Kolk, "The Body Keeps the Score," where he talks about the role of ACEs in the developmental process and how that can relate to PTSD, how that can relate to depression, addiction, alcoholism, right? And with the topic of this podcast being psychedelics, there has been some really interesting research on how psychedelics can help to heal attachment wounds, how psychedelics can help to heal certain forms of abuse that have happened, largely because there's a process of catharsis and then forgiveness within a very safe container. And so just sort of to bring this initial kind of the first 15 minutes of our conversation together. The sort of next question, which is, you're probably aware of what I'll ask, what's this relationship then between accessing the unconscious or tapping into the unconscious and the capacity to heal from adverse childhood experiences?

0:24:13.1 Dr. Brian Alman: Well, it's very positive, Paul. There's a lot there. As long as the person goes through everything that's also going on consciously. Because that's their everyday thinking, billions and billions of practiced, well-maintained, defensive ways of being in the world. So that's a big part of the healing. It has to be integrated and utilized. Also the subconscious, the basement, the junkyard, like you said, the catharsis, the forgiveness, that's all the stuff that's in the subconscious.

0:24:55.4 Dr. Brian Alman: So that really needs to be healed and resolved. And once those two opportunities are taken, then a person can get to what's possible from their unconscious mind to help them with all that. So it's sort of a one, two, three approach, but it can be one, two, three, two, one, two, three, two. There's a lot of interaction inevitably when you're a whole person, you're wholehearted, you're the 100% you. There's constant interaction between your unconscious, your subconscious, and your conscious because those have lifetime memberships too. So that junkyard, that basement is always gonna be with us.

0:25:41.7 Dr. Brian Alman: Hopefully it's emptied out so there's a lot more space in there, but you don't get rid of that part of you that thinks you're doing everything wrong, and you've done this before, and you've tried it before, and it didn't work then. So that subconscious, in addition to being the junkyard, is also the inner critic, the inner judge, the never satisfied, the perfectionist because you've already proven yourself to be untrustworthy. So don't try to trick your subconscious mind because your subconscious mind is holding all of that trickery. It's holding all of that criticism and judgment and accountability and skepticism. It's holding all that. And people try to get rid of the subconscious. They try to get rid of that inner judge, inner critic. That has a lifetime membership. You don't get rid of that.

0:26:35.3 Dr. Brian Alman: You need to learn to utilize it. Be friends with it. Understand, it's like the 14-year-old you, it's the 9-year-old you, it's the 17-year-old you, it's all of those ages and ultimately like a tree. Paul, you can't cut down a tree. Dig out the bad years, the trauma years, the ACE years, the subconscious development years, and then glue the tree back together. It's not gonna work. Okay? So we have to be the whole us all our years, all our stages, all our rings, and really for your unconscious mind of all, you wanna be the present ring. You wanna be who you are now. But yes, all the prior rings, all the prior ages and stages, all the subconscious development, all the conscious development. It's part of the tree. It's part of who we are. You just want to be able to come from in your daily life, your unconscious, your presence of mind, who you are right here, right now.

0:27:35.1 Dr. Brian Alman: And that's where the happiness is. That's where the peace is. People want peace of mind. It's in your unconscious mind. It's not in your subconscious. It's not in your conscious, conscious mind. It's like a, just never stops moving. People call it the monkey mind. You know, just go, go, go. It's very smart. It just doesn't stop very often. Your subconscious, very smart, very intelligent, can think of anything anytime, talk you into or out of anything. And it basically doesn't stop, another part of the monkey mind. The unconscious mind, peaceful space. It's really where enlightenment, exists. It's where you feel unconditionally accepting of your whole self.

