202: Psychedelics and Relationships with Guy Winch

Welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch! This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

In this episode, we’re talking psychedelics and relationships with Guy Winch. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots, and watch it on YouTube – follow and leave a 5-star review.

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The Couples Therapist Couch 202: Psychedelics and Relationships with Guy Winch

Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new

In this episode, Shane talks with Guy Winch about psychedelics, relationships, and mental health. Guy is a Psychologist, Speaker, and Author who’s a leading advocate for integrating the science of emotional health into our daily lives. Hear why society doesn’t address mental health as much as physical health, how couples can evaluate and improve their relationships, how long it takes to recover from a divorce or break-up, how psychedelics can help in recovery, and how accepted psychedelics are today.

This episode covers everything from psychedelics to divorce. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • Why don't we talk about mental health as much as physical health?
  • What can we do to improve emotional education?
  • How can couples evaluate and improve their relationship?
  • Why is it so devastating to go through a break-up?
  • How does the grieving of a family death compare to the grieving after a break-up?
  • Can you do ketamine therapy as a couple?
  • How is the legislation around psychedelics changing?
  • Does Guy use ketamine himself?

To learn more about Guy, visit GuyWinch.com

Check out Guy’s latest book, Emotional First Aid

Check out Guy’s podcast, Dear Therapists

To learn more about ketamine therapy, visit Mindbloom.com

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below: 



 Show Notes

  • 202: Psychedelics and Relationships with Guy Winch
    • [0:15] Welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch!
    • [0:32] Check out The Couples Therapist Couch on YouTube and Instagram
    • [0:55] Join The Couples Therapist Couch Facebook Group
    • [1:04] Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new
    • [1:08] To learn more about Guy, visit GuyWinch.com
    • [1:15] Check out Guy’s latest book, Emotional First Aid 
    • [1:24] Check out Guy’s podcast, Dear Therapists 
    • [1:35] To learn more about ketamine therapy, visit Mindbloom.com
    • [2:35] What is Guy's background? 
    • [3:58] Guy's TED Talks
    • [4:38] Why don't we talk about mental health as much as physical health?
    • [6:08] What can we do to improve emotional education?
    • [8:08] What do people experience after a break-up?
    • [11:44] Why is communication so helpful?
    • [12:08] How can couples evaluate and improve their relationship?
    • [15:55] How do you handle beef with your partner?
    • [19:03] How does the "grieving process" in a break-up work?
    • [20:02] Social Media
    • [20:55] How long does it take to recover from a break-up?
    • [22:32] Why is it so devastating to go through a break-up?
    • [22:57] Neuroscience
    • [25:54] How does the grieving of a family death compare to the grieving after a break-up?
    • [28:28] Pandemic
    • [30:45] Anxiety
    • [32:20] How important is the "therapy" part of ketamine therapy?
    • [33:50] How does ketamine therapy work?
    • [34:35] Can you do ketamine therapy as a couple?
    • [37:48] How is the legislation around psychedelics changing?
    • [38:19] MDMA (Ecstasy)
    • [38:44] PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
    • [40:15] Does Guy use ketamine himself?
    • [41:25] What final thoughts does Guy have?
    • [42:52] To learn more about Guy, visit GuyWinch.com
    • [43:08] Check out Guy’s latest book, Emotional First Aid 
    • [43:12] Check out Guy’s podcast, Dear Therapists 
    • [43:28] To learn more about ketamine therapy, visit Mindbloom.com
    • [44:20] Check out The Couples Therapist Couch on YouTube and Instagram
    • [44:28] Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new
    • [44:32] Join The Couples Therapist Couch Facebook Group


What is The Couples Therapist Couch?

This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Many of the episodes are interviews with leaders in the field of Relationships. The show is meant to help Therapists and Coaches learn how to help people to deepen their connection, but in the process it explores what is most needed for each of us to love, heal, and grow. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Guy Winch 0:00
It's on therapists on mental health professionals to again don't be annoying to people don't shove it down people's throats but when there was an opportunity to inform, inform

Intro VO 0:15
Welcome to The Couples Therapist Couch - the podcast for couples therapists, marriage counselors and relationship coaches to explore the practice of couples therapy. And now your host, Shane Birkel.

