Samantha Morse had high hopes that she could become a full-time psychedelic coach; however, like many budding life and health coaches, she struggled to get more than a handful of sporadic clients. Then she decided to enroll in Third Wave’s intensive Coaching Certification Program, a six-month course where a cohort of students learns the full range of psychedelic coaching, from the nuances of different medicines to business marketing.
Quadrupled Her Clientele
For starters, Samantha lives in Oregon, the first state in America to be on the path to legalizing psilocybin services. Oregonians are curious about psychedelics but like to do their homework before committing to a professional psychedelic program. When they learned about Samantha’s credentials as a Third Wave certified coach, saw her as qualified to help.
Samantha developed her coaching website during the course and solicited feedback from individuals in her cohort who helped her refine the language and offerings on the site. Additionally, Samantha recalls learning a lot from Jared Chrisman, VP of Partnerships at Third Wave, who led a workshop on how coaches can outline their services and financial expectations in a clear document.
“I have so much more confidence in a discovery call,” Samantha says, partly thanks to a clearer public profile. Clients are nearly all referrals; they now show up to calls knowing Samantha’s story and expertise. Samantha features her Third Wave certification prominently on her website and finds that many potential clients will explicitly comment on how this training gives them more confidence in her abilities.
Once a client books out a three-month program, Samantha says she now has a broader range of knowledge and skills to support her clients. About one-third of her clients want help with microdosing psilocybin (the only drug to be legalized in Oregon).
Previously, she had been following conventional advice to start microdosers at a slightly higher dosage of 150 mg. But one of her fellow students told her that some people are much more sensitive to plant medicine. Accordingly, her peer found that a very low, sub-perceptual dose of 50 mg was a more gentle onramp. Or, as Third Wave Founder Paul F. Austin likes to say, “Start low and move slow.”
Psilocybin—even at the microdose level—can be an emotional experience; starting slow with tiny dosages can be a better strategy for individuals with trauma or other psychological challenges.
Even though the Third Wave certification program focuses on non-clinical outcomes, Samantha has found herself working with some clients who have more challenging psychological and physiological conditions.
“I’m very aware that I am not a licensed therapist, nor do I have a medical background,” Samantha explains, “so it’s important that clients with acute issues be working with a mental health professional in addition to my coaching services.”
Supported Her Clients’ Mental Health Teams
Thanks to her certification, Samantha feels confident acting as a member of her clients’ mental health team.
The Third Wave Coaching Certification Program also gave Samantha experience with the higher ranges of microdoses (+200mg). She recalls a client who, with the help of her therapist, wanted to titrate off an antidepressant. One known titration tactic in the underground is to take slightly higher psilocybin microdoses to compensate for the new emotional experiences of antidepressant withdrawal.
But, prior to the certification program, Samantha didn’t have much personal experience with the 200 mg dosage until a Third Wave practice module, which included breathwork. Following that experience, Samantha became confident in providing nuanced harm reduction advice for clients interested in experimenting with minidoses in that range.
Psychedelic practitioners are still navigating an evolving landscape with clients using medicines in experimental ways. Sticky situations are inevitable. So a group of female students from Samantha’s cohort formed a smaller support group to help one another through more complex cases. “It’s been an amazing source of support,” Samantha acknowledges gratefully.
Samantha became passionate about psychedelics through her own healing journey, which involved recovery from disordered eating. “By trying to control every aspect of my food, exercise, and body, I severed my connection to my authentic self,” she writes. “Today, I have a fully healthy, thriving female body to which I feel a deep, loving connection.” She attributes a great part of her transformation to ceremonial psychedelic experiences.
Translating this passion into a thriving business had a rocky start. “It was stressful to always be wondering, ‘Will I get another client?’” Samantha reflects. But, with more experience and some training, she now has a full-time roster of clients.
“[My] ultimate goal was to be working full time in the psychedelic space,” she recalls, “and, through the program, I actually achieved that goal.”