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 Medicinal Mindfulness Safe Community Policy 2019 v4

To support the development of important safety standards for the use of psychedelic medicines in spiritual, clinical and community use settings, and to have an ongoing dialogue about medicine use that is safe from harassment and abuse, Medicinal Mindfulness complies with all relevant legal authorities, The Council on Spiritual Practices, Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides, the Google Event Anti-Harassment Policy, the Statement on Open Science and Open Praxis with Psilocybin, MDMA, and Similar Substances, Chacruna’s Ayahuasca community guide for the awareness and prevention of sexual abuse, and the Medicinal Mindfulness Safe Community Policy, as outlined below.  Psychotherapists, Psychedelic Therapists, Facilitators, Trainers and Students in our training program are required to agree to these standards to participate in our program.

Online electronic signature version for Training Applications: https://www.smartwaiver.com/v/safecommunity/

 

Introduction and Overview

In the wake of the current political environment, we believe it is important to firmly and explicitly state that Medicinal Mindfulness is committed to being a Safe Community for all people, including religious, racial and cultural minorities, women, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ community.  We believe it is our responsibility to be an active voice in this conversation by embodying and promoting important principles of safety and accountability.  

The psychedelic community is vulnerable to unsafe situations and people.  There are many examples of people outside of our community using their positions of authority; professionally, legally or within family systems, to harm, harass or persecute psychedelic medicine users.  There are also people who pretend to be members of the psychedelic community who use these medicines in unsafe, manipulative and sexually coercive ways. It is important for all of us to develop, implement and fully support policies that protect our most vulnerable members.

Medicinal Mindfulness is committed to supporting our own members and the local psychedelic community in a way that is in alignment with the core values of psychedelic culture.  To that end, we have created a Safe Community Committee that will provide oversight and support for our members and our organization.  Currently, this Committee is comprised of Alison McQueen, MA, LPC, Co-Director and Clinical Director of Medicinal Mindfulness and Daniel McQueen, MA, Executive Director of Medicinal Mindfulness.

Medicinal Mindfulness only works in legal settings.  Our programs have been reviewed by legal experts and we will continue to receive legal guidance as our program evolves. Medicinal Mindfulness strives to make our services affordable to those with limited financial resources.  We actively advertise a scholarship rate for our community events and training programs. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about our scholarship program.

All members, training participants and employees of Medicinal Mindfulness are required to sign this document acknowledging understanding, support and compliance.  

 

Medicinal Mindfulness is a Safe Space

As an organizational representative of a diverse community of medicine people, Medicinal Mindfulness strives to be a safe space for all community members and participants in our programs.  

You can email us at safecommunity@medicinalmindfulness.org if you have any questions or concerns.  This is a non-emergency reporting procedure.  The email will be received by a female Medicinal Mindfulness team member, and it will also be reviewed by Co-Director, Alison McQueen, MA, LPC.  In case of emergencies, please do not hesitate to call 911, or the local Safe House hotline at 303-444-2424 or info@safehousealliance.org.

Because Medicinal Mindfulness members are often medicine people who have experienced persecution, discrimination, oppressive social structures and are sometimes survivors of assault, abuse, or harassment, often because of core aspects of their identity, Medicinal Mindfulness does not tolerate abusive, harassing or disruptive behavior within the Medicinal Mindfulness community, and directed toward members of our community.    

Because Medicinal Mindfulness represents a client population with a mostly unrecognized core identity, and many of our members have been targets of discrimination and harassment, Medicinal Mindfulness records all evidence of harassment directed towards our members and organization and will contact the relevant authorities when and if it ever becomes necessary to do so.  As a legally compliant psychedelic organization, Medicinal Mindfulness is in an uncommon position to safely report any threats of violence or harassment to the authorities. We will inform our legal team to determine the appropriate course of action.

Medicinal Mindfulness can advise those interested in exploring psychedelic cultures, healing opportunities, or working with medicine practitioners, on what to ask and how to stay safe and prepare yourself for life transforming experiences in intentional communities, or in the care of others.

The following policy discusses important topics that are relevant to community safety.  These include:

  • Notice of Non-Discrimination and Prohibition of Harassment that includes protected status for “responsible medicine use”

  • A discussion on being a “medicine person” and what “responsible medicine use” means

  • A discussion on cannabis, psychedelics and mental health

  • Medicinal Mindfulness Substance Use Policy

  • Community Orientation & Confidentiality

  • Personal Responsibility for Guides and Sitters in Training

To contact the Safe Community Committee of Medicinal Mindfulness email safecommunity@medicinalmindfulness.org.  

