The Secret Chief Revealed is an in-depth first-hand account from a pioneering psychedelic therapist who conducted numerous underground therapy sessions

Myron: Did you keep copies of these reports?
Jacob: I kept a file of these reports, but some years ago, the
file got thrown out. Of all the trips—I had hundreds of them—
they would have made a good book themselves.
The screening process and the preparation process: we
talked a lot. I had them go through a lot of rituals for themselves—fasting, learn how to do some fasting. I had certain
things that I had them read, spiritual literature that was very
illuminating and they were able to get it.



Myron: Do you have a few favorites along those lines?
Jacob: Not any more. Not any more, I don’t. I don’t suggest readings any more, because the people that come to me
have gone through a lot of things in terms of reading, and
they’re ready for something besides reading.
Myron: I’m thinking in terms of people who are just looking into this, and looking for some helpful ways to get started.
Jacob: Very little that I’ve come across I would recommend.
Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell,
those certainly are ones. Those are the only things I found that
were important. I used to give a lot of reading, but that didn’t
make any difference. This experience is such a very different
dimension. They left it all behind very quickly. It did not help
in getting them prepared. Their greatest help was their contact
with me—talking and experiencing. For the most part the
people that I do now are people who make a big difference in
the world, with people. They’re therapists and psychiatrists,
physicians, they’re government people who have very high
positions and great influence.
Myron: I’ve always had this dream that you could somehow bring this about, yet we have never succeeded at that at our
Foundation (the International Foundation for Advanced Study
in Menlo Park, California).
look for when you screened?
What were the characteristics that were important to avoid?
Jacob: I screened very carefully. I’ll try to tell you what my
screening process was. A lot of it was based upon experience.
Not knowing at first who was a suitable candidate for the kind
of trip I did under the circumstances I set up, I would offer to
trip people who weren’t suitable. As a result I had some pretty
paranoid trips. That’s extremely painful to go through, to stay
with them until they finally come down. Even though afterwards
they said it was the most fantastic experience they ever had in
their life. It changed their whole life. That always happened when
they had those paranoid trips. Painful experiences, weeping, listless; I was very encouraged when they could go through this.
One of the things I learned about tripping very early was
not right. Something they would say—or just being with them,
no matter what they were saying, because I couldn’t trust what
they were saying as being them. It isn’t them, what they were
saying. I would get a vague feeling of anxiety that would stay
with me after I had talked to the person and certain questions,
certain things that they had said would come to my mind.
I would just look at them. Then I would talk to them again
a time or two and see if I wanted to proceed more along the
exploring. Always I told them this is exploratory until I was
really sure I wanted to trip with them and they were really sure
that they wanted to take the trip. Then we would arrange for
the trip and do some preparation.
Myron: Would you describe it as you would have to feel a
certain kind of bond with them?
Jacob: Yes. I would have to have that feeling that I would
really like to trip this person.
Other factors besides those subjective ones: How much work
they have done on themselves in terms of their own individual
growth. How long they’ve been working on themselves. What
training they’ve had. What workshops they’ve gone to. What
readings they’ve done. What they feel they’ve accomplished. How
far they’ve gone and what their complaints were about themselves
in terms of inadequacies, like, “I know all the things in my mind,
but I want to get them in my heart.” I can tell in getting their
history if they’re searching, how far they’ve gone, how much of it
has sunk in. When I get the feeling that I’m really interested in this
person, like, “Oh, boy, a trip would do just exactly what they
want, what they’re asking for!” Then I knew this was o.k. If I
didn’t get that kind of thing I wouldn’t stay with them longer or I
would say no, I don’t think it’s time yet.
I had to turn down people very seldom because before they
even get to me there’s always a selective process going on. They
are referred by somebody who knows me and has tripped with
me and has worked with me. Before they even get to know who
that we get in touch with feelings we’ve never been able to experience before and at a depth and a level that we’ve never been
able to reach. That could be fear, it could be love, it could be
ecstasy, it could be anything. Just as long as it’s feelings—sadness, grief. Lots of times they would start to cry on a trip and cry
for the longest time so deeply. To me it seemed so satisfying
because they were getting something out. I liked that.
I learned to watch out for my motivations for wanting to
trip somebody. To make sure that—I don’t know what word
would be suitable here—I use the word pure, but it’s not the
word I want. Clean. That I wasn’t doing it for self-aggrandizement or something like that. I learned very early that I am an
instrument. I do not bring this experience to anybody. I provide
them with the opportunity; they have the experience. They bring
their own experience to themselves, and I have the privilege of
sitting with them while it’s going on.
