Jan 4 • 1HR 0M

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy with Dr. Eric Sienknecht

Discussion with psychologist and co-founder of the Polaris Insight Center, a Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic in San Francisco

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Marisa Tashman Coppel
Where is the boundary between our authentic selves and our conditioned selves? How do we shed the definitions society creates to get back to our core self? What does it mean to be true to yourself? On Undefined, our host, Marisa Tashman, shares her conversations with thought-leaders, change-makers, and passion-players who have journeyed to return to the core of who they are. Together we explore authenticity, identity, core beliefs, definitions, conditioning and societal programming, social justice, relationships, spirituality, mindfulness, wellness, and self-love.
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Hi! and Happy New Year! Go 2022! Today I share my conversation with Dr. Eric Sienknecht, psychologist and founder of the Polaris Insight Center, a Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic in San Francisco. We talk about a wide variety of topics in this episode, including:

  • Developing an individual identity while being an identical twin

  • Healing through experiencing non-ordinary states of consciousness

  • Psychedelic therapy, including Ketamine-assisted therapy

  • Growing up in Tennessee and attending an all-boys Christian high school

  • Experiences with bullying by peers and teachers

  • Mystical experiences

  • Detaching from your emotions

  • Holding space and self-care through mindfulness and listening to music

If you listened to the clip attached to this e-mail, you’ll know that we talk about how our experiences are governed by the information coming through our bodies (i.e., through our five senses). But what about what happens when the body is taken “offline” and when those senses are numbed? What is left?

I had a particularly notable experience where it felt like my body was taken offline (in the best way) right after Thanksgiving — when Jonathan proposed. The moment felt almost out of body in the sense that I no longer was “in control” of my emotions. Tears, laughter, and pure joy flooded through my body, almost creating a vibrating sensation, as if the emotional energy inside of me couldn’t stop moving. But I didn’t feel it just inside of me, I felt it surrounding me, as if my environment disappeared, as if the boundary between my body and my environment did not exist. I had tunnel vision, I heard no sounds other than the sounds directly in front of me, the rest of the beach we stood on disappeared. My emotional experience in that moment felt detached from my body, but also so in my body at the same time. How was this possible? Perhaps what I experienced was not just emotional, but spiritual as well. There was a connection between myself (not the self attached to my body) and the larger collective whole of the planet that I am a part of, not separate from.

After that day, I began to use my meditation practice to bring myself back into that moment. The feelings flooded back to me and I the vibrating all over again. I felt my body go “offline” all over again, and felt connected to whatever is spirit or that something larger all over again. These intensely emotional experiences are rare, and also uniquely human. The fact that we can re-experience them through reflection and meditation is even more uniquely human.

Links to this episode:

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Inspired by this episode, I invite you to reflect on three questions:

  1. When in your life have you experienced your body going “offline” while still remaining conscious?

  2. Think back to a particularly emotionally-charged moment (positive or negative). What did your body feel like?

  3. How can you stay present in the most emotional of moments such that you can process and re-experience them after the fact through reflection or meditation?


And, some links I’ve recently found useful, inspiring, and are related to my episode with Eric:

My last ask is (and, yes, this is semi-awkward for me) if you enjoy reading my emails and/or listening to my podcast, could forward this newsletter to a few people who you think may enjoy it too?

Thank you all for reading, and hopefully listening!