A Conversation with Jamilah R. George and NiCole Buchanan

Part of Chacruna’s Special Series: Empowering Therapists of Color as Psychedelics Go Mainstream

Friday, November 20th from 12-1:30pm PST

Black people face a number of challenges to achieve the radical healing promised via psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, such as barriers to access, criminalization of psychedelic use, and police surveillance of Black bodies. Evidence suggests that when Black people have physically, legally, culturally,  and psychologically safe access to psychedelics, they experience powerful healing and transformation. Healing can be thwarted when the psychedelic experience is unsafe and even harmful if the therapist/guide perpetuates racism and bias. Even when the session is safe and healing, Black people return to a world that inflicts trauma upon them and slowly erodes their gains in healing. In this session, we discuss these realities and highlight ways in which psychedelic integration in the weeks and months after a psychedelic session can facilitate continued healing in the face of continued oppression.

Jamilah R. George, M.Div., a native of Detroit, MI, obtained her Bachelor’s from the University of Michigan, her Master’s from Yale University, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Jamilah serves as a MAPS-sponsored phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy co-therapist whose site focuses on treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress among people of color. She is also a member of Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access committee. Her research interests include obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, the psychological effects of discrimination and racial trauma on people of color, and the neurological underpinnings of these disorders. Jamilah’s passion for social justice and equality issues fuels her work as she advocates for the mental and holistic wellbeing of socially disenfranchised groups, including women, people of color, impoverished domestic and international communities, and the intersections therein.

NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University and Clinical Director and Founder of Alliance Psychological Associates, PLLC in East Lansing, MI. She is a member of Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access Committee and a trainee in the MAPS MDMA-assisted psychotherapy training for communities of color and anticipates offering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy when clinical trials are completed. Dr. Buchanan is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, four separate divisions of the American Psychological Association, and has received numerous national and international awards for her research, teaching, clinical work, and professional service. She is an accomplished speaker, writer, and scholar with more than 70 journal articles, book chapters, and research reports, and her work has been highlighted in hundreds of media outlets, including CBS News, the Huffington Post, and Essence Magazine, and she has been a featured speaker for several programs, including TEDx and National Public Radio (NPR).

Related readings:

The psychedelic renaissance and the limitations of a white-dominant medicalized framework: A call for indigenous and ethnic minority inclusion by Jamilah R. George, Timothy Michaels, Jae Sevelius, and Monnica Williams. Available from: https://akjournals.com/view/journals/2054/4/1/article-p4.xml

Ensuring the psychedelic renaissance and radical healing reach the Black community: Commentary on Culture and Psychedelic Psychotherapy by NiCole T. Buchanan. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1556/2054.2020.00145

Culture and psychedelic psychotherapy: Ethnic and racial themes from three Black women therapists by Monnica T. Williams, Sara Reed and Jamilah R. George. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1556/2054.2020.00137