Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy Panel Discussion with Dr Rosalind Watts, Ashleigh Murphy-Beiner, Michelle Baker-Jones and Leonie Schneider, moderated by Anya Oleksiuk

No Comments

WIP Webinar TPR


Join this evening with pioneers in Psychedelic Research from Imperial College London’s Psychedelic Research Team, as they share their discoveries and insights from the groundbreaking Psilocybin for Depression studies, Psilodep 1 and Psilodep 2. Leonie Schneider, a study participant on Psilodep 2, will share her personal story of healing and transformation.

The psychedelic research represents one of the most critical initiatives in psychiatry and brain science in recent decades. It indicates incredible promise for treating severe mental health conditions, including depression, PTSD and addiction. We will explore hopes for the future of psychedelic therapy and risks of mass-adoption of psychedelics.

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session, so make sure you have your questions ready!

Psilodep 1 explored the use of psilocybin to treat individuals suffering from Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD). The most recent study that finished just before Covid-19 outbreak, Psilodep 2 clinically led by Dr Rosalind Watts, compares Psychedelic Assisted Therapy with antidepressant medication (SSRIs), Escitalopram. This landmark study explores how these treatments differ in their effects on the brain, and how effective they both are at reducing depression symptoms, and increasing connectedness and wellbeing in individuals suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

Read more:

Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College of London

The profit from the event will go towards the production of The Psychedelic Renaissance. All panellists are contributors to the documentary!


Dr Rosalind Watts


Dr Rosalind Watts is the Clinical Lead of the Imperial College Psilocybin for Depression trial, Psilodep 2. She trained as a clinical psychologist at UCL and practised psychotherapy for six years before joining the Imperial Psychedelic Research Group, led by Robin Carhart-Harris. Rosalind designed the therapy protocol for Psilodep 2, worked as a lead guide alongside three other therapists and was running the day-to-day aspects of the trial.

Rosalind developed a psychedelic therapy model she coined ACE, which stands for, ‘Accept, Connect, Embody’. Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and the ‘Psychological Flexibility Model’, she mapped the phenomenological journey that individuals under the influence of a psychedelic go through when they dive into their experience, extract the meaningful lessons to heal, and then integrate and embody them afterwards.

Her qualitative research, exploring the perspectives of participants in several psychedelic research studies, gave rise to her interest in the common theme of ‘connectedness to Self, others, and the world’ as an essential aspect of psychedelic treatment. Rosalind co-hosts the monthly ‘Psychedelic Integration Group’ in London, alongside Michelle Baker Jones.

Ashleigh Murphy-Beiner


Ashleigh Murphy-Beiner is a member of the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London and is an assistant psychologist on the psilocybin for Depression Study “Psilodep 2”.

Ashleigh is also trained as a mindfulness meditation teacher and has assisted in ceremonies in Peru, leading mindfulness sessions developed to support preparation and integration. Alongside her studies, she has also completed further training in embodied therapeutic practices. She is interested in the interdisciplinary application of each of these varied approaches to the therapeutic use of psychedelics.

Ashleigh has also published research examining the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca for treating depression and anxiety and the mechanisms of action involved in ayahuasca’s therapeutic effects. From September she will be a trainee clinical psychologist at the Royal Holloway University of London.

Michelle Baker-Jones


Michelle Baker-Jones is a member of the Psychedelic Research Team at Imperial College London. She was a lead guide on Psilodep 2 trial, which is comparing psilocybin to antidepressants as a form of treatment for depression.

She also offers individual psychedelic integration for people who are struggling to process psychedelic experiences and co-facilitates a monthly Psychedelic Integration group with Rosalind Watts.

Michelle is also an integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor in private practice, based in London.

Leonie Schneider


Leonie Schneider was a participant on the second Psilocybin for Depression study (Psilodep 2) at Imperial College, in December 2019, and is living proof of the impact of these medicines. To say her life was changed is an understatement, and Leonie is now committed to expanding access to these psychedelically assisted therapies and will be starting further studies in September 2020. She is turning her gaze from a policy and research career in connecting people via Internet access, to focusing on connecting people to themselves, each other and the planet through these medicines and therapies. The Internet will no doubt, still play a role.

Leonie is now the Experience Retreats Coordinator for the Psychedelic Society, soon to be known as Alalaho. She has an almost lifelong passion for plant medicines and other psychedelics having experienced first-hand the transformative and life-enhancing effects of these medicines.


Anya Oleksiuk


Anya Olekisuk is a Co-Director of the Psychedelic Society UK, leading on video production and curating educational events. She is associated with the Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands and volunteers as a consultant for the Polish Psychedelic Society (Polskie Towarzystwo Psychodeliczne).

