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SPEAKERS

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DON LATTIN
Author & Journalist

Don Lattin is an award-winning author and journalist who over the past decade has researched and written three books about the history and future prospects of psychedelic exploration. That trilogy includes The Harvard Psychedelic Club — How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age in America, a U.S. national bestseller that was awarded the California Book Award, Silver Medal, for nonfiction.

His new book, Changing Our Minds, explores an ongoing wave of scientific research and spiritual exploration into the beneficial uses of psychoactive plants and chemicals. At the end of the book, Don recounts his own journey to find an alternative treatment for depression, a trip that took him to a Mexican ibogaine clinic; an ayahuasca retreat in South American jungle; psychedelic sessions with two crusading ketamine doctors; and, last but not least, a cathartic encounter with an underground mushroom therapist on the California coast.

Lattin’s previous works include Distilled Spirits — Getting High, then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher and a Hopeless Drunk. That book blends a recovery memoir with a group biography of writer Aldous Huxley, philosopher Gerald Heard and Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson — telling the story of how they came together to experiment with LSD in the 1950s and lay the groundwork for the spiritual counterculture of the 1960s.

ABSTRACT: TELLING PSYCHEDELIC STORIES

Don Lattin will present stories and slides about his recent experiences as a psychedelic journalist and participant/observer in a dizzying array of therapeutic treatments and shamanic circles — a journey that took him from a high-tech research lab in Switzerland to a mind-blowing encounter with the dried venom of a Sonoran desert toad.

Don will discuss his new book, Changing Our Minds — Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy, an experiential tour through a social, spiritual and scientific revolution that is redefining our culture’s often confusing relationship with psychoactive substances. Lattin chronicles the inspiring stories of pioneering neuroscientists, psychotherapists, spiritual leaders and ordinary people seeking to lead healthier lives by combining psychedelic drugs, psychotherapy, and the wise use of ancient plant medicines.

Fifty years after psychedelic culture first flowered in the 1967 “Summer of Love,” a new era of exploration has begun. In ground‐breaking clinical trials, specially trained therapists employ Ecstasy (MDMA) to help U.S. veterans struggling with the psychological aftermath of war. Other psychiatrists in government‐approved research offer psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to alcoholics trying to get sober and to cancer patients struggling with the existential distress of a life‐threatening illness.