A Late and Unexpected Journey into Psychedelics

psychedelic nueroscience EEG Awre project Salon

2017 July 27: Aware Project San Diego presents 'A Late and Unexpected Journey into Psychedelics. Right Path, Good Science'. a talk by Dr. Michael Villanueva



This is a personal story of how military psychologist Michael Villanueva PhD, came study the EEG and psychedelics and how psychedelics illuminated the need for good neuroscience. Despite professional fears and lack of good psychedelic science, He worked to understand the EEG within the psychedelic state. Prior psychological training proved nearly useless and his anxiety intensified realizing his intellectual toolset was lacking. Professionally broaching, Dr Villanueva jettisoned prior training and adopted techniques of advanced signal processing and neural information flow plugins from the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience. Illustrating his personal journey with 5-MeO-DMT and Ayahuasca EEG data acquired with witches and shamans in Mexico and Australia, Dr Villanueva shows how psychedelic EEG provides an untapped rich source to formulate hypotheses relevant to our humanity. Dr. Michael Villanueva believes that collecting hard and technical data is essential understand the deeper effects of psychedelics and the brain. Psychedelics showed him a hard path towards good science; He now shares this path to help destigmatize these medicines so that we, in our education and understanding, can speak about these issues when the time is right.


Dr. Michael Villanueva, former US Army combat psychologist, heads the Alpha Theta Center, a Neurofeedback and QEEG analysis company. In 2011, he took neurofeedback into combat discovering how effective and easy it was to administer neurofeedback to soldiers. Obtaining a dramatic reduction in Base usage of psychiatric medications, he later returned to San Diego, opening the Alpha Theta Center. However, in 2015 a client’s qEEG (quantitative electroencephalogram) upended his understanding of the EEG and Neurofeedback by suggesting unexpected powerful effects of Ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT on the client’s brain. Maintaining his clinical practice and working with engineers from the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, he analyzes EEGs of those undergoing psychedelic experiences and uses those insights both to inform his practice and to guide future research.