This week I spoke with UK neuropsychologist Andy Mitchell who punctures the hype around psychedelic drugs while providing the fullest picture yet of their limitlessly fascinating possibilities in in new book
“Ten Trips The New Reality of Psychedelics”
Michael Pollan watch out your time on the chat circuit is numbered!
As you’ll hear from the conversation very little law is discussed but we did delve into the “new psychedelic renaissance” what ever that is and Andy’s thoughts on how different parts of western society are interested in trying to claim ownership on something that essentially can’t be owned.
But in the main, as it should be with psychedelics the conversation was more about laughter, enjoyment, wonder, questioning and more laughter.. oh and music too.
As Andy says “never trust a hippie”
This show is soundtracked by
Love – She Comes In Colours
The Jesus & Marychain – Vegetable Man
Vanilla Fudge – You Keep Me Hanging On
My Bloody Valentine – Soon
‘Original and thrilling … achieving profound insights’ Mike Jay, author of Psychonauts
‘An incisive, deeply personal and beautifully written account of the power, the uses and the modern misuses of psychedelics. Highly recommended’ Anil Seth, author of Being You
‘A hair-raising hurtle of a ride’ Henry Shukman, author of One Blade of Grass
‘Utterly compelling … like having an out of body experience’ Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters
‘The psychedelic world has been waiting for this book’ Professor Erika Dyck
Andy Mitchell is a neuropsychologist and therapist. He has specialized in treating patients with rare brain conditions, head injuries and epilepsy, and in the application of mindfulness for neurological patients. As a therapist he has worked with people with a range of mental health disorders.
Before entering medicine, his first degree was in English Literature at Oxford University. He is originally from Leeds.
Though Andy didn’t really go near a psychedelic drug until he was approaching fifty, his life has been somewhat trippy in its own right.
Growing up in Leeds he was the singer in a punk band called ‘Armitage Shanks’—named after the UK’s premier toilet manufacturer. He spent several years as an avant-gardish screenwriter—there’s a good reason you’ve never seen classics like ‘God’s Toxic Piss’ and the Rom-Com ‘World of Pain.’
Plagued by pretentiousness and uselessness, Andy ran a separate career helping to establish an NGO which provided emotional and practical to support to the homeless in Leeds. Later he would work in a similar vein with Mexican gangs in Los Angles and with disabled children in Northern India.This work implied broader existential questions and in his late twenties Andy spent three years as a monk, in Big Sur, California.
It was only in his early thirties that Andy began his clinical career, first of all in psychology and later in neuroscience. Over the next fifteen years he worked across a range of mental health and neurological settings, from intensive care to community rehabilitation. With a longstanding background in meditation he recently took a sabbatical in Asia to consider ways in which different mindfulness practices might be applied to neurological patients.
And it was during this sabbatical that Andy stumbled into his first psychedelic ceremony. Curiously this has led him, full circle, back to writing again—books but also tv screenplays—as well as voluntary clinical work in Europe, America and Asia.