Indigenous Traditional Healing Techniques in Altered States of Consciousness With Françoise Bourzat

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Traditional psychotherapy is wonderful when it works, but it is time consuming and is only effective to the degree that the therapist is self-aware and has done their own healing work. Even then, many people reach their limits with what that kind of therapy can offer and need an approach that goes deeper into their psyche. Many are seeking a depth of healing that is more experiential through expanded states of consciousness. Some modalities of this are sweat lodges, vision quests, breath work, and where is it legal, psychedelics in Mexico. All of these modalities need a well-trained and trusted guide to help navigate the uncharted territories of deeply held blocks in the body and mind. When diving into this work there is a need for clear intentions and proper integration of altered state experiences into everyday life. Here we explore the experiential therapeutic applications of expanded states of consciousness that lead to healing and transformation. She advises to have an experienced guide to help with any deep mind-altering journey because we cannot control what wants to show up. She says, “There’s no mistake in what reveals itself. Sometimes it’s a beautiful thing, sometimes it’s a challenging emotion, sometimes it’s a very painful dynamic that’s being revealed. What is being revealed is ready to be revealed and as Ram Dass would say ‘It’s grist for the mill.’ We are given from within our subconscious the material that we are ready to face and process.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Françoise Bourzat is a consciousness guide and counselor. She has a master’s degree in Somatic Psychology and is a Certified Hakomi Practitioner. After traveling the world, she became an apprentice to an indigenous Mazatec woman leading healing ceremonies with sacred mushrooms in the high mountains of Southern Mexico. Drawing from years of her close apprenticeship with this Mazatec curandera, as well as her training in other indigenous traditions, Françoise has developed a comprehensive approach that bridges Western and indigenous modalities. She trains therapists and facilitators and teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She also lectures internationally.

 Françoise Bourzat is the co-author with Kristina Hunter of: 

 To learn more about the work of Françoise Bourzat go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue 

  • What were two life-changing experiences that led Bourzat to study with a Mazatec curandera
  • What was her experience of getting robbed, shot, and left for dead in Thailand
  • Why did Bourzat decide not to identify her assailant in a Thailand line-up
  • Who was the Mazatec curandera and how did Bourzat come to apprentice with her
  • Why is it important to use hallucinogens in a ceremonial and a sacred way
  • What is the danger of casual use of hallucinogens and consciousness expanding substances
  • What are various modalities that don’t include substances to expand consciousness
  • Why some trips into altered states can be unpleasant and why it is important to have an experienced guide
  • Why it is important to set an intention before launching into a mind-altering experience
  • Why even unpleasant journeys into expanded consciousness can lead to deep healing
  • Why it is important to take time to both prepare and integrate any deep mind-altering experience
  • What was Justine Toms’ early experience without an experienced guide
  • Why it is important to pay attention to five aspects of our life when taking a journey: Mind, body, spirit, community, and environment
  • What was a journey in which the Hawaiian Goddess Pele came to Bourzat
  • What are some legal research projects going on regarding mind-altering substances
  • What does Bourzat have to say about cultural misappropriation of indigenous rituals 

Host: Justine Willis Toms               Interview Date: 7/6/2019                 Program Number: 3687

Music Playlist

From Album: Rhythms of Awakening 
Artist: Glen Velez
2005 Sounds True #M923D

Opening Essay: Track 01 Ostia 
Music Break 1: Track 04 Waking 
Music Break 2: Track 06 Citric Motion 
Music Break 3: Track 11 Forrest Callings