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Shannon Hughes
MSW, PhD
shannon@elementalpsychedelics.com

 

As the co-founder of Elemental Psychedelics, it is my aim to organize high quality training and experientials that support you in discovering your own relationship to practicing in the psychedelic space with clarity, humility, and integrity. With a background in research and academia, I value the scientific evidence base and maintain a critical eye towards issues of history, power, and ethics as they relate to the evolving psychedelic landscape. I also value other ways of knowing and being, namely, our own inner guidance systems, our inner healing intelligence, and the divine mystery of all that is unseen and unknowable. I strive to bridge these worlds in our trainings and retreats so that psychedelic practitioners, as a collective, have the skills, frameworks, and opportunity to build truly transformational practices for our world.

For the last decade, I have been a researcher and educator in Higher Education with a tenured faculty position at a State University. In 2017, I co-founded a Colorado-based non-profit, The Nowak Society, with a mission to build and organize psychedelic communities - particularly professional communities - to give voice to the essential values and pressing issues of the psychedelic movement here in Colorado. For years now my colleagues and I have successfully run monthly Psychedelic Professionals Meet gatherings across Northern Colorado, fiscally sponsored a range of advocacy projects (for example, Right To Try advocacy for patients facing terminal illness and Jamaica Grief Retreats for grieving parents who have lost a child), and brought community together for education, dialogue, and celebration through special events like our 2022 Emergence: Psychedelic Education Festival.

 

I have also had the good fortune to contribute to psychedelic policy and research through advisory committees and community-partnered research. I presently serve on the Qualifications, Training, and Licensing Subcommittee for Colorado's Natural Medicine Advisory Board. Our research team recently completed a qualitative interview study designed to elevate the voices and practices of "underground" psilocybin practitioners in the ongoing scientific and public discussion regarding psychedelic reform.

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In our private therapy and coaching practice (An Enduring Love) and through Elemental Psychedelics, I have worked alongside colleagues to develop and deliver introductory workshops, psychedelic immersive trainings, and psychedelic circles to health and mental health professionals seeking to understand and explore for themselves the paradigm shift that is possible here and what it means for their own practice future.

 

On a more personal note, I am of the camp that believes it to be essential for practitioners to hold their own deep relationship with the medicines they work with. It is through my own spiritually-grounded therapeutic, ceremonial, and recreational experiences that I can do this work with the integrity of all parts of my being. This journey requires me to hold a lot of paradox and to sit with both hope and despair as we witness the complex meeting of psychedelics and entheogens with the fullness of our humanity -- that is, the light and the dark of ourselves and the social and economic systems we have built. I try to hold it all, and when it gets to be too much, I choose to choose hope, connection, and creation as my guiding lights forward. Hope here is not an unwarranted optimism for a future that does not exist, but rather a responsibility to and full participation in creating the future and a willingness to allow brokenness and beauty to intertwine. 

 

 

 

Additional Publications:

-Evenings with Molly: Adults couples’ use of MDMA for relationship enhancement. Culture, Medicine, & Psychiatry. 

-Therapeutic and Social Uses of MDMA. The Handbook of Medical Hallucinogens 

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