september 3rd, 2021

Episode #34


Becoming an Addiction Recovery & Psychedelic Integration Coach with founder of Being True to You
with Deanne Adamson

In this episode, Laura Dawn speaks with Deanne Adamson, the founder of Being True to You, a company that certifies top coaches in addiction recovery and psychedelic integration, and has built a worldwide network of coaches to support the psychedelic movement with integrity, neutrality, and compassion.

We don’t understand that the phenomenon of addiction is simply turning our problems and solutions over to the external world and then continuing to do that. So really, that whole process underlies all states of suffering and it is a part of everyone’s process that you work with to some degree or another.
Deanne Adamson


About This Episode:

What does it take to be a psychedelic integration coach? What core competencies do transformational coaches need to cultivate and what kind of training do people need to support people with the integration of their psychedelic experiences? 

Deanne Adamson is the founder and president of Being True To You, an online transformational coaching organization that has certified over 800 holistic addiction recovery and psychedelic integration coaches since 2010. Deanne’s ‘Transformational Recovery’ model extends support across one’s greater journey of healing and growth, helping people integrate psychedelic experiences to ensure lasting results. 

In this episode, Deanne shares her journey and how she found herself birthing her company Being True to You. She talks about the nature of addiction and how it’s really not what people think. We also talk about the importance of cultivating your own guiding principles, core values, moral compass, and core competencies for integration coaches, as well as what people should know before moving into this space, We also touched on her take on some of the more controversial topics, and we also touch on the bizarre reality of censorship.

Core Themes

Explored in this episode:
  • Addicition Recovery
  • Psychedelics
  • Integration Coaching
  • What It Takes
  • Be True To You

Links &

useful resources

Episode Transcript

Episode #34: Deanne Adamson Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

Duration: 01:56:55

Laura Dawn: Awesome. Well, welcome Deanne Adamson, I’ve been so looking forward to this conversation. It’s so nice to circle back around with you after we first met a couple of years ago. I’ve been tracking all of your work in the space and I’m just so impressed with everything that you’re doing and especially just watching the growth of Being True to You. I’m just so amazed. I’ve known quite a number of people now who have gone through the program, including quite a few dear friends of mine that also had a chance to really look at your content. I’m just so amazed because this work is so needed right now, more than ever. And it was nice to kind of just have this little drop-in with you before we hop on the recording of the podcast.

And you said something that was really striking to me. And I always love the more intimate conversations that I get to have with people in this space where we’re not recording. That’s where just so much of really the real juice comes through. And I was sharing with you about my own process of what it’s really taken to come out with this name; Psychedelic Leadership. And you immediately said something about that related to Being True to You.

And so I’d love to just open up the space with just a little bit of your story, how you came to launch Being True to You. You’ve been in the space for eight years now, which is just incredible. And I just wanted to start by just asking you about this name and what this name has really meant to you as this sort of north star for you on this journey.

Deanne Adamson: No, gosh, what a good question. We’ve actually been in this space for about 11 years now. So I started Being True to You in 2010. I initially called it Living True to You and the reason was that I had such a tumultuous teenage upbringing. And also my twenties were pretty rough, not in terms of my family system, but in terms of my internal process and how I coped with the world. And so I had a big conversion experience in my late twenties and I developed this passion through that to help young adults and teens live or find their passion and find their mission in their path earlier life.

So I named the company; Living True to You. And then a mentor of mine said Being True to You would be a lot better and I was like wow, that’s it. And I knew right away that was a good name but what I didn’t realize was the journey that it was going to take me on. Because for every day moving forward, I had to actually think about that. “Well, what does it mean to be true to myself?” And I became very aware of the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be or what I felt was true for me. So it was actually more difficult than I thought because I had to constantly like self-reflect and look within and see all of my shortcomings.

And at the same time, I was in this emerging industry. I mean, I literally just landed at the nexus between all of these emerging industries and discovered that there was no preparation and integration industry. And I had a foundation, I had a starting point to actually step into that. So on the one hand, I’m putting the brakes on and questioning myself and having to evaluate the integrity within myself and the ability for me to show up. And on the other hand, that demand was just so high and people were coming to me for answers and I was able to provide some direction.

So yeah, the journey of naming my company Being True to You has been overall just magical because the other thing is that it really sits well with people, you know, working with people from all paradigms and psychedelics do, they call people from all paradigms in. And so you’re working with people of so many different backgrounds and so many different world views, but this idea of being true to myself really sits with people. So I’ve been very happy about the name that we initially chose.

Laura Dawn: Oh, I just so deeply resonate with that process. And you know, it’s been such a parallel journey for me to have this name, Psychedelic Leadership. I would say overall people have been so encouraging, but then there’s definitely been the critics of, “how dare you use this name?” And also it’s kind of been this like north star for me of creating this container for me to step into and receive my own healing, my own education you know. And I’ve been in such deep self-reflection around, “what does this name really mean to me?” and as a result of that, it’s birthing content and it’s birthing my own, you know, programs that I’m also teaching.

So I love starting at this place and I love that name; Being True to You. I mean, great job on landing that and you also had mentioned, you know, there are days where I don’t feel like I’m being true to myself but in that process of self inquiry, I think that’s what guides the real healing and how you show up as a leader in this space, in your own authenticity. And I really do think that you bring so much authenticity in the message that you share with people. And so I like that framing that it’s like, we’re not like this, you know hubris, “oh, I’m always true to myself” but it’s actually in the contrast of those days where I’m not being true to myself that actually, you know, that’s where the path emerges from.

Deanne Adamson: Yeah. It’s like both humility and confidence and that’s kind of what I realized. Because some days I was in my confidence like I was being true to the mission-oriented part of myself, the leadership part of myself and that kept me going and driving me forward. But then the humility part of it was the part of like actually having to get real and vulnerable and authentic about what I was going through. And so then you just kind of learn to ride that balance between, you know, humility and confidence to push forward.

Laura Dawn: I so appreciate that. And so you have a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. And so, was that really your base and combined with your own, just your personal story of finding yourself at this nexus of all these different domains as you expressed it? You know a big part of the Being True to You program is around holistic addiction, recovery coaching which I think is so needed in our world today. A lot of the research around psychedelics really focuses on addiction, depression as well. So you are at this really interesting nexus point of a couple of different main domains.

How did you find yourself launching Being True to You that focused on psychedelic integration, addiction, recovery? What was part of your own story that allowed you to, you know including your education but why did you feel compelled to launch this program and this company?

Deanne Adamson: Well, you know, when I was 20 years old or whatever, trying to figure out what I wanted to do in college, I didn’t know that we really had a choice to invent a career. It was just kind of look at the blackboard and pick something that most fits and resonates with who you are and what you’re interested in. And I didn’t really know, I knew I wanted to help people. So I got a psychology degree and then I wanted to go back. I actually was living in Hawaii myself and I was like living the life and everything was perfect but there was a deeper calling inside of me, that’s like, there’s more to life than just sitting on the beach and getting a good tan and being popular.

And so I ended up going back to school and getting a Master’s in Counseling again because I didn’t know really that there was another option that I could innovate my own path. So I went through that whole process, it’s like a 10-year process, a quarter-million dollars basically to get through all of that only to discover I didn’t want to do that. And that was a very hard time in my life because I was turning 30. I was working as a counselor in a managed care setting. And I was basically doing paperwork and diagnosing people so that they could be medicated but there wasn’t passion behind it. There wasn’t like this real investment in one’s own personal growth. And I just didn’t see how it was going to be able to bust through that in the framework that I was currently in.

So I had to go within and I asked myself, you know actually, I had a mentor at the time that said, “what’s your passion?” And I said being a counselor. And he said, “what’s your passion?” I said being a counselor. And he’s like no, that’s not your passion. I said yes, it is. And after a couple of weeks of asking myself, “what’s my passion?” I thought my passion is to help people outside of the matrix. Not that I wanted to oppose anything in society but I knew there was more. I knew that we could evaluate our human experience on a deeper level than just diagnosing our pathology and working to rid ourselves of symptoms. Like I knew there had to be something more and bigger, and I wanted to explore that.

So I heard about coaching. This was before it was really trendy and I thought, this is perfect. I can do exactly what I want to do. I’ll have to create a new model and move away from the mental health system, of course, but I can still help people and I could create a livelihood around this. So I started a coaching business naively because I had no idea what it would take. I think if I had known, I don’t know what I would’ve done differently but I didn’t really realize that. So I started the path of entrepreneurship. It was not easy. I definitely made a lot of mistakes that now I can use in my training to help cut that learning curve for a lot of other people.

And initially, my focus was teens and then I realized teens aren’t ready to do the work typically. You know teens don’t want to do the inner child work and look at trauma and find their passion, purpose, and mission in life. And so it was a little bit harder than I expected. And then I met a friend of a friend who had an ibogaine clinic in Tijuana and that’s when it all started. And at the time there were probably 10 different opportunities I had. And I remember thinking if I go to Mexico and I actually check this out, my whole world’s going to change like I had that feeling and knowing.