Shane Birkel 0:29
Everyone welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch. This is the podcast that's all about the practice of couples therapy. I'm Shane Birkel. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I'm here to bring you the most up to date information on how to help people have better relationships. So whether you're a therapist who's interested in learning more about working with couples, or a person who wants to have better relationships, I'm hoping this information will be valuable for you. I've tried to have conversations with many of the leaders in the world of couples therapy. So if you're interested, definitely subscribe and click the Like button. In the episode today, I was able to catch up with Dr. Guy Winch, who's a psychologist, speaker and author of the book, Emotional First Aid. He has a TED Talk that has millions of views. And he's well known for integrating the science of emotional health into our daily lives. And we had a really good conversation about how to recover from rejection and failure. And he talks about a lot of scientific strategies that you can use to do that, including using psychedelic therapy, which I think is particularly interesting. So without further introduction, here is the interview with Dr. Guy Winch. Everyone welcome back to The couples Therapist Couch. This is Shane Birkel, and today I'm speaking with Dr. Guy Winch, Psychologist, Speaker, and Author, who's a leading advocate for integrating the science of emotional health into our daily lives. Hey, Guy, welcome to the show.

Guy Winch 2:01
Well, thank you very much for having me. It's a pleasure to be with you.

Shane Birkel 2:05
it's a pleasure to have you and I wanted to mention your book and your podcast right away, you have a book called Emotional First Aid, and a podcast called Dear Therapists, where you have people call in and do sessions, where they talk about the things that they're struggling with, and you help them through that, which is really cool. But can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Guy Winch 2:31
Sure. I'm a psychologist, I'm also an author, I have three books, Emotional First Aid is one of them. They're all science based, self help. I also do a lot of speaking and writing in different domains, the podcast, I'm a co host with Laurie Gottlieb, what we do, it's kind of fun. You know what we both advice columnist, I wrote one for 10. She writes on for the Atlantic. And so every week we choose a letter that comes to us, we do not discuss it beforehand. We have producers who set up a session, and then we will read the letter to one another, do like a bit of a case consultation on it. And then we'll bring in the person for a live session. Sometimes individuals, sometimes couples can be a mother, daughter, you know, married couple, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever the constellation. And we will live putting the plan together in flight Laurie, and I will try and figure out how to move the session forward, live without having talked about it beforehand. And then at the end of the session, we give the people actionable advice and multi parts that they have to do within one week. And then they go they do it, they report back to us how it went. And we have a wrap up after that. And that's all in one episode, you get the full arc. Because we both kind of felt like advice is fine. You never find out what happens in this case. You do. And as you might expect, it sometimes goes to plan and often not.

Shane Birkel 3:54
That's great. I can't wait to check it out. And you have at least two do you have more? I don't know if you have more amazing TED Talks. Three, okay, I watched too. And, you know, one of the things that I really appreciated you talking about is how much you know, in our society, we really take physical health as an important thing, you know, from from a young age, you said, people know how to take care of their physical health in many ways. But we don't do the same for mental health. You talk a lot about the things that we experienced as human beings experiencing rejection and failure, and really not having a lot of tools to get through that. So I appreciate people can listen to your podcast and get your insight about how to handle many of those situations. But talk a little bit more about that and why you think we don't have that in our society.

Guy Winch 4:47
Well, first of all, it's something that always irritated me that there's a lot of Science in Psychology and in the field of mental health in general, but you know, replicated really good science we know a lot of things. There's a ton we don't But there's a lot we do. And there's no, that information doesn't get out there. And so you know, in that, in that one of the TED talks, I talked about the fact that the five year old knows how to get a cup, they should cover it. So it doesn't get infected, and they know how to take care of their teeth. But we teach children no tools whatsoever to deal with their emotional health, or their mental health, we, you know, couples, you know, relationships, there's so much we know about relationships, we don't teach relationships anywhere, and there's so much we could teach to get people at least clear about what works, what doesn't, what to avoid, what to try and promote how to have conversations about relationships, what makes them thrive or doesn't. And so, as part of that, you know, my books, my TED talks, these podcasts, they're all an effort to democratize this information to try and get it out there to as many people as possible, because I think that people would do much better in life if they had this basic information, and they shouldn't have to wait till they have to run to see a therapist or reach some other crisis point before trying to search it out. Right.

Shane Birkel 6:03
And can you discuss a little bit about how that, you know, you're, you're doing the podcast doing the books? I mean, do you see it as something that therapists and psychologists should be doing more to get the education out there? Or on a government level? They could be helping people with these this relational education or emotional education?

Guy Winch 6:24
Oh, this is what I definitely think it should be, you know, at a state or federal level, I've actually advised some, some entities like I was speaking to the UK Government about programs they can do, but you know, this information should be in schools. So yes, it should be at the state level at the federal level in some way. Alas, it is not. And that's, that's, that is part of the problem, that there's so much out there that we want people to know and people don't even know, to look for it, or to know what's important. You know, the psychology is basically something you know, we all, you know, have a brain and a mind. And we get no information about how to manage that mind. And manage we need to do because we often you know, what, what our instincts are, people often say to me, I'm just like, doing what my instincts are telling me well, in many situations, and especially when you're in emotional pain, or in distress, your instincts are likely to be quite wrong. And if you follow them, you're going to make things worse. And here's an example, the most natural tendency we have when something makes us anxious, is to avoid it. But avoidance supervises anxiety, the more we avoid the thing that makes us anxious, the more anxious, it will make us, the more difficult it will be for us to approach and manage it, it's literally we have the instinct to do the opposite thing that we should. And people don't know that that's something we could be letting people know, it could be helping so many people in small and large ways. It's just one example of hundreds of just information that we should be getting out there.