  

Notice of Non-Discrimination and Prohibition of Harassment

Committed to equality of transformational opportunity, Medicinal Mindfulness does not discriminate in offering access to its programs and activities, or employment on the basis of race, color, gender, age, national or ethnic origin, religion, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, responsible medicine use or any other status protected by law.

 

Medicine People and  “Responsible Medicine Use”

 A “Medicine Person” is someone who identifies as having a core identity related to “responsible medicine use,” particularly in regards to psychedelics and cannabis.  Responsible medicine users fully acknowledge the risks and benefits of their substance use and are open to exploring ways to bring additional skill, understanding and safer use practices to their use of substances, including periods of abstinence, known as “Medicine Fasts.”  Psychedelic medicines are generally used with intention, and medicines and contexts of use that may interfere with safe and sustainable use practices are avoided.

Medicinal Mindfulness is a Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Education program.  For this reason, we attract individuals who currently use cannabis, psychedelics and other substances, sometimes in unskillful ways. While we support current legalization efforts of cannabis and psychedelic medicines for personal, clinical and spiritual uses, political activism and legalization efforts are not part of our primary mission.  Our primary intention is to provide transformational services to a community of “medicine people,” those seeking healing and transformation through medicine use practices, and those seeking to redefine their relationship to substances and develop safer use practices.

Medicinal Mindfulness members understand that responsible medicine use is a core need for the health of our program, our community and our members.  It is the responsibility of senior members of Medicinal Mindfulness to compassionately and without judgement speak to members of Medicinal Mindfulness regarding perceived concerns or disruptive behavior associated with unsafe or unskillful substance use practices.

Factors that contribute to unsafe or unskillful use include: overuse/frequent of psychedelics and MDMA, polyuse and high doses, using untested chemical compounds, using narcotics, stimulants, prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, sometimes in combination with psychedelics, MDMA or cannabis, and cannabis overuse, particularly with concentrates.  Lack of intention and integration is also a primary factor in unsafe or unskillful use.

Behaviors associated with unhealthy use include a pattern of irritable mood associated with withdrawal symptoms or a pattern of post-journey psychological contractions, shadow activations that include shadow projection, splitting and triangulation, and trauma related episodes, that may include mania, dissociation, fits of rage, paranoia, and delusion.  

Members who exhibit behaviors associated with addiction will be referred to an allied addictions counselor who is knowledgeable of, and supportive of skillful use of psychedelics and cannabis for treatment.  Safer medicine use practices are a primary factor in determining how and to what degree someone can actively participate in our program. Medicinal Mindfulness strongly encourages our members to speak to concerns regarding substance use so they can be adequately addressed, healed and transformed.  

Medicinal Mindfulness instructors are trained to assess the differences between disruptive behavior and addiction with behavior associated with breakthrough transformational experiences that can sometimes be emotionally expressive and psychologically triggering.  Breakthrough transformational experiences are sometimes a necessary part of the healing and awakening process and are fully supported by our community in a safe and appropriately contained way.

 Medicine Fasts, in other words, taking short or extended breaks from certain medicines or all medicines, is a beneficial self-care practice for both healthy and struggling medicine practitioners.  Fasts give us valuable information about our own process and how to further integrate our psychedelic experiences. Some fasts can be as short as a few days or weeks to as long as 6 months or a year or more.  Fast are especially important after a series of sessions that have happened quickly, or after a period of heavy medicine use.

 

A Note About Cannabis, Psychedelics & Mental Health

Experiences and trainings facilitated by Medicinal Mindfulness are very safe but they are not for everyone.  While there is significant scientific evidence that supports the skillful and intentional use of cannabis and psychedelics to alleviate or significantly reduce the symptoms of physical and psychological disorders, people with serious mental health disorders have occasionally come to events like these with the unrealistic expectation that these experiences alone will cure or alleviate their mental health problems, and often without understanding the necessity for additional support or treatments when working with serious concerns.  Unstable interpersonal relationships and a history of various treatments can be additional factors which make it difficult for such people to benefit from Medicinal Mindfulness sponsored or facilitated events.

Our capacity as a small consciousness community makes it impossible for us to properly care for people with significant psychiatric or physical health concerns in the context of our community events. Although our events and trainings can be beneficial and very safe for almost all participants, these events are not a substitute for medical or psychiatric treatment and we do not recommend it for people with serious psychiatric disorders or physical conditions that may impair their ability to participate safely.  