And of course, you know, I have to run that by like my boyfriend at the time and my parents, I can go into Tijuana to a clinic that’s giving people ibogaine and detoxing them from heroin but do not worry about me, I’ll be fine. And the short of it is I went down to these clinics, I saw what was going on. And I was just amazed, I couldn’t believe that in one night people could detox themselves out of heroin or full advanced opiate addiction and come out the other side free of withdrawal, free of cravings for the most part. And not only that but like over-stored hope and vision and motivation to move forward in life.

And then on top of that, I saw again, there was no integration industry and I was like this is crazy, this is an amazing treatment. And then I started to reflect on all the amazing treatments worldwide and I was like, there’s no integration after anything. I was like, this is nuts. And so I just was really busy at work doing integration and then I discovered preparation because I was like, wait a second. When people sign with me before they do the detox, we’re having drastic results compared to those that I’m working with after. And so then I realized preparation and integration and honestly, Laura, I had never heard of this from anyone.

I’m sure there were people on the planet doing it but I didn’t know about it. I hadn’t heard of it. And so that’s what we perfected; was the before and aftercare around the ibogaine detox. And from there, all industries started to call upon us; the Ayahuasca industry, Psilocybin, and LSD, now we’re heavily involved in the ketamine industry, you name it. And then we realized it’s not all about psychedelics either, there’s a lot of transformational tools that people are using. There’s a lot of retreats. There’s a lot of amazing things that people are doing, but it’s the longer process of cultivation, is what I call it.

Integration is when you’re integrating a specific event and cultivation is just in general, like spiritual cultivation, you know, personal development, our everyday duties to ourselves, and our human experience. And so that’s what I became passionate about, was not psychedelics themselves, I was intrigued about what psychedelics could do for people and how it could take someone from the abysmal; “I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t know how to even engage my faculties and get going in life again” to one journey and coming out the other side of like “I’m restored and I’m ready to go.”

I mean, I was amazed by that catalyst and that opportunity but I was more amazed about how you could take suffering and chronic suffering and use it as a catalyst for personal growth. And that’s really where my passion came into this.

Laura Dawn: Oh my gosh, I love it so much. I mean, you truly are a pioneer in the space and it’s only recently that we’re really starting to see the full sort of penetration of this word. I mean, you even see it on social media now, #integration. It’s like actually becoming a thing in our culture because of people like you. And even just two or three years ago, people were barely talking about integration and the importance of it. And in hindsight, of course, it’s so obvious, you know that the path is the ‘every day.’ It’s the space in between these psychedelic journeys.

And so, really just hats off to you for leading this way and it’s so important. And I love that perspective that it’s, yeah, the psychedelic journey is a catalyst. It’s one amongst many, there are others that we have to really learn how to integrate into the fabric of our everyday lives. I’m curious when you went down to Tijuana, did you journey with ibogaine as well as part of your training process?

Deanne Adamson:  Yeah, I had to. Interestingly enough, I didn’t right away you know. I did a lot of virtual work. I mean, I went down, I visited the clinics. I saw for myself, I met different teams of different clinics and I saw what was going on but I was living in the states. So I was doing mostly virtual work before and after like Skype calls at the time, but eventually, I got the courage to do it. And the thing is, I knew too much about it. So it was scary because when you’re doing a detox dose of ibogaine, it’s a little different than a psycho-spiritual dose. So the testimonials that were coming into my brain, I was like, oh my gosh, I was so scared to do it.

But then I thought, you know, to really understand what it is I’m doing, I have to go in and do the journey. So yeah, of course, you know, I went down and I did it one year on Cinco de Mayo I remember, with about four other people who were also supporters working in this space and it was phenomenal. I mean, I’ll never forget that journey, there’s nothing like it, there’s no way to explain it. I realized too when I did it, that I do think you can help people. I don’t think you have to have had every psychedelic experience to help somebody through a psychedelic experience from a coaching perspective. I mean, we’ve just seen that time and time again but there’s no way that I could have possibly understood what it was like without doing it.

So, yeah, of course, I went in, and then, I ended up doing all the medicines again. I started as a teenager. I thought those days were over. I thought those were my party days. I had no idea that that was going to reemerge my adult life. And there was a part of me that was a little panicked when I realized like, this was the reality. So, of course, you know I had to go in over several years and just journey with all the different medicines and see what they are and how they’re helping people and what the nature of them is and what it’s like on the inside because you can’t really explain that.

Laura Dawn: Right. And I loved what you said earlier and it did also strike me too that you said a lot of people sort of erroneously believe that you are a psychedelic advocate because you teach psychedelic integration training and I’d love to give you an opportunity to speak to that.

Deanne Adamson:  Yeah. When I first started working with addiction, I like had this block of, oh my gosh, there’s going to be a stigma around me of just working with addiction. And then I got really passionate about it and then I loved it and I was like all about it because I really saw the benefit of going into the depths of addiction and coming out. And I saw the phenomenon of it and I saw that it’s not what people think it is. And then the same thing with psychedelics happened where, when I got closer to it I thought, “okay, I don’t want to be known as just a psychedelic coach. It’s so much more than that.” And so then I kind of had like my walls up to that.

But you know, over time I actually did really soften and warm up to the medicines and really developed a deep respect and honor for the medicines. There were times where I actually wanted to stop doing psychedelic integration and I almost could hear the medicines, like “please don’t go” and like, “we need you.” And specifically, Ayahuasca and ibogaine, I could feel that. And then I just got clear of like, well, “okay, what is my role?” And I realized my role isn’t psychedelic advocacy, my role is integration and cultivation and helping people find the path of their true selves.

And I’ve seen time and time again that through the psychedelic experience if held well in the right setting and a person, you know, doing the proper setup that they need to go into that space and really owning their own work that these experiences can be life-changing for people. So I am passionate about the work and I greatly honor all of those in the medical space and people that are carriers of medicine, administering medicine, curating, and harvesting the medicines. I mean, it’s so much work but myself, I’m not a psychedelic advocate actually.

I’m an advocate for the journey of the true self, however a person gets there is up to them but I don’t ever recommend psychedelics to people. In fact, I never have in 10 years, believe it or not. I’ve never actually told anybody that they should do a psychedelic experience.

Laura Dawn:  I love your perspective, honestly, it just resonates so deeply. Can you speak to how do you conceptualize this notion of aligning with your true self? What does that mean to you?

Deanne Adamson:  Well, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that too because I feel like to have integrity in this line of work with transformational coaching, you have to have a solid foundation. I mean, right now we’re kind of in a world where it’s just a free-for-all in the new age movement which I’ve had to get really clear on. Everything is spiritual, right. So you’re taking all spiritual paths, all spiritual principles and teachings, and everything that’s ever been written in a metaphysical bookstore, and you’re throwing it into one lump sum. And then we’re using that as a foundation to guide people through the psychedelic experience.

And what I have seen is that we are almost opposing and negating the traditional spiritual pathways. And there is some yeah, opposition in people’s spiritual foundations in different paradigms. So I’ve actually had to think about that quite deeply. And what I always come back to is guiding principles, core values, and moral compass, ethics, things like this because when you get clear within yourself, then when you’re working with people or you’re working with groups, you have to stay centered you know. So that’s what I realized.

For me to show up neutrally and actually help other people through their process and not bring in my biases and not push my belief systems, I have to be pretty reassured on my own. I have to know where I exist, where my true self is, what my true north is, what I’m anchored into, what my center is. And then from that point, it’s easier to help other people find their center because if I’m not centered and I’m not grounded and I’m not anchored into anything, then really anything can enter the coaching conversation.

So I would say things again like a moral compass. What is your true north? How do you figure that out? Well, what’s most important to you in this life? Like what are your core values? How do you make decisions? How do you authenticate your own truth? Like what do you know is true and not true? And then the easiest way to put that is just guiding principles. I mean, I think that the guiding principles are really the stationary aspect of entrepreneurship and leadership, and being a coach or being any kind of, you know, guide or helper to people is knowing what your principles are. Because when you’re faced with conflict, when you’re faced with trauma, when you’re faced with really challenging situations, it can shake you.

And I’ve been in situations where I’ve been shaken really hard, even when I should have been prepared and should have had the skills, you know, I froze. I’ve been at retreats and things have happened like emergencies and it’s like you just freeze, right. But it’s like if you know how to anchor back into your true self and you have those practices or those principles, that north star for yourself, it’s a lot easier to just drop in, collect yourself and then again, guide other people.

Laura Dawn:  Yeah. There’s such a sweet similarity with some of the work that I do with people as well, you know, where it’s cultivating your inner compass and how to show up in a centered way to hold space for other people. And I liked this notion that you can really only take people as far as you’re willing to go yourself and the cultivation of daily practice is so important. So I just, I love that.