Shane Birkel 7:58
Yeah, that's great. So let's, let's talk a little bit about relationships. And some of the things that are happening happening unconsciously, when people are experiencing struggles in their relationships, or even experiencing a breakup, you know, what are some of those things that they're experiencing that that we might not even realize?

Guy Winch 8:17
So first of all, the most important thing for relationship, longevity and satisfaction of both partners is to have decent communication, to be able to resolve issues to be able to deal with whatever comes their way, you know, I mean, if you're in a relationship for six months, maybe they're not gonna be that many changes in your life. But if you're in a relationship for six years, stuffs gonna happen both to you individually as people and as a couple in the context and in the world. And people need to be able to talk about these things in a productive way. We could be teaching a lot of these communication principles without, you know, just on that point yet again, and then I'll let it go. But you know, there's there's a lot that that couples do Well, naturally, and there's a lot they might not do that well. And they're even philosophies that people have, I still hear from so many people. Well, you know, if it was meant to be, it'll work out, you know, that Ode to passivity, and I'm not for it, I really think, you know, we need to be much more in the driver's seat, when it comes to relationships. And by we, I mean, both members of the couple have need to kind of know where they're headed, rather than just sit and let the tide take them where it will, a lot of relationships don't last for that reason, a lot of them aren't happy for those reasons. And a lot of them could be much better if that information was available to them, and if they were knew how to implement it.

Shane Birkel 9:43
I love that it's the I see that so often with the couples I work with, where it's that mindset that they're just sort of floating along and they don't have a lot of control of their own life. And, you know, if, if it was meant to be then we would feel a lot more loving toward each other, or if it was meant to be, then we wouldn't feel so angry toward each other sometimes, or whatever the belief is that they're taking into the relationship and actually makes things much worse because then they're wondering what will why are we struggling so much if, if we actually loved each other? Good,

Guy Winch 10:16
right, which brings me to the other one, the men to be one, the next level of that is it shouldn't be that much work. And it's like, you heard that that's incorrect information. Relationships are work by definition, because you have two lives, two individual people that are trying to combine and steer together, each with their own needs, each with their own feelings, each with their own agendas and reactions, etc. Of course, it takes work to try and put that into one thing and move forward. And the minute you bring in kids, for example, to the picture, you know, larger family networks and other social networks, there's a lot of forces going on on each side. And together for that couple. And they need to know how to navigate those things. And to even identify kind of what their goals are, where they want to go, what kind of relationship they would like to have, I sometimes will ask people, if you do this, like, well, what? How would you define what a good relationship is to you? And most people like blink a few times before they answer because they hadn't thought of that. And it's like, wow, you been in a relationship for 10 years and never thought about what a good one should look like. But people don't? Yeah,

Shane Birkel 11:24
and part of the power of that question is the reality that one partner might have a different answer than the other partner, right? A lot of people assume that there's a right and wrong way of being in a relationship. And it's that I guess that's where the communication comes in. Right? That's so helpful, because people need to share with each other what their expectations are.

Guy Winch 11:43
Right, the negotiations, the compromises, the I'll do you I'll do your back, you do my back, you know, like the, you know, trading off at different times dealing with different priorities and different emergencies as they come up. All of that requires communication.

Shane Birkel 12:00
Great. So if somebody's really struggling in their relationship, you know, what, what are some ways that you would work with them? What are some ways? I mean, are there relationships that you feel like just aren't working out? Well, or what are some ways couples can evaluate how to move into something more positive?

Guy Winch 12:22
So that when when couples come to therapy festival, they're ahead of the game in the sense that apparently, both of them agreed, it's usually one is a little bit more in favor leading the other but, but both of them have agreed to come and actually put some put a spotlight and put some focus on the relationship on what they're doing. So that's really ahead of the game, because couples therapy is a rare thing, the vast majority of couples won't be able to avail themselves of it geographically, affordability, wise, and otherwise. And so you know, those are the ones that are there to actually work. And so they actually have a higher chance of, of, you know, resolving things, you know, in certain ways. But the first thing is to be able to kind of put things on the table in an open way, and say, here's how I'm feeling. Here's what I'm thinking, you know, tell me what you're feeling. Tell me what you're thinking, let's actually talk, one of the things I recommend to all couples, is having a meeting, once a week, once every other week, that least half an hour, in which each of you have to come up with one topic you want to discuss. It could be minor, it could be when, really, if you're starting this out, start with something small. But just get into the habit of having a management meeting. This is a relationship, it's a system, have a management meeting about how is this going? How are we doing anything we should talk over? The week is busy, life is busy. Let's set aside some time. So we can just even reflect together? When do we need to address something? Are there any tweaks, any requests, any concerns, any issues to kind of hammer out first create the space to do that, that's what couples therapy does, it gives you the space, but you can have that space without couples therapy created, set up a regular meeting time, and have that as a time to go over things and see what you can change and improve.

