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Looking Back:
Two Years of MIND

Developing a Research and Professional Organization

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MIND Foundation

MIND Foundation Team

Post written by Dr. Henrik Jungaberle and Lucca Jaeckel in 2018. Revised in 2020 by Marvin Däumichen, MA.

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  • diciembre 24, 2018
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This blog post provides a historical account of the MIND Foundation’s roots and covers only the first two years in the organizational development of the MIND Foundation.

“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way.”

– Nikola Tesla

MIND’s history begins with 26 researchers, therapists, and supporters who came together in Berlin on November 26th, 2016, and set the cornerstone for what would become the MIND Foundation. They soon agreed upon a vision: “Establishing the psychedelic experience as a valuable tool for personal and societal development.” In addition, they outlined the means: evidence-based education and high-quality research on the challenges, risks, and potentials of altered states of consciousness, be they substance-induced or otherwise, and their meaningful application to therapeutic practice and personal development.

Doubtlessly, the Psychedelic Renaissance1,2 has set the stage for a plethora of groups interested in the psychedelic experience, ranging from networking societies via research-oriented NGOs to academic and publicly funded institutions. Given this vast spectrum, we decided to dedicate a great deal of time and energy in the early days of MIND to setting the groundwork for the professional organization we have grown to be. As our core values, we chose professionalism and innovation, connectedness and community, and integrity and compassion. These values, along with transparency and the scientific approach, have shaped our organization as we are now: an independent public benefit corporation registered under German law.

Characteristics of the MIND Foundation

Structurally, MIND started as a sub-organization under the roof of FINDER, which is a charitable non-profit organization registered under German law. The MIND Foundation has a European scope with allies worldwide, thus we agreed to make our first language English. While MIND was founded as a scientific organization to design, support, and implement research projects, we also aimed to support professionals in the therapeutic and medical fields. MIND endorses a transdisciplinary approach, and we promote the development of psychedelic science and its practical application to facilitate human development, health, and well-being, evidence-based interventions, informed policy, and community-building.

To realize our ambitions, we experimented with different organizational structures and steering committees, including a board of five, a small segment of paid staff, and a larger group of highly committed volunteering staff, all the while growing, professionalizing, and striving for the best results given our limited resources. Thus, during our first two years, we organized our staff in committees. Lastly, MIND offered three kinds of memberships: researchers, practitioners, and friends, which have largely remained in place.

Organizational Structure in 2017 and 2018

The MIND Board

MIND started as an initiative of Dr.sc.hum. Henrik Jungaberle and Dr.med. Andrea Jungaberle  (formerly Andrea Zeuch). In order to create transparent and efficient structures, an executive board of five was called to action that included the Jungaberles as well as other motivated individuals from different backgrounds and with diverse skill sets, each in their own field of responsibilities. These covered the management of organizational as well project matters of which the MIND Foundation has never seen a shortage much to the contrary, it seems we are only getting busier.

Additionally, on September 9th, 2017, MIND founded our Scientific Advisory Board, which consists of tenured researchers and scholars who have agreed to represent and counsel the MIND Foundation.

Committees and Coordinators

The larger body of the MIND Foundation consisted of project-oriented working groups that we called committees, each headed by one coordinator. Figure 1 shows an organizational diagram that covers all of MIND’s groups and activities that emerged during our first two years. Once again, to guarantee a high degree of transparency and help our many active volunteers maintain an overview of what is what in our already complex organization, we created groups for the many committees and included each of their respective projects in the diagram.

Figure 1: MIND Foundation Organizational Diagram 2018

 

We now briefly introduce some of the main projects that were realized by our committees during 2017-2018, or that are continuing still. While each project is primarily assigned to one committee, the various committees had overlaps in staff and activities and several projects cover more than one committee respectively.

Science Committee

The Science Committee constituted the core of the MIND Foundation’s activities. As shown below, the Science Committee has been very busy and the sheer number of our projects prevents a more detailed description that would go at the expense of other committees’ space. Kindly follow the links to the projects to discover more about them, as many of them are continuing to this day:

Therapy and Development Committee

The Therapy and Development Committee consisted of an international group of therapists that organized psychiatrists and other medical practitioners, psychologists, and otherwise psychotherapeutically trained professionals with an interest in ASC-assisted psychotherapies. Its goals were the development of rigorous, evidence-based interventions involving altered states of consciousness (ASC). In doing so, the Therapy Committee worked in close collaboration with other committees (e.g. Science Ethics and Prevention). The main projects of the Therapy Committee were:

  • Developing a training program for therapists and other professionals of related fields that work with ASC – this program has since evolved into our Drug Science Program
  • The growth of a European Integration Therapist Network, which connects therapists specialized in the integration of experiences with ASCs
  • Co-developing and realizing the BEYOND EXPERIENCE integration workshops

Prevention, Harm Reduction, and Education Committee (PrevEd)

The main activities of the PrevEd Committee in the first two years were:

  • The construction and piloting of an integration workshop series called BEYOND EXPERIENCE, which was designed to support people in dealing with challenging psychedelic experiences and to build the competencies needed to benefit more deeply and sustainably from their experiences. The first courses were held in Amsterdam and Berlin.
  • More than 40 newspaper, radio and TV contributions in the first 24 months (i.e. Henrik Jungaberle at Beyond Psychedelics conference (2018), Andrea Jungaberle at DeutscheWelle TV (2018))

Members Committee

By the end of 2017, the MIND Foundation had a total of approximately 175 memberships. In order to provide our members the best possible experience in their relationship with MIND, we established the administration of memberships and an onboarding process for active members, and we created a system for conflict resolution within the staff. Moreover, our members would regularly receive newsletters with our latest developments and opportunities for participation or employment within the larger network of MIND members and associates.

Fundraising Committee

The Fundraising Committee played a key role in facilitating research about the psychedelic experience in Europe by providing the financial means.  It was responsible for the marketing of the BEYOND EXPERIENCE integration workshops, as well as the Lucia No. 3 sessions at the MIND office in Berlin.

Moreover, with the help of generous donations from individual donors, the Fundraising Committee created a handful of full- and part-time jobs at MIND, as well as the first MIND doctoral fellowship grant.

Ethics Committee

It was evident from the beginning that MIND needed to develop a stringent approach for organizational and individual ethics. During the initial months of 2017, the Ethics Committee created a Code of Conduct that all staff members were expected to adhere to during the time of their work with MIND to protect the integrity of our organization. Questions such as ‘How do we want to position ourselves as a members-based psychedelic science organization?’ and ‘What rules and concepts do we want our representatives to embody?’ were the main drivers in the development of our ethics and organizational culture.

With the ongoing development of MIND and its many projects, the Ethics Committee contributed the basis for our ethical integrity, always with our vision in mind.

Technical Committee

The Technical Committee had a major part in building the website of MIND that went online on February 1st2017 – which was a great feat, given our first ever meeting at the end of November 2016! Due to generous software donations we were able to establish well-integrated online structures (group-based online communication and storage, email, forums) and office software for every member, for which the Technical Committee provided structural support.

Public Relations Committee

The Public Relations (PR) Committee’s main concern was the communication of MIND with collaborators, policymakers, supporters, journalists, and the interested public. In the domain of psychedelics and altered states in general, it has always been crucial for MIND to position itself unambiguously as a science organization. The Public Relations Committee supported MIND in shaping its image as a source of expertise communication thereof.

Among the activities of the PR Committee were the maintenance of the MIND website and the blog, the newsletter and our various social media channels.

Moreover, the PR Committee was involved in advertising events at the MIND Academy and highlighting to our followers the growing number of scientific publications, press, and media output generated by MIND.

Once again, looking back at the first two years of MIND,

it is safe to say that our project has never been any less than highly ambitious and that from the start. We were blessed with a team of intelligent and dedicated individuals from diverse backgrounds who shared our vision and were willing to invest their time and energy in creating something larger than themselves. It shows that with purpose and dedication, with structure and persistence, with rigor and reason, a small group of people can achieve something great and we are determined to continue doing so. And lest we forget, our growing group of members and supporters must not go unmentioned: Thank you for supporting our work!

Though our organization has grown and changed, new alliances have been forged, and new projects have come to life, we are sure to preserve our goals and our integrity, and we continue to strive for our humanitarian vision. Thank you to all who gave us support in the infancy of the MIND Foundation. All of us together taught MIND the walk and now we are running a marathon and we will not tire.

We, the MIND Foundation, want to express our sincerest gratitude to all those who have been or continue to be a part of this amazing venture into a field that is as challenging as it is rewarding.

References

1. Sessa, B. (2012). The psychedelic renaissance: Reassessing the role of psychedelic drugs in 21st century psychiatry and society. United Kingdom: Muswell Hill Press.

2. Sessa, B. (2012). Shaping the renaissance of psychedelic research. Comment in: The Lancet, vol 380, July 21st 2012

Our work at MIND relies on donations from people like you.

If you share our vision and want to support psychedelic research and education, we are grateful for any amount you can give.