In 2017 she founded Triptika Studios, which is a collective of independent filmmakers with interests in health, science, innovative solutions, mental health, drug advocacy, social and racial justice and environment-friendly lifestyles. Anya aims for Triptika Studios to work on projects oriented towards social change and improving human wellbeing.

Anya is the creator, director and producer of The Psychedelic Renaissance – a not-for-profit documentary film about the worldwide re-emergence of the psychedelic movement and the crucial role of psychedelic substances, plants and mushrooms in human culture.


Webinar on MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD and Addiction with Dr Ben Sessa + Screening of The Psychedelic Renaissance

No Comments

Webinar FLYER 1920x1080 v3

On 9 May 2020 we hosted a webinar on MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD and Addiction with Dr Ben Sessa + Screening of The Psychedelic Renaissance.




Dr Ben Sessa is a writer, psychiatrist, and researcher working in the UK. He is conducting the UK’s first clinical studies with MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence. Dr Sessa’s joint interests in psychotherapy, pharmacology and trauma have led him towards the research of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Dr Sessa is an outspoken advocate for change in the UK’s current drug classification system.


Anya is a London based filmmaker. She is the founder of the film agency Triptika Studios, and a director and producer of The Psychedelic Renaissance documentary. She also serves as co-director of the Psychedelic Society UK, focusing on video production and education. She is also associated with the Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands. She has graduated from MA Filmmaking at the University of West London, specialising in documentary and experimental film.


Jonas works as Administrative Assistant for the Polaris Insight Center, a participating site in the MAPS-Sponsored Phase 3 Clinical Trial of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD and a clinic providing Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. He works with psychedelic harm reduction organizations such as the Zendo Project and he co-authored The Manual of Psychedelic Support published by MAPS. He graduated in Philosophy at La Sapienza University of Rome. He currently lives in San Francisco, California.


Message to all our friends

No Comments

Dear Friends & Fellow Psychonauts,

How are you? Given the global health crisis that is causing deep stress for so many of us right now, we wanted to check-in and offer our virtual support and love across the wavelengths. We hope that you are all safe – social distancing and cared for, and that this pivotal and distressing time offers the opportunity to slow down, rest and turn inwards. We understand that not everyone has the privilege of a safe space or the ability to leave their jobs, and we call on our communities to consider what resources, both energetically and materially, that they can offer to those who need it most.

We are learning to hold space for the multiple realities present at this time: one of great suffering, death, confusion, loss and fear and another that invites us to adapt to the rapidly shifting world around us – to envision what could be possible, beyond the virus. As the world shuts-down and folks are staying indoors, this reduction in human activity has led to an undeniable increase in the Earth’s ability to heal. We know that building relationships with psychedelic plant medicines and substances can open us to the possibility of multiple planes of existence, allowing us to heal ourselves and prioritize the well-being of our Earth home and each other. This is a perilous, wondrous and challenging moment in history that calls on all of us to reflect on how truly interconnected we are with all living beings.

We know that many folks are struggling financially to support themselves and care for their loved ones right now, so we’re easing off on promoting our current crowdfunding campaign and pivoting to prioritize content that can support the well-being of our communities.

Please feel free to send us any applicable resources that you are aware of or can offer, including virtual healing circles, virtual psychedelic integration circles, guided meditations, healing music and any articles that offer support for folks in the psychedelic space, and we will share them here.

We’re honoured to be navigating this challenging time and space with you all, as we stay present to the health and well-being of each other, and this beautiful planet we call home.

Happy International Women’s Day!

No Comments

Happy International Women’s Day!

Did you know that our documentary team is 80% female? Yup! Eight women, two guys 🙂 We also interviewed many women in the psychedelic movement, and we will continue to highlight the great work of all the others that we still haven’t visited with the camera!

Could you help us by supporting our fundraiser? Donate or/and share!




Re-launch of our crowdfunding campaign

No Comments
We’re thrilled to be re-launching our crowdfunding campaign for The Psychedelic Renaissance documentary film series!
Watch the *NEW* crowdfunding video and help us to co-create this timely and important project by following these steps:
1. CONTRIBUTE FUNDS if you can, any amount goes directly towards making this project a reality!
2. SHARE THE CAMPAIGN with your community & networks via email, social media and most importantly, word of mouth!
By sharing and contributing to this project, you’ll directly support removing harmful stigma from psychedelic substance use, and contribute to making these valuable substances available for everyone!

Fundraising Party

No Comments



We have a pleasure to host a special fundraising event where we’ll be screening a work-in-progress cut of the film, followed by a panel with the filmmakers and our contributors, who are leading the psychedelic renaissance.

After the panel, we’ll have a short acoustic music performance by Timmer (Chris Timmerman) followed by a DJ set from Sun Anga, – the film’s soundtrack composer so you can dance and socialise with the panellists and fellow psychonauts!