Shane Birkel 14:13
Yeah, that's great. And I imagine some of the normalizing that you were talking about before about how it's normal to struggle in your relationship can can be really helpful for people to start to open up and talk about the things that they're struggling with. Because sometimes people just keep it to themselves because they're ashamed of the fact that they're struggling or something like that, or even even with their partner, they don't want to be vulnerable and bring up the reality of what they're feeling.

Guy Winch 14:38
Absolutely right. The I don't want to be vulnerable. So I do want to bring it up is a big factor. Here's another big factor that happens far more often than people realize is the mind reading or the assumption thereof. I don't have to bring this up with my partner because they know they upset me they know that wasn't good. Looking to me, and they don't. And it's not that if you gave them multiple choice and said, Here's what annoyed me A, B, C, or D, they might not have a good guess. But at any given time, but that thing that happened happened two days ago, they could think about did I not put the laundry away today? Did I not check in with interview yesterday? Was there something I did this morning? Like, there's so many things they don't, they can't read your mind, they don't know what's important for you that is on you to let them know, and, and then if you let them know, and if you do it in a way that's, that's positive, that's communicative, that's productive, and then they don't respond, well, then you have a beef, but don't have the beef before you've actually let them know, like, you know, this was really important to me, and you didn't show up for it. Unless they know that unless they know this is really important for you, you know, they're gonna have a hard time guessing. Yeah,

Shane Birkel 15:52
what would be a good way to have the beef with my partner, let's have, I've asked my partner several times about something that I really want. And I feel like they're not taking it seriously, or living up to what I'm asking for, what's a good way to approach that conversation.

Guy Winch 16:10
So my first book is called a squeaky wheel, it's about the psychology of complaining. And then today describe a technique I recommend for couples to voice complaints, called, you know, the complaint sandwich and essentially, is the following that you, when you have a complaint to your partner, it's going to make them feel defensive. But when you have a complaint to anyone, it's going to make them feel defensive. So you want to start with something that's going to trigger their defenses, least ie a positive state. So the two sides of the sandwich, a positive, so the conversation can start with, hey, you know, to me, I really love when you're on the same page about things and we are about so so many things positive open. But I've told you like three times already, that when I come home from work, I need 10 minutes of quiet to myself before you kind of come up with to dues and come at me with requests. And, and I mentioned it three times. And every time I come in, it's like, that's forgotten. And I'm bringing it up now because it is really important for me. And then you end with another positive things. And it would make me feel so good. I know that might be a burden for you, because you've been home all day, and you're waiting and you want to chat, but I would really be so appreciative. If you could give me that space for a little bit of time when I come home. I know it's not natural, I realize you'll be making an effort. And I'll appreciate that so much.

Shane Birkel 17:31
See, yeah, that's great. That's great. And I think part of it is keeping the other partner engaged, right till to lean in without the defensiveness, which would be more like leaning out. I think by the time like you said, by the time couples get to couples therapy, oftentimes, they're really struggling at that point. They haven't had maybe that type of conversation in a long time.

Guy Winch 17:54
Or they're shy, too. And it just devolves into a fight into an argument because in this example that I just gave just, you know, thinking aloud, like the person could come and see, instead of sitting down and complaint sandwich and doing it in a nice way, saying like, every time I talk to you, you never listen and ask me three times and you just don't care. You just don't care. And then it's like that starting fight. That's not giving the other person any opportunity to course correct. That's literally just so you know, that's where things usually go wrong. That's what people told you twice. If you're not doing it, then you must not care. As opposed to there's a lot going on you forgotten. Yeah. And plus gentle reminders in the moment. And next time you come home, just say, Oh, no, honey, just remember 10 minutes, please. Oh, sorry. Right, right, holding that in, and then the outburst a week later. Right.

Shane Birkel 18:47
Let's shift a little bit and talk about the idea of rejection or the idea, you know, going through a breakup and some of the things that people experience. I love the way you talked about the grieving process of the relationship when we experience a breakup.