0:28:17.6 Dr. Brian Alman: All of you, including your pain in the rear end self, including your, judgmental self. I mean, how can you be unconditionally accepting of your inner judge and inner critic for your whole life? Well, that's a breakthrough. That makes a world of difference. And of course, there are how tos, these techniques, the strategies, and they're all inside of us. I just define and create the solutions that people already have inside of them. It's not like I'm saying, here it is. You can do this. You already have the capacity. I'm just gonna help you orchestrate it like a maestro with no instrument. I'm gonna facilitate you finding your answers, getting you to your unconscious to help you. But I don't have any answers for you. I don't have any, way of, helping you. I'm gonna help you help yourself. I'm happy when I have my own best answers for myself. So I'm going to facilitate your unconscious mind. And that's really where the real calm power comes from.

0:29:28.8 Paul F. Austin: And so my natural next question then is you've worked with thousands, if not tens of thousands of clients over the years. You've really been a pioneer in as you already mentioned, in stress resilience in even defining the impact of adverse childhood experiences and overall health and wellness. Tell us just a little bit about when a client is coming to work with you, what are some of the challenges that they're confronting and facing? We already talked about weight loss is one of them. But I'm sure there are others as well. And what is your practice? What is your approach and what is the role that nature plays in your practice and approach?

0:30:11.3 Dr. Brian Alman: Right. So people come in because of relationship challenges. They come in because of anxiety. They come in because of pain, emotional, physical, psychological pain. They come in because of ACEs. It's a little bit Paul like there's a fire. And people think, Hey, I have anxiety, I have relationship problems. I'm depressed. I'm drinking too much. I'm not happy at work. I don't feel right in my life. I'm just not, I don't know what to do. And what they want me to do, and what they've been doing for decades or years and doesn't work, is they want me to bring big fans to the fire and blow the smoke away, blow away the anxiety, blow away the depression, blow away the drug use, blow away the relationship. They want me to blow away the symptoms, the signals, the weight issues. And yet what needs to happen is to bring big hoses.

0:31:12.3 Paul F. Austin: And thank goodness firefighters know this and get to the fire, and get to the underlying causes. Get to the issues. So anxiety's a signal. It's not bad. It's trying to tell you something. Depression's a signal. It's not bad. It's trying to tell you something. Drug use is a signal. It's not bad. It's trying to tell you something. Being overweight. These are all the smoke. And there's no point bringing big fans to a fire to blow away the smoke. You wanna actually get to the origins, the issues themselves. So that's why people come in. I've been doing this work, I've been in therapy, I've been going to people, I've been everywhere. I've tried everything. And I'm still like, this, can you just help me get a breakthrough? Help me help myself. So that's kind of typical. They've tried everything. Kaiser Permanente, where I see what are called high utilizers.

0:32:00.6 Dr. Brian Alman: They used to call me the doctor of last resort, when nothing else worked. They didn't know what to do, they would send them to Dr. Brian Alman, 'cause he's the doctor of last resort. He'll help them. Nothing's rigged. They changed it though over the years to the doctor of first resort, where they started sending people to me first because they saw, let's not spend all this money and waste all these years, and this poor person, let's get them, because I could help them tap into their own inner doctor. So that's kind of the typical person. The nature part, I mean, we all know Mother Nature heals, whether we take a walk outside or if we're, do sports, whether, we walk at the water, we body surf, we surf, we ski, we run, we play tennis, we play golf, we play football, we play soccer, whatever, outside feels so good to people to be out in Mother Nature. And so almost all of my sessions.

0:33:00.2 Dr. Brian Alman: At the beach, sessions are typically eight hours. They can be four hours, they can sometimes be two hours, especially for the youngins, the young kids, two hours is plenty, but they're typically eight hours or four hours at the beach, barefoot in the sand. I have a special spot, I've been using it for decades. So it's deep inner healing. Usually one, two or three days. All day, all day. Yes, deeper than people have ever gone because we wanna get as much done as we can, as fast as we can. You've been struggling with this for years. Let's get through this. So my sessions are always at the beach. I have a nice office if it's raining, so we can use that. But primarily 98% of the time it's at the beach. I record everything and I've written 14 books and I have all these videos and things, so people can actually do it if they can't get here, if they're in Tokyo and it's too tough, or when they're in London, it's too tough.