We’ll be selling vegan cakes, vintage clothes, ethical hemp t-shirts from The Hemp Trading Company, and our postcards and posters — all to raise funds for further production of the documentary. (Find out more about the project here:



Dr Ben Sessa is a writer, psychiatrist, and researcher working in the UK. Heis conducting the UK’s first clinical studies with MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence. He is specialised as a child and adolescent psychiatrist and is interested in the developmental relationship between child maltreatment and adult mental health disorders. Dr Sessa’s joint interests in psychotherapy, pharmacology and trauma have led him towards the research of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

He is the author of two books exploring psychedelic medicine; The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012) and To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic (2015) and is a co-founder and former director of Breaking Convention, a biennial multidisciplinary conference on psychedelics. Dr Sessa is an outspoken lobbyist for change in the UK’s current drug classification system and firmly believes that a more progressive regulatory policy would reduce the harms of recreational drug use. Ben is also one of the few people who has ever received MDMA, LSD, DMT, ketamine, and psilocybin in a legal research setting.


Christopher Timmermann is a neuroscientist and a leading researcher in a neuropsychopharmacology study at Imperial College London where he is investigating the effects of psychedelic drugs in the human brain, alongside Robin Carhart-Harris and David Nutt. He obtained a BSc in Psychology in Santiago, Chile and an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Bologna in Italy. Christopher is interested in the use of methods that bridge the relationship between the phenomenology evoked by the psychedelic experience and changes in brain activity using diverse neuroimaging tools. He is developing his research with a focus on the effects of psychedelics in consciousness and brain connectivity. Christopher is also a talented musician and is currently finishing work on his solo album.


Nikki Wyrd is one of the directors of the psychedelic conference Breaking Convention. She enjoys helping people communicate their thoughts. She is an editor of the Psychedelic Press Journal and runs The Universe Machine publishing house. Nikki also works as a freelance proofreader/copy editor. Her copy editing work can be found in most notable books of recent years related to psychedelics, occultism and medicine. Along with Julian Vayne, she co-authored The Book of Baphomet, which beautifully blends scientific rationale with magical actions.

Nikki often talks at conferences and festivals. She also holds space at retreats and gives workshops centred around shamanic/ceremonial practices. Nikki enjoys dancing to psytrance and as an ecologist, she actively encourages humans to reconsider how they can live in harmony with other organisms.

ANYA OLEKSIUK (Producer/Director)

A love of documentary films and music videos led Anya to pursue an MA in Documentary and Experimental Filmmaking. After completing her masters, she joined the End-Of-Life Care charity with Marie Curie, where she ran their video department. She set off as a freelancer in 2016 and specialized in not-for-profit videos, music videos and documentaries. In 2017 she founded Triptika Studios, which is a collective of independent filmmakers with interests in health, science, innovative solutions, mental health, drug advocacy, social/racial justice and environment-friendly lifestyles. Anya’s goal with Triptika Studios is to work on projects oriented towards social change and improving human wellbeing. She is also a Co-Director at the Psychedelic Society UK, where she leads video production and campaigns for the decriminalisation of psychedelic plants and mushrooms.

HAYA HUASCAH (Co-producer/Co-director)

Haya is an enthusiastic advocate of psychedelic literacy who intends to help catalyse the psychedelic movement globally. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Claremont McKenna College in California where she wrote a senior thesis titled “Ask Your Doctor If Psychedelics Are Right For You: A Closer Look At The Clinical Uses Of Psychedelics.” Since obtaining her degree in psychology she has branched out to work in different fields ranging from NGOs to film sets, including a short film “Dunya’s Day” which was the recipient of the Jury Award for International Fiction at Sundance Film Festival. She was formerly involved with community development at The Third Wave and administration with Synthesis Retreats. Haya is a member of the French Psychedelic Society and volunteers at the Psychedelic Society in the UK. In the future, Haya has plans to pursue a masters in Clinical Psychology to develop the skills needed in providing psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Psychedelic folk – Timmer


Sun Anga (Stefano Sgarbi) is a musician, sound designer and workshop leader. His interests, starting from a general attraction to art and particularly music, grew specifically towards electronic music and sound therapy. He studied electroacoustic music at the Institute of Sonology (Royal Conservatoire of The Hague) in a rather prolific and inspiring artistic environment. His artistic practice is now oriented towards festival/club and healing/spiritual contexts. In addition to his personal music projects (Sun Anga, ImU and Bistecchiño), he collaborates with various international musicians and performers; he joined Electrik Dream Records in 2018 and he is an enthusiastic member of the collective Gaia Psybient Music.


Dates and Times: 5th December, 7pm to 11pm

Doors open at 6:45pm and close at 7.15pm. To ensure the quality of the event, latecomers may not be admitted.