Guy Winch 19:06
Breakups are a grief process, because we lose a lot. And romantic breakups, unfortunately, a bit the unsanctioned grief processes, because people are going through a divorce, people will be a little sympathetic, but if you're not married, and you just got dumped by your girlfriend, say, you know, people are gonna be like, ah, get over it, or they'll give you a few days, but he might be truly devastated when breakups happen, people lose more than just a person, they lose their companion, they often lose a bunch of the social circle, if not a complete social circle there but when it they they lose half of this stuff that they used to do in life. They used to wake up in the weekend and I'd have to figure out how not to be alone. But now you actually do your self definition goes from the weed to an eye so your very identity is is shifting. It's often a very public things people know about it. So people posted on social media, people do it in all kinds of unpleasant ways you could be dealing with those situations. So there's a real loss there. And it's a real grieving process. And the more connected you are, the more substantial relationships or the more meaningful it was. For you, regardless of the length, the more grieving you're going to be doing. But, and that can take weeks and months and, and people's patience usually doesn't, in terms of a support network doesn't last. Those weeks and months, workplaces don't usually, you know, say, Hey, you just had to break up stay home for a few days to work it out to grieve, they'll be like, Well, why do you keep disappearing to the toilet and what's with these allergies and making your eyes puffy? You know, so it's a very different way of thinking about breakups that we don't take them seriously enough, when you think about it, heartbreak is one of the most devastating emotional experiences we go through period. And yet, it's just not given enough compassion all around.

Shane Birkel 20:58
And do you know any research or just a just a guess, from your perspective, from all the work that you've done, about how long it takes someone to recover from a breakup or a divorce situation,

Guy Winch 21:09
that can vary tremendously. It's very individual. And by individual, I mean, it's based on the resilience of the person, the coping mechanisms of the person, but it's also based on the context. In other words, some people lost everything, the many situations where, you know, like the breakup happened all the social contexts, but through that person, some people after a divorce can fall into poverty or after a breakup can really just everything about their life crashes. And so that's going to take a long, a lot longer to reconstitute than if you dated somebody for six months. But if you go and you start dating again, so it's a very individualized thing. But the thing about thinking about it as a grief process is the word there is process, you need to keep yourself moving, there's a healing process you need to engage in and put yourself through as an individual, like you would in any other injury or wound or illness that was physical, you would understand there's a recovery process. Here, too. There's a recovery process except you, it's not your body that's doing it naturally, you need to implement it, you need to start replacing all that you'd lost. You need to start reconstituting your social circle, your support network, your community, even your physical spaces, to reestablish yourself and to not just live in little voids.

Shane Birkel 22:28
Maybe this is an obvious answer. But can you talk a little bit about the science of you know, as human beings why it's so devastating going through something like a breakup, you know, and you're talking about the loss of even community and the disconnection and all those things. But if you could go into that a little bit more.

Guy Winch 22:46
Sure. Well, that isn't the areas of science here. We know, for example, in the neuroscience domain, that breakups register, romantic breakups were harsh, registering the brain, very similarly, as any kind of withdrawal from opioids is an addict. And heroin addicts, cocaine addict might have that that feeling of withdrawal of like, Oh, my God, I need this thing, I need this thing without this thing I can't deal. That's how a lot of people feel in the first, you know, throes of a breakup. And that's why people lost act so desperately so out of character, they might, you know, send 100 texts and proud people might grovel, and you know, and just because they are, again, their brain is going through a massive withdrawal. They're not aware of it. We don't think of breakups, as with brain withdrawal, but our brain is going through withdrawal, it's craving that substance being the other person. So that that's the desperation people feel. In the scale of emotional pain. We know that physical pain can be very severe, but emotional pain mimics physical pain, very, very substantially in the brain, they look very, very similar, not identical, but they look so similar that you might, you know, if you're looking at brain scans of emotional heartbreak, say, versus severe physical pain, you might look at those brain scans and go, they look really the same to me and the nuances. But you know, the assumptions are sometimes it's the emotional pain pathways piggyback on the pathways of the physical pain, and that's why it mimics it so much. So you're in severe pain, your brain has a massive, massive withdrawal, and your whole world has kind of collapsed around you. So that is about as devastating blow as people can sustain in life. And that's why it's such a dramatic, emotional response that people have and you'll see a similar emotional response as they would to other kinds of grieving if it's a losing a relative or other kinds of things. It's going to look quite, quite similar. Even with losing, you know, when you lose somebody when somebody dies, then you go through the bargaining and you know, praying and trying to get them back and making deals, you know, with whomever to try and get them back And when it's a breakup, that it's not headed towards some kind of higher entity, it's towards the person, you know, the begging the bargaining, the harassing the all of that, you know that a lot of that kind of goes that way. But the science is also about we are social animals, and we thrive in tribes and communities, we have a need to belong, which is very fundamental and unconscious need to feel like we belong somewhere, that when we don't, we feel very, very risk, very, very exposed, very raw, very in danger. So all of these things get triggered around a breakup. And so that is a lot of psychological emotional assault that's happening to you. And, and people need to understand that it's not a trivial thing. And that's why the emotions associated with it is so intense.