Contraindications (reasons not to attend) include, but are not limited to, pregnancy and severe physical health problems, clinically significant acute anxiety or other mood disorders, psychosis, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, acute/unprocessed trauma and PTSD, acute addictions, suicidal ideation/self harm and tendencies for disruptive behavior.  Our events and trainings are also not appropriate for persons with cardiovascular problems, severe hypertension, recent surgery or fractures, acute infectious illness, or epilepsy.

While group experiences may not be the best context for transformational experiences for some people, we also offer individualized services for people who have significant clinical concerns, particularly when addressing and healing trauma and PTSD.  We have a therapeutic referral resource program and can work with your psychotherapist, doctor, counselor or psychiatrist to determine the best treatment options.

Medicinal Mindfulness has created a Psychedelic-Cannabis Safety Self-Assessment for anyone interested in our services to review.  This can viewed on our website at http://medicinalmindfulness.org/safety. An assessment interview and training is required before becoming a sitter level member of our program and before attending certain medicine related events.  Please review the assessment beforehand to determine anything that should be discussed with a Medicinal Mindfulness facilitator.

In rare occasions, prior mental health concerns and the unsafe or skillful use of psychedelics or other drugs, activates unhealthy and destructive behavior, sometimes in extreme expressions.  Medicinal Mindfulness members are encouraged to speak up and ask questions about any concerns they have or that are brought to their attention regarding our community or any of its members, including facilitators, owners and senior students.  Since unrecognized mental health episodes can harm psychedelic communities, we believe that the more open the dialogue and discourse the better. We are an open and legally compliant psychedelic organization. We value all feedback received from the larger community.  

The senior facilitators of Medicinal Mindfulness are supervised by the lead facilitators of Medicinal Mindfulness.  

 

Medicinal Mindfulness Substance Use Policy v1 2019

Medicinal Mindfulness takes community and psychedelic safety very seriously.  MM only provides cannabis services and only in legal settings, and our intention is to step into working with other psychedelic medicines only when it is legal to do so.  Community sustainability is our highest priority. We do not work with or provide illegal substances. As a harm reduction program, we support members and clients who choose to personally use illicit substances through education and psychological support services.  What you do in your own home and on your own time is generally none of our business as long as you are not harming yourself or others.

Please note, our cannabis-related programs are not designed to support other psychedelic substance use safely, nor would it be legal for us to do so.  Please support the success of our program and the psychedelic legalization movement by respecting our boundaries around illicit substance use.  

Bringing or consuming illicit substances and/or alcohol is expressly forbidden before, during, after, or around any Medicinal Mindfulness event, session, program, or training retreat.  

The use, misuse, or overuse of pharmaceuticals, supplements, tobacco products outside a religious settings, and other substances that may interfere with the safe use of cannabis or breathwork practices is also expressly forbidden.  

Cannabis use is only allowed in designated areas or at designated times at specified events, sessions or training retreats.  

A designated driver after imbibing cannabis is always required until the next day after use.  

Using, bringing, and/or offering an illicit substance to another participant at any of our events is considered a form of harassment.  For safety reasons, participants are encouraged to speak to an MM facilitator if they see or hear anything related to inappropriate substance use.  

Medicinal Mindfulness facilitators are trained to tell the difference between illicit substance use and mental health emergencies.  Participants who use or bring any illicit substance to an MM event will be immediately assessed for safety and then either asked to leave or provided a taxi service, at their expense, if intoxicated.  Participants asked to leave will be liable for any costs associated with disrupting any of our programs or events. No refunds will be issued to a participant asked to leave. Certain conditions may be required to participate further in the program, including but not limited to medicine fasting.  

Clients seeking MM services for addiction treatment are required to speak to an MM representative before attending any of our events.  While there is significant evidence that cannabis and other psychedelics can be used to treat addiction safely and effectively, treating addiction requires a specific and very structured protocol to ensure the safety of clients and our community.  Participating in our services requires a commitment to abstinence, the ongoing support of a certified addictions counselor, and an openness to receiving feedback when addictive traits or behaviors are witnessed. Medicinal Mindfulness can refer clients to psychedelic-friendly addictions counselors for additional mental health support.   

 

Community Orientation & Confidentiality

Confidentiality  

Medicinal Mindfulness facilitators remain open and unconditionally accepting while maintaining the necessary boundaries required for safety and transformation.  Many community members and our facilitators are mandatory reporters under Colorado law. Community member information and participation in our program remain strictly confidential except in the extremely rare circumstance that you could harm yourself or another.  

