Jean Johnson, Psychedelic Medicine Coach.

I have been a student of personal growth, self-healing and transformation for over 30 years. I began in earnest to address a lifetime of depression, anxiety and addictions in the summer of 2019 through the skillful use of psychedelic assisted psychotherapy. Like so many others, my work has resulted in grateful transformation, and I continue to explore the power of entheogens for growth, resilience, learning and joy. I am a certified psychedelic preparation and integration coach, trained medicine guide, registered yoga instructor with 1200+ hours of formal training and over seventeen years teaching experience. I am trauma-informed and a student of Internal Family Systems methodology. I am a mother of grown daughters, long-time partner, crazy dog lover and feet-in-the-soil, body-in-the-water devotee. I am now committed to giving back in this sacred medicine space.

Mine is a story of perseverance and eventual healing. I believe we all have tenacious and persistent inner healers and that we are all actually already whole and already healed. My inner healer was always at work in the background while I went through all the shenanigans and twists and turns that make up a life. We all have traumas, large and small, throughout our lives, although the ones that define who we believe we are most often happen in our early childhood. Mine were garden variety – parents addicted to alcohol and prescription medications, divorce, and a mother who left our family when I was a teen. Pretty common stuff, and yet for a sensitive child like me it was devastating. I developed some clever and powerful inner protectors who decided that becoming invisible, not having needs and covering over the excruciating pain with my own path of drugs and alcohol was the way to go. So that’s what I did. And it worked. For a while. I got through college, got married, got divorced, and got married again. Thankfully, by the time I was in my 30’s my inner healer was beginning to wake up.

My second marriage was to a man with a similar past but a wholly different reaction to his upbringing. He was the take-charge, in-control, healthy, strong, over-achiever while I was the deeply sensitive, warm and fuzzy, stay small and don’t make waves quiet one. He was all yang, and I was all yin. And that worked. Until it didn’t. We had a couple of daughters and a dog and went the traditional route. I worked for a few years after we were married but quickly became overwhelmed by the stuff of life. I was depressed, anxious, leaning on alcohol and cannabis just enough to get by but more than I knew was healthy. I started on antidepressants in college and was on and off, trying this one and that one, for the next 40 years. I hated the side effects but couldn’t seem to go very long without. My mood would plummet, and it felt like I was living life underwater, or like I was barely living at all. My husband would throw himself into ”doing” mode and I would shrink further.

In 2007 I embarked on a journey of yogic and Buddhist studies that held me together in so many ways. I’ve been teaching yoga all these years and I love it. But in those early years it was what kept me from going under completely. I learned how to attend to my inner world and developed practices that I still use today. I did have periods of relative mental health and there are plenty of photographs of a smiling family on various trips and vacations. There were good times! But my overall personal memories of those years are of unhappiness, psychic pain and struggle.

Enter psychedelics!

In 2019 my husband read Michael Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind” for his men’s book club and handed the book to me saying, “I think this could help you.” My inner healer jumped at the invitation…and I began. First with ketamine at Polaris Insight Center in San Francisco, using KAP, or ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Ketamine helped to pop me up over the water line and taught me how to navigate altered states of consciousness. Ketamine is a safe and beautiful medicine, always benevolent for me, but my underlying pain was not relieved. So I found an underground guide with the help of my long-time therapist, and I embarked on a remarkable journey of deep inner healing. I met weekly with my therapist while undergoing six big medicine sessions over the course of 18 months. First, three sessions with high dose MDMA, then a session with psilocybin and finally two more journeys combining the two. I was also using home ketamine sessions between journeys.

What healing looked like for me was a gradual lightening of mood, an increased resilience to the normal daily stresses of living, an increased capacity for work and play and relationships, and a willingness to take up the practices that I had always known would support me – exercise, meditation, eating well and connecting with friends and family. It was gradual for me. I can remember looking back over the previous year and a half and seeing how different my day-to-day experience of life was now compared to before. I looked up when I went hiking, noticing the beauty all around me. I said “yes” because I wanted to, not because I felt that I should. I showed up for commitments that I used to dodge. My inner dialogue shifted to one of compassion and self-acceptance. I just felt, well, happy.

I want to be clear that psychedelic medicines are not a panacea or some kind of silver bullet. I still need to do my work. I get up most mornings and stretch, do some breathwork, meditate and get outside. I exercise at least five days a week. I journal, I dance, I connect with friends. I work. I do my best to eat well, which means not drinking alcohol at all, severely limiting sugar and fried foods (which I love!). And I continue to work, skillfully, with these medicines. Some I do on my own at home, some I do with experienced and compassionate medicine people. There are times when my mood dips, when I might even say I feel depressed. But the flavor of these periods is no longer one of hopelessness and fear. I recognize that these dips, or contractions, are temporary and that now I have the capacity to stick with my practices and know that the periods will pass. And they do.

So, the news is mostly good. The skillful use of psychedelics can create the space for our inner healers to get a foothold and begin to lead us out of pain and struggle and into health and connection. There is work to be done, and healing and growth is a life-long endeavor. I encourage you to try. And I would love to be with you as you do. There is so much magnificence in this life and as far as we know we only get this one shot, this one life, and we don’t have any time to waste. Let’s honor the preciousness of what we’ve been given and get to work…together. Reach out, let’s talk…

Namaste.

You come first. You deserve it.

Schedule a consultation with Jean.