Dr. Eugenia Kulakova

Coordination INSIGHT Conference, Science Committee

Dr. med. Karl-Josef Theine 

Co-founder, coordination Therapy Committee

What is your motivation to contribute to MIND?

The orientation of MIND hits the sweet spot that combines evidence-based rationality with an open-minded curiosity. This creates a setting which attracts very creative, responsible and pragmatic people to work on different aspects of a shared vision. Personally, with my academic background in cognitive neuroscience and my current clinical work as a psychotherapist, I have long been looking for an environment in which it is possible to discuss and promote the understanding of psychedelic states. It just feels like a really good match!

Which meaning does the psychedelic experience have for an open society?

There is a two-way relation between a society and its individual members’ minds. I can’t imagine a free society that does not permit its member individuals access to psychedelic experiences, that is states of personal authenticity and self-actualisation. If such states are perceived as a threat to society, I would struggle to call it ‘free’, whatever that word even means in the present times. The other way around, I think that self-actualised, self-respecting and responsible individuals are able to contribute to society in a way that can improve it on a larger scale. My definition of psychedelic experiences and subsequent growth are quite broad here, this is not simply about dropping a certain type of pill! In this sense, ‘psychedelic’ or ‘open’ converge to a common meaning of overcoming oppression and removing any irrational obstacles for personal growth and overall development.

What is your vision regarding MIND?

My personal vision is a future in which the therapeutic applications of psychedelic states are evidence-based, legally available and publicly accepted possibilities for professional practitioners. This requires certain empirical preparatory steps, namely effectiveness and feasibility studies, which will in turn provide details as to which practices are reasonable and worth developing and promoting. Personally, I try to be as open as I can towards the future developments and I hope that MIND will persist to provide a platform for realistic and critical discussion and reflection of this process.

What is the main challenge for an organisation like MIND?

Organisations like MIND currently spark a lot of different, partly opposing, expectations in the public. Some people hope to gain access to a magic pill that will instantly end all suffering, others hope to become admired modern scientific shamans. Some hope to get rich by establishing a psychedelic market, others still dare to hope that psychedelics will undermine the capitalist order. Almost everybody ultimately strives for the validation of their world-view. All those motives and hopes have their reason and maybe legitimacy, but can’t and shouldn’t be fully realised simultaneously. The challenge is to navigate between those expectations without falling into either of the extremes and to stick to the initial vision without losing the willingness to reflect the ongoing process.

What is your motivation to contribute to MIND? 

My interest in collaboration lies in the development of new forms of therapy for old and still not always satisfactorily treatable mental illnesses. Above all, I am interested in an integral approach involving psychotherapeutic interventions, induction of altered states of consciousness (not only, but also substance-induced), modification of societal cognitive patterns and also spiritual aspects.

Where should psychedelic science be in 10 years? 

I hope for an establishment of psychedelic science in the everyday science enterprise within the next 10 years. I also hope that it will be normal to do research in different fields of this area supported by public funds and that it will be possible to get a doctorate.

What is the main challenge for an organization like MIND?

I imagine the function of MIND to be as the function of a starter in a car (ok, it will not be with classic combustion engine in 10 years …). Once the process is started, I imagine a chain reaction and that MIND is just one of many scientific organizations involved in the field.

What got you interested in Psychedelic science? 

My approach to psychedelic science has been through my late self-discovery and curiosity, to learn more about this area and explore both the therapeutic and the spiritual potential in depth. Meanwhile, I also see an opportunity for social development through the transcendence which has been familiar so far, but not sufficient in an evolutionary ever-evolving universe of cognitive patterns and value systems.

Which meaning does the psychedelic experience have for an open society? 

Having been a follower of Integral Philosophy and Integral Psychology for quite a number of years (not just Ken Wilber), I see great potential for development in the psychedelic experience. Too often, we humans believe our own thoughts and struggle to make our own inner subject an object. But this is exactly what I see as a method of developing the mind – for the individual and also for society.