All information shared with us is confidential except in the following circumstances: (a) you sign a release of information for a specific individual or agency; (b) child or elder abuse; (c) you are an imminent danger to self or others; (d) subpoena of records in a criminal procedure; (e) the situation requires additional support from the Medicinal Mindfulness Community (see the next 2 sections for additional information). Additionally, MM Facilitators may consult with a supervisor or confidential peer supervision group without disclosing identifying information. The purpose of consultation is to enhance our ability to help our members, and these individuals are required to follow the same standards of confidentiality previously described.

Confidentiality is requested at the beginning of every group or community experience.  You are free to share with friends any stories of your own experiences, but we request that other participant names and their experiences remain confidential.  While our work is not a secret, it is important for everyone’s participation to remain private for safety purposes. This is a required commitment to participate in MM events and other programs.  The Medicinal Mindfulness Online Community Forum is designed to balance privacy needs with community engagement.

Community Orientation

The programs of Medicinal Mindfulness include individual and group healing sessions, coaching and guided sessions and ceremonies, classes on mindfulness and journeywork, community gatherings and presentations, Psychedelic Sitters School, and the co-development of programs that provide mutual benefit to our shared community.  The Medicinal Mindfulness community is small, and there are sometimes shared events with practitioners and their clients both participating in the same group experience. Medicinal Mindfulness is committed to regularly discussing the health of the community and how we can move forward with the highest integrity in our work together.  Safe and appropriate boundaries are extremely important to the Medicinal Mindfulness community.

Community Support Interventions

The community orientation of Medicinal Mindfulness is one of our most important healing interventions available.  Many of our members come from emotionally unsafe situations and are isolated in their interests and values. Many have also been repeatedly shamed for their interest in psychedelics.  Therefore, entering into and participating in the community programs of an intentional and safe psychedelic community can be both healing and evocative for our members. Your work with MM is not just in an isolated container, but held within a larger ecosystem of an intentional community structure.  Community sustainability and individual safety and wellbeing are our highest priorities. MM members are encouraged to seek friendships and accountability from other Medicinal Mindfulness community members, and if necessary, MM facilitators may intervene in unsafe behavior or unhealthy dynamics by supporting community conversations between members.  If necessary, MM facilitators reserve the right to initiate our “Man Overboard” protocol, in which Medicinal Mindfulness supports a member by asking for another community member’s support on their behalf without requesting permission first. Situations that can elicit this form of intervention only include significant safety concerns, severe mental health crises and acute drug abuse or misuse.  Medicinal Mindfulness also reserves the right to contact a member’s emergency contact in these circumstances if necessary. MM will be as intentional and compassionate in its communication as possible and will only disclose enough information to ensure the crisis is handled skillfully and safely. Sometimes additional requirements or temporary limitations may be placed on a member’s participation in certain events for safety reasons.  Different versions of a Medicine Fast are the most common recommendations provided.

 This work is very real, with real life consequences.  Psychedelic medicines elicit life transforming experiences that happen both in the experience itself and in our everyday lives.  These are not always easy, and the psychedelic healing processes we initiate sometimes evoke deeply impactful healing experiences in our daily lives.  The primary responsibility of Medicinal Mindfulness is to keep our members as safe as possible. We have learned that community support is one of our most powerful tools in doing so. By working with Medicinal Mindfulness, you agree to this form of community support.

 

Personal Responsibility for Guides and Sitters in Training

Medicinal Mindfulness is a Psychedelic Harm Reduction & Education Program, and a training program for individuals interested in becoming psychedelic sitters, therapists, guides, and group psychedelic facilitators.  This is a developing profession and there are currently no uniform legal, ethical or professional practice standards in our society. While Medicinal Mindfulness only works with cannabis sativa and breathwork practices, some individuals take our trainings and integrate what they learn into already established psychedelic therapy practices with other substances.  Medicinal Mindfulness students receive “Certificates of Completion” to denote that they have completed a particular training. These certificates in no way denote skill level or expertise. Medicinal Mindfulness is currently developing a certification program for sitters, guides and transpersonal facilitators with much more stringent training, supervision and professional accountability requirements.  