0:34:03.4 Dr. Brian Alman: But those people come here too, whether they're from LA, San Diego or anywhere in the world and we go to the beach and we do this deep inner work. Exactly Paul, what we've been talking about, really getting to know their ACEs, their story, what's going on consciously, what's going on subconsciously, start to give them techniques to tap into their unconscious, start to give them some ways of finding their own solutions. And so day one is sort of the story and everything. First time anybody's ever told their whole story in an atmosphere where they're completely accepted. And Mother Nature accepts all of us. So there's something really beautiful about the beach, the ocean, the waves, occasionally the dolphins, the whales, whatever it is, it's totally private.

0:34:58.2 Dr. Brian Alman: And that's a big part of the first day is developing that acceptance set, the compassion response to their whole story. Probably 80% of the time their eyes are closed, but if they just never see the ocean and they love looking at the water, their eyes are open. It's totally up to them. They can do both. We do take little breaks for lunch and bathroom, but we're pretty much going for eight hours and a lot happens that day. Yes, like you said earlier, Paul, there is some catharsis. There is some release and honesty and openness like never before, but it's primarily to get the story and get the acceptance going. 'Cause acceptance opens the mind, judgment closes the mind and acceptance opens the unconscious, the subconscious and the conscious. It's really a beautiful approach to be able to develop acceptance of our story.

0:35:56.3 Dr. Brian Alman: And we haven't changed anything yet. We've just added acceptance. We haven't taken anything away. We haven't stopped anything. We haven't tried to fix anything. We are adding acceptance at a deep level. You can feel it physically, you can feel it viscerally. You can feel it in your face, you can hear it in your breathing. And that's a big part of the first day. And then obviously we've collected all the inventory and data of the ACEs and the difficulties in that day. And we'll either get to it in the first day. But the second day is all about really finishing with all the unfinished business.

0:36:32.6 Dr. Brian Alman: Your mother, your father or the perpetrator, or the person who hurt you, even the person you hurt, just all of the unfinished business, all of the traumas, all the difficulties, the giving, the receiving, the mistakes. And there's wonderful techniques for this. They're absolutely stunning techniques. Practiced, tried and true, with tens of thousands of people. And so the second day is really all about that, finishing with the unfinished business. That's sort of a catch term, but it really means resolving, healing, the self-forgiveness, the decision if you want to forgive the other person or not, it's totally up to you. That's not a big issue. The big issue is letting go, not the forgiveness. And so that's most of the second day, and that usually takes eight hours and the people are only coming in for four hours.

0:37:29.2 Dr. Brian Alman: That's over two, four different days. And then the third day is getting to the unconscious in a really deep way. Because ultimately it's like the hallucinogenics, it's like all the things you're talking about with PTSD and all of that and all the trauma. It's all about integrating your best answers into your daily life, your follow up, your ongoing. So the third day is all about developing your connection to your unconscious, coming up with your answers, figuring out how to integrate it into your daily life. And that is a full day's work, whether they do it in one day or over two or three or four.

0:38:09.1 Dr. Brian Alman: And then there's always follow up. So there's always follow up. For years, whether it's on the phone or in person or back at the beach, whatever it is but everybody gets a long-term follow up and support and questions to be answered and questions to be looked at and successes to be shared and difficulties to be worked through. So there's a big focus on the follow up and the integrating it into daily life. But so the sessions, to your point, mother nature, that's why I do them at the beach. 'Cause mother nature heals, mother nature helps. And there's just something so accepting and opening. Nobody really spends eight hours on themselves at the beach doing their own inner work. And you do that over a few days. It's life changing. It's unforgettable. It's definitely deeper and stronger than any hallucinogenic experience. It's just so total and you're so present that, yeah. It's amazing what people come up with for themselves. They come up with their own best answers and integrate them for themselves. Yeah.