Shane Birkel 25:53
Can you can you talk a little bit about the difference between like, if my, if I have a grandparent who passes away, the grieving of, you know, like a family member, or a friend versus the grieving of a romantic partnership, someone who I wanted to share my life with,

Guy Winch 26:09
in general, when it comes to loss and grieving, there's a difference between somebody who was in your daily life who was part of your daily life, and somebody who might love and care about tremendously, but you see them intermittently. Because you can love the grandparent, as much as one can love the grandparent and feel absolutely devastated when they die. But it's not as if everything you do in your day will remind you of them. It's not as if every turn, every corner, you turn, every object that you look at every item, every nuance of the day to day reminds you of that person because they weren't in that space. But your romantic partner was your romantic partner was everywhere that you look, usually certainly if you were living together, and if it went on for a while they were associated with everyone you knew knew them and you have a couple hoods. So the confrontation with the loss happens at a level that's so much exponentially more intense and severe. When you lose someone like a romantic partner, because they will ruin your life. In such a more intense and comprehensive way than a relative you would see less so even though you might again choose. And that's not to diminish the pain of those losses. They're significant. But they remind us of the ability to get through a few hours without having to think of it, though, that's where those differences lie. I see. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 27:37
And I was excited to hear that you're working with Mindbloom on a program about recovering from rejection and failure. Part of it is that you're using ketamine therapy. I'd love it to hear a little bit about that, but also just in general, some of the things that people can do as they're breathing or recovering from a breakup or something like that. Other

Guy Winch 28:04
so just Just some background, ketamine is a it's a classified as a psychedelic, it's been FDA approved for treatment of depression and anxiety for I think around 20 years something plus or minus something like that. And prior to the pandemic, those treatments were, were given by infusion in psychiatrist office offices often, but because of the pandemic, they started proving administration at home. And mind blown was a company that does ketamine treatments at home they just published a few months ago, the largest ever, in a scientific journal study of I think over 1000 subjects who went through the treatment for depression and anxiety and you know, had stellar stellar results like like really, really good results. And they contacted me because they wanted to create additional programming to people. People go through a course of treatment, but like with other kinds of treatments, they might come back for a couple of treatments in a year or so or repeat things as needed. And they wanted to do a program that was focused on things like rejection or heartbreak, failure. We also talk about rumination we also talk about loneliness and connection. So they asked me to create this program. For them. I created the program I speak in videos and I do a guided meditation. I don't administer the ketamine the you need to get a doctor's approval for that they have physicians on staff psychiatrists that will evaluate you this is all done very, very much on the aftermath. The dosages are very, very specific. They're you know, sent to your home you need to have somebody with you when you're going through it because you are going through a psychedelic experience, the advantages of ketamine and why it's it's a popular treatment and as as a psychedelic is because it increases neuroplasticity in the brain and allows the brain to create new connections and important connections often in pathways associated with you know, emotions and those kinds of things. things, the psychedelic experience often promotes larger perspectives and a larger sense of consciousness and a greater perspective that allows you to get a little bit of distance and to connect to things. And during and after there's this window of neuroplasticity where you can form different connections and think of things in a different way that will stick, you know, in a more substantial manner. So this is something that we're hoping is going to be helpful to people as individuals, but when you want to think about relationships, or couples, it's going to be significant there, as well, because I don't know if you've ever worked with I'm sure you have, you must have couples in which one person was, let's say, significantly depressed at the clinical depression, or had an anxiety disorder, that is very disruptive, to the Couplehood, as any illness would be, in a couple, this land is significant illness that has an impact on quality of life on one partner, it's going to affect the other. And it also, you know, when people are depressed, I've worked with a lot of couples, say when one person comes in, and they, they I don't know, if I love my partner anymore, but when they're clinically depressed, they're gonna have a hard time connecting to any positive feelings of joy or love, because that's part of what depression does the flattening, you know, have an effect, you know, in that way. So we're also hoping that these kinds of programs will be helpful to couples as well as individuals in numerous different kinds of ways. And certainly, when people set intentions or you know, do integration sessions after these, you know, after the actual treatment of the ketamine, then they can really reform connections and rethink about their relationships in new ways that will, again, kind of take root and allow them to make shifts and changes. So that program just launched a couple of months ago. But I'm excited to see what it might do and how it will have an impact in a very broad way.