And I’d love to just go a little deeper into, yeah, just an invitation for you to share a little bit about the program for people who haven’t heard of Being True to You yet. And you have another cohort coming up quite soon. And I’d love to just hear a little bit more about what people can expect in a program like this.

Deanne Adamson:  Great, thank you so much for the opportunity really Laura, to talk about it. It’s a pleasure to share. We have two sides to the company, right. We have the coaching side and we have the coach training side. So for people who want to hire a coach, we have a directory just full of coaches which is so amazing. Because you can go in and you can actually look at the coaches yourself, or you can talk to us and we can match you. We have become quite the matchmakers. It’s kind of funny how we do that but it works really well so that you can come in and you can hire a coach that really relates to you and what you’re going through and the medicines that you’re using or not. And so we have the coaching wing and all these different pods that we specialize in on the coaching side of it.

And then we have the coach training. The coach training is actually, I have a book right here which is kind of funny. So the coach training is an 800-page textbook. This is part two. It’s part one, part two and part three. So the recovery guide is part one, and that’s all about understanding the addiction phenomenon, it’s not what people think. A lot of people that come to us are like I don’t want to learn about addiction. I’m like, it’s not what you think. It’s been so compartmentalized in our society that we just think of like drug addiction or sex addiction.

We don’t understand that the phenomenon of addiction is simply turning our problems and solutions over to the external world, and then continuing to do that. And then we get sucked into that and so really that whole process underlies all states of suffering. And it is a part of everyone’s process that you ever work with to some degree or another. So we jumped into the recovery guide and we go through the phenomenon nature of addiction. And then we look at transformational recovery; like how does that process look and how does that work? How do you guide somebody through, again, the depths of addiction or depression through that transformational process and what is the role of a coach?

So the first level is the recovery guide, the transformational guide and just looking at all of the do’s and don’ts in this, and the different pathways that people can take, and the ethics around this and so on. Then we move into the coaches guide which is part two, another 10 chapters and that’s where we learn how to be a coach. So that’s looking at coaching skills, coaching methods, coaching ethics, the coaching relationship, setting the coaching framework, working with individuals versus families versus groups.

And then of course the entrepreneurial side of it, and just like setting yourself up as a coach. And then we dive into the specialist guide which is the last 10 chapters and that’s where we get into the different states of suffering that people go through. And Dr. Dan Engle and I created our own nomenclature for this because we needed to have some way for coaches and people who are not licensed professionals to work with people who are suffering. And so we created the big five states of suffering and then we kind of unpack all of them and then how do you work with a client who shows up in these different arenas? We get into trauma and how to work with people with trauma.

We do a whole series on psychedelic preparation, navigation, and integration which is really in-depth. And then we also talk about different tools for catalyzing consciousness and addiction. I mean, in addition to psychedelics because there’s a lot of different methods that people are using. And I think it helps coaches stay well-balanced when they learn about all the different tools. So they’re not hyper-focused or pushing one particular thing on people. And then we end the training talking about the journey of the true self and really what is the bigger picture.

Because right now I see in our industry, it’s all about trauma and healing trauma, and it’s kind of taken over the industry but there’s so much more to look at, really, truly. And so what we look at is the journey of the true self and what is that universal pathway that we can all kind of agree on and how can we guide clients neutrally through that process without suggesting particular things or influencing their own worldview or faith, and rather just helping them to find more clarity in that. So it’s a really deep, profound training at just after about eight years of working on it and all the different experts and senior coaches that have been through that help us with it, it’s really become something quite profound.

So yeah, we do start soon. We have training every fall and summer and then we do like light trainees in the winter, in the spring but our big kickoff is in the fall. We start the 8th of September with some orientations and officially on the 13th of September. And it’s about a five-month process to get through the whole training. You can do it online, it’s really flexible with time. You can do payment plans. So I think it’s really affordable for an entire career at this cost. I think we’re probably the most affordable training I know out there and the most extensive.

And I just want to say too, in addition to the 30 chapters, we have experiential workshops with our senior coaches that have been with us for a long time like Anie Boudreau and John Bodine. And it’s so exciting because they kind of compliment the parts that I didn’t. So I’m very academic when I write and I’m very cognitive and I’m very logical and reasonable in how I process things. And then all the senior coaches kind of came in over the years and taught me the experiential part of it.

And so we have all these workshops where you can actually do hands-on coaching in real-time and practice using communication skills like heart-centered communication to work through really heavy stuff from a coaching perspective and how to maintain your own energy while doing it, so you’re not taking on other people’s stuff. So yeah, between the lectures and the experiential workshops and the practice coaching, and like the toolkit of forums that we give, it’s turned out to be quite a training. I wouldn’t say it’s kind of like going to college and getting an actual career certificate to do this work. So thanks for asking.

Laura Dawn:  Yeah, that’s amazing. One of the things that I hold a very similar perspective to you, I used to work a lot more in the realms of addiction; publishing a book on food addiction and did a lot of coaching work with addiction. And I actually feel like you have to be at such a high level as a coach to hold space for people who are moving through that kind of struggle. And I think what you spoke to is that, you know, there are varying degrees. I think it’s not this compartmentalized thing where it’s like, “oh, those people over there, they struggle with addiction and then there’s everyone else.”

And one of the things that have really informed my conceptual framework and my thought process around addiction has been Eastern philosophy, particularly Tibetan Buddhism where we look at this notion that we’re almost never present. We’re extremely inherently conditioned to constantly move away from the present moment and cover over how we feel. And that is this habitual knee-jerk reaction that is sort of like a root addiction for almost everyone at the core of not being able to stay present. It’s constantly, you know, moving away from constant distraction. And I’m curious, you know, has that played a role in your sort of framework of how you teach about addiction? Is that an influence for you at all?

Deanne Adamson:  Well, I mean, when you’re talking about the process of transformational recovery, there’s so much included in it. But are you saying is the power of presence an important aspect in the transformational process?

Laura Dawn:  Yes, I mean, that’s one way to frame it for sure.

Deanne Adamson: Yes, I mean, I feel like when we are suffering, we have a lot of burdens that build up in our mind and in our body, and those become attachments to some degree, either we’re attached to the desire to feeling good or were attached to the vice that helps us to relieve our suffering. And so that resistance to feeling that pain is what causes people to not be present. Right. So it’s like you try to sit down but there’s a voice in your head, there’s some kind of impulse that comes up in your body. Your emotions are tugging you this way or that way. And so, yeah, I would say learning to actually sit with the thing that’s coming up is a huge part of transformational work in general.

You know, you have to feel to heal and you have to be able to feel even to identify what’s going on. So yeah, I would say in our culture in general that’s kind of our programming, is to run, hide, escape, numb all of these different things. And we are jumping out of the present moment. So part of that is coming back into our body, centering, grounding, and building that resilience and that tolerance to just be and to just feel. And I feel like from that place of stillness whether people are cultivating that through meditation, mindfulness, breath work, journaling, coaching. There’s a lot of different things that people are doing, just being out in nature. You know it does help to develop that tolerance for stillness.

I will tell you working with people through addiction for so long, I realized that the biggest fear was boredom, that was the biggest fear. And then I realized that’s presence, right. Because everyone would always say — I would say well, what’s the hardest thing for you going home? And it was like being bored and I was like, wow, I just heard that over a thousand times. And I thought, what is that experience of boredom, like what really is that? And I realized, that’s the present moment where we have to sit with ourselves as we truly are. And we call it boredom because we’re not distracting ourselves.

And so then I kind of realized, okay, there’s two sides to the coin here when I’m helping people. On the one side, we are learning how to sit still and to be present. But on the other side, we are learning how to engage ourselves more productively because that space of boredom in presence is actually a really difficult place. So when you tell someone struggling with addiction, you know, just be present, just sit still, go within, it doesn’t mean that they can just do it. It’s something, actually has to be cultivated within somebody and ultimately you can’t just choose to be present and tranquil. You actually have to earn it.

You have to actually transform the things in your body that won’t let you sit still so whatever that is. Whether it’s a toxic body, a negative mind, you know, a traumatized body or a body full of blocks and burdens, regardless, whatever that dark matter is inside the body, a person has to actually get in there and transform all that little stuff to achieve tranquility. You know I don’t ultimately think like any techniques can achieve that process, they can maybe help in the interim. But I think a person actually has to get in there, clean out their mind and body and spirit to have that effect. So it’s quite an advanced topic really.

Laura Dawn: Oh, it’s super-advanced. Yes and I mean, even when I think about in the Buddhist tradition the three marks of existence, one of them is the root cause of suffering; is our constant pushing away from what we don’t want to feel and clinging to pleasure. You know it’s the push-pull with pleasure and pain. And that’s where neuroscience and Buddhism have a huge overlap, you know, we’re biologically designed to push away from what doesn’t feel good and to move towards what does feel good. And to sit in the center of that push-pull dynamic.