0:39:30.8 Paul F. Austin: And it reminds me a little bit of Outward Bound, which is a program that typically tends to be for younger kids, who are maybe 14, 15, 16 And they'll take them out into the wilderness for a week or 10 days, or 14 days. I had a few friends that I knew growing up who for whatever reason were headed down, not such a great path, and went and did Outward Bound and it totally transformed their perspective and their life. And I think there's something about nature that, in a way is our unconscious. That, and this reconnection to nature reminds us of the healing power and potential of being feet in the sand, body in the water surrounded by trees and mountains. There's something that we can't even, it's hard to put into words, even of what we experience when we're in an environment like that.

0:40:23.2 Dr. Brian Alman: It's a beautiful association, Paul, of it being a mirror mother. Nature being a mirror of our unconscious mind is so true. Now add to that, the home, you know, the Outward Bound problem, add to that, the resolutions and healing and inner work and finishing with unfinished business and the unconditional acceptance and the catharsis in the resolving with the difficult situations. And people, your ACEs to go through all of your ACEs and all of those events, all those categories while you're outside in Mother Nature, you're talking about the best of both worlds inside and out at the exact same time.

0:41:08.6 Paul F. Austin: That's beautiful. So, I'm just generally curious, Brian, who have been, let's say, some of your greatest teachers that you've had a chance to directly work with, because your approach is so unique and so longstanding. And I'm just curious, like, whether from a young age or even middle to sort of in your years of eldership, who do you find has been most influential in your path as a healer and doctor?

0:41:39.5 Dr. Brian Alman: So interesting that you would ask that question at this point in our conversation, Paul, because I have three answers for you. And the first one is when I was very young, I was fortunate. I grew up in Massachusetts right outside of Boston, which is a really interesting city and all that. And yet this little town about four miles outside of Boston, a city called Medford, was surrounded by woods and forest. Hundreds of miles of woods. Old Indian reservations. You could find arrowheads out there. You could find rock walls that the indigenous people had built. So that was my backyard, kind of a small modest house, but my backyard was all woods. And fortunately for me, I was raised by a mother who was very encouraging to explore and go discover. So I could go out in the woods from mourning till dark every day, any day I wanted to.

0:42:41.0 Dr. Brian Alman: And I went by myself. My friends really weren't interested. And I would go out in Mother Nature, my first mentor, my first teacher, and got to know the birds, knew the trees. I could walk all the way to New Hampshire. I could walk to Maine. Of course I had to walk back. So that was a little bit challenging how far I could really go. But it was endless. And I learned so much from all the seasons out there and all the different birds at the time. And what happened to the little streams and the rivers when they were, you know, it was drought or it was rainy. I just, mother nature was mentor number one in the woods. And so I'm developing my unconscious mind without knowing it. Now, unfortunately, for me, as it turned out, when I was so maybe 11 or 12 years old, I had back pain, really bad back pain.

0:43:36.4 Dr. Brian Alman: And I couldn't understand what it was. I go to the doctor, my mother took me to the doctor. I got X-rays. I was born missing part of L4 and L5 in my back. So my, the nerve endings that was pinched. So the pain was from them being out of alignment in my lower back. So I did what most people do. I do the physical therapy, they tried the meds. I went to the orthopedic surgeon. They were suggesting surgery, back surgery with no guarantee, get rid of the pain and we don't really know, but hey, we don't know what else to do. You're in pain, all that. And I just would tough it out, do the best I can. But there were times I couldn't even walk. It was impossible to get up. If I was on the ground, it could be excruciating.

