Psychedelic Coaches & Healers: Are You Doing the Work?

If you're a coach or facilitator who is not doing the healing work, you probably won't be self-identifying here, but I am hopeful that a client, friend, or peer will bring this article to your attention.

I have personally witnessed, in just a few short years, an increase in the number of coaches, facilitators, or healers who are deep into their ego, full-on egotistical. And if you find a Western guide who uses the title of "shaman," please make a quick exit (for your safety).

My personal experience is with a self-proclaimed "Ayahuasca healer" who had spent "years in the jungle" under the tutelage of a true Shipibo shaman. He had participated in hundreds of ceremonies, both in the U.S. and in Peru. He likes to tell participants at his "healing" retreats who question anything he does that "this ain't my first rodeo." His ego is massive and it's SO clear he has not been doing the work on himself, instead just letting his ego expand.

Let's be clear. One could participate in hundreds of psychedelic ceremonies and journeys, but if you are not using the medicine to work on yourself, what is the point of using the medicine? One of the main purposes of psychedelics, to me, is the gift of allowing ourselves to go safely inside our souls and discover both the good and the troubled/shadow aspects -- and work on truly reconciling all parts of ourselves.

We ALL have to do the work, including the hard work with our shadow -- it's all part of a healing journey. You are NOT healed if you have not faced your shadow self (the parts you keep hidden deep within, often fueled by trauma).

To be completely healed -- healed wholely -- you must bring your shadow into the light and connect it with your present self... into one whole person.

The idea of the shadow self is not new to psychedelics or ego-driven psychedelic facilitators/guides. In fact, the term originated with psychologist Carl Jung, who theorized that we all have parts of ourselves we have pushed aside, repressed, ignored... the traumatized, unpleasant, and unwanted parts of ourselves.

And while "shadow" sounds a bit negative or scary, it's not the case at all. Shadow work allows us to see our WHOLE self, and we are better people when we acknowledge and incorporate aspects of our shadow into the light.

The best part is when the shadow work helps us identify the unprocessed negative emotions and thoughts we have from past trauma and release them.

Shadow work includes searching for those unprocessed emotions, looking deeper into our blind spots, and examining why certain things/events/people trigger over-the-top responses.

In the end, when you do the actual work, you learn to embrace ALL parts of yourself, with a commitment to strengthen your core while acknowledging any additional work you need to do with your shadow self.

American psychologist Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs model has at its highest level... Self-Actualization, which is the idea that it is the highest level of psychological development a person can achieve -- and it is only accomplished through shadow work.

Finally, shadow work with psychedelic medicines can be challenging, raise some bad stuff or scary visuals, but the medicine also provides a wonderfully safe container for us to explore those things, especially in conjunction with therapy or deep integration work.

So, HEALER, please heal yourself before you even attempt at offering psychedelic services to others. You have an ethical and moral responsibility to heal so that you do not harm others.

One final note: For whatever reasons, the ego-enhancement and shadow-work avoidance seem to happen more often with Western white males who claim to be excellent facilitators or healers (but lack the courage to do their own work).

Psychedelics and Shadow Work Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.