Shane Birkel 32:00
So one of the things I think people want in our society is a quick fix, right? Where you just take a pill and you feel better. And it sounds to me like part of this is that the therapy or the education that you're that you're getting as you're using the ketamine is a such an important part of the the process. It's not that you just use the ketamine and you're going to be better. It's like, what you're doing when you're having those experiences. And after is really important, is that right? Yeah, and

Guy Winch 32:29
I would actually expand that. And I would say that that's true, almost of all psychiatric treatments, medication, substance and medication treatments in psychiatry, because for example, you can take medication for attention deficit disorder, if you're not going to change your habits, there's only a limited impact. The medication itself will have you can take an antidepressant. But if you're not going to change your cognition, the way you think about things and remain rooted in a very negative perspective, or a very negative point of view, or in ruminative thinking, you're working against the impact of the medication. So it's always about medication and habit change, or changing the way you're thinking or changing the way you're experiencing or reframing things, there's always that duality that's most effective, is that the medication itself should set you up to then make these other changes in your thinking, and your behavior and your communication and your relationship and any other contexts of life. But the real changes that the medication are supporting, as opposed to relying solely on the medication that's going to be much less effective in almost every kind of psychiatric situation I can think of.

Shane Birkel 33:39
Yeah, great. And I'd love to hear a little bit more specifically about the ketamine therapy, as far as you know, is that is that an IV drip that needs to happen at home? Or

Guy Winch 33:50
no, because that's, that's going to be complicated. It's actually a tablet that you put under the tongue, okay, for seven minutes, I think or something like that. And then you spit it out when I do the guided meditation. That's the point in which I tell people now, thank you spit out the medication because it's you've, you've absorbed what you need to absorb. And now the rest will happen without you keeping it under your tongue, but it's just it's a small thing to put under your tongue. It's very unintrusive in that way,

Shane Birkel 34:17
and I can imagine the individual either watching the videos or having a therapist to talk to as to guide them through it, but are Did you say there's some way that our couples experiencing that together or is there

Guy Winch 34:31
you need to have somebody there with you. So suddenly, the couples in which one person is undergoing treatment the other person will be the person who was with them just to kind of monitor psychedelic and this is at home. So you want that to one mind blown offers, in addition to the to the material of the setting intentions before the session, the guided meditations, the integration materials that come with every single session, my program is a series of six sessions. In addition to that there's a support groups online that you can join to, you know, share experiences, you have the medical person for nine bloom that will clear you, there's a guide for mine bloom that will help you before and after, and you're allowed to, you know, be in touch with them, there's, they highly recommend doing journaling, after that experience, because you want to capture experiences when they're fresh. And after the experience of the, of the ketamine, you know, they really encourage journaling related to what the intention setting was, what the point of that session was for you, or where it took you. So there's a lot of, you know, it's not just his thing, put it under your tongue, you know, see, you know, now you're done, there's work to be done, you know, this is this is our mind, it requires work. But that's the work. And the ketamine, again, is supposed to facilitate the work and the and the impact of, of those kinds of that kind of thinking, and journaling and reframing and expressing, certainly couples afterwards can often talk about, well, what was that like? And what did you think about? Share? You know, so, so it opens a lot of doors for conversation as well.

Shane Birkel 36:10
But it, let's say if my, if my wife and I are like, Oh, this sounds interesting, you know, we want to look more into this is it? Let's say, I have a lot of depression, and she has some anxiety? Is it going to be one of us at a time? Who is taking the ketamine or is it a

Guy Winch 36:27
couples massage and that way? So it would be, you know, both lines, you know, but yeah, and it was also I don't know, if I would recommend that a couple literally go through the treatments together. It's more of an individual process. Yes, but it's some, it has a lot of implications for a couple and you know, and if you happen to have depression, the wife happens to have anxiety, and you both want to do it, you know, you know, the experts at mind blown will tell you, if they recommend you doing it literally, together, I don't think they would recommend necessarily, unless you want to bring friends into it because a little strategically complicated, but, but yes, it's something that individuals can do, whether they're in a relationship or not, if both members of a couple feel that and again, you have to qualify, you have to have the right diagnosis, as diagnosed by the medical psychiatrist at mind them. So you know, you're not judging this, this is something that that's really medical, medically sound and supervised. So if you meet those criteria, and I think they often don't even just say, Oh, here we go here, they might start with one session to see how it goes quite conservative and how they do it. But they, but they really make sure that you're taking care of it. That's

Shane Birkel 37:38
great. And I only know about the United States, I think but it seems like in the last few years, there's been a lot, a lot more acceptance of psychedelics in general, and a lot more states that are making things legal and advocating for those changes, because we're finding out more and more in the research how beneficial that they can be. Yes,