Myron: I think I’ve picked up an awful lot of junk sitting in
sessions. I was so inexperienced and I’d never been trained as a
therapist and I used to get so tired. I’m sure it was my selfinvolvement—I wanted to do something for somebody.
Jacob: To try to help them. I very soon learned that my
traditional techniques of helping people in therapy do not work,
they just don’t work. Just leave ’em alone! They know what the
hell’s wrong with them or the God within them knows what’s
wrong with them and provides them with whatever they need
which I don’t know anything about and they don’t even know
anything about. They don’t know what their real needs are. All
they know is what their wants are. That’s true for all of us, of
course. (Laughs.)
Just how you know you have a good candidate is very
difficult to describe. I’ve tried to relate this many times. I’ve tried
to teach. It’s nothing you can teach. Only your experience will
give it to you. My intuition was the most important thing, and
my stomach. My stomach would respond to something that was
them six, eight, ten times before I would decide. Not any more.
One visit is all I need. One visit with the person for me to experience them and to get the feeling, “Yeah, this is one I really
would like to trip.” Or for them to get to experience me, for
that’s very important to them. The feeling of trust that they have
in me is extremely important. How do they feel about me? When
it turns out that we really make a connection, that’s all there is
to it, we arrange a trip. No more than that. All the circumstance
surrounding the trip, that I’ll be talking about some place along
the line, too.
So, it’s mostly based upon the experience that I’ve had
already and it’s mostly a feeling and an intuitive process which I
don’t see operating, I just see the results which come in my willingness to relate to a person.
Myron: Are there certain kinds of presenting problems
which are a factor, like certain kinds of difficulties that a
person has that make it a more difficult situation or is it more
just a feel of the individual?
Jacob: You see, the point of presenting symptoms, specific
problems that they want to have dealt with, doesn’t come into
the picture. There are no symptoms, really. They just say, “I would
like to have this kind of experience because I want to grow, as
so-and-so has been doing. I want to get the kind of religious
experience that can come out of this thing. That’s what I’m
looking for.”
They will come in, and I’ll ask, “What do you want to take
a trip for?” Then they’ll tell me what’s going on in their life that
they’re dissatisfied with, that they’d like to come to terms with,
that they’d like to change. They have lots of anxieties, worried
about things—they’re not getting along well with their job, with
their boss, with their wife, with their family, colleagues or friends
or whatever or they’ve got complaints, presenting complaints.
It’s not the kind of thing that you find when somebody comes in
for therapy and they give you a list of their neurotic symptoms
I am or get to see me this person will call me and tell me, “You
know, here’s so-and-so that I would like to refer to you for a trip.”
I would say, “Well, tell me about the person.” They would
tell me a lot of things—how well you know them, do you trust
the person, a lot of questions. Questions are what you want.
“What do you know about the explorations that they’ve made
already? You know that we are spiritually oriented. Are they
also interested in that and oriented in that?” They know these
are questions I’m going to be asking, so that the people that are
referred to me are already screened by them as good candidates. It might be the spouse of somebody that has tripped,
too. A boyfriend or a girlfriend of somebody or a colleague or
somebody who is on the search with them.
In other words they know this person. They’ve already
screened them. The person really wants to have a trip. They know
that. They just don’t know where to go or how to go and they’ve
heard what great things have come from them, and what great
things have happened to the person that is making the referral.
They’re close, in some way. They’d like to have that happen
to them, too.
Then the referring person calls me, because no one can ever
give out my name without prior clearance from me. They call
me, I get all the information. I say, “Yep, it sounds okay. Tell
them to call me and I’ll set up an exploratory with them.”
And that’s what happens. Very rarely do I have to turn
anybody like that down. Very rare. Although sometimes I don’t
have the right feeling about the person and I know that the
person who referred them doesn’t know much about them,
really, but just believes they might be a good candidate. That
one I would turn down.
There are these particular questions, some of them I’ve
mentioned that I think of now that I would ask them or explore
with them in terms of their state. What their expectations are.
What they’d like to get from such an experience. I used to see
something that very possibly may help you break through on this.”
Myron: To focus on this issue, maybe they’re not even
interested in spiritual growth but they just really have a
serious problem.
