For those psychedelic users who experience post-use “spiritual comedowns”, psychedelic withdrawals, or a general sense of dopamine depletion, what can be done to alleviate these symptoms? Françoise Bourzat has developed a framework to better integrate these consciousness-expanding experiences into our day-to-day realities without the dramatic crashes.
Early Life and Career
Françoise Bourzat is a consciousness guide, counselor, the author of Consciousness Medicine, and an entheogenic explorer. She was born in Paris, where she experienced both farm life and the Parisian culture. Her dichotomous upbringing allows her to resonate just as deeply with art and culture as she does with plants and the seasons.
Bourzat studied psychology in Paris while a member of a modern dance company. These two disciplines opened her up to the psychological and somatic explorations of entheogens. In turn, this led Bourzat to an apprenticeship under the masterful guidance of Indigenous medicine men and women, specifically members of the Mazatec culture.
Bourzat moved to the United States in the 1980s. Her goal was to further support and synthesize the knowledge she had acquired from her schooling and apprenticeships. She received her master’s degree in somatic psychology from the New College of California, and is a certified Hakomi practitioner.
Bourzat now resides in the Bay Area. She continues to cultivate her therapeutic practices of expanded states of consciousness and psychology. Currently, she’s developed an integrative approach that bridges Western and Indigenous modalities for healing and growth. She trains therapists and facilitators, teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and lectures internationally.
Expanded States of Consciousness
Bourzat states on her website that she uses a variety of techniques for accessing expanded states of consciousness. She utilizes these practices in order to explore the human potential beyond personality constructs. Her work doesn’t focus on one particular technique of expansion, but rather the framework in which the expansion can be integrated into the larger sense of self, and oneness of consciousness.
As a healer with a depth of knowledge in psychology, somatics, and Indigenous plant rituals, she has extracted the deeper meaning behind all of these techniques. That deeper meaning lives in all life’s inherent desire to heal. Bourzat realized through her work that in order to fully heal, one can’t just simply mask the wound. Rather, one needs to go through the process of integration.
“You know we’re talking about psychedelics, and then we’re talking about what surrounds psychedelics, right? What’s the intentionality? What’s the consciousness someone has prior to entering a dialogue with psychedelics? And then what’s happening on the other side of ingesting psychedelics? How does one track and integrate the process?”—Françoise Bourzat
Intentionality, Preparation and Integration
Bourzat claims that when we return from a consciousness-expanding journey there is first a feeling of newness, a transformed version of self. Before this transformation, we have a certain self. Then after the journey, the self is altered. A new self? Who is that? Bourzat describes this as the first piece of the integration process. The individual must metabolize the state, the flavor, and feel it physically and emotionally.
Once able to observe one’s new self in this way, the individual is responsible for the narrative of the journey. Bourzat recommends naming such a journey; writing about it; vocalizing; and reporting the downloads, visions, and feelings. Accordingly, this tangible connection to the intention that started the journey will help decode and further integrate the healing process.
Bourzat claims that the second healing process is to embody what you have discovered and decoded. Her knowledge in somatic practices has allowed her to recognize that unless our discoveries are embodied, they lose their function. In other words, as the old saying goes, if you don’t use it you lose it. The same concept is applicable here. For this reason, Bourzat claims that if you don’t embody your new self you lose your new self.
The third part of the integration is simple: Tend to your garden and to the season of yourself. Thus, Bourzat describes the process of integration as an amazing relationship with oneself.
The Work Embodied
Bourzat’s book Consciousness Medicine goes into depth about the reason for healing and working with psychedelic therapies. The goal is not to reach a state of consistent happiness. Rather, the point is to establish the framework of integration in one’s day-to-day life. The individual seeking healing can go into shadow spaces with not only the courage to face them but the tools to transmute them through motion within the body. To mask and avoid such traumas causes ailments and disease.
One does not have to be a professional dancer to generate such movements of liberation within the body. These motions can be a variety of techniques, facilitated by many different guides, healers, and explorers. This is what makes Bourzat’s work so brilliant. Her framework can be integrated into millions of different spiritual healing processes, for each one is subtle and unique by its very nature.
Consciousness as Medicine
You can find Bourzat’s comprehensive framework in her critically acclaimed book, Consciousness Medicine. She says it best in her book description below, which can be found on her website.
Recent research into the healing potential of psychedelic substances has sparked a resurgence of interest in LSD, mushrooms, and other mind-expanding psychotropic substances. Yet without adequate preparation and counseling during and after the use of psychedelics, much of the transformative potential of these experiences is lost. This book provides clear guidance for people using psychedelics and other transformational processes for healing or for their spiritual development, as well as for the therapists who are guiding them along the journey.
Written equally for counselors and for clients, Consciousness Medicine provides a therapeutic framework that author Françoise Bourzat developed combining psychotherapy with 35 years of fieldwork among the Mazatec people of Mexico, who have a long tradition of taking psychedelics as medicine. The book guides the reader through preparation, setting intentions and goals, and the different types of experience one may have in an expanded state of consciousness, as well as guidance on how a trained counselor can best support someone through these states. The book then explores the art of integration—the application of the wisdom gained from such experiences into daily life—and how a guide or therapist can support the full integration of a journey after it is over.
Enhanced by Françoise’s personal stories along with accounts of clients, the book builds a powerful case for a holistic view of non-ordinary reality and concludes with a heartfelt argument that modern psychotherapy includes expanded states of consciousness in earnest.
My book speaks of Indigenous Wisdom, entheogens, and expanded states of consciousness for healing and growth.—Françoise Bourzat
Françoise Bourzat in Media
For more information about Françoise Bourzat, and to purchase Consciousness Medicine, visit her website https://francoisebourzat.com
Interviews and Podcasts
RS Contributing Author: Niki Perlberg
Niki is a social and arts entrepreneur who specializes in project and creative production development. With her passion for social structures and the arts, she has been involved in the architecture of performance and festival culture around the country. In rapidly changing times she is now taking her passion for these sub-cultures and sharing them with us in our digital atmosphere through her writing and content development. Some of her favorite parts of life are coffee, campfires, and contemplating the mysteries of existence. Feel free to follow her on Insta @itsnikiperl