The Project New Day Program model includes the possibility of psychedelic treatment sessions. It is up to each organization that adopts the model to comply with all pertinent legal statutes and professional guidelines and to do everything possible to ensure their participants have a meaningful experience in an environment that promotes safety and well-being.
Experience has shown that during clinical psychedelic sessions, thoughts and feelings from preparatory “talk” sessions often become deeply felt. In the case of the Project New Day Program, “talk” refers to knowledge-based life coaching sessions The PND directors have observed that the combination of life coaching and psychedelic sessions often help participants transcend rigid, pessimistic thought patterns and deepen their sense of love and connection.
“I believe this theme — love, the need to reconnect with our true selves—addresses the underlying outcome of our psilocybin studies. Yet very often we’re afraid to open ourselves to this connection so we put up barriers and wear masks. If we are able to remove the barriers, to let down our defenses, we can begin to know and accept ourselves, thus allowing ourselves to receive and to give love. … In order to relax, a safe and trusting environment is necessary. Ideally, our preparation meetings have provided that, thus enabling participants to relax into a deeper and more expansive experience. This expansiveness often leads to a deep sense of love and connection for self and all; both this expansiveness and this sense of connection are recurrent themes in psilocybin experiences.”
The exact number of life coaching sessions and psychedelic sessions is up to each organization adopting the PND Program model. A reasonable example might be six weekly life-coaching sessions, followed by two psychedelic sessions (separated by another life-coaching session) then six more life coaching sessions to help participants integrate their experiences into their daily lives.
The enhancement of one’s sense of love and connection is just one of the ways psychedelic sessions can help lift one out of depression, PTSD, or addiction.
“I think the best way to think about psilocybin and other psychedelics is that they initiate the neuroplasticity process, but they are not the neuroplasticity process itself, and the journey itself is not where all the neuroplasticity occurs. We know that for sure. In fact, if you want to imagine how psilocybin and other psychedelics work to change the brain, think about them as a wedge that gets underneath the boulder that is the neuroplasticity that gets rolling forward.”
Increased neuroplasticity, coupled with the guidance of life coaching and follow-on community sessions, can help individuals break free from rigid patterns of thinking and behavior, allowing them to experience new perspectives and insights. It can also lead to a greater sense of well-being, increased creativity, improved sense of purpose, and better cognitive functioning.
“For the first time we find that psilocybin works differently from conventional antidepressants – making the brain more flexible and fluid, and less entrenched in the negative thinking patterns associated with depression. This supports our initial predictions and confirms psilocybin could be a real alternative approach to depression treatments.”
In a 2022 study conducted at UC San Francisco and Imperial College London, researchers found that psilocybin fosters greater connections between different regions of the brain in depressed people, freeing them up from long-held patterns of rumination and excessive self-focus. These increased connections decrease “brain network modularity,” which in turn correlates with improvements in depressive symptomatology.
Harm reduction and positive outcomes are always placed at the highest priority, including careful screening of all participants, a series of coaching sessions both before and after the psychedelic therapy sessions, and ongoing group support by way of weekly Zoom community sessions. For more information on these topics, please refer to the Harm Reduction and Acceptance and Screening pages on this website.
“Project New Day brings an important discipline to the therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms as powerful medicines. Preparation, set and setting, and most of all having a trusted and skilled team to help maximize success and minimize harm are the pillars that PND brings to those in critical need.”