Supportive and Specialized Care

This year, millions of people will use psychedelics outside of supervised medical contexts, many of them for the first time. Taking psychedelics can result in overwhelming and uncomfortable experiences, more likely with high doses, amongst first-time users, and without adequate preparation or setting. Psychedelic harm reduction includes a variety of methods to help prevent and transform difficult experiences while in a non-ordinary state of consciousness.

Providing Services to Festivals and the Community

The Zendo Project:

Reduces the number of unnecessary psychiatric arrests and hospitalizations

Creates an environment where volunteers can work alongside one another to improve their harm reduction skills and receive training and feedback

Demonstrates that safe, productive psychedelic experiences are possible without the need for law enforcement-based prohibitionist policies

Mission & Vision

Mission

The mission of the Zendo Project is to provide a supportive environment and education to help transform difficult psychedelic and emotional experiences into opportunities for learning and growth.

Vision

We envision a world where communities are engaged in providing safety and support for people having psychedelic and emotional challenges; and harm reduction principles are used foremost to reduce the risks associated with substance use.

Zendo Project Staff

Sara Gael Giron

Katrina Michelle, PhD, LCSW

Harm Reduction Director, MAPS Zendo Project

Katrina Michelle received her Ph.D. in Psychology with a Transpersonal specialization from Sofia University at The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 2017 after completing her dissertation on “Exploring Resistance to Spiritual Emergence.” Since then she has served on the board and as executive director of The American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE). In 2004 Katrina graduated from Stony Brook University with her Masters in Social Work and a specialization in student community development and has maintained an integrative psychotherapy practice, The Curious Spirit, in New York City since 2008. Katrina serves as adjunct faculty at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services and The Institute for the Development of Human Arts (IDHA) and is currently working on producing her first documentary film, “When Lightning Strikes “, with the intention to educate the mainstream about spiritual emergence.

Ryan Jay Beauregard

Harm Reduction Programs Manager, MAPS Zendo Project

Ryan received his B.A. in Psychology from Claremont McKenna College, and spent 10 years mentoring at-risk teens and families through wilderness survival skills and nature connection. His passion for community connection, the environment, and intrapersonal healing continued with his involvement in permaculture, natural building, and ancestral grief rituals. As a volunteer with the Zendo Project since 2013, Ryan has had the opportunity to connect and expand the scope of psychedelic harm reduction in communities and festivals all over the globe. As the Zendo Project Manager, he integrates his skills in psychology, design and and community engagement. When he isn’t on the road with the Zendo Project, Ryan can be found at his home in Boulder, CO enjoying the great outdoors, experimenting with sustainable technology, and designing websites, logos and sacred geometry art.

Chelsea Rose Pires, M.A., Registered Associate MFT

Harm Reduction Operations Manager, MAPS Zendo Project

Chelsea Rose graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles Honors College with a B.A. in psychology in 2007, and received her master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2012. She has a passion for harm reduction as a therapeutic and practical approach to drug use and abuse prevention. Chelsea also works with DanceSafe, a public health organization, as manager for the reagent testing kit program. Additionally, she supervises the Crisis Response Team in Nevada County, supporting clients who come into the emergency room in psychiatric crisis. She lives in the Sierra foothills of California with her husband Alexandre, who is also involved in harm reduction work, their three children, and their chickens, fish, and kitties.

Sara Gael Giron

Sara Gael, M.A.

Harm Reduction Officer, MAPS Zendo Project

After receiving her Master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at Naropa University, Sara began working with MAPS in 2012, coordinating psychedelic harm reduction services at festivals and events worldwide with the Zendo Project. Sara was an Intern Therapist for the recently completed MAPS Phase 2 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder, CO. She maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma and non-ordinary states of consciousness. Sara believes that developing a comprehensive understanding of psychedelic medicines through research and education is essential for the health and well being of individuals, communities, and the planet.

Zendo Project's 4 Guiding Principles for Psychedelic Experiences

Characteristics of a Challenging Psychedelic Experience

Mindset

  • Intention/expectation
  • Emotional state
  • Psychological well-being
  • Previous experience with substance

Anxiety

Feeling alone or trapped

Memory Loss

Altered sense of time and space

Confusion

Disorientation

Fear of losing control

Zendo Project is sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501©3 research and education organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. To find out more, visit MAPS.org.