Empowering Sites: Author Q&A

An Interview With Dr. Randall Hansen, Why Did I Write Triumph Over Trauma?

Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality, edited by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., is now available. ISBN: 9798987252000

1. Tell us about yourself.

I am an educator on my most important mission of spreading the word about the potential of psychedelic substances -- what we refer to as medicines -- to healing a myriad of mental wellness conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, OCD, addiction, and more.

The book is not about me; I simply facilitated the development and publishing of the book. Yes, I wrote several chapters about the history and uses of psychedelic medicines, but the core of the book is the 23 stories from people with a wide range of backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities.

I am on a mission to help heal as many of the people in the world as possible. We have all experienced trauma -- and we all need healing.

As an educator, I am incensed about two key aspects that have kept true healing from most people:

  • The purely political decision to place cannabis and all psychedelics on the DEA's Schedule 1 in the early 1970s, thus placing the highest restrictions and eliminating more than a decade of research PROVING their healing powers. To make matters even worse, the following 50+ years of lies and propaganda from the War on Drugs and Just Say No.

  • The revolving door and questionable ethics of the FDA and mental health establishment in approving and promoting anti-depressant drugs never meant (or tested) for daily, full-time use. Worse, the testing showed these drugs were no better than the placebo for helping treat depressive episodes.

On a personal note, I am living a healing journey with the perfect partner for me -- in a house we designed and built together -- on a hilltop in nature. I am grateful for this life. I do not own any psychedelics-related business and have no plans for doing so; this book is a gift to humanity.

2. Provide a brief description of your book, Triumph Over Trauma.

The book is geared toward people who are psychedelically-curious, for people who have heard and seen bits here and there about the healing benefits of psychedelics but really have no knowledge of the substances.

The book covers all the major psychedelic plants and compounds, including their history and use, and what these drugs are like when consumed for healing -- and includes:

  • Psilocybin (the magic in magic mushrooms)

  • DMT (the psychoactive component in Ayahuasca)

  • Mescaline

  • Ibogaine

  • LSD

  • MDMA

  • Ketamine

The core -- the soul -- of the book is 23 stories; 20 healing stories from taking a full dose (macrodose) of a psychedelic medicine, and 3 transformational stories from consuming trace amounts (microdosing) of a psychedelic medicine.

3. Why did you write Triumph Over Trauma?

This book has nothing to do with me -- and everything to do with HEALING!

I was called to write the book... to help all those who are suffering needlessly, especially those suffering from mental illnesses needlessly.

We have a strongly positive tool for helping heal trauma -- which often manifests as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, addictions, control issues (eating disorders, OCD) -- so we should make sure it is one of the tools available to all of us.

I want the world to heal -- and if a chunk of the world population bought the book, it would mean that not only were those millions of readers being healed but that millions more will be healed from the donation of all the proceeds to nonprofits in the psychedelic healing space.

And as an educator, I wanted to set the record straight about these powerful medicines.

4. Your book, Triumph Over Trauma, focuses on healing from psychedelic substances. What got you interested in this subject?

My wife, Jenny, and I, have always had the utmost respect for our military -- and especially our combat veterans. Several years ago, Jenny heard Jesse Gould's story on a podcast, shared that podcast with me, and the rest is history.

Jesse is the founder of Heroic Hearts Project, one of the nonprofits that will be receiving funds from the sale of the book. His story is like so many other veterans -- back home without a mission and struggling to fit back into the civilian world -- seeking help and only given various prescription pills from the VA, and often self-medicating with alcohol. Luckily, he found out about Ayahuasca (a psychedelic brew from the Amazon), traveled to Peru and sought out a healing ceremony. Ayahuasca transformed his life -- and he then created a nonprofit (Heroic Hearts Project) to help his fellow brothers and sisters obtain the healing they so deserve.

I had never heard of Ayahuasca before listening to that podcast. Jenny and I then went down the psychedelics rabbit hole, immersing ourselves in the literature, research, and medicines. We became witnesses to the healing and advocates for the intentional use of psychedelic medicines for the purpose of healing, transformation, and spiritual growth.

5. You use the power of stories in showcasing the healing received from 23 people. Why did you decide to use this method in your book?

I should mention that I had no intention of writing another book, certainly not one on psychedelics.

But, during a late summer day on my deck, toward the end of a very beautiful LSD journey, I received this strong message about the need to write this book -- to help get the healing message out there. I literally rushed inside, grabbed a pen and a pad of paper, and started taking notes. I had the entire outline down in a matter of minutes.

And the medicine made it clear that the core and focus of the book would be on these stories... these healing stories from as diverse a population as I could gather. I did well, getting a strong percentage of women and people in the BIPOC community, as well as a veteran and military spouse. My only regret was not being able to convince a first responder nor indigenous person to share their stories.

Storytelling is perhaps the oldest form of communication --and a necessity before the printed word, as people have better memories for stories than they do for a collection of facts.

Stories are ancient art forms and are so key to forging connection, empathy, and understanding. Plus, stories cannot be disputed as they are a person's account of what happened to them.

6. Besides healing, which is a major theme of the book, what other things came out from the stories you share in the book?

Two other major themes come from psychedelic experiences -- and definitely discussed in many of the stories.

First is the notion of pure love, pure joy, pure bliss. People discuss never feeling the kind of intense and beautiful love as in a psychedelic experience.

Second, is the amount of spiritual awakening and spiritual encounters during a psychedelic experience. People describe seeing God, talking with Jesus or Buddha, flying with angels, rocketing to the center of the universe.

7. What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

The most challenging part was finding people with stories ready to share. I probably contacted about 75 to 100 people in order to obtain the 23 for the book.

I had to have a great deal of patience while people considered whether they wanted to invest the time and commitment -- and visibility -- in sharing their very personal stories.

In the end, the interviews with all 23 storytellers was an amazing experience for both me and the storytellers -- and, now, hopefully with the readers of the book.

Otherwise, writing the book was a breeze; now, publishing the book was a whole other story.

8. What is your goal with this book?

My goal is that people learn of a new and exciting healing modality -- one that will actually help them HEAL, not simply mask symptoms.

I will never know, but I would love it if hundreds of thousands of people found healing for themselves and loved ones through work started with reading the book.

And, the more people who buy the book to heal themselves will also be indirectly healing others because all the proceeds from the book are being donated to nonprofits in the psychedelic space that are helping people heal.

9. What can readers hope to learn from this book?

Readers will learn the truth that has been hidden from them for purely political reasons. Readers will learn that these psychedelic medicines hold great promise as natural healing substances for many mental health (and other medical) conditions.

Readers will learn detailed information about these psychedelic substances, including their histories, usage, and other interesting facts.

Readers will learn about the two major methods of experiencing psychedelics -- either through full hallucinatory journeys with a macrodose or simply the mental boost from taking microdoses of the medicine.

Finally, readers will learn from the 23 storytellers what psychedelic experiences look like -- from sacred ceremonies to individual experiences.

10. You're doing something unique with the money from the sale of the book, correct? What are you doing?

One of the clear messages I received when I also received the outline for the book is that this book is a labor of love, a labor of healing.

No entity is profiting from this book -- except those who are receiving healing.

ALL the money made from the sales of this book are being donated to one of three respected nonprofits in the space:

  • Heroic Hearts Project (connecting veterans who seek healing through psychedelic treatment)

  • Chacruna Institute (uplifting indigenous voices; supporting protection of sacred plants and cultural traditions)

  • Fireside Project (a peer support line offering support during and after psychedelic experiences)