I think just coming back to your point that like this applies to everyone, that there isn’t this notion that there are some people who are addicts and then there’s everyone else. There are some core underlying principles that are really applicable to everyone in their everyday lives.

Deanne Adamson:  Yes, I mean, exactly. And I think that’s part of being a good coach or a good  facilitator or supporter you know, in joining this industry. It’s like recognizing that all of that work that people are going through often still lies within ourselves and that we’re all here as students cultivating ourselves and facing these things. We might just be facing them at different times and levels and different scenarios, but these same patterns show up across humanity, just in different ways. We just use different words to sort of hide from it.

Laura Dawn:  Right.

Deanne Adamson: You know?

Laura Dawn:  Right. Yes, that makes total sense. What do you think people really need to know about this work before getting into this work?

Deanne Adamson: Yes, it’s a good question because it’s something a lot of us didn’t maybe stop and think about or know because we’ve just been in the space for a long time or just kind of like organically found ourselves here. And nowadays people are actually contemplating it you know, like wow, there’s this movement going on, it seems to be helping people. And they’re thinking about, what way can they enter this space and in what way they can help and what kinds of things that they need to consider?

So, gosh, I mean, there’s a lot of things to consider. I mean, the first thing that I could say is that the total truth about psychedelics is not known or absolute you know. I mean, what we know right now is based on theories, it’s based on personal experience, science can only measure a certain scope of psychedelics. I mean that’s what so fascinating about it, is you can’t measure it. I mean, I know science tries to get in there and do research and prove things. We can certainly prove a reduction in symptoms and an increase in quality of life and things like that.

But ultimately the truth about psychedelics is not known and bringing them into our culture, in our industry, we don’t know ultimately what the outcome will be because to me, for every advantage, there’s a disadvantage somewhere. So we just need to know that going into it. I think it’s important to know that this is an industry that’s self-governed or it is community-led. It isn’t an industry where the government is controlling it so it’s kind of just a free for all. So wherever you enter, you have to know your own laws for that region. You have to become really familiar with ethics around this work, understand that there are going to be pros and cons in this work, and setting up accountability to each other.

I mean, I think that’s what’s great about what we’re doing here at Being True to You; is we’ve just created our own board of accountability and mentoring and checking each other and having like this checks and balances in general. So there’s still a lot of concerns in this industry and I think if we’re just well-informed, then we can avoid a lot of those pitfalls. Psychedelics are mostly still a schedule one drug, you know things like ketamine and cannabis are legal and have certain permissions. And then there are other things that are kind of becoming more acceptable through clinical trials and research or through indigenous ways or through international retreats and such.

But it’s also important to know that they are still illegal. And I see a lot of people just looking around and looking at the crowd saying well, they’re doing it so I want to do it. And I think it’s just important that we do really respect the laws that are in place because I feel like if we run amuck and we don’t honor the system as it sits that we could actually see a situation as we saw a few decades ago and it could backfire. And just because somebody else is doing it, doesn’t make it okay. I mean, I think you really have to anchor into your own intuition and best judgment about how to get involved and how to do things like this.

I think it’s important to know that this is tough work. This is like really deep work. So a lot of times people do an MDA experience or a 5-Me-O experience and their mind is blown and they just can’t believe it. It’s like years and decades of suffering have just dissipated temporarily, right. And then people want to go give the medicine to everyone in the world. So I think we also have to be really cognizant that to truly transform form through our suffering, it takes work and it’s not always easy.

You’re going to be bumping up against people’s suicidal thoughts, people’s really deep, heavy traumas, people’s inner conflict. You’re going to be having personality battles with each other because ultimately that’s how we work our stuff out. So we can’t avoid that. There’s going to be tension. There’s going to be conflict. You have to be willing to get in the trenches with the client’s emotions and their own work and you also have to be willing to do your own work, which means having those hard talks with yourself or with other people. So I think that’s important to know, it’s not all bliss and butterflies in this work.

And if we are attached to that, then we actually are doing an injustice to this work and to this industry because when the stuff comes up, we’re just pushing people back to some kind of medicinal experience to take the suffering away. And it’s like no, the suffering is good. When the suffering comes up, we’re actually in the space and we know we’re doing our work. So I think that’s important to know. And then, you know, I think it’s also important to know that you can’t trust everyone and everything in this space. I mean, we’ve seen what happens with big pharma. We’ve seen what happens when things get commercialized and you know, industrialized and synthesized.

And so I would just say, you have to have a good head on your shoulders and you have to use your own best judgment. You have to get clear on your mission, what you are involved in this work for and then you have to have boundaries around that. And so that you’re not easily led astray. Because let me tell you, if you have something valuable and you have something that works, people from everywhere are going to come and they’re going to tell you how amazing you are and how great your material is. They’re going to try to partner with you and they’re going to try to someway leverage your work, sometimes even exploit your work.

So I think it’s important that we understand that we need to have that discernment, those good boundaries and we need to kind of shield and have a little bit of protection around our mission. Because the number one thing I see preventing people from success in this industry is all the distractions and all the detours and just being easily led astray from their mission. So those are just a few things I would say you’d want to know getting into this work.

Laura Dawn: Okay, unpack distractions and detours. Do you feel like speaking, can you name a couple of what those are for you?

Deanne Adamson: I mean, there are attractions and there are distractions, it’s kind of how I see it. The attractions are the fun stuff, the opportunities that just feel too good to be true, it’s so exciting. There’s a big vision painted in your brain and usually, it means that you’re going to be pivoting your mission and conjoining with somebody else’s mission to some degree. And then it takes about six months to 12 months, sometimes longer before you realize like wait, I completely got off my path. This isn’t actually what I wanted to do, this is what they wanted to do. Now, I see they were leveraging my work to fulfill their mission but somehow I lost myself in that. And so it just happens innocently.

It’s not something that people you know mean to do but the attractions are the fun things, the opportunities that we kind of get swept up in. And sometimes we get maybe overzealous about it and maybe it’s not as realistic and practical, maybe it’s not fully aligned with our inner mission. And then you have the distractions, which would be the gaps in our own process. So we all have areas that we’re more susceptible to giving into. So whether it’s areas of addiction, areas of trauma, whatever it is, there are unmet needs that we have within ourselves.

And so on my journey, I can’t tell you how many times I got distracted whether it was by a boy that I was dating and it was really comforting to me and it was really soothing. But then, you know, a year later I looked back and I’m just like oh man you know, I kind of just like gave my whole self to this relationship and I lost track of my mission. So I mean, it can show up in a lot of different ways. I use the term attraction and distraction and the detours; sometimes they’re necessary. I mean, you know, you can’t avoid it completely.

I spent two years in Silicon Valley working on a transformational technology app and I put everything I had into it and then I just dropped it and didn’t want to do it. Because when I really got to the end of it, I was like I don’t believe that technology is the answer. I believe that refining our hearts and doing our own work within ourselves is the answer. And then I realized if I have to take investor money and then it would be working for someone else’s agenda, I wouldn’t really be working for myself any more than I would be, you know, having to share in different visions.

And so there’s just a lot of things like that where and I’m sure everyone can relate to those times where you’re on track and you’re just like set for success and everything is great. And then all the tests and interference come and I think that we have to kind of be zipped up, so to speak, to be ready for those tests and challenges so that we don’t give into them.

Laura Dawn:  I think the people listening who are really creating on this kind of level that you’re creating at can really resonate. You know I don’t know if everyone would resonate with just how much, what it really takes to launch a company like Being True to You. It’s definitely playing at a pretty high level and there’s a lot that comes with that. And I think it is a little different and that’s why I like this podcast because it’s like, I like appeal to the audience who’s thinking about, “oh yeah, I’d love to do integration coaching” but then I also love appealing to the audience who’s like, “yeah, I’d love to create a company like Being True to You. There’s kind of those two different sides. And I think that it really does take a lot.

There’s two different directions here that I want to go in. I want to ask you about mindset and what it really takes to create at this level as a leader in the space. But I think I’m just going to pause on there for a second and just keep going down this integration path, just a couple more questions for people who are listening, you know who are part of that audience. What do you think are really some of the core competencies that people who are stepping out as integration coaches really need to cultivate within themselves to be really effective on this path so that we’re contributing to, you know, people’s transformation in a positive way and not unknowingly sabotaging people’s journeys or doing more harm than good?