0:44:21.0 Dr. Brian Alman: Anyone that has pain or back pain knows. It can be a full-time job dealing with your pain. So when I was 20, I'm reading about this pain control, what can I do? What can I do everywhere I go There's a medical doctor by the name of Milton Erickson. He wrote about a hundred of the scientific articles. He wrote the most books. He's the expert in medical hypnosis and mind-body healing. So I handwrote him a note and I said, dear Dr. Erickson, I've been reading your articles and your books and I am here and this is what I'm like, and this is my backstory and I am, have a lot of pain and I would love to study with you to help myself with my pain and help other people with their pain. And he got into the field at around the same age I was at the time 'cause he had polio and he wasn't expected to make it.

0:45:08.5 Dr. Brian Alman: And I met him, when I met him, I think he was, 75. And he wrote me back a handwritten note saying, I will train you if you get an MD degree or PhD in psychology and I will train you. So I wrote him back, I don't wanna get an MD degree or PhD in psychology. I just wanna learn this self hypnosis and Mind-body healing and medical hypnosis to help myself and help other people. So fortunately for me, he wrote me back another handwritten note. If you get an MD degree or a PhD in psychology, I will train you. Okay, uncle. So I moved from Massachusetts to not far from where he lived and got a PhD in psychology. He helped me write my dissertation. He helped me write my first book. He got me my first job at UCSD and I started off as a patient because of my pain.

0:46:03.7 Dr. Brian Alman: I then became a student as after a couple of years, it took quite a while for my pain. Like he taught me what he was doing for his pain. And then I became a co-therapist. 'cause we started seeing patients together. His patients there. I would bring patients to him. So he was my mentor after Mother Nature in the woods, Milton Erickson, MD, if anybody wants to look him up. Phenomenal teacher. I was so fortunate that I was very young. I was the only one without a degree in the training. Everyone else had PhDs and MDs. I was like the rent of the litter, without a degree. I know everybody was looking down on me, why is he here? He doesn't even have a degree, all of that. But I know now, years later, he took a liking to me. 'cause I was in it for my own pain to help others. He got into it because of his pain to help others. So we had some kind of deep connection there that nobody else had. And so I was very fortunate. While I'm studying with him and working with patients with him, I get an opportunity at Kaiser to work with these high utilizers. And that's how I met Dr. Felitti because this was before...

0:47:16.0 Paul F. Austin: And what are, high utilizers, Brian, Just 'cause you've mentioned that a couple pf times. What are high utilizers?

0:47:19.7 Dr. Brian Alman: High utilizers. Yeah. 20% of Kaiser members use 80% of the services. They go to the doctor once a week. They keep going. Nothing really helps. They have ACEs. We didn't know there were ACEs at the time, but they have traumas from their childhood, which is why they have the stomach aches, the headaches, they're having the cardiovascular problems, they're having the cancers, they're having the autoimmune diseases. We didn't know it was from their traumas. We learned that obviously with all these medical studies late years later. And all the work we were doing. 'cause we kept seeing, wow, there's such a correlation here now. It's all been scientifically proven. So I'm working with these people. He's working on, the weight loss and the wellness program. He brings me in, I do the trainings there. We start to interview the patients. Like I told you, Paul, the successful ones who then gain the weight back.

0:48:09.5 Dr. Brian Alman: We start to discover the sexual abuse, the other abuses, the ACEs, the traumas, pre ACEs. And we collaborate. I become the treatment solution founder. He's continuing. And, so he is another one of my mentors. He's also like Milton Erickson. Also one of my friends, my colleagues. I, you know, just think the world of Dr. Felitti. And I thought the world of Milton Erickson, obviously I think the world of Mother Nature. So, my mentors, when you asked, there's, and now it's all the people I work with because I learned something new with every single person that I work with. So now I have, hundreds of thousands of mentors, too many to name. But I'm forever grateful.