Venue: The Boiler House, 152 Brick Ln, London E1 6RU (Unfortunately we do not yet have wheelchair access).

Price: £12-20

This event is hosted by The Psychedelic Society and proudly supported by the Experimental Thought Co.


New teaser! See our work in progress.

No Comments

Dear Friends,

We are excited to show you our work in progress and present this new teaser for our documentary The Psychedelic Renaissance:

We also have recently got our new artwork for the posters and t-shirts. Soon you can buy them and support our film!

Our fundraising campaign is not over yet, we continue to need support in raising enough to finish our film. Please help us to raise the awareness by sharing information about our campaign.

To donate, please visit

We will send another update soon!

Hello world!

No Comments

Welcome you to our The Psychedelic Renaissance Documentary Website. We will be posting updates from our journey here so stay tuned!

We started the production on 10 December 2017 with an interview with the ayahuasca
expert Arno Adelaars in a beutiful location – Hortus Botanicus Gardens in Amsterdam. Two days later we filmed Ben and Sonia from the psychedelic B&B Firejuice in Amsterdam. We spent the next two months doing a lot of research and contacting initial contributors and partner organisations. Filming recommenced on 11 February when we filmed Jose Montemayor from Virtual Awakening, who introduced us to cyberdelics (psychedelic VR). In March 2018 we followed policy advocates Natalie Ginsberg and Ismail Ali from MAPS on their trip to Vienna for the United Nations Commission for Narcotic Drugs.

Ismail Ali and Natalie Ginsberg from MAPS at the UN centre in March 2018

In April we followed a grassroots researcher Darren Springer on his trip to Prague where he delivered lectures on psychedelics and mythology, as well as a mushroom growing workshops. While in Prague, we interviewed Eva Cesarova from the Czech Psychedelic Society as well as a few other psychonauts, including Dana and Cosmin who we met at Darren’s workshop.

Darren and Eva at the mushroom growing workshop

After Prague, we followed Darren to Amsterdam to capture one more workshop and check-in with Ben and Sonia from Firejuice. After coming back to London we visited Darren at his part-time work at a permaculture farm Organiclea and interviewed him in detail about his research. We returned to Amsterdam again in May to interview Jakobien and Hein from to get insights into their latest findings into microdosing. In June we were invited to film an ayahuasca ceremony and met a few fascinating people with whom we will definitely follow up.

Ayahuasca ceremony

Soon after we were invited to Beckley Foundation to film Amanda Feilding. Amanda, as well as being a contributor to The Psychedelic Renaissance documentary, is also featured in the pilot episode of our series Women in Psychedelics that we are producing simultanously.

Amanda F June (2)
Amanada Feilding in her garden

After launching our crowdfunding campaign we returned to Prague in late June  to cover the Beyond Psychedelics conference and also heavily promoted the film. We met a lot of amazing people who gave us loads of support and encouragement to keep going. From that point we travelled to Boom Festival in Portugal and to Psy Fi in the Netherlands to promote the film.

Screenshot (10).png
Closing ceremony at Beyond Psychedelics 2018 in Prague

After coming back from summer adventures we filmed Jamie and Phil who run psychedelic sound baths and learned more about non-substance induced psychedelic states. They invited us again in September to capture one of their amazing events – we cannot wait to share some video samples from the night!

Jamie and Phil at the psychedelic sound bath

The same month we were fortunate enough to interview Dr Ben Sessa, leading British psychiatrist and the author of the acclaimed book The Psychedelic Renaissance. Ben gave us expert overview of psychedelic substances and their history as well as an in-depth outline of his study into MDMA assisted psychoteraphy for addictions, running at Bristol University. We came back to visit Dr Sessa in October as he prepared for dosing the patients with MDMA.

Screenshot (11).png
Ben Sessa in Somerset

Week later we went to Paris to spend some time with French Psychedelic Society and to interview its Vincent Veroust who is a researcher in the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and in the Instiute for the Humanities in Medicine. Vincent is a historian of Sciences and he specializes in French psychedelic studies and is very passionate about Roger Heim and mushrooms. He showed us the vast psychedelic mushroom collection with original samples of mushrooms from Maria Sabina.

France Oct18 (163)
Vincent Veroust smelling and old psilocybin mushroom from Roger Heim’s collection

Last shoot so far was on 4 November and we followed Camille Barton at her Black-centred arts festival Re-Generate. Our own associate producer Akua was a guest on the panel dutring the event.

Screenshot (12)
Camille Barton facilitating a dance and meditation workshop

Screenshot (13)
Panel talk – People of the global majority and Psychedelics: Colonialism and the healing potential of plant medicine

This is what we’ve done so far. Make sure to check our gallery. We will soon update it with stills from last shoots. We are also working on some video content for you! Stay tuned!