Students, members and trainees of Medicinal Mindfulness cannot represent Medicinal Mindfulness in any context, specifically in media related interviews and presentations, without the expressed written permission of Medicinal Mindfulness.  Medicinal Mindfulness claims the following trade names in our work and marketing to denote a differentiation in our services from other services. These trademarked (TM) names cannot be used by students or other practitioners without permission from the program:

  • Medicinal Mindfulness® is a legally protected, registered trademark with the United States Government

  • Conscious Cannabis Experiences(TM), Conscious Cannabis Events(TM), Conscious Cannabis Circles(TM), and Cannabis Healing Meditations(TM)

  • Community Breathwork(TM)

  • Psychedelic Sitters School(TM), Mindful Journeywork(TM) and Mindful Guidework(TM)

  • Extended-State DMT Research & Exploration Program(TM) and “DMTx”

  • Psychedelic Shine(TM) - Speaker Series and Community Gatherings

Due to the complex nature of this work, and the vast array of how these skill sets can be used, Medicinal Mindfulness is unable to regulate individual use practices that are outside the scope of our training program. Therefore, those who are currently practicing as guides, sitters, and transpersonal facilitators in psychedelic contexts are fully responsible for the outcome of their actions.  Medicinal Mindfulness reserves the right to not work with students or potential students whose actions are not in alignment with our definitions of safe use practices. This will be discussed with students before a decision to terminate a relationship is reached.

Some guidelines to determine personal and professional integrity include:

Medicinal Mindfulness strongly recommends that practitioners only work within the scope of their professional skill, and to have the appropriate training outside of psychedelic medicine practices that are required to work with specific populations or professional services.  For example, becoming a psychedelic psychotherapist and trauma specialist would also require training and education as a professional counselor or psychologist with a specialty in trauma resolution therapies. Working with psychedelics and massage would also require training as a massage therapist.  Working with psychedelics or cannabis with yoga or breathwork would require training in yoga or breathwork practices. Competent and ethical psychedelic facilitators are expected to have the relevant training and skill sets to do the work they are called to do in the world and to abide by the ethical standards of their profession.  Facilitators working outside their scope of expertise increase the chance of causing harm to others.

Practitioners are strongly encouraged to fully disclose their expertise, training and experience to their clients before conducting a transformational session.  While students of Medicinal Mindfulness are not authorized to represent our program, they are encouraged to let others know about their Medicinal Mindfulness training and experience, and to refer clients interested in our services to Medicinal Mindfulness for training.  

Facilitators generally have a much higher requirement than other medicine users to engage in their own  self-care practices, as well as more stringent requirements for responsible medicine use.

Medicinal Mindfulness acknowledges that professional development can be established in indigenous/traditional contexts as well.  As a “multi-paradigm” program, Medicinal Mindfulness recommends balancing any trainings and experience with complimentary trainings and experience.  For example, spiritual practitioners are encouraged to receive psychological and clinical experience and training.

Facilitators are encouraged to audit their skill sets and professional requirements to determine areas that could be further developed.  Competent facilitators acknowledge that it takes years and decades to be a skilled facilitator, and they take the time to grow into their professional development by practicing within appropriate settings and with clients with concerns or expectations within the facilitators skill level.  

Group facilitation is more complex than individual facilitation and requires specific skill sets.  Facilitators are encouraged to start with individual sessions, then very small groups to develop these skill sets before working with larger groups.

Medicinal Mindfulness facilitators do not have sex or sexual relationships with their clients or students.  Touch is always consensual, has a healing purpose, and only done with explicit permission from the client.

Ongoing professional supervision with more experienced psychedelic facilitators, as well as experienced practitioners of a practitioner’s profession is strongly encouraged.  Ethical facilitators and guides have mentors and peer support groups. Medicinal Mindfulness trainers are available to discuss ethical concerns and considerations. Adding psychedelics to any practice greatly increases the complexity of the practice.  

The psychedelic community is comprised of incredibly gifted and passionate individuals who can move quickly and skillfully into mastery of new experiences. It is part of the learning process to sometimes “overstep” when testing our growth edges.  Ethical practitioners acknowledge this tendency in our community and continually assess their actions when determining right action, and take full responsibility for the outcome of their behaviors and decisions. Students and trainees are encouraged to bring these situations to a Medicinal Mindfulness instructor to help them assess the situation or to mitigate any injury to self or others caused by accidental overstepping.  

By signing this agreement, I agree to fully comply with the MM Safe Community Policy and will strive to treat all people I encounter with compassion, respect and dignity.  I also agree to comply with: The Council on Spiritual Practices, Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides, the Google Event Anti-Harassment Policy, and the Statement on Open Science and Open Praxis with Psilocybin, MDMA, and Similar Substances, and Chacruna’s Ayahuasca community guide for the awareness and prevention of sexual abuse.

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The Safe Community Policy by Medicinal Mindfulness is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Copyright © 2015-2019 Medicinal Mindfulness LLC and Daniel McQueen. Copies and derivative works must contain a link to the most current version at https://www.medicinalmindfulness.org/safecommunity and must be appropriately attributed and shared under the above Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)