HOOD RIVER — One of Oregon’s first psilocybin service centers, Vital Reset, officially welcomed their first client on July 31 and will continue accepting applicants to utilize the psychedelic magic mushrooms as a tool to heal or just explore themselves.
When Oregon voters passed Measure 109, which gave the Oregon Health Authority the power to license and regulate the manufacturing, transportation, and sale of psilocybin products through these service centers, Heidi Venture and John Nelson never imagined that they would be one of those service centers.
“I just wanted to be a facilitator. I didn’t want to have a service center,” Venture said.
Anyone 21 and over can consume the magic mushrooms with guidance from educated and licensed facilitators, but for Vital Reset and others, the aim is to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, end-of-life anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Nelson’s introduction to psychedelics started in the 1960s when he was studying psychology in California. During this time his mind was opened to think deeper about how we connect with ourselves and the world around us, he said.
“They [psychedelics] made me aware that this planet is just one entity. We are all part of it, plants, animals, birds, the water in the ocean,” Nelson said.
He added that more recently he had a yearning to read more books. This is when he found Michael Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.”
As if the universe was trying to tell him something, the book had fallen off the shelf at Powell’s Book Store in Portland.
“It fell off the bookshelf, and I reached down and picked it up. And proceed to read the book, and decided at that moment that at some place, in some way I was going to get involved with psychedelics in the future,” Nelson said.
Venture’s interest in psychedelics started when she was in her early 20s. She did them mostly recreationally and says she did experience where her outlook on the world changed.
Very openly, Venture has spoken about struggles with her mental health and way she has tried to improve her well-being.
“And then I just quit, I quit everything. I quit drinking, I quit drugs, and I was completely clean and sober for years. But I also was depressed,” Venture said.
She was taking pharmaceutical medication to try and feel better and having her friends help guide her through an experience on mushrooms, but nothing seemed to work.
“They sat there while I was completely out of my mind on mushrooms talking about their childhood abuse. So that was not good. I didn’t feel like it got me much relief for my depression,” she said.
Without having a support system and the right dosage for her, she felt scared — until she found Nelson. The two met online and right away found a common connection through psychedelics. Together they found the right dosage that worked for Venture and Nelson was kind enough to be her facilitator and “trip sitter.” Venture recalls laughing for two hours straight and turning into a honeybee who worshiped the sun.
Since then, she says her depression has subsided and she is no longer taking antidepressants. She could not be happier with the results of taking psychedelics to heal herself.
“I’ve never had this long a period of time where I am not having to do anything about my depression,” Venture said. “It just doesn’t exist anymore. And now I want that for other people.”
The clinic is officially open and has treated their first patients.
The newly renovated space includes a brand-new bathroom, office and three treatment rooms, each with different themes. The nature room is filled with plants, natural light and a twin bed. The spiritual imagery room is fitted with a full-sized bed for couples. Egyptian art and other tribal decorations bring a sense of tranquility to the room. Patients are allowed to remove any decorations they deem unnecessary. The space is available or group sessions as well, which gives a cheaper option to people interested.
“There is something very special about having a group of people doing mushrooms together with eye masks on and music and everybody’s working on their own stuff. But you’re together in the field of energy that the mushrooms create,” Venture explained.
Venture says for the first six months of operation, it will cost around $3,500 for the full service. That price point includes the room rental, facilitator and mushrooms. Venture added that, for now, they will not be doing microdosing. Clients are not allowed to leave with the mushrooms and must have appropriate transportation to and from their appointment.
But before any of that happens, each client will have a meeting with a facilitator to discuss what they hope to get out of the experience. This preparation meeting last anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes. After that and when a date and time is set the client and facilitator will reconvene and the experience will unfold with the guidance of the facilitator. Most sessions will take between four and six hours.
“Most of the work we get to do as facilitators is in the preparation,” Venture said. “Mostly we just listen.”
Although they may not instigate conversation or dialogue, the facilitators want help the client self-reflect. They can play music which is known to be more “powerful,” when under the influence of psychedelics.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental hurdles or just interested and have more questions visit their website VitalReset.com; Venture says the waitlist to get in is more than 600 long. You can email Venture directly at email@example.com.
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