Jacob: Oh, yes, that’s right! I never mention the word spiritual to them unless they bring it up. I’ve had many people, I
mean many people who’ve come to me who have been in analysis for a long time. Some have been in analysis four times a
week for eight to ten years continuously. They said they had
gotten a lot out of it. However, there was always something
that they never could get to. They have taken a trip and in one
trip afterwards have said, “I got more out of that one day’s
experience than I did in my whole eight or ten years or whatever
of psychoanalysis.” I’ve done that numbers of times.
Here’s another one that happens a lot. People will come to
me who have already tripped who want to have my particular
kind of way of tripping. One of them had tripped at least five
hundred times on acid, others who have tripped three, four
hundred times, down through the early Sixties, clear up to recent times. You know, plenty of trips their own way, who’ve heard
about people who have tripped with me and where they got to
so they want to have this kind of trip. We talk about it, and they
would be good candidates so I’d say, “Sure.” They would have
their trip on acid. Invariably these people have said, “I’ve never
had an acid trip before in my life! This is the first time I’ve ever
really had an acid trip.”
Myron: I’m real interested in that, because frankly I’ve had
a lot of resistance to Tim Leary and the tremendous effort he
made to make it so generally available. I feel that so much of the
potential has been missed by kids using it on their own in the
way they’ve used it. There’s been a lot of self-gratification, there’s
been a lot of pleasure experiences and a lot of what Al Hubbard
or something like that and that they want to have changed. Sure
they want change. Many of them have already gone far enough
to learn that it’s not the outside that needs changing, it’s the
inside that needs changing and this is the approach that they
want to take for changing the inside. Because when you change
the inside what you see outside is different.
Myron: So the people you work with would generally be far
more growth-oriented than what the usual therapist works with.
Jacob: Mostly, yes. Every now and then somebody comes
from some part of the country that is a person who is referred
by somebody whom I’ve trained out there who does a lot of
tripping, too.
Myron: Would it appeal to you if somebody had some unusually tough problem that they were unable to get anywhere
with in therapy and they thought that maybe this procedure
might be a breakthrough and might be helpful? Would that kind
of a case interest you?
Jacob: That’s a familiar thing. They say, “I’ve been working on this for a long time and I haven’t been able to get any
place with it. Maybe a trip will help me break through it.” I’ve
heard this. It could be a specific thing or it could be a general
condition that they talk about.
Myron: Most people have a resistance to therapy. They
don’t like the idea that something’s wrong with them and that
they’ve got to go for help. In another case it might be the
expense, or whatever, so usually before a lot of people will go
into therapy there has to be some really tough problem. Maybe
they’ve got colitis, or maybe they have a serious marriage problem or they know they have a very difficult relationship and
maybe they’ve worked in therapy for a long period of time and
haven’t seemed to get anywhere. They seem to be really blocked.
Jacob: I see what you’re saying. A number of people like
that were referred to me and referred by people who know them
and know their history. And I say, “Look, I can tell you about
Under my circumstances I helped them through their fears so
that when they came out they were really reborn. That’s Stan
Grof’s whole model, that’s a rebirth experience. Transformation
is rebirth and all that.
Myron: Do you think you can make an estimate of how
many had been in extensive therapy who as a result of a trip
with you found that they had made a really profound gain
compared to the therapy they had previously been in?
Jacob: Yeah. How many had been in therapy—a lot of them.
Let me see if I can say how many. Eighty to eighty-five percent
had been in therapy before. Some of them were currently in
therapy and wanted to have this experience. I want to come back
to that, so you remind me of that. Out of that eighty to eightyfive percent, whatever it is, all of them said they got much more
out of their tripping.
Now, they’re not putting down their therapy. In fact, this
experience illuminated the insights that they got from therapy
but didn’t get very deeply. It validated their therapy. For many
people, too—I don’t know how many, it would be hard to
estimate this—it brought them to the realization that they wasted
all of their God-damned time; they didn’t get a thing out of
therapy. They worked hard at it, stayed long at it, many of
them, labored at it, and thought there was something wrong with
them. In fact, they had just gotten with the wrong person, that’s
all. If anybody came to me that was in therapy I first stipulated I
cannot bring you this experience unless you get clearance from
your therapist. There was an immediate screening process
taking place. There were those who said they couldn’t do that,
they just didn’t want to tell him about it.
I said, “That’s quite a commentary on the relationship you
have with your therapist. I can’t do this. I will not do it. If you tell
your therapist that you want to do this I need assurance that he agrees
called “sharpening your wits” to reinforce “I’m right, you’re
wrong.” I feel by and large that not too many have seen the real
implications. So your experience here really interests me.