Deanne Adamson:  Yes. Oh gosh, such a great question. I mean stepping into this work regardless of how you step into it. So whether you come in as a coach and counselor, you’re doing prep and integration, whether you’re doing facilitation and administration, whether you’re helping retreats and clinics to establish a solid practice and you’re working in admin or marketing. Or whether you’re on the advisement levels or the funding levels and protecting people in that regard, there’s just a lot of different ways to enter this work. And I think regardless of what place that you enter the psychedelic space, the thing that you want to confirm within yourself is your own transformational work.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect. I mean, we’re always going to be cultivating I think for the rest of our lives, that’s my experience. But everybody has something really heavy that they’ve struggled with for their entire life. And you want to be able to go in and transform that thing or those things that prevent you from being true to yourself. And in that process, you are clearing your mind, you’re unburdening your heart, you’re freeing your body. You’re making amends in relationships and you’re finding a specific spiritual practice to cultivate so that you know you are grounded and you’re doing your work. And if something comes up, which it will, you can handle it.

So I would say first and foremost, in entering this work is that you have to transform yourself first and you have to set the stage for continued integration and cultivation because it is really hard. And so when you think about how do I have the mindset for success, it’s just a work in progress you know, of facing one thing at a time but you have to have the tools and again, the practice and the discipline to actually get through that. So you know other core competencies would be understanding the industry.

I think it’s good to sit back and actually look at the whole industries instead of just jumping in because you’ve had some experiences and you’ve seen some miracles performed, that you step back and you take a look at the whole industry. You see what’s happening, you kind of look at the different companies; what’s working, what’s not working, what are important considerations, what are concerns, things like that. So I think you really want to map that out. Then you would want to get certified in a particular area.

So first you’ll figure out how are you best positioned to enter the psychedelic space; are you a researcher? Are you an advisor and mentor? Are you a coach or counselor? Are you a guide? Again, there’s a lot of different ways to step into this.

Once you get clear on your natural skill set and your talents and your positioning; by positioning, I mean your connections, your opportunities. Like everyone has a kind of a different angle, my angle was coming in ibogaine addiction. That was the positioning that I had which fit my skill set. And then once you go in there, then you can take a look at, “okay, what additional training and certifications would I need if I were to continue to go down this path?” So I think the certification and the training are important. And then, you know, you have to set a stage somehow to practice this work.

So once you’ve identified, “okay, I’m in my process, I’m transforming myself. I understand character first like who I am as a person is what matters most” you know. Then you start looking at okay, credentials and training and getting myself up to speed to enter this industry. Then you can start to look for avenues to engage this work.

So, number one; you can just practice through every interaction you ever have with a human being. You can practice kindness, you can practice patience, you can practice listening, you can practice communication skills, asking the right question. You can maybe find volunteer work or you could find some kind of career opportunity as well so that you’re practicing because you need experience. I would say that’s a core competency, is just experience; being in the trenches, working with different things.

No matter how many books I read, I read 1000 books and I got a master’s in counseling and I came out and I didn’t want to do, like I just didn’t. I came out and there were clients in front of me and I’d go to my supervisor and I was like I don’t know what to do because I didn’t have the personal experience working through all of the things that people were throwing at me. So finding a way to actually practice those skill sets I think is really valuable. Also having a good understanding of ethics, that’s just not a part you want to skip. I mean, it’s kind of a heavier part in our training, looking at the do’s and the don’ts. But ethics was literally put into place through trial and error.

So if we approach this just based on our own intuition sometimes, we tend to get it wrong. I mean that’s what we do, is train the families on how to best support their loved ones and we train coaches. And what we find is sometimes we tend to approach things in the wrong way and it’s because of just our programming and it’s because of our attachments. We tend to get too involved and too attached into people’s processes. Oftentimes people tend to do exactly what you don’t want to do. So ethics is really helpful because it sets the stage for healthy boundaries and it sets the stage for like I’m the coach or professional or helper versus the client and where that line of work and communication can happen, then where that line if breached would become problematic.

So I think ethics and even legalities are really important. And in the training, I lump ethics, legalities, and morality all together because there’s like three wings there, and you kind of need all three to make a sound judgment call. It doesn’t work to just use one or two of them, you have to really understand all three. So yes, I mean, those are some of the core competencies you know; is your skillset, doing your own work, minding your own character, having that certification that fits the role that you want to choose, understanding ethics then, you know, would just be putting a foundation for your position together.

So if you want to be a coach, you got to learn the coaching foundation. If you want to be an administrator, you’ve got to learn the administration foundation and you go and you train with people that you respect and you look up to and you learn that craft. You learn that skill set, yes, those are some of them.

Laura Dawn:  I think that’s very solid, great foundation in core competencies. You mentioned guiding principles earlier and over the years of just working with so many people, would you say there’s just a handful of core guiding principles that you just notice a lot of people keep coming back to? Or if you feel like sharing some of your own.

Deanna Adamson:  Yes, I can share some of the guiding principles that I think are important. I wouldn’t say that people are using a lot of guiding principles though. I think that people are basing a lot of their decisions on emotion. So that’s like the first thing right, is to set emotion aside because emotions get messy and problematic. So I wouldn’t say that there’s a lot of principles that are being consciously reflected upon, but I think intuitively a lot of people understand things like honesty, transparency, integrity, kindness and forgiveness you know. So I do think that a lot of these principles are just instilled within us, in our human nature. But I think it would be more helpful if we consciously identified a set of guiding principles for this work to fall back on.

I’ve noticed it’s really helped us at Being True to You. So some important guiding principles would be like transparency. I think that’s really huge. Being honest, forthcoming about your ability, being forthcoming about the services that you offer and the efficacy of those services, right. Not making empty promises, like just being honest with people about how you can help them and how your services can help them and where that limitation is drawn. And in the agreement phase, the financial agreement phase, just showing up and being transparent across the board. I think that that would really help the industry if we could just like lock that in. And that kind of goes with like honesty and truthfulness, right, this transparency one.

Compassion is another one. Compassion is different than love you know. In the psychedelic community, there’s a lot of love. And so it’s kind of easy to base that as a principle but love has different definitions. Love and lust are really close together and again, it can get a little bit messy. So if you just look at compassion, compassion is a higher noble truth as we understand it. In compassion, you know, we have the warmth, we have the empathy, we have that acceptance, patience and nonjudgmental presence for our clients but it’s not sympathy. It’s not pity. It’s not trying pull them out of suffering. It’s actually honoring where they are in their journey of suffering. So compassion I think is a really important guiding principle.

Then you have neutrality. Neutrality is probably one of the things I’ve been most keen on in the last two or three years with so many different paradigms and so many sensitive, controversial issues coming into the mainstream and flooding through the psychedelic industry. I’m thinking, oh boy, how are we actually going to hold space for everybody and neutrality came to mind. As a counselor, it was all about being unbiased but I kind of liked the word neutrality. And I’ve thought about that for a few years now and this is something that anyone in Being True to You knows that I’m really big on because I feel like this policy encourages us to encourage others to think for themselves. And it protects their right to make their own decisions.

It helps us like respect people’s different worldview and different faith and not bring in our own biases from our own spiritual process. I think that’s really important. And I would say it’s a big issue in the psychedelic community right now, is coaches, guides, anybody in this space having those world views so locked into place and like pushing it on other people and not respecting that space of neutrality so I think that’s important, which ties into sovereignty, which is also a big part of my mission and why I stay in this work. You know respecting people’s right to think for themselves, act for themselves, make their own decisions and to be responsible to their own healing and their own growth.

So as coaches, for instance, we’re not healers, we don’t heal people, actually go against the model of coaching. We empower people to heal themselves and to do their own work and think for themselves. I can name a couple more principles. I just think this is such an important piece; right action. I think right action is a really good guiding principle too because it kind of gets us out of emotion. Like if a client buys six months of coaching and then they take a lot of time in the sales process and we just like spend all this time with them and then they cancel after one session, it’s frustrating. It’s like I just spent all these hours with you and your family doing all this work and you just cancel after one session.

And so you want to charge them for it, you want to like somehow get money out of it but then you have to step back and say well, what’s the right thing to do? What’s the right action? And so you have to take the emotion out of it and you have to actually look at what is fair, what is just, what is within integrity and that is how I really truly believe that I’ve stayed in business for 11 years now is because of that. I always stop and I think what’s right. And even in times when I was broke and I really needed that money in the early days and I did not want to give it back, I knew it was the right thing to do. And so I would give it back and then the business would increase.

There was one time where there was a family that I was like a little upset with and I didn’t give them back an extra a hundred dollars, it was a really low amount. The next week I lost a thousand dollars and so it’s just been really clear for me. Like when you take right action, good things happen back to you. When you don’t and you do things out of emotion, then you know, you’re going to just end up taking a bigger hit. And then resilience, I would just say is another one, you have to be. I think resilience or tolerance is really good in this industry too because you got to roll with the punches. You have to be able to see past the dramas and the gossip and the frustrations.