Guy Winch 38:01
but that is a result of a concerted effort of decades to bring back the legitimacy of psychedelics, because essentially, I'm in right now, I think this year, MDMA is going up for FDA approval of the years very successful clinical trials, especially for things like PTSD, MDMA, for example, otherwise known as ecstasy, molly, etc. But then they started out as a psychiatric treatment for trauma. It's when it became a club drug that the government shut it down. Also, medically, unfortunately, because it's extraordinarily potent, as a treatment for PTSD. The same is true of psilocybin, they're going to be going up to FDA approval trials are very successful and doing really, really well magic mushrooms, psilocybin, you know, that is going to be going up later this year, or maybe next year for FDA approval, because again, they found really, really powerfully strong results with it, but it took a lot of, you know, there was such negative associations to these treatments for so long, from you know, leftovers literally from the 60s and 70s. That, you know, that have to be overcome. And I think today, there's much more openness, there's much more awareness and there's much more sophistication and knowledge that says that these can be powerful medications that can help a lot of people that other treatments have not the thing about, you know, ketamine and the others. MDMA psilocybin in that category is that a lot of people do not get help from the typical antidepressants or anti anxiety medication or PTSD treatments and here we have something that can really make a difference. Why are we holding it back because, you know, they've had a bad rep 40 years ago in some kind of way. That's happening and as a clinician, I'm extremely glad to see it happen because just with ketamine the minute I started working with them Finding people I haven't heard from for a while, who saw his posts on social media and otherwise reached out and said, Oh my God, you don't know ketamine saved my life? I'm so glad you're doing that. And it's a powerful thing.

Shane Birkel 40:12
Yeah, that's great. You're using it for yourself? No, I didn't know. You're administering? All right.

Guy Winch 40:20
I just did the program. I did not minister and I just, you know, voice wrote and voice the, the actual content that you get before and after, but I, I unfortunately, unfortunately, don't necessarily meet the criteria for depression or anxiety at the moment. If I do at any point, after ketamine, I will go.

Shane Birkel 40:39
Yeah, I didn't mean to put you on the spot. I thought that Oh, no, that's a great

Guy Winch 40:43
question. Yeah. And there are plenty of people who will be happy to say yes. And also, I have not yet had that experience. I've not yet had the diagnostic necessity for it. In these past years, since it's been available, but I'm certainly you know, it's kind of like one of those like, Okay, if too much stuff happens, that's something I would definitely want to try. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 41:04
Yeah, it sounds very exciting as far as the possibilities for people to heal and to feel better. And I'm excited to see where where this is going. I'm so grateful for you coming on talking about it and being part of the the work that's happening there. But, you know, as we begin to wrap up here, any anything else that you want to make sure we talked about that you wanted to make sure to mention today?

Guy Winch 41:26
Yeah, just one thing that we started with, I want to kind of circle back to, and that is, I believe, and it's not to impose on people, but I believe that anyone in the mental health field must function a little bit like an ambassador, we're still dealing with so much misinformation. And it's not even misinformation. It's just lack of information. There's so you know, again, we don't teach these things and, and people keep putting out oh, there's not agreement about A, B, and C and like, maybe not about a, b, and c, but there's tons of agreement about D, E, and F, can we talk about those, then, you know, like, there's just so much out there that I think would be so helpful to people I truly believe lives could be changed. If more people had that information, and I think it's it's it's on therapists on mental health professionals, to again, don't don't be annoying to people don't shove it down people's throats. But when there was an opportunity to inform, inform, you know, educate a little bit, mentioned a little bit put something on the table that people can actually respond to, and then if they want to respond great if they don't know, but I do think there's an ambassadorial role. We all need to play for our science and for our profession, for the benefit of everyone else.

Shane Birkel 42:39
Yeah, that's great. That's great. Where can people find the writing? They can listen to the podcast, everybody should definitely go check out the podcast called Dear therapists. But as you say, there's some place where you have like a written response. Is that something people should go look at or read? Or Or do

Guy Winch 42:58
I have? My website is guy winch, that kanji ywinch.com. And they will find links to the podcast to my three TED Talks, to my books, to articles and to other kinds of things. And there's a contact tab if somebody needs to reach out. And so that's the best place to find these things. Mindbloom.com is where you can get information about ketamine treatments for us, right?

Shane Birkel 43:30
Yeah, well, I'm just so grateful for all that you're doing for the field of mental health. Thank you so much for coming on here and talking about these things. Hopefully, we can catch up again at some point in the future.

Guy Winch 43:42
Sure. Thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure talking to you. Great.

Shane Birkel 43:45
Thanks, guy. Take care. All right, thank you so much, guy, and thank you to all you listeners out there. I'm really grateful for all of you definitely go over to GuyWinch.com. To find out more about him. You can watch his TED Talk, get a copy of his book, emotional first aid. And also you can go over to mine bloom.com and see what they have going on over there. So thanks again, guys. I really appreciate it and thank you to all you listeners out there. This is Shane Birkel, and this is the podcast that's all about the practice of couples therapy. If you enjoyed the episode, definitely subscribe and I'd really appreciate if you click the like button. Thanks, everybody. Take care!

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