Jacob: Yeah. I would always ask them, “Did you feel that
you ever got any value from your previous trips?”
They would say, “I got some great insights from it.” They
would say that in advance. But afterwards they would say, “No,
nothing like what I got this time.”
Myron: I think that’s really marvelous. It says a great deal
for you and your procedures. And it confirms some of my own
hopes in this area. Did you keep any kind of records where you
might be able to give some kind of a numerical assessment for
this sort of thing? Like, how many individuals came to you
who had many, many acid trips who arrived at this conclusion
as a result of a single trip?
Jacob: I didn’t keep any records but I can give you a fair
estimate. Looking over more than 3,000 people who have
tripped with me individually and in groups I would say that
between five and ten percent have tripped before. That’s on psychedelics, not just grass. Certainly five percent have tripped; some
a little bit, some a lot. It’s those who have tripped a lot—well
they will all say that the trip they do with me is very different,
very different.
Myron: You can say that that’s just about universal?
Jacob: Yes. For those who have tripped before on acid or
any of the psychedelics or psychoactive materials even, except
for grass. Yeah. Once or twice a number of them—I can’t recall
now how many—have had very bad trips and came to me to
have a trip under these circumstances. Usually where they were
interrupted, and unable to get all the way through it because
somebody took them off to the hospital and they were given
Thorazine or some kind of shit like that. They didn’t get a chance
to really complete it, to go through all the bad spaces that they
had to go through. They would come to me and we would trip.
There’s no easy way to satori. You’ve got to work hard and
you’ve got to suffer. I was like the typical Christian who didn’t
have much confidence in grace. Yet I knew what grace was. I did
experience grace many times. I had to overcome all of those prejudices first before I could really explore honestly and openly. And
of course my first trip dispelled all my doubts. My own first trip.
Since then there was never any problem.
Myron: Would you care to say approximately how many
therapists you have provided the experience for?
Jacob: In all categories—psychiatrists, M.D.s, psychologists,
psychiatric social workers, transactional analysis people, all the
different schools that exist where people see patients whether
they’re licensed or unlicensed, there’s quite a spread of all of
them—altogether, a hundred and fifty. That’s what comes to my
mind. It’s over a period of fifteen years since I’ve been really
doing it.
Myron: And these are all people who would have a practice of their own where they would be counseling others.
Jacob: Right. People-helpers—that includes nurses, physical therapists, people who are very important to other people.
At times I would get referrals from them.
Myron: Of the roughly 150 people-helpers you have
worked with, how many are actually psychiatrists and psychologists?
Jacob: I would say about one-fourth. The others are
psychiatric social workers, family counselors, professional
helpers like that.
Myron: Well gosh, you’ve started a real significant movement here.
Jacob: (Laughs.) It extends very much around the world,
Myron: It’s been kept very, very quiet, it seems to me.
Jacob: The selective process has helped with that. The
security practices that everybody’s imbued with right from the
that it’s okay for you to do it. I’d like for him to talk to me if he
wants to.” No, I stopped doing that. I didn’t want to be identified.
Myron: I was going to ask you about the exposure.
Jacob: I want the therapist to know that the person I’m
talking to about this has already agreed not to reveal my identity
to anybody without prior clearance from me. That’s the first
requirement I give to anybody.
Myron: So if they went back to their therapist to get clearance they would say, “I’ve found somebody that’s real good to
take a trip with,” and the therapist asks, “Who is it?” They’d
have to say, “I can’t tell you.”
Jacob: Right away that would bust up the relationship.
Myron: I can see where a lot of therapists would really get
on their high horse about that. On the other hand, were there
any who got to know you and would keep the trust and even
be willing to refer their patients to you?
Jacob: Most of the therapists who would do that have
tripped themselves. I always warned the person who was in
therapy that, “I want you to understand and realize that it’s quite
possible that after you’ve had your trip you will terminate your
therapy.” Invariably it happened. In a very few cases they could
keep on working with the therapist. They could do that if the
therapist had tripped. But you cannot trip and work with a
therapist who hasn’t tripped and get any value out of it. You
can’t relate back and forth. You can’t trip as a patient and work
with a therapist who has not tripped because he has not had
the experience and you cannot relate to him about it. It ends up
that I can only trip people who are in therapy with a therapist
who understands tripping and is willing to refer.
Let me mention something about my original position when
I first started out. I had the traditional psychological or psychiatric attitude towards this stuff. This is dangerous, this is bad,
you shouldn’t do it, and anybody who does it is crazy, and a