There’s going to be so much interference that’s like thrown your way, especially because we’re working through people’s really heavy stuff and all the defense has come out. And just in general, it’s hard to be successful in business so you have to be able to roll with the punches and you have to be able to just stay focused on the bigger mission and not get bogged down by all the little stuff like those attractions and distractions and all that stuff I was talking about. So those are some of the guiding principles that we use at Being True to You.

Laura Dawn:  I love that. And you also said the word the controversies in the psychedelic space. I’m so curious just to hear, you know, what are like your top tracking of your top controversies in the space right now?

Deanna Adamson:  I think there are so many of them, right. Like you have the controversies of, should we do synthetics or earth medicines you know, that’s a big thing, it’s not a small thing. I mean, we don’t know the outcome of either. If we use all earth medicines, we might run out of, we might cause plants to go extinct. We might hurt cultures, there’s a lot of ramifications of using natural organic medicines. But then you have synthetic medicines which are made in a lab. We don’t know who’s making them, we don’t know what’s behind it. We don’t know what’s being put in it. And so we don’t ultimately know the outcome of that either.

So you have that debate between synthetics and earth medicines. And I mean, I’ve heard amazing supporting evidence on both sides you know, so it’s really hard to know what’s best. There’s so many controversial things. Like I would say another thing is like bringing in civil rights activism into the psychedelic space to me is a problem. Like when we’re using psychedelics to inform people about a civil rights movement and try to entice them to jump on board, I think that that is not neutral. I think that is a controversial thing about the overlaps, like all these biases.

Other controversial things, you know just legalization in general, right. If we legalize it, now we’re turning it over to the governing agencies that have already proven not to be trustworthy, period, they’re just not. I mean, if you look at big pharma, it’s probably — I personally don’t trust it. I’ve traced the war on drugs and the opioid and the fentanyl movement for a very long time. I’ve seen what’s behind it and it’s scary so it’s really challenging. Because it’s like on the one hand, everyone should have rights to do these medicines and they should be available to more people. Like we could help people in such an extravagant way. But then on the other hand, when we legalize these things and we turn it over, how are the people going to stay in control of these things?

It’s just inevitable that they will be commercialized. So that’s a touchy subject. You know just using psychedelics as an agenda to reeducate people. I mean, we’ve seen in the past people using psychedelics for mind control and it’s happening again, people just do it in a different way. People have like this affirmative action that they’re stepping into, some kind of belief or paradigm that they believe everyone should have psychedelics and if everyone has it, then we can all see the same. But with that comes propaganda coming down lines of the psychedelic movement and in that again, it’s not neutral.

We’re using psychedelics to target the human soul and to program it in a way that the people behind it want you to see. It’s not neutral, it’s not sovereign, it’s problematic. Some people don’t see it, some people do but I would say it’s a controversial thing of whether or not to hold this neutral space or whether or not to bring in a doctrine that is actually just re indoctrinating people doing the same thing that people are trying to escape the first place. So there’s quite a lot of things I would say that are controversial you know. Science is another controversial thing. You know we’re taking something that is multi-dimensional, going into the supernatural realms, highly spiritual, opening up our third eye, revealing things that we could never see through science but then we’re reducing it back science.

And we’re saying we can only trust what science says when really there’s a whole world beyond what science can actually touch. So there’s a lot there I would say that’s controversial that I think people should be informed about. Because when we’re informed about it, it’s easier for us to find our place. It’s easier for us to take it lightly. It’s easier for us to be neutral. It’s easier for us to think for ourselves and it’s easier for us not to get tied up in these things. And if we do want to get tied up in them, we do it through transparency. Do you know what I mean?

Let’s say a group of Christians wanted to use psychedelics to help connect people with Christ. Great but they would say that. They would say we are a Christian church or whatever and we’re using psilocybin mushrooms to help people with our faith. It’s transparent and so I don’t think it’s as problematic when it’s transparent because people know what they’re stepping into. But in the reverse, you have Christians that step into a retreat and the retreat is like, we’ve got to save people from this religion, we got to take them away from Christ and we’ve got to show them a different way. You know that’s going to come at a cost. There are going to be more issues with that. So there’s a lot, we could do a whole podcast on that, Laura.

Laura Dawn:  Oh my gosh, I know. And then there’s also just really hard lines around cultural appropriation. And so for some people listening, it’s like people have such deeply entrenched storylines and belief systems, and it’s actually an incredibly complex nuanced topic. It is not black and white. There is so much there and all of these topics you know and I do find just like the irony is not lost on me at just like how people in the psychedelic space who are supposed to be open-minded and not holding onto dogmas can actually really fall into that trap so easily. And there is a lot of judgment that gets thrown around in the psychedelic space. So, gosh, it’s just so fascinating to witness that.

Deanne Adamson:  And it’s also inevitable. So we also want to just take it lightly. You know I think we just have to look at part of our process of being a part of the psychedelic industry is just knowing that there’s going to be conflict. There’s going to be tension. There’s going to be controversy and that’s part of the fun. And I think if we just lean into it in a lighthearted way, instead of a judgmental way and building a case against other people, I think that we just can find common ground. And a good rule of thumb is to just look within you know.

If anything triggers you, if anything upsets you, just look within and identify what within me is, what attachment do I have that is upsetting me about this? Or what passion do I have? Like maybe I have a role in this somehow, maybe I am supposed to help out in this and then we can just come within and we can say okay, what is important to me? So that’s what I do you know, like looking at the war on drugs and looking at how addiction has been manufactured. I mean, it’s not just happenstance, it’s manufactured. There’s a lot behind it to purposely get people addicted to sugar, phones, sex, pornography, drugs, I mean all of this is intentional.

And then with the vulnerabilities of humans, we just like fall into those traps. And so when I recognize that I can’t fight that but what I can do is teach people how to get out of addiction naturally, right. So you just kind of find the place that you can make a difference and you almost have to just accept the human experience and like the social matrix and the way that it is. Because you can’t really fight it but you can find your place in it. You can find your position and you can also just find that point of neutrality in there as well. So that it’s not frustrating because if you get frustrated, you get jaded, then it just gets more and more difficult to actually fulfill your mission because people can feel that energy from you.

So personally like in Being True to You, I like to do is open up topics that are controversial without ever letting anyone know what side you are on. You know it’s really interesting to kind of be able to talk about these things because I feel like we’re in a culture where we’re getting more censored, political correctness is taking over, more topics are becoming off-limits, sensitive, and taboo. And I’m thinking, how are we going to help anybody through the transformational process if there’s more and more things we’re not allowed to talk about when those things are probably what’s causing a lot of the anxiety within people?

So in our network, we have people of all paradigms, all thinking, all belief systems and basically, we’re kind of proving how a bunch of people of different faiths and beliefs and perspectives can come together and hold space for these things without getting aggressive about it. It’s just like, you’re just holding space for the conversation and when you do get triggered, you look within and you’re like, okay, what’s triggering me about this? Is there something for me to learn or is there something for me to do? How can I approach this? And also it helps you figure out what belongs in the psychedelic space and what doesn’t, so that’s another way.

You kind of learn like that line in coaching, like what’s appropriate? How much can I get involved in this? And then like, where’s that line? So yeah, I like to just lean into these topics in a fun lighthearted way and not get so serious and like crazy about them you know, it doesn’t seem to serve us.

Laura Dawn:  I think that’s really good advice, humor, kindness, these are basic ways that we can engage in these really challenging conversations and just places of just leaning into non-defensiveness. I mean, there’s nothing to defend. People can have different opinions and that’s fine you know, why not?

Deanna Adamson: Love that. That’s awesome.

Laura Dawn:  Yes. Okay, gosh, there are a couple more questions that I’d love to tune in with you about just as like a brief side note. You mentioned censorship, I think you’ve mentioned in a text message to me, are you noticing that your program is getting censored online?

Deanna Adamson:  I don’t know no about the psychedelic space but the addiction space, yes, it’s like crazy. You’re not allowed to use the word addiction or recovery in any of our posts which has been really difficult because we can use psychedelic which is funny. So we can use the word psychedelic integration but the words that we use are getting more limited. And so you have to get more creative around it. So yeah, the censorship I would say is pretty thick, of course, it depends on what industry you’re in and what you’re behind.

If you’re behind the same things that social media is behind, then you’re going to have a heyday on there, do advertising. If you’re behind things that social media is not behind, then you’re going to have a real hard time. So I would say we’re kind of like in both, there’s an aspect of what we’re doing that is not in alignment with social media. And then there’s an aspect that is, so we just kind of have to find that creative approach to getting ourselves out there.

Laura Dawn:  Yes, why is addiction, why would addiction be censored?

Deanna Adamson:  Well, because addiction is interesting. Like by federal law, only three people can help addicts with behavioral change and that would be substance abuse counselors, free peer support and ministry. Those are the only three that can technically help people with behavioral change. So it’s monopolized the whole industry. So I would say that the rehab industry and the drug industry have a monopoly with social media so that they on the backend somehow are able to make it nearly impossible for small businesses to get involved in this work.