0:48:58.6 Paul F. Austin: Right. And so, I mean, you, and that's a beautiful story to share. And you even started the podcast by saying that you really had walked the walk, that you teach what you yourself have gone through and utilize to heal, which I think is so beautiful. And this is what we emphasize even with a lot of the psychedelic work for people who want to become therapists or psychiatrists who work with psychedelics or coaches, you should maybe work with ketamine or MDMA or psilocybin yourself before, you start to welcome other people into this. And as you mentioned, you've written 14 books. You've helped tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of clients. And so I'm curious just as sort of the conclusion of this conversation, it's 2024. When we spoke about a year ago, you had mentioned some pretty exciting stuff that you're working on in terms of an app that you're rolling out. And I'd just be love to hear like what are you working on now that you're really excited about and the impact that it could have in the next three to five to to 10 years?

0:50:00.7 Dr. Brian Alman: Yes. So, since I met you, we have gotten to the point, and I'll share with you, you'll be able to share it with your listeners, with your viewers.

0:50:09.1 Paul F. Austin: Love that.

0:50:09.5 Dr. Brian Alman: The prototype of the app. So Dr. Felitti and I have been developing the treatment solution side as well as the assessments so that people can do it at their own pace. The middle of the night, they can't sleep, they're stressed, they're struggling right in the palm of their hand with these five minute techniques. And so the app is really what we've been working on and we're just ready to launch it in the next 60 days. It took a lot longer than we thought it was gonna take because we wanted to load all of the techniques, all the content, Paul, so that it varied and could be personalized to fit how many ACEs you have, the categories, how you're doing, how you're struggling, how you're succeeding, your positive childhood experiences.

0:50:57.9 Dr. Brian Alman: You're adverse. So there's just so much branching, like trying to replicate what he and I have in our minds that we have done with people. And we've gone through case after case after case to figure out what worked, what do we wanna make sure we have in the app. So what I'm most excited about is that we're launching it, in just a few months. We're gonna do the pilots in all the right ways. We have, from every kind of clinic and healthcare provider businesses that care about the cost of mental health. Like one of the studies we did at Kaiser, actually UCSD professor did it had 135,000 people in the study, Paul, and looked at, well, what are the benefits of getting the assessment, this ACE assessment and getting one treatment solution from Dr. Brian Alman at True Sage? What are the benefits? And just the assessment in one technique, This UCSD professor with 135,000 people found that in one year, there was a 35% reduction in medical visits. There was an 11% reduction in emergency room visits saving Kaiser $2 billion.

0:52:15.7 Paul F. Austin: Oh my God.

0:52:15.9 Dr. Brian Alman: In one year from utilizing the assessment in one technique, which was remarkable. So that's all in the app Now that all the assessments, all of the solutions, obviously there's more than one. There's thousands. And that's what I'm the most excited about. The app is called Enlightn, E-N-L-I-G-H-T-N. The reason it's enlighten is with all the things we've been talking about, I got invited to India to teach meditators how to go deeper into meditation. So I'm thinking, well, why are they inviting this California doctor who does ACEs and does mind-body healing and all these things. Why am I going? I meditate, but I'm not like meditating for 50 or 60, 70 years and what can I teach them?

0:53:04.1 Dr. Brian Alman: But I went, I knew I could help them with their underlying blocks to why they're not going deeper into meditation. So that I knew I could do, but I wanted to see if anybody was really enlightened. That was my goal. So I went there for two months, ashram to ashram, guru to guru, presented, taught, had a great time, learned a lot, but never met anybody that was really enlightened because, when the lights didn't work or the books were late or the people were too noisy, they still had their own reason. I remember one that was really brilliant, great women, great, one had a toothache. I could tell he wasn't enlightened right away. 'cause oh my God, he is like [laughter] So, when I came back and I wrote about it and did videos, people said, well, you didn't, my guru, my gurus.

0:53:48.0 Dr. Brian Alman: So I went back, I went back again and I went to ashram to ashram all of that. And the last place I was at, the last guru, said to me, well, what do you think enlightenment is? And I said, well, it's like transcendental. Nothing bothers you. You are always in the present. You're in this great state no matter what, you just blist out all the time. And I could do that for 15 minutes, but I couldn't do it all the time and I didn't see anyone else that could do it all the time. He said, no, that's not what enlightenment is. And I thought, uh-oh two trips to India, months of traveling, all this teaching, uh-oh, what's coming now? And he said to me, enlightenment is unconditional acceptance of yourself. And I thought, and I said, well, I've been teaching that for years, people how to be unconditionally accepting.

