The Synthesis Institute | Presents

The Explorer’s Edge A Monthly Community Gathering Dedicated to Psychedelic Education October 2022 Edition | THE SYNTHESIS WAY

Featuring James Clifton, Lead Facilitator at Synthesis Institute

The Unique Value of The Psychedelic-Assisted Retreat Model

During October's edition of The Explorer's Edge, we will be joined live by James Clifton, Lead Facilitator at Synthesis Institute. We’ll explore the role of a professional psychedelic facilitator, the skills and practice needed to become one, and what one can expect from participating in a psychedelic-supported retreat at Synthesis.



In his role as Lead Retreat Facilitator at Synthesis since 2019, James has led dozens of retreats supporting over 400 participants. His personal journey with psychedelics began many decades ago in the 1980s, and he began facilitating for others a decade later in the 1990s. In addition to his work in retreat facilitation, James serves as a core faculty member for the Psychedelic Practitioner Training. He recently facilitated 50 psychedelic practitioner trainees through their psychedelic self-experience in the context of becoming a professional facilitator.


At the Synthesis Institute, James’ responsibilities include:

  • Leading Expansion retreat programs
  • Hiring and training Synthesis Retreat Assistants, Co-Lead 1’s and Co-Lead 2’s, and Lead Facilitators  
  • Supporting Health Screening Protocols 
  • Developing Preparation, Retreat, and Integration Protocols


During this gathering, we will explore: 


The Synthesis Way - an Interdisciplinary and Non-directive Approach to Psychedelic Facilitation:

  • Why the retreat journey is carefully crafted the way it is - from education to screening, to intentions, to preparation, to retreat container and ceremony, concluding with integration 
  • Why it is sometimes said that the "container is the medicine" and how the Synthesis Retreat Model uniquely contributes to building this container, including the power of ceremony and communitas 
  • ​​Truffles containing psilocybin - How they can open up a sense of the great mystery

The Nuanced and Multidimensional Role of the Lead Retreat Facilitator:

  • James' unique path to becoming a psychedelic facilitator and the insight he holds from three decades of supporting clients in preparing for, experiencing, and integrating psychedelic journeys 
  • The art of psychedelic facilitation, the beauty and challenges of this unique work, and what it means to live a life of service
  • The importance of gaining both first-hand and third-hand psychedelic experience as a facilitator
James Clifton



For more than three decades, James has studied many of the world's perennial philosophies and engaged deeply in a number of the great wisdom traditions, with a specific interest in non-ordinary states of consciousness. Formally trained in transpersonal psychotherapy, integral coaching, and working with trauma and addiction, his vast experience is particularly centered on tracking tension and points of change and growth in individuals and groups. His unique wisdom allows him to facilitate psychedelics and entheogens as catalysts for authentic transformation.

Martijn Schirp



Co-Founder &
Chief Visionary Officer

Martijn has championed the vision of Synthesis since he co-founded the organization in 2018. Formerly CEO and now Chief Visionary Officer, he has stewarded Synthesis from early concept to a maturing organization with the mission of making professional, legal, and ethical psychedelic experiences accessible. Under Martijn's leadership, Synthesis' began its development of "The Synthesis Way,' a wisdom-inspired, science-informed, and ethically sound retreat container pioneered via an interdisciplinary and non-directive approach to facilitation that acts as the foundation for all of the organization's retreats and training programs.