So I would say it’s yes, it’s manipulated because at the look at it, the addiction treatment industry is like a trillion-dollar industry. Think about that. There’s a lot of money being made off addiction. So when small businesses come in and have any kind of weight or pull that could get out of control really quickly. And if people realize wait, I don’t have to spend a hundred thousand dollars and go to rehab over and over and over again and take all these different drugs, like there’s another way, you know they’re not going to do it anymore. So I would say you know, maybe another controversial thing but I would say like these big tech and social media companies, they get big payouts from big corporations and somehow in their algorithms, they are censoring small businesses.

Laura Dawn:  Well, I’ve been recently deleted off of Instagram and I’m hoping to get it back. And I also just, it’s so interesting. It’s like the more people I talk to about it, the most common response is, “oh my gosh, I know so many people are being deleted off of Instagram right now.” It’s not an anomaly. So I’m like, okay, what is going on? We’re just in this really interesting moment in time. Yeah, I’m also curious how you would respond to this because I think that there’s a lot of people who actually would hold a lot of judgment around someone using the word industry to refer to the psychedelic space. What’s your perspective on that?

Deanna Adamson:  Good question. I didn’t know that it is an industry I guess, but I guess that kind of goes back to a controversial thing, right. Like we want it to be a free organic movement that belongs to the people, held by the people and we don’t want to turn it over in my opinion to these governing agencies. And so you’re right, the term industry would reflect more of that standardization in that governance that could come in and own this space. So I don’t have too many thoughts on it other than, it’s kind of I guess a reality that’s just sort of happening. I mean, the ketamine movement is pretty strong.

There’s just like thousands of academies and clinics going up all over. And that becomes an industry you know when you reach that height for-profit businesses that are selling psychedelics for a profit and they are. I mean, I talked to them personally, I talked to ketamine doctors and then I can hear in their voice that they’re, not all of them, we work with amazing ketamine doctors so I just have to say that, most of them. I’m talking about the ones that we’re not working with, just ones that we’ve sort of interview. Investor own the clinics and they want profits you know, so there’s a push for profits.

So I would just say it’s a reality that’s taking shape but for those of us that really stand for like the sovereignty of the industry, it’s possible that we could come up with a different word. And what would you use? Would you use Laura, do you use psychedelic space, or what do you say?

Laura Dawn:  Yes, in general I mean, I do know quite a lot of people who are very sensitive around it and I also personally don’t have a huge charge because I’m all for people charging for the work that they do. And again, I think it all comes down to just how we embody our values and the intention that we bring to what we’re offering this world. You know I value my time. I’m definitely making money from the psychedelic space and so are you, and I honor that and I have a huge amount of respect for that.

And I do also want to encourage people who are entering the space with an entrepreneurial spirit to embody these principles of reciprocity and to give back and to embody this notion of accessibility you know. And that’s why I offer scholarships and sliding skills and I think that’s important. And it’s why I’m also launching a nonprofit later this fall called Grow Medicine to help support indigenous cultures that have a relationship with these plant medicine that have so profoundly impacted my life. So I think embodying this notion of giving back is also a central component of that. And again, we just have to find the language that works for us.

Deanna Adamson:  Yes. I mean, I would say first when we’re triggered by something, just to look at what’s underneath it because it’s not the word, right. It’s the fear of what could happen in this space. And I think if we kind of tap into that of like, when we use the term industry, it kind of feels like we’re moving toward a profit model over people. I think that would help to get clear on what kind of language we want to use but also on that point personally, I’m for the free enterprise. And I think it’s great that people are stepping into the space and figuring out how to make money because we want to keep the money in the hands of the people. To me, it’s all about sovereignty and it’s all about freedom to be able to do this work.

And it’s like, if we’re not making the money, someone else is going to do it, I promise you. The big corporations are going to come in, they’re going to make their billions for sure. So for me, I think it’s important that people do get involved, of course, we need to put people first. We need to check our hearts. We need to have some kind of accountability process and checks and balances to make sure that we are going within and that our passion, our heart is forward. But we also have to understand that just like red blood cells help the body survive, it’s the same thing with a business that the money is the red blood cells of a company.

So I think it is a delicate issue but personally, I am for entrepreneurs coming in and working with their local communities and curating some kind of amazing service to exchange with people. Like I have seen there needs to be an exchange and money is one way that we exchange our service. So it’s not that money’s the problem, it’s the heart, right. And so to me, we just have to go back and we just have to check our heart. We have to drop in and we have to look at it.

I was just doing this the other day because we have a veteran coach training coming up and I was asking one of the Navy seals that I’m working with, I said, “how do we make sure that we’re not exploiting the veteran community?” Because he was telling me that was just the issue in the veteran community. And I was like how do we make sure we’re not doing it? And he said easy, he said you empower people to think for themselves and to act for themselves, and to start their own missions. You’re not getting them addicted to your service and offering some kind of like maintenance drug that actually suppresses who they are. You’re actually empowering them to think for themselves and to act for themselves and to follow the path of their true self. And I was like cool you know, I appreciated that.

Laura Dawn:  So rich, there’s so much richness here and I just really kind of want to just close and wrap this conversation up by just asking you personal questions about you being a female leader in the psychedelic space. And just looking back over this last 10, 11 years of your journey, you know can you speak to moments where you’ve really had to face insecurities, fear, you know fear of putting yourself out there? Have you ever worked with this feeling of imposter syndrome or like who am I to put something out like this? Where have you really had to overcome your own growth edge, and what have you learned along the way?

Deanna Adamson:  Well, yes, interesting question. So, I mean, first off I’ve never been a feminist at all. I mean I always really appreciated certain roles in society but then I realized later like, wait I kind of fell for that. I could have been married and had kids and stayed at home tending to my garden. And here I am like dedicating my entire life to entrepreneurship. So I feel like I don’t regret it and I’m so happy that I took this mission but it is a hard mission to be an entrepreneur and a leader. You have to face a lot of different things.

In the first years, I didn’t really notice any difference about being a female but there are definitely times where I noticed myself being in a room with a bunch of men who would just be like “oh, you’re so cute and you know your stuff is really good. Now just hand it over to us, the big guys, we’ll take it from here.” And I started to think, do you think I’m that dumb? Like you really think I’m just going to be like, okay. And I can’t tell you how many people called me and they’re just like if you could just print out all your stuff and show it to us, you’ve done a really good job but we have more muscle and more money to get it out there to more people. And so if you care about humanity, as we do, you’ll just turn over your stuff.

And of course, they say it in different ways but I became really keen on that tactic very quickly because that happened a lot. And then I started to think, “am I getting kind of pushed around and strong-armed a little bit more because I’m a woman?” And I would just say I never really like moved into that space too much. I just held myself as a leader. I didn’t think of myself as male or female you know. I was just like, this is what probably any kind of leader would face. But I will say there was some of that that I certainly noticed like getting pushed around and getting strong-armed and getting manipulated. I mean, that’s why I say you got to protect your boundaries especially if you’ve got some good because a lot of the big businesses, they don’t make their own products. They just go find everybody else that did all the products. And then they like morph it together to have their own product.

And so that was like the only thing I really noticed and I just didn’t let it bother me. I never really got into this space of like I need to be treated fairly. I just showed up and did a better job. And I just held myself higher and I got clearer on my boundaries and better on my upfront agreements and what I would let into my sphere or not. I didn’t allow myself to get hung up on yes, being treated unequal or something. But in terms of fears, you know the fears change. So the fears change over the years. I mean, I had fears of being in the addiction recovery space because again, I told you that federal law only allows certain people to work with addicts around behavioral change but then I just did more research.

I got really clear on what is possible and what’s not and then I worked through that. I also worked through the stigma of like working with addictions in general. People are like allergic to that word literally. If they hear addiction, they’re just like I don’t want to learn about it, they’re just like afraid. And so that was kind of weird to kind of go through that. And then I had the fears of getting in the psychedelic space, going down to Mexico, sometimes transporting people that were highly intoxicated on drugs and capable of anything. And you know so I kind of moved through that, also the stigma of psychedelic.

Then you know like speaking my truth, I would say that is a fear. I have a lot in me, a lot I’ve seen, a lot that I notice, a lot that I want to share but we live in a society that doesn’t let you share. So then, you know, that was really challenging for me to realize like wow, I run a company and I train a bunch of coaches but I have to censor myself and there’s a lot of things that I can’t freely speak about. So that was challenging to get through. But eventually, you just find like the line of respect and a deeper understanding about why things are the way that they are.

And so I feel like I’ve largely worked through that and like the controversial topics that I talked about, right, if we don’t talk about them, then we fall for deception and we fall for all the concerns that we’re dealing with because we’re too afraid to have these difficult talks. So I just found the network of people I can have the difficult talks with and then front-facing, I just have to sort of hold back a little bit. So those have been challenging. Aligning all the paradigms like we’re working with conservative populations, progressive populations, religious populations, spiritual populations, scientific community, I mean, you name it.

