Ayahuasca Is My Therapist (Or Is It?)

Ayahuasca Is My Therapist (Or Is It?)

by Sean O'Carroll

Can Ayahuasca or other psychedelic medications aid or replace traditional psychotherapy, or is there a danger of "spiritual bypass"?
It was about 4am, and the ceremony had concluded. People were making their way from the jungle marquee towards the “temple” and kitchen where hot soup was waiting. Some walked in silence, while others began to talk of their experience. I sat in the circle longer than most, taking in the scene. I had drunk 4 times in total. Each drink taken in an effort to catalyze some sort of non-ordinary experience. The Peruvian curandero chuckling mischievously each time I returned, tapping his head and saying “stubborn, like a donkey,” before offering me another cup of the sacred brew. Despite my four cups, I had sat through the night fairly uneventfully, watching as people sat in silence, moaned, sang, cried, and laughed their way though 6 hours of “medicine” journey.
Continue Reading Article
© 2015 Sean O'Carroll
Bios
Reviews
Sean  O'CarrollSean O'Carroll  is a therapist in private practice in Melbourne, Australia. He is also the director of Wild Mind, and lectures in transpersonal psychology.
Beautifully written, and incredibly well-balanced. Its rare to find someone who can take such a nuanced approach to both psychotherapy and ayahuasca.
nandro
I appreciate this article for asking informed questions. I work as a therapist and supervise interns. Many interns and people I know are speaking in a Utopian way about medicinal plants in general and I try to ask informed questions because I see there are so many ways in which we can help and receive it. Overall, I too think that this plant can be helpful to many people in a variety of contexts. I also appreciate looking all sides of the story. Thank you so much for doing just that.
Melissa Granchi
I'm a practicing psychologist and a university professor. I've been on 2 Ayahuasca retreats, the last to Peru. I found my journeys to be challenging and rigorous, yet always worthwhile. I greatly appreciate the "nuanced" perspective of Sean's, as it is consistent with my own perspective and experience. As the saying goes: "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water." Ayahuasca can certainly help us to be more loving and authentic in how we relate to others and ourselves, however it is a tool and not a panacea.
Joe Springer
Add your review:


Name :

To prevent automated submissions, please answer the following:
0 + 4 =