As psychedelics have moved from underground culture to the mainstream, many questions about ethics and safety have arisen in both the legal and grassroots arenas. Entheogens leave subjects particularly vulnerable to possible abuses and harm. In these impressionable spaces, it is even more important that practitioners look critically into their impact.
Unfortunately, both the underground and aboveground psychedelic spaces have the same societal and ethical struggles as mainstream society. This includes misuse of power, spiritual bypassing by facilitators, and the marginalization of minority communities that create ripples of harm that are both seen and unseen. Psychedelics have the power to magnify power inequalities, increase gaps in access to quality aid, and propagate cultural stigmas.
It’s important for professionals and leaders in the psychedelic space to join together and uphold a standard for working in these extra sensitive spaces. The North Star Ethics Pledge is a set of principles that sets a standard for individuals working professionally in the field of psychedelics.
Here at Altered States Integration we have decided not only to adopt the North Star Ethics Pledge but to share our company commitment to go beyond the spirit of the pledge in order to be held accountable.
1. Start Within
I pledge to ground my work in the field with work on myself, and to treat personal growth as a lifelong process.
Altered States Integration’s staff is encouraged and supported in engaging in the therapeutic process and utilizing mentors from the fields of psychedelics and psychology. We believe that mindfully doing our inner-work is the best way to start serving others. It is only through our own work that we can hope to facilitate healing for others.
We pledge to engage in the work of seeking to understand our full selves. The founders commit to personally continuing in formal therapy and mentorship relationships to treat their inner-growth as a serious, personal commitment.
2. Study the Traditions I pledge to grow my knowledge of the history of psychedelics and their many traditions of use, in a good-faith effort to appreciate both the potential of these substances and the conflict and complexity surrounding them.
Altered States Integration actively seeks to hear and understand the indigenous voices regarding psychedelic traditions. We recognize that many of these substances have a long, detailed history as part of indigenous culture long before becoming a part of the western zeitgeist. We are actively seeking minority voices in the field of psychedelic to amplify, listen to, and learn from. We strive to fully honor and understand the many sacrifices in time, resources, and in some cases lives, that have made the mainstreaming of psychedelics possible.
The founders commit to actively learning about the individual stories of shamans and indigenous medicine people (like Maria Sabina) in order to bring their stories into the continued public conversation surrounding psychedelics. Our goal with this pledge is to honor their lineage and note their cautionary tales.
3. Build Trust
I pledge to invest in building trust in my relationships across the psychedelic field, and repair trust where possible.
Altered States Integration is constantly seeking candid feedback of our work to grow the value for our community. We are also committed to open collaboration with other stakeholders in the psychedelic space. If we make mistakes, we are committed to owning up to it with grace and doing our best to repair any ruptures our actions might have caused.
We pledge to lean into conflict and tension, recognizing that these are pathways to growth. The founders commit to actively seeking opportunities to provide open education opportunities to psychedelic clubs, societies, and nonprofit organizations and plan on fostering growing minds in this space and offer mentorship when applicable.
4. Consider the Gravity
I pledge to consider the implications of the choices that I make, understanding the potential consequences of unethical behavior to individuals, communities, and the psychedelic field at large.
Altered States Integration recognizes the impact of our actions on the community at large. We strive to uphold the highest level of integrity in advertising, educational offerings, and personal actions. We always strive to act with honesty and integrity in our interactions in the psychedelic community.
We pledge to uphold the highest standards and show up ethically in any community spaces we are invited into. The founders commit to using destigmatizing language around all substance use in our classes and content.
5. Focus on Process
I pledge to make the process as important as the outcome, letting the future I hope to see guide the approach I take in getting there.
Altered States Integration seeks to be a mindfulness-based workplace that understands that the process is the work. We look towards the future of psychedelics that we would like to see and let that guide our vision and daily action. Showing up mindfully is a huge part of the healing process.
We pledge to keep our attention on aligning our daily process with our values as a way of building a conscientious company and community. The founders commit to building policies and processes that keep us aligned with the present while preparing for a mindful future.
6. Create Equality & Justice
I pledge to actively take steps to make the world more equitable and just.
Altered States Integration recognizes that our experience with psychedelics and holding space comes from a place of privilege. We are working to create a trauma-informed community that offers open, equitable access to healing that also supports professionals providing care as a viable career. We recognize that the war on drugs has done disproportionate damage to minority communities. We strive to empower and embody diverse leadership within our organization and communities.
We pledge to continue the advocacy work for the decriminalization of plant medicines through the Decriminalize Nature movements, especially as it touches at-risk populations. The founders commit to recognizing and elevating diverse voices in public spaces and forums in order to make room and time for them to be heard even when it means stepping back and letting others speak.
7. Pay it Forward
I pledge to support the flourishing of the psychedelic field and the communities in which I work, and to give back should my work lead to personal gain.
Altered States Integration understands that our work is only a small piece of the puzzle and are interested in nourishing the community as a whole. Together we thrive.
We pledge to use 5% of our net profits for charitable contributions in the psychedelic space by donating to a variety of diverse psychedelic programs. The founders commit to put our clients first, recognizing the need to make high-quality treatment accessible and affordable for all those who can benefit from it. We also commit to encouraging and challenging all of our partners and community members to uphold the highest ethical processes and asking them to commit to their own ethical standards such as the North Star Pledge.
Here at Altered States Integration we are committed to the philosophy that together, we all go farther. Whether in our professional or personal lives we are striving to be a living example of the world we are trying to grow. If you have questions about our commitment to these ethics please let us know so we can come into alignment with our public commitments and personal ideals. Thanks for being a part of the healing revolution.
Tobey T. & Elizabeth J.O.
Have you signed the North Star Ethics Pledge? Why or why not?
Leave a comment below or send us an email at AlteredStatesIntegration@gmail.com
Want to sign the pledge?
Visit North Star here!