Psychedelics are calling everybody around the world. I mean, people from every different demographics and I mean, everyone, I just mean people from every demographics are being called. And so I have to kind of sit and look at all the different paradigms of worldview that are coming into the space and then think about how can we as a company, neutrally support people without negatively impacting them or accidentally leading them astray or infusing something into their pathway that doesn’t belong on their spiritual pathways. So that’s been more of a recent challenge of the last few years.

And just in general, with business it’s kind of funny, you need people to grow but you need money to get the people but you need the people to get the money. And so it’s always like that. It’s like that game, is it welcome all or something? You know it’s like you run over here and you’re like, okay, I got to build up the marketing aspect of this. And so you run over there and you make it perfect, then everything else falls and you’re like ah. Then you got to run over here and you’re like okay, I need to train more coaches. I need to really focus on growing the team and you run over there and you train a bunch of coaches but then it’s like now there’s not enough clients coming in.

So just the struggles of logistically running a company because you kind of have to do everything at once but you can’t. Because you’re only one person, you can only hire so many people at one time. So, you know that is certainly a challenge and then just quality assurance, right. So as you’re growing and scaling your company, how do you maintain the quality that you had when you were just working 10 clients, right. So that’s always a challenge too. So yeah, there’s been a lot of fears and challenges that I’ve gone through and I would just say, you have to stop, you have to face it, talk about it, go to your advisors, your mentors, return to your guiding principles, look at what’s important.

And then just find that strategy, you know what is that step-by-step plan? What is the priority and how can I use the hand that I’m currently dealt in the best way that I possibly can? And I find that you do keep pushing forward even though at times when you’re like looking at the whole operation, it seems like you’re just at a standstill or you’re stuck and you don’t know what to do but there’s always a pivot or something that you can do. You just have to like take a deep breath, sit back, assess with your team. And, you know you’ll find that way forward.

Laura Dawn:  How many people are on your team at this point?

Deanne Adamson:  We have certified upwards of 800 people, well with the training that we’re doing now and we have currently about 50 coaches, 60 coaches on our directory with about another 50 that we’re putting on right now. We’ll probably keep it about that, like 100 coaches on our directory. And gosh, our inner team, we have a couple dozen people working with us on our inner team. Then coaches, we have a few dozen more coaches that we work consistently with.

So we have a big team and then we have our alumni. So we have like a few hundred or more alumni around the world that will step in any minute you know. They’re not going to come in for one client but when I call them and I say look, we’re busy, we need you, they’re going to come back. So when we’re ready to fill their caseload. So we have a lot of coaches on deck to support us, which is really cool.

Laura Dawn:  Oh, right. I just so appreciate talking to you. You know it’s funny because I was recently speaking with Zoe Helen and she coined this term psychedelic feminism. And I had to just tell her just like to be totally honest, I was like I’ve never considered myself a feminist you know. I never really think about it but I mentioned to you in graduate school and looking at some of the real discrepancies after I talked to her, it just so happened that I went into this module about female leadership and saw that women actually still only make 80 cents to the dollar for the same roles.

There’s far fewer women in the boardrooms and in executive positions. And so it’s not something that’s really been so much on my radar because I’ve just run with the boys my whole life as well you know, and just been an entrepreneur. But it’s been more and more in my awareness of just like how much there is a really big gender gap and in the psychedelic space, especially there’s so many more men speaking on stages, leading big projects, venture capital now. So I do appreciate the fact that you are a strong female lead in the space.

Deanne Adamson:  Yes. And I think for people that see this or have this concern, we just want to look at ourselves and how we’re showing up. So for instance, in Being True to You, we have men and women, we have people that are transgender. We have all kinds of different coaches from different demographics, from different cultures. And so it’s going to be hard to fight that larger fight on a national or global level. But I think that we should just look at what can we do on an individual level you know.

Part of it for me has not been kind of having those fits of like I need to be treated fairly or I’m being treated unfairly. Part of it is just like owning it, like I’m a female in the leadership space and this is where our society is and this is how it is. And I just need to show up my best, instead of making people respect me and pointing it out, I just become a respectable person. And you know, I think over time that pays off. I mean, I had one time four guys interview me without telling me they were recording me. Then they went and wrote a white paper with about 60% of my content and they quoted about six different male doctors, never put my name in the white paper. And I was just like, are you kidding me? And I called them out, right and I didn’t ever work with those guys again. And you know, the one apologized, and the rest just kind of disappeared.

And these are famous people, these are big people. These are people out there making millions of dollars right now. These are not just random people. And so, I mean, I have seen those things but again, I don’t like throw a fit about it or demand respect. I just rise up and I let those experiences say okay, obviously I’ve got something to say that might be really good. And I’m like, how can I just do even better? And so I let it motivate me versus discourage me.

Laura Dawn: I so appreciate that, right, everything’s a growth opportunity. So yes, I really appreciate that perspective. Was there anything that we didn’t cover that you wanted to speak to before we wrap up?

Deanne Adamson: Oh gosh. We had such a good conversation and we covered so much. So thank you so much, Laura. I would just say that I really value and honor my time in this space. I feel very grateful for it. It has been hard and it has brought up some of my deepest contemplations about the human experience, like being in this work and it has tested me many times. But ultimately what I see being in this space is that we need genuine, authentic heart-centered people who are actually doing the work to just show up.

And it doesn’t mean that we’re going to get it right and perfect but if we have our heart first and we have our community that we’re dropping in with and we’re reflecting with, you know to me, I think we can do really good work. And I think it’s important work. So whether it’s the psychedelic space directly or the transformational space, I have found my time here to be very rewarding. Our mission has helped countless people recover from addictions, countless people who wanted to take their lives turn their lives around, countless people turn their suffering into the path of mission work for them.

And so I just want to say it to everyone listening, thank you so much for listening to our podcast and thank you for like having people like Laura and I in this space and dropping in with us. And it has been a wild journey but it’s been really fulfilling. And I do think that there are ways that we can enter this space if we do it in a whole-hearted way and I believe we need to. I believe that in this time that we’re in right now, it is most important for the people, not the corporations to step up and to get involved, even if we are hunkering together and partnering our different businesses. You know I think that it’s an opportunity to fulfill our greatest mission work, to help each other, and to assure our own personal growth and spiritual cultivation by participating in the space. So that’s it, Laura, we covered so much. Thank you.

Laura Dawn:  Thank you. I really appreciate your time. I love all the work you’re doing. I’ll put all the links to upcoming programs. I think you also mentioned, is this a new veteran program that you’ve created?

Deanne Adamson:  So, you know we worked with a lot of veterans over the last, many years but four years in particular and it’s a very niche market. And so what we realized, both the facilitators and us as the coaching community is that we just need to train the veterans and first responders to help each other. So I have partnered with a Master Chief Navy Seal and many other people from military and law enforcement and firefighters to create a veteran and first responder coach training program. That’ll come out next year, hopefully in January.

And it’s not just for veterans and first responders, but for anybody that wants to help veteran and first responders. So that could be loved ones, family members, people that are already working in these establishments and they want to be able to learn more about the transformational work and psychedelic integration. So I think it’s going to be one of our best works ever, is our veteran coach training. And it’s going to be amazing. Like we’ve already been training cops and firefighters and veterans for a while and it’s fantastic because this population is very principled. They’re very disciplined and everything they do, they do it all the way.

So it’s really exciting. It’s a big feat for me. It’s not been as easy as the other trainings that I have written because I’m not a veteran and I’m not a first responder you know. So I’ve had to call in a lot of people but yes, it’s really exciting. And it’s going to be an addendum to our current coach trainings. You have to go through our coach training to then get access to veteran coach training that comes out next year. So if you’re interested, now’s the time to jump in. We’re starting our fall season. We still have seats available and it will change your life. Thanks.

Laura Dawn: Thank you so much. That’s wonderful. Awesome.

Deanne Adamson


Deanne Adamson, with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling, is the founder and president of Being True To You, an online transformational coaching organization. Since 2010, Being True To You has provided holistic addiction recovery coaching and preparation and integration services surrounding psychedelic experiences to people around the world. Deanne’s ‘Transformational Recovery’ model extends support across one’s greater journey of healing and growth, helping people integrate psychedelic experiences to ensure lasting results. Through her intensive coach training program at Being True To You, Deanne certifies top coaches in addiction recovery and psychedelic integration and has built a worldwide network of coaches to support this movement with integrity, neutrality, compassion, and excellence.

Featured Music

Episode #39 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called
“Dawn Bringer” by Murray Kyle 


Curated Playlists for Psychedelic Journeys & Beyond

Sign up & receive your free playlists:


About Laura Dawn

Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.