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Psychedelics, cults, narcissistic leadership and whistleblower phenomenon

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Event description

Join Dr Lani Roy, Violet Cordwell and Kayla Greenstien for a deep dive into the inner workings of cults, narcissistic leadership within groups, and the intersections with the corporate psychedelic sphere. 

The hosts will explore the dynamics of cult and group interaction, including the power of leaders and how they influence people through covert and overt forms of control. A discussion will be had on the nature of narcism and its correlation with cult leadership, including in the psychedelic sphere. 

Homage will be paid to the whistleblowers who have bravely stood before many people, speaking about their experience in cults and raising awareness of their exploitation; the hosts will discuss the whistleblower phenomenon, the risks associated with speaking out, and the rewards of finding a voice where it has previously been suppressed. 

Cult and narcissistic leader dynamics will be explored at length, in this webinar you will find the answers to these questions: 

- What is a cult? 

- What kinds of cults are there? Are they all religious?

- What's the difference between a cult and a group? 

- How do people join cults and what keeps them there? 

- Why are cult leaders so powerful? What keeps them in power? 

- What means of control, power and influence are used by cult leaders? 

- What does psychedelics have to do with cults? 

- How can I support someone (or myself) engaged in a cult? 

- What support is out there for cult victim-survivors?

- What does it mean to be a whistleblower? What does that practically look and feel like? What are the potential repercussions? How can I protect myself?

The Signs of Life Psychology is committed to holding this complex space, safely and with great care. To ensure your safety and that of the participants in the room, please do not name any organisation or individual in your discussions, this is to protect you from organisations that may be litigious and to respect the experience in the room where other people may find the information triggering.

Our facilitators

Dr. Alana Roy


Dr Alana (Lani) Roy is the Founder of The Signs of Life Psychology. She is the Board Member to AMAPP in the Community Outreach and Stakeholder Liaison team. She is an Associate Research Fellow at Swinburne University. Trained as a psychologist, social worker, and therapist she has has spent the last 15 years working in mental health, suicide prevention, trauma, sexual abuse, family violence, and the disability sector.

Lani has worked with borderline personality and dissociative identity disorder in various roles in the community, such as rape crisis centres with victims of ritual abuse; childhood and adult sexual assault; supporting women in the sex industry; and survivors of human trafficking. She specialises in complex trauma, disabilities and dual diagnosis, and working with the Deaf community by providing therapy in Auslan sign language. Lani also specialises in preparation and integration in the field of psychedelic and sexual abuse survivors, particularly with Ayahuasca and the vegetelista dieta process.

Lani provides a range of educational and group-based psychedelic programs. She is a board-approved psychology supervisor and provides psychology, social work, and biomedical student placements and supervision across Deakin, Monash, Victoria University, Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine (PRISM), Entheogenesis Australia (EGA) and the Mental Health Foundation. Lani coordinates the psychedelic and plant medicine Mental Health Professional Network (MHPN). Lani has taught as an Australian teacher on Psychedelics Today Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and other Australian Psychedelic programs.

Lani is currently apprenticing under Saj Ravi from The Psychedelic Somatic Institute of Psychotherapy in America for cannabis and ketamine assisted psychotherapy.

Lani has begun providing Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP) for clients accessing ketamine treatment in Australia with partnering clinical organisations. She is currently working on a range of research trials focusing on psilocybin and Ayahuasca.

Kayla Greenstien 

Kayla Greenstien (she/they) is a psychology PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. Their research covers the epistemological and spiritual orientations of psychedelic and MDMA-assisted therapy, participant feedback, and informed consent. She has also written a comprehensive review on the use of touch in psychedelic and MDMA therapy (pending publication). Kayla is a committee member of the Australian Psychological Society’s interest group onPsychedelic-Assisted Therapy and the research committee of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Prior to starting their PhD, Kayla worked in domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention services in Canberra where they provided expert advice to police, courts, and child protection services on coercive control and the nature of complex post-traumatic stress disorder in victim-survivors. They were also a research assistant on the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children.Kayla grew up on the West Coast of Canada in a religiously divided home and has personal experience with high-demand religious groups,spurring a longstanding fascination with power dynamics in religious,spiritual, and therapeutic practice.

Violet Cordwell, BA Social Work (Hons) 

Violet is a Research Assistant and Project Officer. She is currently completing her final year of a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) degree at Deakin University. In addition to her studies, Violet works part-time as a Research Assistant and Policy Officer across two other organisations. Violet has spent the last four years working with victim-survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in a variety of roles, including case coordination and management, clinical support, service recovery, training and development, and most recently in policy and legislation. 

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