0:54:41.2 Dr. Brian Alman: He said, well, you've been teaching people how to get to enlightenment. I said, wow. So I talk to Dr. Felitti. I talked to this software team, I talked to the app people. I said, the app is gonna be called Enlightn not Enlightenment. Because we don't want people to think we're going to get them to be enlightenment. They'll be thinking what I was thinking it was, let's just call it Enlightn. Because the whole app, the whole ACEs, the whole positive childhood, everything we do, it's about helping people, facilitating people, developing their unconditional self-acceptance. And that's enlightenment. So the app is called, sort of ACEs, True Sage, Dr. Felitti, Dr. Alman. But it's called Enlightn for that reason, Paul.

0:55:25.0 Paul F. Austin: You got the the naming down part.

0:55:29.4 Dr. Brian Alman: Yeah, right.

0:55:30.4 Paul F. Austin: I have to admit, these are beautiful, sort of ways to amplify what it is that you do. And even just landing on this note, 'cause we're about to wrap up is a, it's a beautiful bow on the sort of present and gift that you've given us today with everything that you've shared. So I'm super appreciative of the opportunity to have met you a year ago, to sit down and have this nearly hour long conversation. If folks wanna learn more about your work, Dr. Brian Alman, A-L-M-A-N.com, Enlightn is the app. Anything else you'd like to point folks to before we wrap up today?

0:56:13.5 Dr. Brian Alman: Yeah, well, it's interesting talk about the names Paul. I we have enlightn.me, so it's enlighten me, right. Okay. And True Sage is where we're really doing a lot of the work. Dr. Felitti and I, that's the word. True. T-R-U-E S-A-G-E, truesage.com. That's a very good place to go, of course I'm on the LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok. I love social media, I love sharing what I'm learning, but I just want to turn it back to you. The reason that I said yes to the podcast and the reason we've stayed connected is when you and I met, I had a very positive experience with you. I could feel your openness, your integrity, your passion about what you were doing. So I really felt like I had a wholehearted connection with you being a wholehearted person. And that was very touching and that's what's really sustained our connection and staying in touch is that positive vibe, that positive, connection with you right from the very beginning. Paul.

0:57:28.0 Paul F. Austin: Thank you, Brian.

0:57:29.4 Dr. Brian Alman: So thank you.

0:57:31.2 Paul F. Austin: And that feeling is, and we had a chance to reconnect at an event through our mutual friend Pablo a few months ago. And I was like, Brian, I think I tapped you on the shoulder. I was like, we met some time ago.

0:57:39.0 Dr. Brian Alman: I know, and I was like, Paul, yeah.

0:57:39.1 Paul F. Austin: Exchanged numbers. And we're both in San Diego, so, it was really an honor to, to do this. I'm actually going over to John Janowskis, the mutual friend we met with right after this conversation to.

0:57:53.3 Dr. Brian Alman: Oh, nice.

0:57:53.7 Paul F. Austin: To hang out with him. So I would love to see you again and again, I just appreciate, I appreciate you spending some time with us today, and I know you gotta get going, so it was really an honor and, just thank you so much, Brian.

0:58:05.8 Dr. Brian Alman: Thank you Paul. Great to be with you. I look forward to connecting again soon.

0:58:13.9 Paul F. Austin: Hey listeners, Paul here. I hope you found Dr. Brian Alman's insights as illuminating as I did to dive deeper into this episode just follow the link in the show notes, and if you want to continue exploring the transformative power of psychedelics, follow the psychedelic podcast on your favorite platform and join our community at community.thethirdwave.co. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time.

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